How to teach grief memoirs in times of grief?Sandra Pinasco
Teaching grief memoirs is never easy; as with all trauma and illness memoirs, lifewriting dealing with loss confronts the reader with its own past or present experiences. I recently taught a seminary on grief memoirs on child loss and ended reading memoirs like Didion’s Blue nights and Bonnet’s Lo que no tiene nombre in the middle of an ever increasing number of deaths due to COVID 19’s outbreak. In this paper, I will summarize the approach used to contain young students while trying to compose a methodology for teaching grief memoirs that takes elements from trauma, illness, and death studies.
Sandra Pinasco is the Head of Humanities Department at Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (Perú). MB in Psychoanalytic Theory. Her area of research is grief memoirs, spirituality, and lifewriting. Some published works are “Saying goodbye at a distance”, “The two faces ofgrief”, “Night, death and love in Pizarnik and Södergran poetics”.
Teaching/trauma/writing x two: six authorial fragments, Tanis MacDonald
This paper will address, in six short sections, the crucial productive overlap of the three central terms in the title, using the centrality of each to unpack the complexities of the other two. This critical-creative paper will address the question: “when students bring their trauma to writing class, how do we teach?” Cathy Caruth’s work with trauma narrative as it walks a thin line between the untenable and the untellable will be a starting point, as will considering trauma as a fragmented experience that both demands and refuses the energies of integration.
Tanis MacDonald is the author of four books of poetry and one of creative nonfiction. She won Canada’s Bliss Carman Poetry Prize in 2003, was a finalist for the 2013 Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism for her book The Daughter’s Way and was the recipient of the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award from the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP). She is also co-editor (with Rosanna Deerchild and Ariel Gordon) of GUSH: menstrual manifestos for our times with Frontenac House Press (2018). Widely known as a scholar and a reviewer, her fourth poetry book, Mobile, was longlisted for a 2020 Toronto Book Award.
Contemplative Pedagogy, Louise Harrington
In my presentation I would like to discuss the value of adopting contemplative pedagogical methods in teaching life writing, particularly when dealing with violent and traumatic material. I will also explore some ways in which we might practically integrate mindfulness and mindful activities into our (virtual) classrooms.
Louise Harrington is Assistant Professor in postcolonial and South Asian literatures in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She works primarily on the relationship between cultural production and war or ethno-religious-national conflict in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.