Course Description : We’ll read and discuss eleven memoirs, plus excerpts of a few others. Work for the semester will consist of reading and being engaged with the books. Assignments will include: small creative projects and in-class writing sprinkled through the semester; a presentation on one of the writers; and a final paper, memoir, or 10 poems. Readings may include (a) poems by Roger Fanning, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Terrance Hayes, Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyaaka, William Matthews, Heather McHugh, Pablo Neruda, Craig Raine, Charles Simic, and Dean Young; (b) fiction by George Saunders; (c) essays by James Wood, and (d) a memoir by Elif Batuman.
Billy arrives and sits with Claggart and Vere in the confines of the cabin. Vere directs Claggart to confront Billy with his accusation. Claggart speaks with great precision, rendering Billy speechless, stunning him completely. Vere demands that Billy speak up to defend himself, but Billy remains tongue-tied. Noticing Billy’s tendency to stutter and be mute, Vere softens his approach, telling Billy to take his time in formulating a response. These encouraging words only throw Billy further into a fury, as he wrenches his body into a contortion, still unable to reply.