Autumn 2012

Beginning-Level Courses

Beginning Fiction Writing (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 a fiction writer has at his or her disposal. In this course, you’ll hone 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 read and discuss a variety of short stories, always with an eye to the mechanics of craft and to what you, as writers, can steal for your own work. That’s right, steal. Much of this class is devoted to the art of stealing the tools of great fiction writers, then putting those tools to use in realizing your own vision. You’ll write extensively in and out of class, from weekly reading responses to writing exercises that build toward a draft of a story or novel chapter. The latter half of the class will be devoted to workshops, where each student will have that draft read and critiqued by the whole class, followed by an extensive revision. 

Instructor: Augustus Rose. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email augustusrose@sbcglobal.net to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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

The workshop focuses on the study of three key elements in every piece of fiction: point of view, character development, and conflict. We will closely read published stories and our own work in-class and at-home writing assignments designed to help you understand these elements from the inside out and consider how they might operate in your own manuscript. 

Instructor: Achy Obejas. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email achy.obejas@gmail.com to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Fiction Writing (CRWR 10200/30200, section 03)

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, James Wood, and others. We will read a lot of contemporary short fiction (one to two stories per week), including 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 an understanding of form, character, point of view, setting, tone, etc., but you will also produce two short stories and have them critiqued in workshop. 

Instructor: Paul Durica. Time and Day: Thursdays, 1:30 to 4:20.

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email pgdurica@uchicago.eduto be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Poetry Writing (CRWR 10300/30300, section 01)

This workshop-centered course introduces writers to foundational concepts and tools in the craft of poetry. Regular assignments include both prompts and imitations in poetry writing. Within the workshop, we will seek not only to become better poets, but also better critical readers of others’ work. To this end, we will examine work by other past and contemporary poets, including Michael Anania, C.S. Giscombe, Gabriel Gudding, and Lorine Niedecker.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 6:00 to 8:50 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email gcycho1@hotmail.com to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Poetry Writing (CRWR 10300/30300, section 02)

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

Instructor: Leila Wilson. 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 lwilson@saic.edu to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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

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: Wednesdays, 9:30 AM to 12:20 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email danraeburn@gmail.com to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Creative Nonfiction Writing (CRWR 10400/30400, section 02)

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.  One central concern here will be the impact of genre on nonfiction.  What defines literary journalism?  Is financial journalism really “nonfiction?”  Is “I” the true subject of memoir?  This work culminates in the development and presentation of an extended personal essay.  To these ends, we will examine work by contemporary writers including M.F.K. Fisher, Nick Flynn, Jack Green, Michael Lewis, and Graeme Thomson.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20 P.M.

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email gcycho1@hotmail.comto be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Intro to Genres: Wizards (CRWR 12109) *Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core Requirement.

Do you believe in wizards? Are you a wizard? Then pack up your talismans, fetishes, and gamelans into the mysterious little satchel you carry at your side and get ready for some incantatory magic. We will investigate the figure of the wizard as an archetype, a literary symbol, a vehicle for fantasy, and as a commanding reality while considering such things as A Wizard of Earthsea, the figure of Merlin, The Teachings of Don Juan, The Teachings of Ogotemmeli, Harry Potter, Aleister Crowley, the poetry of W.B. Yeats, Nathaniel Mackey, Jay Wright, Ronald Johnson, W.B. Yeats, as well as some other things too secret to reveal at present, including the nature of esotericism.

Instructor: Peter O’Leary. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 12:00 to 2:50 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads only). Email peter@luxhominem.com to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Intermediate-Level Courses

Poetry Chapbooks: Text and Texture (CRWR 13005/33005)

The textual critic R. MacGeddon (Randall McLeod) writes, “Texture is text.”  This course will investigate the poetry chapbook as both text and texture by attending closely to the content and construction of the medium.  We will spend the first six weeks reading contemporary chapbooks, workshopping own our small collections and/or sequences, and contextualizing our efforts in the history and theories of chapbooks, editions, editing, artist’s books, etc.  Then we will move to production, where we will each use InDesign to lay out the contents of a book; we will also explore multiple technologies (old and new) to design our text(ure)’s formats and covers.  The course will culminate in a small chapbook festival that will celebrate each writer’s chapbook and distribute the books to a wider public.

Instructor: Stephanie Anderson. 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 via the online submission form. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions: sra3@uchicago.edu

The Novel/Longer Fiction (CRWR 22108/42108)

Creating Character and Conflict
In this workshop, we will strategize about ways to create characters who feel 3-D and alive throughout long works of fiction, who drive their stories forward so readers want to follow. We’ll read novels by writers including Nabokov, Wharton, and Baldwin, toward figuring out what makes some of the world’s most interesting characters loveable and/or loathsome. And we'll work on putting our own creations in the midst of propulsive and moving plots.     

Instructor: Rachel DeWoskin. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 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. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions: rachel.dewoskin@gmail.com

Journalism: Arts Reviewing (CRWR 28200/48200)

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 paragraph detailing your journalistic experience and your interest in the class via the online submission formAttendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions: jmcmahon@uchicago.edu

 

Advanced-Level Courses

Advanced Poetry: Poetry As Inquiry (CRWR 23106/43106, section 01)

Some of the most considerable American poetry from Modernism onwards has insisted that poetry can be a medium for inquiry and research, as in work by Charles Olson, Muriel Rukeyser and Susan Howe. This course will divide into three parts: the first third will explore examples of poetry as inquiry, during the middle third participants will follow an agreed program of research and writing, and the final third will be devoted to workshop discussion of work in progress. ‘Inquiry’ will be understood broadly; although the most influential examples have been historical and social, religious and scientific inquiry are among other possible approaches. 

Instructor: John Wilkinson. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 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. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions: jwilkinson@uchicago.edu

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 PMPQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in fiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions: vtran@uchicago.edu

Cross-listed Courses


Transmedia Games (CRWR 26003/46003)

Instructor: Patrick Jagoda. Day and Time: Thursdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.

Writing Around Images (CRWR 26002/46002)


Instructor: Kathryn Cochran. Day and Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 to 1:20 PM.