Visceral Fictions

In this experimental writing workshop, we will try to transcend our reading and writing preferences to be apprenticed by visceral, avant-garde literature—aesthetic achievements centered around objective life, subjective reality, and ecstatic confessions! Most of the works that affect us deeply are the ones that might have wearied us or even greatly disturbed us. But in time, upon further reflection, we find them rather informative—or even illuminating!

This class will be divided into two segments: each with a 15-minute break. In the first segment, we will discuss the previous week’s assigned reading or film viewing as a class to “open up” the work from a writer’s perspective—focusing on craft and aesthetics. In the second segment, we will read aloud our new writing every week to develop our observational and listening skills in determining the effects of the spoken word: sketches, scenes, and/or dialogues—focusing on craft rather than content, aesthetics rather than plot.  Weekly themes may be given if that helps you. Other than for the last class, when you will revise one of your weekly writing assignments for class critique, there will be no comments on any reading, only applause. I will give weekly written comments on your writing.

This class is geared to be interactive, emotionally engaging, and helpful to your writing! We will not be analyzing the plot or the symbolism of a work per se, but looking at its aesthetic quality, pondering how it was created as writers ourselves, not as literary critics. Your main goal is to be apprenticed by them, and to practice, apply, and play around with some of what you learn from them in your creative work. You will challenge your self-censorship in a safe and supportive environment––you will emote!


June 14, 2023 - July 19, 2023


3:00 pm - 6:00 pm




Marc Anthony Richardson


Marc Anthony Richardson

Marc Anthony Richardson is an artist and novelist from Philadelphia, who specializes in visceral, avant-garde fiction. Year of the Rat, his autobiographical novel, won an American Book Award and a Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. Messiahs, a speculative novel, was a fiction finalist for the Big Other Book Award. The Serpent Will Eat Whatever is in the Belly of the Beast, a novelistic poem, is forthcoming from Deep Vellum/Dalkey Archive Press. Richardson also received an award from Creative Capital, grants from PEN America and the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, a fellowship from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and residencies from Art Omi and the Vermont Studio Center. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Callaloo, Black Warrior Review, Western Humanities Review, 580 Split, and the anthology, Who Will Speak for America? He received his MFA from Mills College, taught at Rutgers, and currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, promoting the practice of yoga and calisthenics when writing about trauma. Recently, he was an Andrew W. Mellon Scholar-in-Residence at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.