POETRY

With

Gigi Bradford is the former Literature Director of the National Endowment for the Arts and the present Chair of the Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Board. She has been teaching at P&P since 2006.

Join us for a two-session investigation of Dylan Thomas, the writer who wrote and declaimed like a medieval bard and who lives on in the American imagination as the archetypal 20th century romantic poet. Two Tuesdays: January 12 & 19, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Online Class.

With

Sandra Beasley is the author of four collections of poetry including Made to Explode (forthcoming in February 2021) and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir; she also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Join poet Sandra Beasley for a two-hour seminar on the work of Louise Glück, American poet and winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. We'll look at core principles of Glück’s aesthetic, drawing on her craft essays and using guided close readings of poems spanning her career. Advance familiarity with Poems 1962-2012 is recommended but not required; all levels of expertise are welcome. One Sunday: January 31, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Online Class.

With

Kim Roberts is the editor of the anthology By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of our Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), and the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018). Roberts has published five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017), and co-edits the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homeshttp://www.kimroberts.org

Join award-winning editor Kim Roberts for “Politics & Poetry in the Capital City,” a series of three discussions that will enhance your understanding of DC’s complex history through the lens of its poetry. Three Thursdays: February 4, 11, 18, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class.

With

Sandra Beasley is the author of four collections of poetry including Made to Explode (forthcoming in February 2021) and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir; she also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Looking to freshen up your outlook and awaken creativity in 2021? 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 2020, edited by Paisley Rekdal, 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 Mondays: February 8, 15, 22, March 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. Online Class. 

With

Poet, author, and performer Annie Finch’s most recent books are The Poetry Witch Little Book of Spells and Choice Words: Writers on Abortion. Her other work includes six volumes of poetry, a poetry CD, poetry anthologies, criticism, an award-winning verse play, translation, music collaborations, and the popular poetry-writing guide A Poet’s Craft. She earned a Ph.D from Stanford University, has lectured at universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford, taught as a tenured professor of creative writing at Miami University, and served as Director of Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing. She is the founder of the Women, Poetry, & Spirituality retreats at Garrison Institute and the online community Poet & Priestess. Annie can be followed on Instagram and Twitter @thepoetrywitch. For more information, and to subscribe to Annie’s Poetry Witch Newsletter, please visit anniefinch.com.
 

A deep reading of two of the most formally rigorous, distinctive, and influential women poets of the early twentieth century, with close attention to the diction, voice, music, structure, and form of their major poems. Four Mondays: March 8, 15, 22, 29 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class. 

FICTION

With

Verlyn Flieger is Professor Emerita in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, where for 36 years she taught courses in Tolkien, Medieval Literature, and Comparative Mythology. She is the author of five critical books on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, Splintered Light, A Question of Time, Interrupted Music, Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien, and There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien. She edited the Extended edition of Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major. With Carl Hostetter she edited Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, and with Douglas A. Anderson she edited the Expanded Edition of Tolkien On Fairy-Stories. With Michael Drout and David Bratman she is a co-editor of the yearly journal Tolkien Studies. She has also published two fantasy novels, Pig Tale and The Inn at Corbies’ Caww, an Arthurian novella, Avilion, and the short stories "Green Hill Country" and "Igraine at Tintagel."

The core of Tolkien’s Silmarillion mythology was what he called the “Three Great Tales," the romance of Beren and Lúthien, the epic of The Fall of Gondolin, and the tragedy of The Children of Húrin. We’ll devote a two-hour class to each, using editions synthesized by Christopher Tolkien from the overlapping manuscripts and competing versions his father left, looking at how each story began, changed, and developed over time, emerging finally into a published book. Three Sundays: January 10, 17, 24, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class.

With

Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. She is the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers' Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons and Escape Pod/Artemis Rising. She's also the author of a novel, TreeVolution, and three collections: Circe's Bicycle, Midnight at the Organporium (which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly), and Political AF: A Rage Collection. She received her MFA from American University in 2019.

