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Beyond Reviews: Writing Pop Culture Personal Essays

Tabitha Blankenbiller, Writer of things that are true. But stretched.

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8 Videos (46m)
    • Intro to Pop Culture Writing

    • Project Overview: Writing a Pop Culture Response

    • Connecting to Pop Culture: Plots and Characters

    • Essay #1: Elizabeth Ellen's "By the Sea" Review

    • Essay #2: Mallory Ortberg's "Big Bang Theory" Essay

    • Essay #3: Tabitha Blankenbiller's "Sailor Moon/Star Wars" Essay

    • Tips on Publishing Pop Culture Writing

    • Final Thoughts


About This Class


Everyone consumes culture. Movies, TV shows, Netflix streams, music, Kardashians—the best and the worst of pop is the backdrop to our everyday lives. Pop culture reflects where we are as a society, and when it changes we change; and when we change, it’s forced to evolve as well. It’s easy to see why pop culture writing has become such a widespread and powerful style. The shift of publication from traditional print to online journals, coupled with the proliferation of media in our daily lives, has created a proliferation of sites dedicated to strong personal essays with pop culture themes.


This class is recommended for students who are currently working on writing personal essays, or have written essays in the past and are diving back into the form. Any level of essay-writing experience is fine, from personal essay blog posts on up to published work.


In this class, we’ll discover:


- What a pop culture essay is, and how it differs from traditional personal essays and media reviews


- Examples of outstanding pop culture essay writing, and what we can learn from these accomplished writers


- Considerations and tips for pitching and publishing pop culture essays to editors

15 of 15 students recommendSee All

I know all my professors and fellow students in American Studies would love this class. Thank you Tabitha for a refreshingly different topic. I look forward to more classes.
April Snider

To Inspire Is My Calling

Tabitha Blankenbiller walks us through wonderful examples of contemporary pop culture writing to show us why they were successful and how we can be successful as well. The essays were a joy to read, and the course made me want to write.
Tabitha is engaging and lively and knows her material inside out. Her examples are entertaining and thought-provoking and--most of all--her course is practical. At the end, you'll have all the tools you need to start writing (and publishing) your own pop culture essays.





Tabitha Blankenbiller

Writer of things that are true. But stretched.

Tabitha Blankenbiller is an essayist, columnist and fiction writer living outside of Portland, Oregon. She is a graduate of the Pacific University MFA program, and her work excavates the truth behind fashion, food, friendships, old video games, and Netflix streams. Her writing springs to life where personal and pop cultures intersect.

Her essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Barrelhouse, Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Brevity, and a number of other journals. She reviews books for Bustle and w...

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