Lyric Essay Examples, a Complete Guide for You to Succeed

Filed in Articles by on December 9, 2021

– Lyric Essay Examples –

The lyrical essay is a subgenre of the personal essay. It is based on images and ideas of a particular theme. In this article, I will discuss the lyrical essay and many things you have to know about the Lyric Essay.

The lyrical essay is a type of personal essay that combine both prose and poetry. It is often crafted like a prose poem.

The writer uses a series of images or ideas, not a narrative or argument, to craft the essay. The image can be of a person, place, thing, or object. The idea can be anything.

The writer attempts to recreate the experience and evoke emotion in the reader by using sensory details, a description that expresses what the writer sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and feels.

The lyrical essay is not organized as a narrative, with one event unfolding after the next. Nor is it organized in chronological order.

Instead, the writer creates a series of fragmented images using poetic languages, such as alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, and rhythm.

In 1997, The Seneca Review created the lyrical essay. This literary journal, publishing twice a year, defines the literary essay as follows:

• Combines prose and poetry

‣ Constructed from the distillation of ideas

• Mentions but doesn’t expound

‣ Suggestive but not exhaustive

• Relies on associations, imagery, and connotation

‣ Refers to other genres, such as film, music, literature

• Arranged in fragments as a mosaic

‣ Based on stories that are metaphors

• Based on intimate voice

‣ Crafted with lyrical language

The lyrical essay is usually fragmented. The writer creates a series of images using sensory details.

Each image represents a fragment of detail, which are separated by double spaces, asterisks, or numbers. It is also suggestive.

The writer implicitly suggests meaning. It is meditative. The reader ponders the words and emotions expressed in those words. It is often inconclusive.

The writer provides no final point for the reader to take away. If you are interested in reading examples of a lyrical essay, visit The Seneca Review.

Lyric Essay Examples: Categories of the Lyrical Essay

Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, in “Tell IT Slant,” identify four categories of lyrical essay:

1. The prose poem or flash nonfiction essay

2. The college essay

3. The braided essay

4. The “Hermit Crab” essay

The Prose Poem. It is crafted like prose but reads like a poem. It is written in sentences, not verse. The writer uses poetic devices, such as imagery, symbolism, simile, metaphor to create a prose poem of one or more paragraphs. The writer also uses literary prose by using alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme.

The College Essay. Like the art collage, the collage of a lyrical essay is based on a collection of fragments from different sources.

For instance, prose, poetry, quotation might be combined. The use of juxtaposition is used. The writer separates each section with white space, an asterisk, subtitles, epigraph.

The Braided Essay. It relies on the lyrical examination of a particular topic. The writer uses fragments of detail from different sources.

According to Brenda Miller in “Tell IT Slant”, the writer fragments the essay into separate pieces that repeat throughout the essay.

There is a weaving of different ideas, such as quotations, descriptions, facts, lists, poet language, imagery.

This essay also allows for an outside voice to provide details, along with the writer’s voice and experiences. The purpose of the outside voice is to shadow the writer’s voice, according to Brenda Miller in “Tell IT Slant.”

The “Hermit Crab” Essay. This type of lyrical essay is created from the shell of another, like the hermit crab that lives the life within the shell of another mollusc or snail.

It borrows from fiction, poetry, description, personal narrative, instructions, questions and answers, diary, itinerary, table of contents, songs, recipes, collection of favourite CDs, that are used as a shell to construct something new.

For additional information about the lyrical essay, you can read “Tell It Slant”, a short text on writing creative nonfiction, focusing on the personal essay, and its various subgenres. To read examples of the lyrical essay, visit the Seneca Review.

Features of Lyrical Essay

The lyrical essay has these features:

1. The writer crafts sentences that have rhythm, like a prose poem. Paces and stressed syllables determine a rhythm. Iambic pentameter is the most common type of rhythm.

It is based on a pattern of five iambic feet. Yet, writers often just count the number of stressed syllables in a line to determine the rhythmic structure of their prose.

A short sentence speeds up the pace. A long sentence slows down the pace.

2. The writer creates lyrical prose that sounds musical by using alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme.

3. The writer constructs the essay with fragments of detail. Each fragment is separated by white space, asterisk, title, or number.

4. The essay is often inclusive. Instead, the writer focuses on evoking emotion in the reader, and the reader must draw his or her conclusion.

Writers who have popularized the lyrical essay are:

• Eula Biss, author of “No Man’s Land” and many lyrical essays, including “The Pain Scale” which can be read online. (Conduct a Google Search)

‣ David Shields, author of the book “Reality Hunger.”

• John D’Agata, author of the book “The Lifespan of Fact”

‣ The Seneca Review, a literary journal that publishes lyrical essays.