Have you noticed a hint of magic or a bit of the surreal worming its way into your reading material? Join us for an introduction to speculative fiction, a broad genre encompassing science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, horror, and other stories containing fantastical elements. Three Saturdays: January 16, 23, 30, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Online Class.

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989. Her recent Politics and Prose classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, Grossman, and Proust.

This class will read Sodom and Gomorrah, the fourth volume of Proust’s great novel (as counted now). To those who have read the earlier volumes, the atmosphere will be darker, the thought and comedy more disturbing. For people interested in reading In Search of Lost Time from the middle, or joining a group to continue your own reading, our scrutiny should help with the perplexities of Proust’s text and your contributions to discussion will be welcome. Six Mondays: January 11, 18, 25, February 1, 8, 15, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in the 19th Century British novel. Currently, Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines. In addition to teaching, she runs a writing coaching business to help aspiring writers of all kinds achieve their personal and professional goals.

The Gothic novel was the 18th century equivalent of the horror movie: though its terrors might seem mild to a 21st century audience, they evoked chills in their contemporary audience. In this seminar-style, discussion based class we’ll read The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole; The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) by Ann Radcliffe, and The Monk (1796) by Matthew Lewis. These novels show how 18th century writers used medieval, continental settings to explore the darkness underlying modern civilization. Five Thursdays: January 21, 28, February 4, 11, 18, from noon to 2 p.m. Online Class.

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics (including Joyce’s fiction) at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and has lectured at Smithsonian Associates.

This course is an introduction to the second half of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which many consider the seminal novel of the 20th Century. If you never got around to finishing this great novel, this course may make it easier for you. The class will explore some modes and themes in the second half of this complex work. In our five sessions we will look at the overall structure but concentrate on the more accessible and humorous sections of Chapters 12-18. Five Fridays: January 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

Join us for a discussion of Honoré de Balzac's Cousin Bette. In this class, we'll follow the embittered "old maid" Cousin Bette and find out how this novel secured Balzac's eternal fame as "The French Dickens." Four Tuesdays: February 2, 9, 16, 23, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Online Class.

With

Michele L. Simms-Burton, PhD is a former tenured university professor and founding board member of the Toni Morrison Society. Her writings have appeared in The Crisis Magazine, DownBeat, D.C. Metro Theater Arts, Auburn Avenue, and San Francisco Chronicle. She has lectured globally on African American culture.

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for lively and spirited discussions of Toni Morrison’s trilogy, Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise. Four Saturdays: February 6, 13, 20, 27, from noon to 2 p.m. Online Class.

With

Brittany Kerfoot is the Director of Events at Politics and Prose and a former college English professor at George Mason University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from GMU, and her writing has been published in The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Driftwood Press, Madcap Review, and Eventbrite.com, among others. She is at work on her first novel.

Join instructor and P&P’s Director of Events, Brittany Kerfoot, for a dual class that explores the fictional and the shocking real-life details of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Two Mondays: March 1 and 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Supriya Goswami teaches courses in literature (with special focus on Africa and South Asia), culture, and politics at Georgetown University. She has previously taught at California State University, Sacramento and at George Washington University. She is the author of Colonial India in Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2012), which is the first book-length study to explore the intersections of British, Anglo-Indian, and Bengali children’s literature and defining historical moments in colonial India. She is currently working on her second book, Colonial Wars in Children’s Literature. She has also published in such scholarly journals as the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, South Asian Review, and Wasafiri.

Join Supriya Goswami for a new perspective on some familiar classics of children's literature. Whether it is a Golden Age text set in Victorian Britain (Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) or futuristic and magical stories written in the 1990s (Lois Lowry’s The Giver and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), children’s literature serves as an instructive lens through which we can evaluate the significance of culture, politics, and prose in our lives. Three Thursdays: February 25, March 4, 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online Class.

