Nicolette Polek

Undergraduate Discipline


BA, Bennington College. MFA, University of Maryland. MA, Yale Divinity School. Author of Bitter Water Opera (Graywolf Press, 2024) and Imaginary Museums (Soft Skull Press, 2020), which was long-listed for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham award, Polek is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. She has published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic, BOMB, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. Polek writes about representations of faith, despair, and the possibilities/limitations of art. She is based in New York and also teaches creative writing at Bennington College. SLC, 2024–

Undergraduate Courses 2024-2025


Fiction Workshop: The Novella

Open, Seminar—Fall

WRIT 3305

Situated between the short story and the novel, this workshop will explore the elusive yet powerful genre of the novella. We will read a wide selection of texts, which will include works by Stefan Zweig, Cesar Aira, Maggie Nelson, Louisa May Alcott, Fleur Jaeggy, Ivan Turgenev, Tao Lin, and Adalbert Stifter. We will discern how fullness can be created within compressed spaces and identify the kinds of stylistic and narrative choices that are distinct to the form, with particular emphasis on place, conflict, pacing, and experimentation. Students will be expected to submit short reading responses each week and complete writing exercises designed to help them write their own novellas, which will be discussed within a workshop setting. Class time will be divided among discussing the assigned reading, engaging in generative writing exercises, and discussing drafts.