Spring 2009

Fiction

Beginning Fiction Writing: Inventing Truth (CRWR 10200/30200, Section 01)

We come to the page already saturated in stories that we tell ourselves, tell others, witness, and listen to during our waking (and sleeping) hours. In this workshop we will activate this innate propensity for narrative towards generating written fictions. We'll cultivate the senses to observe, render, and mimetically reflect what is already occurring, as well as invent truths unavailable outside of writing. Exploratory, craft-oriented writing exercises will be assigned in accompaniment with readings exemplifying the requisite exercise, in order to provide participants with a sense of the possibilities of form and content.

Instructor: Miranda Mellis. Day and Time: Mon, 1:30 to 4:20pm
PQ: No submission necessary. This is an open-bid class. If class is full, please email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be added to the waitlist.

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

In this beginning workshop, form, story, character, dialogue, aspects of style and other elements of craft will be discussed, and in-class exercises will be designed with these in mind.  Each of these factors will be considered regarding the student’s work, which will be a regular focus of discussion, along with analysis of contemporary short stories with a wide variety of themes and styles chosen to engage the writer’s imagination. Other selected readings and audio materials will also be on the syllabus, including essays and interviews relating to fiction. Critical and thoughtful participation in class discussion is required, and students are expected to write two new stories during the term, turning in revisions of these stories before the end of the quarter.

Instructor: Elizabeth Crane. Day and Time: Wed, 9:30 AM to 12:20pm
PQ: No submission necessary. This is an open-bid class. If class is full, please email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be added to the waitlist.

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

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: Mon, 6:00 to 8:50pm
PQ: No submission necessary. This is an open-bid class. If class is full, please email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be added to the waitlist.

Advanced Fiction Workshop: Under the Sign of Fiction (CRWR 22100/42100)

What occurs under the sign of fiction? How are effective fictions constructed and what are the consequences (aesthetic, emotional, political) of those constructions? By what strategies are our narrative expectations fulfilled, expanded or thwarted? In this intensive writing workshop we will take up these and other questions in order to develop the potencies and trajectories of our own narratives, with attention to the social and historical stakes of storytelling. The focus is on the individual writing direction and practice of each student. Discussions are based on the short stories and novel excerpts of students in the workshop, informed by occasional outside readings in a range of styles.

Instructor: Miranda Mellis. Day and Time: Tues, 1:30 to 4:20pm
PQ: Instructor’s consent. Please submit an 8-to-10-page writing sample in fiction by using the online submission form. Submission deadline: March 9, 2009.

Nonfiction

Beginning Nonfiction Workshop: Finding Your Voice (CRWR 10400/30400)

In this workshop you are free to write about anything at all, including fiction and poetry, as long as you do so in an intimate and personal, rather than academic, voice. Your voice is the true subject of this class. Our goal is to help you find and strengthen it. To that end you will try your hand at any true story or train of thought—be it a memoir, travelogue, anecdote, character study, essay or argument—and submit it to your classmates, who will edit and critique your piece. You will do the same for them. Together we will refine our narratives and our prose and insist on rigorous reflection and total honesty. A voice can take years to develop, but we have only ten weeks. So come to the first day of class with ideas and work underway and ready to share. Be prepared to write every day and to finish three full rewrites of your work in progress. We will also read and discuss published exemplars of the form. You will leave this class with a polished work sample to use for admission to more advanced courses.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Day and Time: Tues, 1:30 to 4:20pm
PQ: No submission necessary. This is an open-bid class. If class is full, please email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be added to the waitlist.

Beginning/Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing: Ranging Writing (CRWR 10410/30410)

A genre that begins with the prefix 'non' has bought itself a rather vast flexibility. The range of what occurs under the rubric can be both exciting and overwhelming and furthermore, the imperative to show the truth by means of the "non-fictive" presents us with the paradox of representation. In any case, the world directly provides our material and thus nonfiction has an explicitly provisional and collaborative valence. In Carole Maso's words we are enjoined to "make notebooks not masterpieces". We'll generate and develop our own specific works as well as read and discuss a variety of prose forms including the essay, memoir, autobiography, documentary, investigative-poetic, blog, journal entry, review, interview, and epistle.

Instructor: Miranda Mellis. Day and Time: Wed, 1:30 to 4:20pm
PQ: No submission necessary. This is an open-bid class. If class is full, please email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be added to the waitlist.

Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Aiming for Publication (CRWR 24000/44000)

The goal of this workshop is to attempt the kind of nonfiction published by magazines aimed at the smart, general reader: the New Yorker, Harper's, and the Atlantic Monthly, as well as smaller journals. You may write a personal essay, argument, memoir, character study or travelogue, as well as a more journalistic profile of a person, place, or culture. We also welcome reportorial, researched, and investigative pieces. No matter what rubric your nonfiction falls under, we will help you to distinguish between what Vivian Gornick has called The Situation—that is, the plot, or facts at hand—and The Story, the larger, more universal meaning that arises naturally from these facts. By developing the two and by tying them more artfully you will make your piece as appealing as it can be to editors and a discerning audience. Come to the first day of class with ideas and work underway and ready to share. Be prepared to write every day and to finish three full revisions of your work in progress. We will also read and discuss successful published work. You will leave this class with a polished sample of your best work.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Day and time: Thursday, 1:30 to 4:20pm.
PQ: Instructor's consent. Please submit a nonfiction writing sample of 8 pages or more and a statement of purpose by using the online submission form. Submission deadline: March 9, 2009.

Poetry

Beginning Poetry Writing (CRWR 10300/30300)

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: Thurs, 1:30 to 4:20pm
PQ: No submission necessary. This is an open-bid class. If class is full, please email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be added to the waitlist.

Advanced Poetry Workshop: Contemporary Contexts (CRWR 23100/43100)

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: Tues, 1:30 to 4:20pm
PQ: Instructor's consent. Please submit a 3-5 page writing sample in poetry by using the online submission form. Be sure to include information about past writing courses at UofC or elsewhere, as well as a brief statement of interest. Submission deadline: March 9, 2009.