POETRY

With Frank Ambrosio

For those willing to undertake the steep ascent of Dante’s seven-story Mountain, nowhere in the legacy of human culture is the process of becoming a “whole person” more closely observed or rendered with deeper psychological and social insight than in the cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio. It is certainly possible to read, understand and enjoy Purgatorio without having read the Inferno. Six Tuesdays: October 26; November 2, 9, 16, [23 - no class], 30; and December 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET Online Class. 

With Sandra Beasley

Join poet Sandra Beasley as she guides readers through the craft choices that give Dove and Glück such distinctive voices on the page. This two-hour seminar will examine key poems from each collection to build our knowledge of these influential poets. One Sunday: January 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST Online

With Gigi Bradford

Join us this winter as we continue our conversation about Conversation Pieces, poems from a volume of the same name (Kurt Brown and Harold Schechter, editors, 2007) that speak to each other across cultures and centuries. We’ll read poems that “answer, argue with, update, elaborate upon, mock, interrogate or pay tribute to other poems.” Two Tuesdays: January 11 and 18 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST

With Indran Amirthanayagam

We will read selections from Jorge Luis Borges: Selected Poems and Poems of the Night. We will discover Borges the poet, his obsessions: with time, history, libraries, disappearance, and yes, immortality. Four Wednesdays: January 12, 19, 26, Feb 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST Online

With Sandra Beasley

Looking to freshen up your outlook and awaken creativity in 2022? Each week, this class offers a writing prompt that puts our drafts in conversation. The guiding muse will be selections from The Best American Poetry 2021, which we’ll use to anchor a brief craft discussion at the start of each class. No formal expertise is required, but familiarity with workshop environments is encouraged. Four Tuesdays: January 25, February 1, 8, 15, from 10 a.m. to noon EST Online

Annie Finch

An exploration of a poignant, gory, frightening, revolutionary, ever-evolving poetic genre that has carried the voices of women down the centuries. Four Mondays: Feb 7, 14, 21, 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. EST Online

With Amber Clark

Join Professor Amber Clark to discuss the poetry of Olena Kalytiak Davis. We will examine Davis’ work with an eye toward its place in a poetic lineage of confession, subversion, and devotion, with an emphasis on her literary influences. Wednesday: April 6, 2022, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Online EST

With Frank Ambrosio

Readers and critics alike almost universally praise Dante's Paradiso for the sublimity of its poetry, but sublimity comes at a price. Trying to imagine ourselves toward the outermost limits of human hope at the brink of real Mystery is beyond our capacity as earth-bound pedestrians. Dante had the same experience and his greatness lies in never forgetting that poetry's task is give human beings wings. Six Tuesdays: March 1, 8, 15, (skip 22 no class), 29, April 5, 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST

 

FICTION

With Nicole Miller

No stranger to his doctor’s laudanum in the last months of his life, Charles Dickens’s imagination for the phantasmagoric, his mentality for murder, and his yen for enigma grew in this painful passage, leading the great author to touch pinnacles and crawl to depths he had never reached before. A true reliquary of everything Dickensian, The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be handled with cotton gloves as we pore over the text with scholarly care and a magnifying glass. Four Mondays: November 29; and December 6, 13, 20, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. EST

With Penny Du Bois

 Some claim that Laclos’ fascinating variant on the libertine novel of the unscrupulous seducer, Dangerous Liaisons, gives warning of the imminent revolution in France.  The novel bears close study as its exchange of letters requires the reader to put together what must happen between the lines and between the letters in order to relish fully the wit, misguided calculations, and war of personalities between the main characters.  These are not letters of candid feeling but instruments calculated to charm or foil other people. In our time when we see outright defiance to behaviors that involve sex and power, this class will have a chance to savor an elegant and witty treatment of a society devoted to sexual conquest. We will read the novel together in four sessions, hoping to increase our understanding of the hedonism of that past era in relation to our own ideas of personal relations. Four Tuesdays: January 18, 25 and February 1, 8, from 1 to 3  p.m. EST Online

With Tara Campbell

Are you craving a hint of magic or a bit of the surreal in your reading? Join us for an introduction to speculative fiction, a broad genre encompassing science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, horror, and other stories containing fantastical elements. Participants need not have any prior experience in these genres: together we will read and discuss The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021. Three Saturdays: January 22, 29, and February 5, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. EST Online 

With Michele Simms-Burton

James Baldwin is one of the most oft-quoted American writers. As a master of the essay, Baldwin’s unabashed assessment of U.S. race relations predicts civil unrest, rebellions, and the rise of the discontent. During this class, you will engage in close readings of two of Baldwin’s novels and two of his essay collections. Four Saturdays: February 5, 12, 19, 26, from 12 to 2 p.m. EST Online

With Brittany Kerfoot

Join instructor and P&P’s Director of Events, Brittany Kerfoot, for a class that explores three pivotal books written by master storyteller Lauren Groff: Fates and Furies, Florida, and Matrix.

