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Great Essays Kill Clichés: Unearthing Fresh Language and New Forms of Expression

March 22, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event


Writing is an art of disruption. Our best writing resists and overturns familiar patterns of thought and language, inventing new forms of expression.

I have yet to meet a writer who set out to say nothing interesting. Yet, when our essays fail to interest editors, agents, and readers, we are often at a loss for how and where we went wrong. This webinar will study how our choices of diction, syntax, and sentence construction often underlie greater missteps in our work.

Cliché means so much more than the overuse of familiar phrases. It can also mean our tendency to use familiar sentence structure in our writing–and worse, in our thinking. We’ll discuss what constitutes a cliché, why we’re so inclined to use clichés, and how avoiding dead language brings power to our ideas.

 In this presentation, you will:
  • EXAMINE how cliché comes from stating the obvious—but also from stating something remarkable and interesting in an obvious and uninteresting way.
  • CONSIDER the differences between original and clichéd writing to write more artful and impactful nonfiction.
  • CHALLENGE our language and our thinking in order to write original, thought-provoking essays that attract the attention of editors, agents, and readers.
Who should take this webinar:
  • Experienced writers
  • Writers hoping to publish in major media outlets
  • Writers looking for techniques to enhance their prose

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔



JASWINDER BOLINA’s fourth poetry collection English as a Second Language and Other Poems is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in fall of 2023. His debut collection of essays Of Color was published by McSweeney’s in June 2020. His nonfiction has appeared at The Washington Post, The Paris Review, Shenandoah, The Poetry Foundation, and other outlets. His essays have also been featured in anthologies including the 14th edition of The Norton Reader (W.W. Norton & Company 2016), Language: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press 2013), and Poets on Teaching (University of Iowa Press 2011). He teaches on the faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Miami.





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March 22, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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Jaswinder Bolina
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