With

Leigha McReynolds has a PhD in English Literature. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines. In addition to teaching, she runs a writing coaching business to help aspiring writers of all kinds achieve their personal and professional goals.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone swept the most recent awards cycle, winning the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards for best novella. Join this seminar-style, discussion based class where we’ll consider how this story represents an innovation in the time travel narrative. One Monday: March 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College (like Oscar Wilde) and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics (including Joyce’s fiction) at Politics and Prose for over 25 years. He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and and has lectured at Smithsonian Associates.

This class will examine the wit, works, and woes of Oscar Wilde. Oscar said that he put his talent into his writings and his genius into his life, but he ended up in jail for two years for “gross indecency” and died a broken man. He has become one of the most revered gay pioneers, icons, and martyrs. Wilde’s works of genius and talent have outlasted his life by over a century. Five Fridays: February 26, March, 5, 12, 19, 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Carrie Callaghan’s debut novel, A Light of Her Own, about 17th century painter Judith Leyster, was published by Amberjack in 2018. Her new novel, Salt the Snow (Amberjack, 2019), is about trail-blazing but little-known early 20th century journalist Milly Bennett and her years in 1930s Moscow and Spain. Carrie’s short stories have been published in multiple literary journals around the country, and she is a senior editor with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Join historical novelist Carrie Callaghan for an insider's look at three wonderful books. This three-session class will focus on the intimate and public in Emma Donoghue's wonderful historical fiction as we closely read her novels The Pull of the Stars, The Wonder, and Frog Music. Three Saturdays: March 13, 20, 27, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

With

Leigha McReynolds has a PhD in English Literature. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines. In addition to teaching, she runs a writing coaching business to help aspiring writers of all kinds achieve their personal and professional goals.

Samuel R. Delany is a foundational science fiction author for the both the astounding, and sometimes confusing, originality of his work and his identify as a black, gay man who was a lauded science fiction author at a time when the genre lacked diversity. In this seminar-style, discussion based class we’ll read two of his early novels — Babel-17 and The Einstein Intersection (Nebula Awards winners in 1966 and 1967 respectively) — to explore Delany’s contributions to the genre. Two Mondays: March 22, 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class

With

Kimberly Clarke is a writer, independent scholar and educator based in Alexandria, Virginia where she pursues her research interests in 19th century Transatlantic studies, Classical studies, and Caribbean Literature. She is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the education sector. Dr. Clarke has over a decade of experience engaging in outreach programs and initiatives that pursue cross-cultural partnerships with diverse populations.

Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights. These are just a few of the titles that come to mind when we think of how women have shaped the global power of British literature. This class aims to broaden our idea of what British literature is by looking at the effects of Britain’s history of empire and colonization from WWII to the present as depicted in modern-day classics: Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000), Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004), and Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other (2019). Four Wednesdays: March 10, 17, 24, 31, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class. 

With

Supriya Goswami teaches courses in literature (with special focus on Africa and South Asia), culture, and politics at Georgetown University. She has previously taught at California State University, Sacramento and George Washington University. She is the author of Colonial India in Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2012), which is the first book-length study to explore the intersections of British, Anglo-Indian, and Bengali children’s literature and defining historical moments in colonial India. She is currently working on her second book, Colonial Wars in Children’s Literature. She has also published in such scholarly journals as the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, South Asian Review, and Wasafiri. 

Agatha Christie, the unparalleled grande dame of crime fiction, not only wrote prolifically but also with an astute understanding of people and places. This course explores two of her elegant and addictively readable detective stories, Death on the Nile and Murder in Mesopotamia, written in the 1930s, with none other than the legendary Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, at the helm of affairs. Two Thursdays: April 22, 29, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online Class.

