Winter 2013

Attendance on the first day is mandatory for all classes.

Please note: All submissions should be double-spaced (except poetry) in Word documents using a 12-point standard font, accompanied by a brief (one-paragraph) statement of purpose. Include your name, class you are applying for, quarter/year, and indicate whether you are an undergrad, a MAPH student, or a PhD student (plus department) on the document. Please also indicate whether you are doing a CW minor or thesis.

With the exception of beginning and core courses, acceptance into courses is not automatic. The course instructor will contact you before the quarter begins to let you know whether you've been accepted.

Email the committee coordinator with questions.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 30, 2012

Beginning-Level Courses

Beginning Fiction Writing (CRWR 10200/30200, section 01)

This beginning workshop is designed to encourage and refine your skills in writing fiction.  Ideally, it will also refine you as a reader and a critic.  We will approach every work of fiction we read, whether published or workshopped, from the writer’s perspective: in terms of form, character, and language and how the writer succeeds, fails, or innovates in these areas.  And since fiction, like any art, is essentially an expression of who we are and how we see the world, we will also begin developing our individual voices as writers.  For the course, you will complete one full-length story, which you will present for class critique, and then write a significant revision of that story, which you will either present for a second workshop or turn into me at the end of the quarter.  The course will also include a series of writing exercises and readings in canonical and contemporary short fiction, all intended to stoke your creativity and illuminate the aesthetic traditions that inform your work. 

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Thursdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Beginning Fiction Writing (CRWR 10200/30200, section 02)

This beginning-level fiction-writing class will use a wide range of exercises and activities to help students discover their oral and written voices. Point of view, seeing-in-the-mind, gesture, audience, and other aspects of story will be emphasized so that students can attempt to incorporate basic storytelling principles, forms, and techniques into their own writing. The major goals of the class are to guide students to discover and use the power of their individual voices, heighten their imaginative seeing and sense of imaginative options, and to develop their overall sense for story structure and movement. The activities of this course will emphasize the interrelated connections of reading, writing, listening, oral telling, sense of personal voice, imaginative seeing, and structure. Students will select at least one of the assignments undertaken, rewrite it extensively, and attempt a publishable-quality, complete story movement (short story or novel excerpt).

Instructor: Megan Stielstra. Day and Time: Mondays, 10:30 AM to 1:20 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Beginning Poetry Writing (CRWR 10300/30300)

Poetry is one of the finest, most artistic forms of human expression, and this course is rich in original material-making, We will encounter and connect with the brilliant works of John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Eleni Sikelianos, Catherine Theis, Frank O’Hara, Denise Levertov, George Oppen, W.S. Merwin, and Basho, among others. Braiding together deep readings of the greats, jaunty in-class writing assignments, and our deep reflection on student’s original poetry, we will certainly grow as writers. We will investigate human rituals as practices of meaning-making in various landscapes, and explore what it means to be a human “animal-artist” in harmony and in tension with our natural world—what do rituals mean in terms of the art of being human? In order to create fruitful images and metaphors in our own original work, we will imagine poetry in deep relationship to a multitude of art forms (architecture, music, painting, dye transfer, décollage, the screenplay, monument building, etc.) through examining the works of, for example, Adolf Loos, Germaine Tailleferre, Joan Mitchell, Pierre Le Hors, Alec Soth, Aspen Mays, Chris Marker, Joseph Beuys and Adam Ekberg. The painter J.M.W. Turner would sometimes complete his paintings before the public on “varnishing days” at the National Gallery: “Turner went about from one to another of [his paintings] on the varnishing days piling on, mostly with a knife, all the brightest pigments he could lay his hands on.” We will think on creative practice as at once creative and violent, reading “Before the Dawn” by Kikaku (“For presentation/I have added the darkness--/the plum blossoms”), and we will meditate upon Li Liweng’s philosophical verse: “First we see the hills in the painting/ Then we see the painting in the hills”, to investigate questions such as where does art grow and live, and how is art inherent to our human environment? Two poems will be due each week; one assigned, one a free poem. 

Instructor: Jessica Savitz. Day and Time: Thursdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Beginning Creative Nonfiction Writing (CRWR 10400/30400)

This class will teach you how to tell a true story. Anecdotes, essays, memoirs, travelogues, character studies, and profiles are all welcome. So are reported and journalistic stories. Whatever form of nonfiction you choose, you’ll submit it to your classmates, who will edit and critique it. These critiques are not for the faint of heart. They require meticulous line editing, rigorous reflection, and total honesty. They require you to put as much work into your classmates’ stories as you do into your own. We have only ten weeks, so come to the first day of class with your ideas and work already underway and ready to share. Be prepared to finish three total rewrites of your story and to read and discuss published exemplars of the form. You will leave this class with the work sample and skills you’ll need to take more advanced workshops.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 to 11:50 AM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Reading As a Writer: Chicago Stories (CRWR 12101) *Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core Requirement.