Leigha McReynolds

The sensation novel of the mid-nineteenth century was known for its melodramatic and implausibly convoluted plots. Join this seminar-style, discussion-based class to explore the works of the women wrote about the dark side of the feminine and the domestic in Victorian England. We’ll read Ellen Wood’s East Lynne (1861) and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862). Four Thursdays: February 3, 10, 17, 24 from Noon to 2:00 p.m. Hybrid Connecticut Ave. Classroom and Online 

With Christopher Griffin

Ulysses was officially published 100 years ago on Joyce’s 40th birthday on February 2, 1922, by Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, Paris’s equivalent of Politics and Prose. This course is an overview of Ulysses, which many consider the seminal novel of the 20th Century. If Ulysses has been on your bucket list but you never got round to reading this great novel, this course will make it easier for you. Six Consecutive Fridays: January 21, 28, February 4, 11, 18, 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Online Class. 

With Kimberly Clarke
Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill’s award-winning historical fiction Someone Knows My Name follows the life of Aminata Diallo, from her kidnapping in West Africa to her work with the British during the Revolutionary War. Join Dr. Kimberly Clarke as we discuss the history of Black Loyalists in seminar-style discussions of this historical novel. Four Wednesdays: February 9 16, 23, March 2 from 2 to 4 pm ONLINE EST

Join Janet Hulstrand, a writer who lives in Essoyes, a village in Champagne, for a discussion-based class of four literary works that explore France under Nazi occupation. In addition to the history we’ll learn, we’ll see how storytelling, whether in fiction or nonfiction, can bring to life the drama inherent in the most challenging human experiences—and remind us that although war brings out the worst in some people, it also brings out the best in others. Six Fridays: January 14, 21, February 4, 18, 25, March 4, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST 

With Verlyn Flieger

Join eminent Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger for an informative lecture and guided discusion to look deeply into the creator of the  20th century greatest fantasy, and one of its greatest war novels, The Lord of the Rings. Eight Sundays: February 6, 13, 20, 27 and March 6, 13, 20, 27, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EST

With Aaron Hamburger

Long regarded as one of the greatest writers of a generation that included such luminaries as Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster produced several novels, stories, and essays that also speak uncannily to our contemporary cultural moment. In this course, we'll read three of Forster's novels: A Room with a View, Howards End, A Passage to India, as well as several of his landmark shorter works like "What I Believe" and "The Machine Stops" (which bears an eerie resemblance to life on Zoom!). Four Mondays: March 7, 14, 21, 28, from 6:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m. EST Online

With Elaine Showalter

Sold Out. Difficult women writers are those known for their sharp tongues, often unlikeable heroines, ironic fiction, and tough-minded non-fiction. But they are always exciting to read, and challenging to discuss. In this class, we’ll read some key works by Mary McCarthy, Patricia Highsmith, Joan Didion, and Susan Sontag, which I'll be supplementing with biographical and critical background. Four Tuesdays: March 8, 15, 22, 29, from 3 to 4.30 p.m. EST Online

With Helen Hooper
In his latest book, A Swim in the Pond in the Rain, George Saunders lets us into his classroom as he reads iconic 19th Century Russian short stories and uses them to figure out how fiction works. Let’s dive in and float awhile in his quirky sensibility. We’ll immerse ourselves in stories from Chekhov and Tolstoy and in essays exploring how and why they succeed. This is a class for all levels.  It’s for anyone curious about Chekhov, Tolstoy, Saunders, and how fictional narratives operate. Three Mondays: March 21, 28, April 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. EST Online
With Carrie Callaghan

Widely lauded, Maggie Shipstead's historical novel Great Circle crosses time and space to craft an exciting story about two women and the way their lives intersect. In doing so, she raises questions about gender roles and ambition.  This class will explore the historical backdrop and thematic depth of this beautiful novel. Two Sundays: April 3 and 10 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m EST Online

With Michele Simms-Burton

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for lively and spirited discussions of novels by Jesmyn Ward: Where the Line Bleeds, Salvage the Bones, and Sing, Unburied, Sing. Four Saturdays: April 2, 9, 16, and 23, from noon to 2 p.m. Online Class. EST