With

Helen Hooper, a fiction writer, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has published stories in American Short FictionThe CommonThe Hopkins ReviewBellevue Literary Review and elsewhere. She was MacDowell Colony fellow, a Kenyon Review Peter Taylor fellow and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BA from Johns Hopkins. She has taught literature and creative writing at Stanford and other universities and at the middle and high school levels. She is now writing a novel.

One hundred years ago, Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, awarded for her novel The Age of Innocence. Let’s read it together, along with her other New York novels: The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country. The class will meet every other Tuesday evening, allowing two weeks to read an average of 150 pages. As we go along we’ll dip into critical responses of both her contemporaries and also modern essayists, from Henry James to Janet Malcolm to Ta-Nehisi Coates. Seven Tuesdays: February 9, 23, March 9, 23, April 6, 20, May 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

Please join us for a seven-week meander through Charles Dickens's cimmerian mid-century London, as we discuss the novel Our Mutual Friend. In this class, we will scrutinize the dark themes which Dickens explored after separating from his wife, sequestering with actress Ellen Tiernan and confronting death at Staplehurst, including the psychology of the criminal mind, the violence of obsession, and the failures of sanitation reform. Seven Tuesdays: April 20, 27, May, 4, 11, 18, 25, June 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

LIFESKILLS

With

Jerry Webster, Ph. D., (Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland) has taught numerous courses in literature for the U. of MD. and in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools (MD).  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years.  He served as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Center in Washington, D.C., for ten years until he retired in 2020.  He teaches regularly for Politics & Prose, as well as for the Johns Hopkins Odyssey Program, Frederick Community College ILR, and the D.C. Shambhala Center.

Mingyur Rinpoche writes “every chapter of our human history could be described as an 'age of anxiety.'" In reaction to any great difficulty, such as our worldwide present pandemic, we often indulge in typical reactive patterns, such as fight or flight or cave in. Mingyur’s work presents a way to engage based on Buddhist teachings and practices. In addition to analyzing this work, this course also will introduce students to basic meditation techniques. Two Wednesdays: January 27, February 3, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online Class.

With

Jerry Webster, Ph. D., (Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland) has taught numerous courses in literature for the U. of MD. and in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools (MD). He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years. He served as the Shastri, or head teacher, for the Shambhala Buddhist Center in Washington, D.C. for 10 years until he retired in 2020. He teaches regularly for Politics & Prose, as well as  the Johns Hopkins Odyssey Program, the D.C. Shambhala Buddhist Center, and the Frederick Community College ILR Program. 

Two renowned Buddhist teachers, Joan Halifax and Angel Kyodo Williams, have explored the boundaries, the edges, of our everyday world, right in the midst of life’s conflict, complexity and confusion. They walk their talk. Join us for an exploration of Halifax’s Standing at the Edge and Williams’s Being Black, which serve as valuable sourcebooks for anyone willing to transform challenging states into experiences of growth. Four Mondays: April 5, 12, 19, 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online Class.

WRITING

With

Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

In this 4-session course, join a community of writers to get feedback on your fiction or creative non-fiction. We’ll model our workshop on the “Writer’s Room” in the television industry, a dynamic space where writers get together to break down stories in an interactive live discussion. Time permitting, we'll also do short writing exercises. Four Wednesdays: January 20, 27, February 3, 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Mary Hall Surface, teaching artist, playwright, and theatre director, presents workshops nationwide as a Kennedy Center teaching artist, as a Smithsonian Associates guest artist, as the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, and as a faculty member of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom, 2014- 19. Her plays have been produced at theatres, museums, and festivals throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Canada, including 17 productions at the Kennedy Center. She has written and directed five plays for the National Gallery of Art inspired by visual art. She has been nominated for nine Helen Hayes Awards, receiving the 2002 Outstanding Director of a Musical. Mary Hall has published 12 plays, 3 original cast albums, 2 collections of scenes and monologues, an anthology of her plays and numerous articles. She was the founding artistic director of the DC’s Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival and was a member of Arena Stage’s 2017 Playwrights’ Arena. The National Gallery of Arts’ Writing Salon was featured April 2017 in The Washington Post Magazine. Learn more at: www.maryhallsurface.com.

