Éireann Lorsung | teaching

I have more than fifteen years of experience teaching writing and literature in a variety of settings, both within and outside of universities. I love to work closely with both undergraduate and graduate students as well as with adult learners outside of traditional institutions. Teaching supports and develops my creative practice; in the classroom, my students often help me work out ideas I could not have arrived at alone.

Image of a whiteboard with many people's handwriting on it
Collaborative notes during a close reading of Fanny Howe’s “Bewilderment” in a nonfiction course.

From 2017-2020, I was Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing – Nonfiction at the University of Maine – Farmington. At UMF I had the pleasure of teaching nonfiction and poetry classes in the BFA in Creative Writing, as well as courses in book history and book arts, editing, literary analysis, and multi-genre creative writing. I supervised several Honors projects and theses (both literary and scholarly, but most often a cross between the two) and have loved working closely with students on independent studies in nonfiction and book arts. In fall 2020 I taught Intermediate Fiction and a course in the Publishing MA at Emerson College.

My current teaching includes a year-long suite of observational practice courses through the Maine Media College + Workshops. As of spring 2021, I am Faculty of the Baccalaureate at Bard College, teaching Life Writing.

In the classroom, I’m a dynamic and challenging teacher; student feedback shows that my care for students 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.

Sample exercises and assignment briefs

In all my classes, I am interested in what happens when we pay close attention to the materials of everyday life and to our most familiar surroundings. I try to offer students a way into writing and artmaking that relies on sustained attention and accretion of observations, building to an understanding of forms, structures, relations, and histories. Here you’ll find some examples of the work I do with students; click on the links at right to download PDFs.

What is public speech?, ask my nonfiction students in spring 2018.

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


Recent teaching

Faculty, Bard Baccalaureate
Bard College | Spring 2021-
Courses taught:
Life Writing

Faculty, Book Arts
Maine Media College + Workshops | Fall 2020-
Courses taught:
Seasonal Observation I, II, III, IV; Poetry

Affiliate Faculty, Writing, Literature and Publishing
Emerson College | Fall 2020
Courses taught:
WR 311: Intermediate Fiction Writing
PB 683: Publishing Overview (MA course)

Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing (Nonfiction)
University of Maine – Farmington | 2017-2020
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 supervised Honors Theses and independent studies in writing and book arts; supported student research through the Wilson Fellowship program at UMF; managed student research assistants; advised twelve students; and was 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).

Perhaps you are looking for other versions of me?
I am also an artist, a writer, and a person who makes projects
in public for and with other people. Of course, these are all me (and not all of me).