This course invites writers to reconsider the influence of Chicago’s public and private spaces on genre and artistic form.  How does one tell a “Chicago story?”  Is the “City on the Re-Make” best told in prose or poem?  Is there a “Chicago epic?”  Working through these questions, students will analyze and explore the technical vocabularies of other writers’ responses in a variety of literary genres.  Examples here include how political or social conflicts have shaped fiction writers’ definition of characters and point of view in Chicago writing.  Similarly, how have the city’s historical geographies of South Side, the Great Migration, and the suburb influenced form in poetry and creative nonfiction?  What theoretical approaches have been particularly influential in understanding “place” among Chicago writers?  Using workshop format, students will develop their own creative responses, building connections to their adopted critical approaches. To these ends, we will examine work by writers including Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, John Conroy, Aleksandar Hemon, and Sterling Plumpp, as well as the city’s rich legacies in drama, the visual arts, and music.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads). This course is not open to graduate students. Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Reading As a Writer: Science Fiction (CRWR 12106) *Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core Requirement.

A monolith manifests in orbit around Jupiter, emitting a signal. A beacon? A man spontaneously discovers the ability to teleport. An evolutionary accident? A planet demonstrates consciousness to a cosmonaut. Madness? Space travel is enabled by the ingestion of enormous quantities of a geriatric spice a messianic figure suddenly learns to manipulate. A drug trip?! Among popular genres, science fiction is the riskiest conceptually and among the trickiest to master. The difference between an amazing idea and a rotten story is often slim. What makes good sci-fi work? And how best to write it? Let's put on our gravity boots and solar visors and see what we can discover. In this course, you'll read some novels (by Frank Herbert, Alfred Bester, and Ursula K. LeGuin), poetry (by Andrew Joron), a graphic novel (by Chris Ware), and screenplays (by Andrei Tarkovsky and Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke). And all the while, you'll try your hand at bending each other's minds with your own science fiction.

Instructor: Peter O'Leary. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads). This course is not open to graduate students. Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Intro to Genres: Documentary (CRWR 12110) *Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core Requirement.

This workshop offers students curious about writing the chance to expand their individual horizons by working with documentary forms across prose, poetry, fiction, and performance, learning to incorporate research into generative and aesthetically compelling pieces. We will ask to what extent research and "the news" can participate actively in history, how the documentation of what is present or passing alters the future, and how art blurs these temporalities. We will grapple throughout the quarter with the mediation of real phenomena as captured by technology and text, asking whether our transcribing and framing gestures can be more than acts of preservation—whether they can contribute to the emergence and development of their objects of study, whether these be cities, endangered communities, political movements, or works of art. The majority of the works on our syllabus will contemplate changes in the urban environment. We will read and watch a range of experimental documentary works; artists will include Jean Toomer, James Agee and Walker Evans, Charles Reznikoff, Muriel Rukeyser, Cecilia Vicuña, Haskell Wexler, Chris Marker, Robert Coover, Brenda Coultas, Office for Soft Architecture, Julie Patton, Claudia Rankine, Pamela Lu, Fritz Haeg, and Every House Has a Door. Possible topics for our own documentary experiments are endless, and while they will have the chance to make microdocumentaries and to develop one extended work over the course of the quarter, students are encouraged to think about potential projects over the winter break. Several visiting artists will supplement our exposure to the form by sharing their experiences with us.

Instructor: Jennifer Scappettone. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads). This course is not open to graduate students. Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Intermediate-Level Courses

Intermediate Fiction Workshop (CRWR 12000/32000)

This course will focus on developing and honing the narrative skills you’ve garnered already—either in a previous fiction writing class or on your own—so students coming into this course should already have a working knowledge of narrative craft. Through reading such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, George Saunders, Aimee Bender and others, we will discuss the finer points of character development, dialogue, narrative structure, POV and narrative distance, setting, tone, style and other elements of craft and you will put them to use in your own stories. The course will focus on the art of revision, and students will be expected to complete one story and several revisions of that story. As this will be a workshop-focused course, critical and thoughtful participation in class discussion is required. In additions, expect to turn in your work several times to be discussed in an honest and construct manner by the entire class.

Instructor: Augustus Rose. Day and Time: Mondays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 paged writing sample in fiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Intermediate Poetry Workshop (CRWR 13000/33000)

This course will introduce students to a range of poetry exploiting language which is variously overblown, embarrassingly emotional, kitsch, avidly poetic, camp, rhetorically overwrought, gimcrack, glittering, mellifluous, narcotic, rich and indigestible. Participants will be encouraged to abandon all sense of linguistic moderation and propriety in the service of a poetry that scorns good sense and right thinking.