Step inside rich works of art and discover new tools for imagining character, setting and story in this interactive course led by Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon. Three Saturdays: February 6, 13, 20 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Online Class.

With

Sarah Pleydell & Michaele Weissman

Sarah Pleydell is the author of two books: The Dramatic Difference, which won the American Association for Theatre Educators' book of the year award, and the critically acclaimed novel Cologne which was selected for the Oxford Literary Festival where she was a speaker. A graduate of Oxford and London Universities, she holds an MFA from the University of Maryland where she was a senior lecturer in University Honors for thirty years. She is currently completing a second novel, set on the Texas, Mexico border. 

Michaele Weissman is a freelance writer and the author three books, including God in a Cup, a narrative exploring the specialty coffee business for which she followed three young coffee buyers around the world. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and scores of other print and online publications. She is currently completing a food history/family narrative called The Rye Bread Marriage.

Novelist Sarah Pleydell MFA and author Michaele Weissman use in-class writing exercises to help students discover and use the imagery embedded in their own imaginations. This three-part writing workshop enables writers at every level to find language that is fresh and unexpected. Three Sundays: February 14, 21, 28, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

With

Lisa Zeidner is the author of five novels, most recently Love Bomb, and two books of poems, one of which won the Brittingham Prize in poetry. She is also a screenwriter and the author of the craft book Who Says? Mastering Point of View in Fiction. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, and other publications. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers–Camden and lives in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Join Lisa Zeidner, author of five novels and professor in the Rutgers-Camden MFA Program in Creative Writing, for a craft class on point of view in fiction. Four Saturdays: February 27, March 6, 13, 20 from 10 a.m. to noon. Online Class. 

With

Armando Batista is a poet, performer and educator. The child of Dominican immigrants, he was born and raised in Washington Heights, NY. Armando earned his M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a B.A. in Theater from Temple University. He has written and performed two solo plays, and co-created other theatrical works. He has taught English, ESL, solo performance, storytelling, artivism, poetry and improvisation to learners from ages 3 to 73. He is currently working on a poetry collection and travel memoir. Armando’s poetry has been translated and published in the Mexican literary journal CRACKEN, and his essays are published in the online journals past-ten, The Maine Review, and forthcoming in The Abstract Elephant Magazine. 

We will examine the poems of Terrance Hayes, Ai, Chris Gilbert and others to see how they are operating as trickster poets, the trickster framework being influenced by Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde, and other cultural sources. Each class will offer a writing prompt using the trickster tools— 1. Deception 2. Theft 3. Shapeshifting 4. Jointing. Four Sundays: March 7, 14, 21, 28 from noon to 1: 30 p.m. 

With

Kate Reed Petty's first novel, True Story, was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection. Her fiction, essays, and short films have appeared in Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, and Narrative, among other places. Kate also has more than a decade of experience writing in collaboration with designers and social entrepreneurs, and she teaches writing in the Design for Social Innovation graduate program at the School of Visual Arts. She lives in Baltimore.  
 

Join Katy Reed Petty, author of the 2020 debut novel True Story, for a writing workshop. Turn a writer's block into a breakthrough with tools inspired by design thinking. In this hands-on workshop, you'll get comfortable with fun, innovative techniques for fueling any fiction or nonfiction project from beginning through to the end. Welcoming to both beginner and experienced writers. Four Tuesdays: March 9, 16, 23, and 30, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.

POLITICS & PLACE

With

Scott Patrick is a recent PhD graduate from American University with a concentration in comparative politics. His research interests include critical theory, global political economy, and the intersection of power and politics with culture and the social construction of ideas, norms, and values.

