The Art of the Sentence: Part 1

Brooks Sterritt
What is a successful sentence, and how do you make one? In part 1 of this two-part interactive course, we will break down a number of effective sentences (both classic and obscure).
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Sat, Oct 16
Sat, Oct 16
12pm PT / 3pm ET
90 min


Since at least the 2009 appearance of Gary Lutz’s major essay “The Sentence is a Lonely Place,” this syntactic unit has been having a moment. Other recent preachers of the gospel of the sentence include Stanley Fish (How to Write a Sentence), Gordon Lish (see oeuvre), and Virginia Tufte (Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style). For that matter, it was Emerson who insisted “Every sentence is a surprise” and “The maker of a sentence . . . launches out into the infinite and builds a road into chaos and old Night.”

But what makes a sentence powerful, arresting, pleasing to the eye and ear? In this two-part interactive course, we will examine aspects of the sentence such as rhythm, syntax, appearance, efficiency, and sound.

  1. Part 1 will focus on a close reading of numerous literary examples.
  2. Part 2 will center on a constructive critique of the sentences you produce for this occasion.

Each part costs $25 on its own, but you can attend both parts for only $40. (A discount will be applied at checkout.) You can buy your ticket for part 1 on this page and for part 2 here.

While these principles are most germane to fiction and creative nonfiction, anyone with an interest in sentences is welcome.

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