Autumn 2011

Beginning-Level Courses

Beginning Fiction (CRWR 10200/30200, section 01)

Paying attention to our surroundings—places, people, conversations—and to our memories is one of the most important skills that informs creative writing. In this course, you'll work on honing that skill at the same time as you take a close look at some of the building blocks that make up fiction writing: character, dialogue, plot, point of view, and setting. We'll also read and discuss a variety of short stories, always with an eye to craft and to what you, as writers, can steal for your own work. That's right, steal. Much of this class is devoted to learning how to steal the tools of great fiction writing, then using those tools to realize your own vision. You'll write extensively in and out of class, from weekly reading responses to writing exercises that build toward a polished piece of work. Finally, you will write a complete draft and one extensive revision of a complete short story or novel chapter. The last third of the class will be devoted to student workshops, where each student will turn in a draft of a story or chapter to be read and critiqued by the whole class.

Instructor: Augustus Rose. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM 
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email augustusrose@sbcglobal.net to be placed on wait list if the class is full. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Fiction (CRWR 10200/30200, section 02)

How the Short Story Works
We begin by taking apart the short story in order to understand its aesthetic and structural components. Our examination of the form involves reading weekly essays on issues of craft by John Gardner, Charles Baxter, James Wood, and others. We will read a lot of contemporary short fiction and the whole of Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son and Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen which should help us in thinking about how stories work together in a collection. And, of course, we'll write. Weekly exercises will focus on developing our understanding of form, character, point of view, setting, tone, etc., but you will also produce two short stories and have them critiqued in the workshop. Throughout the quarter I will invite guests from Chicago's community of writers, editors, and publishers who will give micro-readings and who will help us to consider the relationship between our work and an audience outside the classroom.

Instructor: Paul Durica. Day and Time: Mondays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email pgdurica@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Poetry (CRWR 10300/30300, section 01)

Based on the premise that successful experimentation stems from a deep understanding of tradition, this course will help students gain a foundation in poetic constructions while encouraging risk-taking in expression and craft. It will expose students to ways that poets have both employed and resisted patterns in meter, line, and rhyme, and it will ask students to experiment with constraints as a way of playing with formal limitations in their own poems. Students will also explore innovations in diction, syntax, and voice, and apply what they learn from these investigations in workshop discussions. While delving into work by both canonical and emerging poets, students will draft and revise a significant portfolio of their own poems.

Instructor: Leila Wilson. Day and Time: Mon., 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email lwilso@artic.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Creative Nonfiction (CRWR 10400/30400, section 01)

This course seeks to develop your abilities in the writing of literary nonfiction as well as in the editing of your own and others' prose in a workshop environment. Through short assignments and shared readings, you will be introduced to basic considerations of craft in nonfiction, including style and narrative. You will also be introduced to foundational concepts in journalistic writing and be invited to experiment within traditional genres of nonfiction (i.e. memoir, travel-writing, etc.). This work culminates in the development and presentation of an extended personal essay. To these ends, we will examine work by contemporary writers including Eula Biss, Paul Gruchow, Fanny Howe, and Luis Alberto Urrea.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl. Day and Time: Mondays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM 
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email gcycho1@hotmail.com to be placed on wait list if the class is full. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Introduction to Genres: Four Western Myths (CRWR 12105)

Consider the proposition that myths inform the fabric of our thought, from its structures to its particularities. If this is so, how do we understand the power these myths exert on our imaginations? Is this power always benign? Is there a malevolent shadow these myths can cast on our collective soul? Let's examine four myths that arise out of the Western tradition. Two of them are old: the story of King Oedipus and the myth of the Holy Grail. The other two are newer: the story of The Wizard of Oz, the first complete American myth, and the story of "Star Wars," as much a commentary on myth as a myth itself. Both of these newer myths have insinuated themselves into the popular imagination, in ways that the earlier myths are so ingrained they have the ability to be continually made novel. In this course, you will read texts that transmit these myths (Sophocles, Chrétiens de Troyes, and L. Frank Baum), you will consider films that depict these myths (Edipe Re by Pasolini, The Da Vinci Code by Howard, The Wizard of Oz by Fleming, and Star Wars by Lucas), you will examine theories that interpret these myths (Freud, Weston, Lévi-Strauss, and Campbell, respectively), and, finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will generate your own versions of these myths in various creative forms: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, screenplays, and drama. FUFILLS THE ARTS CORE REQUIREMENT FOR THE COLLEGE. UNDERGRADUATES ONLY.