In this course we will be exploring and discussing U.S. foreign policy and the debate between isolationism and internationalism. We will be primarily reading Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy by Prof. Stephen Wertheim. We will examine whether continued U.S. global military dominance is desirable or sustainable, and what role the U.S. may play on the world stage in the near and distant future. Two Thursdays: February 11 and 18, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online Class.

With

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who lives in Essoyes, a village in southern Champagne, on the border of Burgundy. She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Today, and France Revisited, as well as for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and is currently working on her memoir, A Long Way from Iowa. She has taught "Paris: A Literary Adventure" for the City University of New York since 1997, and literature and culture classes at Politics and Prose since 2011. Janet’s unique perspective, developed over more than 40 years of living, working, traveling, and teaching in France, as well as her expertise as a writer/editor, will enrich our discussions.

Join author Janet Hulstrand for an exploration of French customs and etiquette through four entertaining books: Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, by Janet Hulstrand; The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed by Canadian authors Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau; WTF?! What the French? by Olivier Magny; and Le Divorce by Diane Johnson. Five Fridays: January 15, 22, 29, February 12, 19, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Online Class.

With

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the award-winning author of several nature books, including City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, The Joy of Forest Bathing and Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Melanie has been leading nature walks for Politics and Prose and many other Washington, D.C. organizations for several years.

Pick up your late winter spirits with a virtual visit to Theodore Roosevelt Island, a DC woodland memorial to our foremost conservation president, who preserved 230 million acres of land during his presidency. Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island, will take you through each of the seasons on the island with spectacular photographs of its trees, wildflowers, birds and animals and an introduction to the island’s trail network. One Saturday: February 27, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Online Class.

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) with a specialization in Governance and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. From 1987-2000; she served in various posts in the American labor movement’s international programs in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Middle East starting in 1994. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org) 

Ten years have passed since the momentous and courageous Arab Uprisings began so, it is time to look back and assess what happened in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during that ten years period. We will also review the reasons for these revolts by people from all walks of life against the authoritarian governments. Join us for a journey to better understand these uprisings – why, who, what and when – in addition to exploring expectations for the future. Five Fridays: January 22, February 5, 19, March 5, 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) with a specialization in Governance and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

Karen Leggett Abouraya is a journalist and children’s author, winning the 2013 Arab American Book Award and other honors for Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books. She is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Egypt, and with her Egyptian-born husband, chairs the Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee and the Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) Maryland, Virginia, DC. Together they also produce the podcast American Egyptian Women of Influence.  Karen facilitates online conversations between Egyptian and American children and co-hosted a conference on informal education at the BA in 2015.  She reviewed children’s books for the New York Times, is a past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C. and has served as a judge for children’s writing contests in Egypt and Montgomery County. She earned her B.A. in international relations from Brown University.

Arab Americans started to immigrate to the USA primarily in the 19th and early 20th century fleeing economic and religious persecution under the Ottoman Empire. They came mainly from Greater Syria which included Lebanon, Palestine and Syria at the time. These Arab Americans found their new country to be challenging yet still full of hope and potential. Join us for a literary poetic journey with Arab American authors who give us a perspective on America from their lived viewpoints. Five Fridays: March 26, April 9, 23, May 7, 21, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

NONFICTION

With

Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. After studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy.

He is the founding Director, with Edward Maloney, of the Georgetown University “My Dante Project” a web based platform for personal and collaborative study of Dante’s Commedia. In 2014, he acted as lead instructor for the launch of an ongoing web-based course (MOOC) on Dante offered by EDX (http://dante.georgetown.edu) which currently has been utilized by over 20,000 students.

His most recent book is Dante and Derrida: Face to Face, (State University of New York Press) (Link)

He has received five separate awards from Georgetown University for excellence in teaching. He is the former Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies Program, and in 2015, he received the Award for Faculty Achievement from the American Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

In October 2009, The Teaching Company released his course, "Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life," (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/philosophy-intellectual-history/philosophy-religion-and-the-meaning-of-life.html) a series of 36 half-hour video lectures which he created for the "Great Courses" series. At Georgetown, he teaches courses on Existentialism, Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and Dante.

