This course will explore the ways in which writers from various genres write about family, self, and identity. Writers become who they are in systems of relation, and the first system most of us find ourselves in is that of the family. Just as a story or a poem is a space where the writer can construct a version of self, family also functions as a space in which people build identity/-ies. Family creates our first sense of identity and of difference - both our first sense of self as well as our first sense of an "other" who reflects and responds to that self. Family thus becomes first mirror, first community, first love as well as quite often first betrayer, first heartbreak, first presentiment of loss. Not so surprisingly, the story of identity is often the story of how a person, in this case a writer, understands and translates her/his family of origin. Throughout the semester we will explore the work of poets and writers from/with a range of writing styles and genres, and take a look at how they define, explore, analyze, create, problematize, question, challenge, re-imagine, and reinvent both family and self.