With Jerry Webster

Ozeki is an established Zen Buddhist practitioner and teacher.  The book’s title comes from one of the most famous of the Buddha’s sutras, The Heart Sutra, which says, “…Emptiness is form, form is emptiness…”  What does that mean?  And how does Ozeki play with this meaning throughout her book, meanwhile exploring a panoply of topics, such as insubstantiality, impermanence, anxiety, wholesomeness, creativity, and compassion. Two Tuesdays, April 19 and 26, from 6:30 p.m.to 8:30 p.m. EST Online

WRITING

Kate Reed Petty

Write a short story in a month! In this hands-on workshop, we’ll play with generative exercises to break through writing blocks, generate new prose, and polish a first draft. This class will be fun and appropriate for both first-time and experienced fiction writers — or anyone looking for creative new writing techniques. Four Mondays: Jan 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST Online

With Bob Levey

Join prize-winning former Washington Post columnist Bob Levey for a spirited, detailed look at how to write a compelling piece of informed opinion. Students will examine more than a dozen pieces by famous writers, and will learn how to approach and create a worthy column, blog, review or essay. Four consecutive Thursdays: January 13, 20, 27 and February 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Online

With Nevin Martell

Join veteran freelance writer Nevin Martell for a series of technique-focused, feedback filled workshops to learn the tools you need to get your story published. Three Tuesdays: February 8, 15, 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. ONLINE EST

With Lindsay Merbaum
Join feminist horror author Lindsay Merbaum for a look at Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Toni Morrison's Beloved through the lens of feminist horror, which is loosely defined as writing that employs the tropes of horror in stories addressing gender. Our class will examine feminist horror elements of each novel, while exploring our response to the reading through in-class creative writing prompts. Four Thursdays: February 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. EST Online 

 
Sarah Pleydell & Dot Neumann

In this five session in-person workshop, you will develop a script based on your own experience and transform it into a one-person enbodied story. Skills from this class will strengthen your storytelling craft and is a perfect way to begin stepping into the worlds of speak easys and podcast spoken memiors. Five Sundays: January 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. IN-PERSON POLITICS AND PROSE UNION MARKET BOOKSTORE

With Don George

A great beginning is the key to a successful travel story. Join travel author and editor Don George in this craft workshop. Participants will read and discuss award-winning travel stories that illustrate the fine art of crafting an engaging beginning. Utilizing these lessons, participants will then conceive and write the beginning of their own travel story--the goal is to craft a beginning that sets the stage for a successful travel story and powerfully draws the reader into the middle of the piece. Three Mondays: February 14, 21, 28, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Online

With Joyce Winslow

Everything Tillie Olsen wrote became a classic almost immediately. “She can spend no word that is not the right one,” wrote Dorothy Parker. With Tillie’s short story collection of four stories in 1954, themes important to women suddenly widened the possibilities for American fiction writers. Over the course of four one and half hour sessions per week, we will examine the short stories in ways to benefit writers as well as readers, and workshop techniques that Tillie pioneered. Four Wednesdays: March 2, 9, 16, 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Online

With Amber Clark

Everyone has a story to tell, but how do you craft it engagingly? Join Amber Clark in this small group workshop to explore the art of the personal narrative essay. Six Wednesdays: Feb 2, 9, 16, 23 Mar 23, 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Online EST

Join the acclaimed playwright, poet, and author Sarah Ruhl for an afternoon of experimental writing and exercises to fine tune your writing craft in an inter-genre workshop. One Saturday: January 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST

NONFICTION

With Nicole Miller

Hailed as a masterpiece of 20th century nonfiction, Nabokov's Speak, Memory is as much thought- experiment as memoir, stretching time across language, image, and symbol. In this class, we will be relishing the style and synesthesia of Speak, Memory, lingering over small morsels of prose, travelling from “sun fleck to sun fleck,”  as we read for effects and “the awakening of consciousness” in the author, as well as ourselves. Three Saturdays: January 15, 22, 29, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST Online

With Margaret L. Andersen

Join Professor Margaret Andersen for constructive analysis and discussion of one of our most pressing national conversations: race and racism. Where does the idea of race come from and how is it related to racial inequality? What does systemic racism mean and how is it manifested? Two Wednesdays: March 23 and 30, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST Online

