Lyric essayists

The Essay Genome Project uses computer-aided stylometric analysis to discover stylistic, tonal, and formal similarities and influences among essays across the past four centuries and around the globe. Additionally, we are creating a hierarchical tagging system to account for textual qualities that computers cannot see.

Lyric essayists

Years later their progeny Lyric Essay—half-prose and half-poetry—dresses in loose tunics, wears his Lyric essayists slightly too long to be considered conventional, and whiles away his days wandering through forests and meadows while contemplating metaphors for life and love. He spends his nights lying in soft grass gazing at the constellations while neighbors gossip across the Lyric essayists and cluck their tongues at his seeming lack of discipline.

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But a careful study of lyric essays will reveal a cornucopia of connectors and structures rooted in both poetry and prose—mythology, reflection, irony, repetition, spiraling perspective, lists, sensory details, voltas—binding the fragmented imagery within braided, hermit crab, collage, and elegy structures—bringing order to apparent literary chaos and allowing lyric essayists the freedom to push and prod poetic prose until an emotional message pops from the page.

While it is ruminative, it leaves pieces of experience undigested and tacit, inviting the reader's participatory interpretation. Its voice, spoken from a privacy that we overhear and enter, has the intimacy we have come to expect in the personal essay.

Yet in the lyric essay the voice is often more reticent, almost coy, aware of the compliment it pays the reader by dint of understatement. But we must be willing to go out on an artistic limb with these writers, keep our balance on their sometimes vertiginous byways.

What he says of the poem could well be said of the lyric essay: The poem holds its ground on its own margin The poem is lonely. It is lonely and en route. Its author stays with it.

If the reader is willing to walk those margins, there are new worlds to be found. The lyric essay values the tension of juxtaposing objective and subjective material. So why turn to the lyric essay? On a pragmatic level, here are some circumstances in which the lyric essay might prove advantageous: Lyric moves, particularly fragmentation and passive voice, enact a lack of agency on the page.


Instead of experience, the lyric essay engages primarily with ideas or inquiries, lending it an aspect of intellectual engagement that is not usually foregrounded in the personal essay.

The tension comes when such engagement is blended with a poetic, subjective sensibility. My ears did not quicken. My heart did not skip.

What I heard was philosophical meditation, truncated memoir, slipshod research, and just-plain-discursive opinion.

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A wall of words. But not a lyric essay among them. The term had been minted brilliantly, it seems to me by Deborah Tall, then almost immediately undermined. Not all essays are lyric.

Not even all short essays are lyric. Some are merely short. Because, to be lyric, there must be a lyre. In lyric essay the narrative might break up into sections, evolve and trail away into white space, poetry and often, repetition.

Lyric essay flourishes with the braiding of multiple themes, a back and forth weave of story and implication, the bending of narrative shape and insertion of poetic device such as broken lines, white space and repetition.We were also interested in the lyric essay, and whether or not our computer analysis would find significant stylistic differences between lyric essayists and other contemporary essayists.

We began by running a global analysis of our corpus, which includes authors spanning the last five hundred years. Because the lyric essay is a new, hybrid form that combines poetry with essay, this form should be taught only at the intermediate to advanced levels. Even professional essayists aren’t certain about what constitutes a lyric essay, and lyric essays disagree about what makes up the form.

Lyric essayists

The lyric essay is a hybrid form, combining formal aspects of poetry and prose. Lyric essays are unique in their reliance on form.

Two types of lyric essay forms exist: found form and invented form.

Essay Genome Project

Great as it is, Robinson's collection only whet our appetites for more essays by contemporary writers, so in case it does the same for you, we've put together a list of contemporary essayists we. Writing the lyric essay offers the author a frolic in the pool of memoir, biography, poetry and personal essay mixed with a sprinkling of experimental.

The lyric essay, by definition, will not easily fit into the category of "grounded" writing. Generally, markets that use the "grounded" terminology when referring to creative nonfiction want narrative, a constructed and followable story, but the lyric essay just wants to .

Lyric essay | Genre Across Borders (GXB)