Instructor: Leila Wilson. Day and Time: Mondays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 paged writing sample in poetry and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Writing the Graphic Novel (CRWR 26100/46100)

This course will walk students through some of the steps involved in creating a graphic novel. Students will closely examine the work of more than a dozen contemporary cartoonists and graphic novelists, while completing exercises designed to test and develop their own comics-making skills. The class will encourage critical thinking about process as well as addressing questions students may have about the practical implications of writing graphic novels as a business. 

Instructor: Jeffrey Brown. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 to 11:50 AM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing and drawing sample via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Writing Memoir (CRWR 26420/46420)

In this reading and writing workshop, students will conceptualize, research, write and revise personal narratives. We will explore strategies for integrating outside research into first-person creative non-fiction, toward building stories that move in contexts that matter. Readings include St. Augustine, Anne Carson, Edwidge Danticat, Frederick Douglass, Vladimir Nabokov and George Orwell. 

Instructor: Rachel DeWoskin. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 9:30 AM to 12:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

TV Writing: The Sitcom (CRWR 27100/47100)

Learning the technique of writing the half-hour television comedy script and then writing one is what will happen in this class. "This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel," a wise Brit quipped a couple of hundred years ago, so thinkers will be welcome.  Formal requirements of the genre will be presented and emphasized.  “Tricks of the trade” will be explained.  Practical ins-and-outs pertaining to the world of prime-time scripted network and cable T.V. will be shared.  To get an idea how a broadcast half-hour is structured, students first will read and break down an existing As-Produced series script.  Then, using what was gleaned from this breakdown, each student will choose a currently on-air series and, after deciding on an imaginative, workable premise, will build upon that premise by outlining a full story, then will write the script itself.  By the end of the course, each student will have in his or her sample-bag a professional-grade writing specimen.  We will conduct the class in very much the same manner that a Hollywood writing-staff conducts its days: writers will help other writers, whether by encouraging or discouraging a certain direction of thought; loud mouths and strong opinions will be encouraged…but only to a point. Although humor itself is subjective and ineffable, there are right and wrong ways to go about achieving it.  The right ways--and how to get them on paper--will be illuminated in this class.

Instructor: Jerome Perzigian. Day and Time: Mondays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample and a brief statement of interest via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Advanced-Level Courses

Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (CRWR 29200/49200, section 01)

This advanced fiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major fiction project.  It is primarily a workshop, so please come to our first class with your project in progress (a story collection, a novel, or a novella), ready for you to discuss and to submit some part of for critique.  As in any writing workshop, we will stress the fundamentals of craft like language, voice, and plot and character development, with an eye also on how to shape your work for the longer form you have chosen.  And as a supplement to our workshops, we will have brief student presentations on the writing life: our literary influences, potential avenues towards publication, etc.  

Students doing a creative honors thesis in fiction are required to register for this course (or section 02).

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in fiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission from. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (CRWR 29200/49200, section 02)

Creating Character and Conflict

This advanced fiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major fiction project. In this workshop, we will strategize about ways to create characters who feel 3-D and alive, and who drive their stories forward so readers want to follow. We'll read excerpts from works including Lolita, Invisible Man and Autobiography of Red, toward figuring out what makes some of the world's most interesting characters loveable and/or loathsome. And we will work on putting our own creations in the midst of propulsive and moving plots.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in fiction are required to register for this course (or section 01).

Instructor: Rachel DeWoskin. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in fiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Thesis/Major Projects: Poetry (CRWR 29300/49300)

This advanced poetry course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major poetry project. Because it is a thesis seminar, the course will focus on various ways of organizing larger poetic "projects." We will consider the poetic sequence, the chapbook, and the poetry collection as ways of extending the practice of poetry beyond the individual lyric text. We will also problematize the notion of broad poetic "projects," considering the consequences of imposing a predetermined conceptual framework on the elusive, spontaneous, and subversive act of lyric writing. Because this class is designed as a poetry workshop, your fellow students' work will be the primary text over the course of the quarter.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in poetry are required to register for this course.

Instructor: Srikanth Reddy. Day and Time: Wednesday, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in poetry and a brief plan for your project via online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

Thesis/Major Projects: Creative Nonfiction (CRWR 29400/49400)

This advanced nonfiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major nonfiction project. Your long piece of nonfiction can be an extended essay, memoir, travelogue, literary journalism, or an interrelated collection thereof. It is a workshop, so come to the first day of class with your work underway and ready to submit. You are required to edit your classmates' writing as diligently as you edit your own. I focus on editing because writing is, in essence, rewriting. Only by learning to edit other people's work will you gradually acquire the objectivity you need to skillfully edit your own. You will profit not only from the advice you receive, but also from the advice you learn to give. I will teach you to teach each other and thus yourselves, preparing you for the real life of the writer outside the academy.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in nonfiction are required to register for this course.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Day and Time: Thursdays, 9:00 to 11:50 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent via online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.