Mitchell Jackson, Craft of Fiction: Repetition as Philosophy, Voice, Structure

Heimbold Visual Arts Center Donnelley Film Theatre

Open to the public

/ Tuesday


“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” famously wrote Gertrude Stein. Stein is just one of the many writers who have employed repetition to myriad memorable effects in their  writing. But is repetition simply repeating a word or a phrase or a sentence or a structural element? In our session, we will examine repetition as both a philosophical and craft approach.

Our examination will include types of repetition including listing, recursion, and consecution. We will discuss the essential role that repetition plays in creating an eloquent voice, as well as how it can inform the structure and organization of what we write.  We will read excerpts of writers whose work evidences some of the many ways repetition can be employed to achieve a kind of sublimity. The lecture will include exercises to assist in exploring the concepts presented and also with generating new material.

Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years was praised by publications including The New York TimesThe Paris Review, and The Times of London. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award. His novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First novel prize, the PEN/ Hemingway award for first fiction, and the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from TED, the Lannan Foundation, the BreadLoaf Conference, and the Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times Book ReviewSalon, and Tin House. He serves on the faculty at New York University and Columbia University.