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Writing From and About Childhood
Writing From and About Childhood

Instructor: Teri Youmans

Genre: All

Level: All levels

Length: 4 weekly sessions

Time: Noon to 1:30 pm CST

Dates: Fridays, June 3, 10, 17, 24, 2022

Format: Zoom

Limit: 12


I believe Flannery O’Connor spoke a large truth when she wrote, “Anybody who has survived childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” But how to revive that golden and fraught kingdom of childhood in a way that is captivating, authentic, and honest? How to make that particular time, place and sensibility come alive on the page? During our four weeks together we will uncover and investigate our origin stories, explore our childhood territories, dissect imagery and what makes certain details more powerful and authenticating. We’ll also learn how to write with “uncertain certainty” in order to resuscitate the past so that we can feel its beating heart. All of this exploration will result in re-seeing our childhood with the complexity, generosity and clear-sightedness required of us as writers. In addition to a great deal of generative writing, we’ll look at various poems and excerpts from memoirs and fiction that have captured childhood evocatively and thoughtfully. Being able to access our own childhood affords us the ability to better access the world of childhood more freely, which makes this class beneficial for not only memoirists and poets, but fiction writers as well.

Week 1: Origin Stories We’ll talk about the nature of origin stories and uncover three different types of our own, considering the impact of those moments on who we are now.

Week 2: Home Ground In this session we will reconnect with those places that are sacred and/or rife with nostalgia and complexities.

Week 3: Object Lessons We’ll explore the power of resonating images and how to write deeply about objects from childhood.

Week 4: “Uncertain Certainty” We’ll revisit memories and anecdotes from childhood to see what else exists in and around them. We’ll mine them for resonances and nuanced layers that create writing that doesn’t just tell what happened, but what it meant then and what it means now. 

Teri Youmans is a fourth generation Floridian. She received her BFA in poetry at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s published two poetry collections. Her first, Dirt Eaters was chosen for the University of Central Florida’s contemporary poetry series and was published by the University Press of Florida. Her second book, Becoming Lyla Dore, was published by Red Hen Press. She is currently at work on a memoir about alligator hunting, generational abuse and dancing with the devil.  

Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction/memoir have appeared in The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, The Keepthings, Green Mountains Review, Indiana Review, South Dakota Review, Connecticut Review, Sugar House Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and Homegrown in Florida: An Anthology of Florida Childhoods, among other journals and anthologies. She is the recipient of a Nebraska Arts Fellowship and has been awarded residencies at Millay Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Hambidge Center. She has taught in Creighton University's MFA Program, at the University of North Florida, and in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s low-res MFA program since. Teri lives in Jacksonville, Florida. 


Larksong is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are committed to supporting both the writers who come to us for instruction and the writers who come to us to teach. We keep our class fees low, offer free programming, and pay our instructors. Please consider supporting our mission by making a tax-deductible donation.