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Craft Lecture: "The Axis of Irony"

Jakob Guanzon, Zell Visiting Writers Series
Friday, February 11, 2022
10:00-11:00 AM
Login here (no pre-registration needed):

Zell Visiting Writers Series craft lectures are free and open to the public, and will be offered both virtually (via Zoom) and in person (in Angell Hall #3222). Seats at the in-person events are capacity-limited and offered on a first come, first served basis; please arrive early to secure a spot. Please contact with any questions or accommodation needs.

In this craft lecture, we’ll first briefly discuss the theories of humor and the history of comedy to foreground our core task: how to employ varying degrees of irony in our writing to most effectively hook readers and manage (if not outright manipulate) their expectations and reactions.

To this end, we’ll analyze the go-to tricks of contemporary writers by charting a diverse array of works on the axis of irony—a cartesian plane mapping authorial distance against on-page voice—to assess the comedic, emotional, and narrative impacts of various literary techniques. Students will be invited to pinpoint the modes that they prefer to both write in and read, then how to further hone their craft in order to provoke and illicit their desired response from readers.

Jakob Guanzon is the author of Abundance (Graywolf, 2021), which the New York Times called, “relentless... what Abundance captures is how mundane poverty is, and how psychologically punishing.”

His short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice, and have appeared in Split Lip Magazine, Juked, Breakwater Review, and elsewhere. Before he moved to New York to attend Columbia University’s School of the Arts, he lived in Madrid, Spain, where he taught, translated, and began publishing prose. He lives in Harlem.

For any questions about the event or to share accommodation needs, please email we are eager to help ensure that this event is inclusive to you. The building, event space, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. A lactation room (Angell Hall #5209), reflection room (Haven Hall #1506), and gender-inclusive restroom (Angell Hall 5th floor) are available on site. ASL interpreters and CART services at in-person events are available upon request; please email at least two weeks prior to the event, whenever possible, to allow time to arrange services.

U-M employees with a U-M parking permit may use the Church Street Parking Structure (525 Church St., Ann Arbor) or the Thompson Parking Structure (500 Thompson St., Ann Arbor). There is limited metered street parking on State Street and South University Avenue. The Forest Avenue Public Parking Structure (650 South Forest Ave., Ann Arbor) is five blocks away, and the parking rate is $1.20 per hour. All of these options include parking spots for individuals with disabilities.
Building: Angell Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Literature
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Zell Visiting Writers Series, Residential College, English Language & Literature - MFA Program in Creative Writing, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers' Program, Department of English Language and Literature