POLITICS & PLACE

With Heba F. El-Shazli 

Rafik Schami is described by the Goethe Institute as: "one of the most important writers of the German language." He immigrated to Germany from Syria at the age of 25 years old and becoming a literary sensation in his new adopted country where he wrote in German yet about Syria! Join me on this literary journey – a voice from Syria via Germany. Three bi-weekly Mondays: January 24, February 7 and 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. EST Online

With Annie Finch

As reproductive rights come under unprecedented attack, explore the landmark new anthology Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, the first major literary anthology on abortion, under the guidance of the book’s editor Annie Finch. We will read and discuss powerful work in poetry, drama, and prose on this major theme, invoking grief, defiance, shame, tenderness, compassion, rage, and triumph. Authors include Amy Tan, Audre Lorde, Dorothy Parker, Gloria Naylor, Gloria Steinem, Gwendolyn Brooks, Gloria Steinem, Jean Rhys, Joyce Carol Oates, Langston Hughes, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lindy West, Margaret Atwood, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Ursula Le Guin. Six Thursdays: March 10, 17, (skip 24), 31, and April 7, 14, 21, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST Online

Heba El-Shazli & Karen Leggett

Arab American authors are not always focused on their identity crisis as Americans. There are so many perspectives and angles to their quest as authors with the American and Arab/Middle Eastern heritage. The authors in this reading and discussion collection are on journeys of discovery - the fascination of travel to explore and better understand home, not relocate; Shakespearean theatre to cope with chronic pain; rediscovering the Syrian and Iraqi homeland; and discovering the future in Qatar. Four Mondays and one Tuesday Bi-Weekly: April 4 and 18; May 2 and 16; and Tuesday, May 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST Online

LIFESKILLS

With Jerry Webster

Gary Snyder is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, devoted Zen practitioner, nature writer, and environmental activist. Within his work, Snyder blends his Zen Buddhist vision and practice and earthly wisdom with his love of place and the wild to question and illuminate what human qualities are necessary not only to survive but also to flourish during our residence on earth. Leslie Marmon Silko, of mixed ancestry, has spent the majority of her life on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation.  She portrays life by adjusting various cultural lenses, much as do the characters which she creates. With lyrical voices, these two respected writers ferret out major issues which deserve, merit, our considered attention. Four Tuesdays: February 15, 22, and March 1, 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST Online

FUN FOR KIDS & TEENS

With Naomi Shihab Nye

Join Naomi Shihab Nye in an intergenertional workshop for 7 and up focused on the questions about home and belonging. One Tuesday: March 22 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST ONLINE

 

MEMOIR

Joanna Davis-McElligatt

Join Dr. Joanna Davis-McElligatt for an examination of the comics medium, cartoon language, and graphic memoir—or “autobiographix”—through a study of comics by Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, and Roz Chast. Four Fridays: April 8, 22 May 6, 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST Online

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

With Richard Bell

The revolutionary era produced some of the most important political texts and autobiographies in American history. Join Richard Bell, a professor of history at the University of Maryland, for short and vivid lectures followed by discussion about each work; Ordinary Courage, by Joseph Plumb Martin, Autobiography, by Benjamin Franklin, and Common Sense, by Thomas Paine. Three Fridays: December 3, 10, and 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. EST

With Reuben Jackson
Frequently referred to as The Empress Of The Blues, vocalist Bessie Smith's short but fruitful career moved the world with sensual, swinging, and intoxicating recordings of pop standards. Come join Reuben Jackson as he explores Smith's poignant, wry and sometime bawdy legacy with you. One Sunday: February 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. ET
With Evelyn Beck

In Born After: Reckoning with the German Past (PROSE Award finalist), Angelika Bammer reflects on what it means to be German born in the wake of the Holocaust. In this course, the author and course instructor will discuss the legacy of the Holocaust from two radically different, but complementary, perspectives. Two Sundays: March 20 and 27, from 1 to 3 pm Online EST

With Brian Taylor

More books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than anyone not named Jesus Christ, but David Reynold’s Abe is a full-length popular history that situates Lincoln within his cultural context in a novel way. Using the tools of cultural biography, Reynolds explores the life of the man known variously as “Spotty Lincoln,” “The Railsplitter,” “Honest Abe,” and “Father Abraham.” In this class, we will discuss Reynolds’ interpretation of Lincoln’s life and cultural context, examining conflicting interpretations offered by other scholars, unpacking the process of evaluating evidence and writing history, and considering what we see about Lincoln when we situate him fully within the bustling and bizarre world of the nineteenth-century United States. Six Thursdays: March 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21, 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST Online