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 interactive course, we will examine aspects of the sentence such as rhythm, syntax, appearance, efficiency, and sound, first through the close reading of numerous literary examples, and subsequently via constructive critique of the sentences you produce for this occasion.
While these principles are most germane to fiction and creative nonfiction, anyone with an interest in sentences is welcome.