Narrative nonfiction is most easily defined in terms of what it is not: not journalism, not scholarly writing, not polemic, not simple expository prose. Nor is it confined to a single genre. Writers of narrative nonfiction write criticism, memoir, and contemplative essays, but the lines between genres are often blurred within a single essay. Our goal in this course is to become more experienced and fluent writers and readers. We will analyze essays and excerpts from longer nonfiction to learn the elements of craft: structure, voice, clarity, the use of dialogue and descriptive detail, and revision, the writer's most important practice. We will write our own essays and brief papers responding to the readings every week. Readings will include essays by John McPhee, Le Thi Diem Thuy, Jo Ann Beard, George Orwell, James Baldwin, Patricia Hampl, E. B. White, Vivian Gornick, Richard Rodriguez, Barry Lopez, and Hilton Als.