In addition to his work at Georgetown, he co-directs The Renaissance Company with Deborah R. Warin, leading adult study programs focusing on Italian Renaissance culture and its contemporary heritage.

It took a pandemic and a book on the 1918 Influenza to bump Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens out of the top spot on the NYT paperback Bestseller list. It had been on the list for 96 weeks and is now number 2. Join Frank Ambrosio, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown, for a discussion of Harari's Sapiens, and the sequel to it, Homo Deus. In this class, we'll explore Harari's revolutionary approach to the meaning of "History" itself. Five Thursdays: March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online Class. 

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

With

Scott Patrick is a recent PhD graduate from American University with a concentration in comparative politics. His research interests include critical theory, global political economy, and the intersection of power and politics with culture and the social construction of ideas, norms, and values.

In this course we will be exploring and discussing the persistent myths and misconceptions of the Confederacy and the U.S. Civil War, especially the diminishment and denial of white supremacy as motivation for the Confederate States. We will primarily be reading How the South Won the Civil War (2020) by Heather Cox Richardson. Three Thursdays: January 14, 21, 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online Class.

With

Reuben Jackson is an Archivist with the University of the District Of Columbia’s Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives. From 1989 until 2009, he was Archivist and Curator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Duke Ellington Collection. Reuben is also the author of a volume of poetry entitled Scattered Clouds (2019, Alan Squire Publishing).

Producer/arranger Quincy Jones is best known (and celebrated) for his work with mega-stars like Michael Jackson and vocalist Donna Summer. This class will spotlight Jones's equally compelling work as a Big Band leader, arranger for jazz vocalists like Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra," as well as music from film soundtracks ("In The Heat Of The Night," "In Cold Blood," "The Color Purple”). Each recording vividly illustrates Jones's mastery of (to quote the composer) "soul and science." One Sunday: February 28, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class.

With

Maurice Jackson teaches History, African American and Jazz Studies at Georgetown University. Before coming to academe he worked as a longshoreman, shipyard rigger, construction worker and for many years as a community organizer in Washington. He is author of Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism and co-editor of African-Americans and the Haitian Revolution, of Quakers and their Allies in the Abolitionist Cause, 1754-1808 and of DC Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in Washington. Jackson wrote the liner notes to 2 jazz CDs by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones: Steal Away: Spirituals, Folks Songs and Hymns and Come Sunday. He was a member of the Georgetown University Slavery Working Group that made recommendations about how GU must atone for its slave past. He spent the 2019-2020 academic year teaching at the GU campus in Doha, Qatar. He is completing Halfway to Freedom: The Struggles and Strivings of Black Folks in Washington, DC.

Join Georgetown professor Maurice Jackson for an exploration of the life of Frederick Douglass, using David Blight’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography as our guide. Issues of constitutionalism, slavery, reconstruction, racism, the rights of women, wage labor, colonialization, the role and responsibility of whites, the duty of African Americans, respectability and the rights of Washingtonians will be covered. Six Wednesdays: February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Brian Taylor is a scholar of US history who focuses on issues related to citizenship, race and national belonging. He earned his doctorate from Georgetown University in 2015, and since has taught at Georgetown and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His first book, Fighting for Citizenship, (September 2020) is published by the University of North Carolina Press. His current project focuses on the Reno City neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He lives in Laurel, MD, with his wife Diane, son Steve, and three cats.

The Civil War witnessed one of the most dramatic transformations in US history, as enslaved men, women and children wrested freedom, rights and citizenship from a land whose highest court had proclaimed as recently as 1857 that African Americans possessed “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Taught by the author of Fighting for Citizenship, this course will examine the contingent developments through which a war fought over slavery became the war that ended slavery, and African Americans’ successful campaign to win freedom, rights and citizenship. Three Thursdays: March 4, 11, 18, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.