Éireann Lorsung | teaching

I have more than fifteen years of experience teaching writing and literature in a variety of settings, both within and outside traditional institutions. The liberal arts university is my preferred place to teach, and I love to work with both undergraduate and graduate students. In the classroom, I’m a dynamic and challenging teacher; student feedback shows that my care for them as individual thinkers and writers comes through in my teaching. I teach writing through the close study of literature, and students in my courses do a great deal of reading (usually between five and ten books per semester) as well as writing. Classrooms I share with students frequently integrate practices from visual and performing arts, and texts from disciplines across the humanities, arts, and sciences. My teaching is informed by my own multidisciplinary background and by my conviction that high-quality, beautiful education is a universal right.

Image of a whiteboard with many people's handwriting on it

My educational background

2013 | PhD, Critical Theory, University of Nottingham (UK)
Dissertation: Love: An Approach to Texts

2006 | MFA, Creative Writing (Poetry), University of Minnesota
Thesis project published in 2007 as Music for Landing Planes By
Minor: Studio Arts (printmaking, art theory, book arts)

2003 | BA English (honors) and Japanese, summa cum laude, University of Minnesota

My current teaching

Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing (Nonfiction)
University of Maine – Farmington | 2017-

Courses taught:
ENG 152: Creative Writing for Non-Majors
ENG 181: Introduction to Literary Analysis
ENG 201: Editing
ENG 211: Poetry (writing workshop)
ENG 212: Nonfiction (writing workshop)
ENG 277: Small, Independent, and Alternative Publishing
ENG 312: Nonfiction (advanced writing workshop)

In addition to teaching, I supervise Honors Theses and independent studies in writing and book arts; support student research through the Wilson Fellowship program at UMF; manage student research assistants; advise twelve students; and am faculty advisor of the Writers’ Guild, the student writing organization on campus.

Sample courses

Below are courses I have taught in universities and in community literary organizations (to adult writers).

Japanese (-American) Poetry
In this literature-based poetry workshop, we read two classic works of Japanese literature, both read as prose and as poetry (Bashō’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book), the avant-garde poet Chika Sagawa’s Collected Poems, and the Japanese-American poet Kimiko Hahn’s The Narrow Road to the Interior. As all four books present distinctive formal and stylistic modes, this course emphasized work in these areas. We traced the echoes of classical and contemporary Japanese literature in Hahn’s book in formal and stylistic terms. We also discussed Japanese literary traditions, canon formation, cultural appropriation, and the history of Japanese people and people of Japanese descent in the US.

Reading as Writers: The Form of the Book
This advanced workshop asked students to think about book form, and incorporated book history and design. Students gained hands-on bookbinding experience, wrote poems and essays, and completed book arts projects from conception through design and production.

Women’s (Self-) Portraits
This online cross-genre workshop considered women’s portraits and self-portraits both in visual art and in writing as starting points for the participants’ own work in literary portraiture and self-portraiture.

Manuscript Preparation
Over sixteen weeks, this community-based course for MFA-level students with book-length manuscripts drew writers into a new relationship with their work via lecture, critique, scholarly essays, and work-in-progress presentations.

Child Narrators and Narratives of Childhood
This 300-level lecture course considered (literary) childhood within the context of the British Empire and from the perspective of postcolonial theory.

Critical Theory and the Tradition of Critique for Writers
A sixteen-week survey of critical theory and late-19th-century philosophy aimed at giving writers a theoretical vocabulary and a grasp on a tradition of thought in the west that has shaped and informed artistic and literary production. Texts: Theory for Art History; excerpts from work by Hegel, Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Heidegger, Derrida, Fanon, Irigaray, Cixous, Foucault, Said, Bhaba, Sontag, Sedgwick, Lorde, and others; Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo (Ntozake Shange), The Rings of Saturn (W.G. Sebald), and The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Bhanu Kapil).