A good way to teach the lyric essay is in conjunction with poetry (see the Purdue OWL’s resource on teaching Poetry in Writing Courses).

After students learn the basics of poetry, they may be prepared to learn the lyric essay. Lyric essays are generally shorter than other essay forms and focus more on language itself, rather than the storyline.

Lyric Essay Examples: Mushan’s Blacksmith Shop

The blacksmith of Mushan’s Blacksmith Shop is getting old.

At noon, he sits napping at its doorway. In the balmy sunshine, his gray hair sparkles with the same silver glints as those on his reading glasses. He and his old hillbilly assistant are both dozing, one in a chair, the other by the fireside.
 He is probably yet again dreaming of me holding a spinning top and asking him to make a strong axle so that I can slam other kids’ tops beyond recognition.
Or maybe he wonders again why the crazy truanting kids are standing barefoot on the main road at high noon for a showdown of manly valor, until rawish red shards of candied and glazed plums roll out of their mouths and drop onto the scorching asphalt pavement.
To the left of the blacksmith shop, across narrow Citizen Street, is the small town’s former distillery and a row of tall coconut trees, the tallest of which is its chimney.
Since the distillery relocated to the new urban district, the chimney looks more like a lonely Royal Palm, towering over the vacant buildings as the guardian of the town’s sky.
He recalls that under the coconut trees were a line of pedicabs waiting for passengers. In the year that he became a father, his wife cried out in pain at midnight; he dashed across the street and woke up Old Li who was asleep in his pedicab and who then rushed them to Xu’s Ob-Gyn clinic, where his wife gave birth to their eldest son.
That winter it was unusually warm, and the clangor of striking iron was particularly solid and pleasant to the ear. He even worked late into the night. Well, for the sake of his wife and his son, he had to keep his nose to the grindstone—it’s all because he didn’t become a father until after forty.
Back then, young ladies who worked at the Happiness Teahouse would always come, in their pajamas, to eat oyster vermicelli outside the shop in the early afternoon. Around the corner, the mad woman “Tin-pot Clinger” was once again giving cookery lessons to the kids who had gathered to play marbles.
“Tin-pot Clinger,” do you know her? She was actually a well-educated teacher, and quite neat and chaste, unlike those loony women who were unkempt and always sleeping around. It’s only that she suffered from an emotional blow.
So, you’ve never heard her telling stories? Alas, today’s children only know about going to MTV lounges and electronic toy stores; nobody buys axles for spinning tops anymore.
Everything is changing. In the past, when typhoons came, only the section of town around the distillery got flooded. Nowadays, ditchwater and rainwater all converge in front of the shop. Those pedicabs—no, they’re iron bullock carts now—almost turn into motorboats.
Two successive mayors are both from around here. Last time around, the son of the coffin shop owner was out campaigning. The folks of the Citizen Street community always come together in fair weather and foul: everyone cast a vote for him.
That kid is very aware of the decorum; he hands delivered MSG to every household in return. Election campaigns back then were much simpler; it’s nothing like these past few years when you see campaign vehicles and flyers everywhere, with some newer vehicles sporting green flags and green ribbons.
Hmm, it’s all the same however they do it. In the old days, there was only one party, and only one person stood for election. That was just fine—things were quiet and efficient, and we still got freebies.
He’s been to that coffin shop. One year, a typhoon blew a foreign ship from the inner to the outer bay, slashing it in half and leading to the death of several foreigners.
The coffin shop sent for him and had him deliver some thicker iron nails to the shop to fasten the coffins. Two weeks later, he returned to collect his due. While he was walking into that dark, long, and narrow shop—Oh My, what the heck—someone climbed out of a coffin! Turned out that was the master of the shop; he said it was a cool place to take his midday nap.
The blacksmith of Mushan’s Blacksmith Shop is getting old. At noon, he sits napping at its doorway; he dreams of that row of coconut trees being sawn open the way coffins are.
He wakes up, and sees the young ladies from the Happiness Hair Salon playing badminton at the end of the street. His old hillbilly assistant has already set up the fire in the furnace, taken out a red-hot piece of iron, and is waiting for his orders.
The old blacksmith raises his hammer, aiming at the big hammer of his hillbilly assistant, and once again starts making his anvil ring: cling, clang, cling, clang.

Lyric essay is a term that some writers of creative nonfiction use to describe a type of creative essay that blends a lyrical, poetic sensibility with intellectual engagement.

Although it may include personal elements, it is not a memoir or personal essay, where the primary subject is the writer’s own experience. “Lyric Essay Examples”

Not all creative essayists have embraced the term, however, which makes it a classification in this community. “Lyric Essay Examples”

If you have any questions concerning this Lyric Essay Examples, you can drop it in the comment section. Do well to are this article with your friends.

CSN Team.

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