English Composition

Topic: English 103 lyrics
Composition Project 2: The Lyric Essay: an Adaptation
“The lyric essay sets off on an uncharted course through interlocking webs of idea, circumstance, and language—a pursuit with no foreknown conclusion, an arrival that might still leave the writer questioning.”—Deborah Tall and John D’Agata, Seneca Review
“Many excellent writers and thinkers have tried to pin down the lyric essay, defining it as a collage, a montage, or a mosaic. It’s been called disjunctive, segmented, and sectioned. All of these are correct. All of these definitions recognize in the lyric essay a tendency toward fragmentation that invites the reader into those gaps, a structure that emphasizes what is unknown rather than the already articulated known.” —Brenda Miller & Suzanne Paola, Tell It Slant
“I mistrust the lyric essay; I welcome it; I don’t know what it is.”—Phillip Lopate, To Show and To Tell
“The situation is the context or circumstance, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer; the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say.”—Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story
Part prose, part poem, the lyric essay combines memoir with research and often samples the techniques of other genres and art forms: fiction, journalism, photography, and film. After reading and examining contemporary models of this hybrid form, you will—through an extended process of drafting and revision—write your own lyric essay.
Your Adaptation and its Rhetorical Situation
As you develop your adaptation, keep your vision of the rhetorical situation close by at all times: