#AWP18: Writing the Frail Essay

This panel, made up of writers often labelled "experimental," explored the "frail essay." While the definition of the frail essay is nebulous, the panelists sought to work towards a definition and agreed that the frail essay is one that is more interested in vulnerability than craft, is interested in language and the limits of language, and is open to being wrong rather than committing to a singular idea of truth. 

The collaborative nature of this panel was fascinating, even if it wasn't completely successful. Each panelist read a short essay about their own work and ideas of the frail essay, and then proposed a principle. Meaning, a principle of the frail essay. After each panelist announced their principle, the moderator asked the audience to apply this principle to an E.B. White essay-- an essay considered "masterful"-- in order to make it more frail. However, this collaborative attempt led to considerable derailment and ultimately didn't seem to work. An alternative would've been for the panelists to suggest edits based on their own ideas, and to have pre-planned this. While the audience-collaboration ultimaeltly failed, it was enlightened to view a different model for conference presentations and pariipation