Peter O'Leary. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 12:00 to 2:50 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email peter@luxhominem.com to be placed on wait list if the class is full. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Intermediate-Level Courses

Int Fiction Workshop (CRWR 12000/32000, section 01)
Obsession Within Fiction

This workshop-centered course aims at the development of both short stories and extended projects in fiction. Workshop discussion will seek to extend writers' capacities as editors of their own and others' work in terms of basic elements of fiction including plotting, point of view, and character development. A focus for reading and discussion within the course will be the role that obsession plays within narration. To this end, we will also examine work by writers including Dodie Bellamy, Lydia Davis, Jaimy Gordon, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl, Day and Time: Wednesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in fiction and a brief statement of intent.

Int Poetry Workshop (CRWR 13000/33000, section 01)
The Urban Milieu

This course provides an introduction to three Chicago poets, Carl Sandberg, Gwendolyn Brooks and William Fuller, and will look comparatively at three urban poets beyond Chicago, Charles Baudelaire (Paris), Frank O'Hara (New York) and Allen Fisher (London). The poetic resources of Chicago in publishing and readings will be explored, as will the significance of Chicago visual art and jazz for poets. Participants will write urban poems in various idioms, and produce an account of an urban stroll, adventure or psychogeographical dérive (instructions will be given) in any artistic medium.

Instructor: John Wilkinson, Day and Time: Wednesdays 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in poetry and a brief statement of intent.

Journalism: Arts Reviewing (CRWR 28200/48200, section 01)

In this course we will study and practice the craft of arts reviewing for newspapers, magazines, and online publications. We will strive to write fair, effective reviews of several art forms, including but not limited to movies, books, theater, music, cuisine, and visual arts. We will examine and adhere to the legal and ethical standards of the profession of journalistic arts reviewing. As much as possible we will emulate the pace of the job, completing weekly reviews for a specific audience.

Instructor: Jeff McMahon, Day and Time: Wednesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent.

Writing Memoir (CRWR 26420/46420, section 01)

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, 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in nonfiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Documentary for the Radio: Audio Verite (CRWR 26320/46320 / TAPS 28300)

Audio Verité will focus on creative nonfiction radio storytelling, exploring how to document the world through sound and story. Students will learn essential radio skills, including the following: identifying worthwhile stories, writing for radio, finding a voice as narrator, recording interviews and ambient sound, and editing, mixing, and producing short, vivid, sound-rich documentaries. The class will also contain a strong critical listening and component, and active participation will be expected. 
THERE IS A $50 LAB FEE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS COURSE.

Instructor: Delaney Hall. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in nonfiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Advanced-Level Courses

Advanced Fiction Workshop (CRWR 22100/42100, section 01)

This advanced fiction workshop is for students who have taken Beginning or Intermediate Fiction Writing and produced a body of work, large or small, that reflects their developing aesthetic and style. Our workshops will focus on the fundamentals of craft like language, voice, and plot and character development, but with an eye also on expanding the formal possibilities in our storytelling. To that end, we'll examine the work of writers (Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Donald Barthelme, David Foster Wallace, Alice Munro, Tim O'Brien, et al.) who experiment with form, who unravel the rules of the "well-made story" and reconfigure it in order to present their unique vision of the world—an encouragement for you not necessarily to be "experimental" writers, but to explore more meaningful, memorable, and perhaps innovative ways of telling your own stories. 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.

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in fiction and a brief statement of intent.

Advanced Poetry Workshop (CRWR 23100/43100, section 01)

No matter how solitary a craft it may seem, all poetry springs from – and ultimately engages with – a context of contemporary and historical peers. In this workshop-based course, students will read several volumes of contemporary poetry, from a range of aesthetic and political interests, and consider the extent to which their own practices as writers may be challenged or enriched by this context. While the focus of the course will be on the individual writing direction and practice of each student, we will also try our hands at writing reviews of new books with an eye towards publication and engagement with the broader world of poetry today.

Instructor: Suzanne Buffam, Day and Time: Mondays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in poetry and a brief statement of intent.