Juxtaposition: “Placing two ideas side by side so that their closeness creates a new, often ironic, meaning,” OR “placing seemingly unlike things next to each other to show a relationship between them.”
Juxtaposition is a powerful literary tool, and when two elements are juxtaposed artfully, a spark flies up from the space between. In this workshop, we will craft an essay using a template that juxtaposes two disparate narratives. In addition to the essay, we will come away with a new appreciation of how juxtaposition can enrich a narrative of any kind. All writers, of any level and from any genre, are welcome. For poets and fiction writers who want to try their hand at writing an essay, this experimental form provides an intriguing introduction, and for essayists, the constraints of a template can provide unexpected freedom. Juxtaposition can also be a way to approach humor. Only requirement: a willingness to experiment!
Writer and activist Carol Spindel’s memoir In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove was a New York Times “Notable Book.” Her nonfiction book Dancing at Halftime explores the controversy over American Indian-themed mascots in American sports. Her award-winning commentaries have been heard on National Public Radio and her essays and reviews have appeared in publications including African Arts, Oxford American, and Guernica Magazine. She recently retired from the University of Illinois, where she received the King Broadrick Allen Award for Excellence in Honors Teaching.