Spring 2010

We are pleased to announce a special opportunity to study with Vare Writer-in-Residence James Fallows:

The Art of Nonfiction (CRWR 26404/46404)

This advanced-level workshop will explore the practice of nonfiction writing with 2010 Vare Writer-in-Residence James Fallow. Fallows, political commentator, instrument-rated pilot, author of nine books, software developer, and China enthusiast, has been a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly for more than 25 years. More information atvarewir.uchicago.edu.

Instructor: James Fallows. Day and Time: Tues, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent.

Writing the Graphic Novel (CRWR 26100/46100)

Course Description: This course provides for the development of raw ideas into storytelling in graphic form, from the most simplistic scrawl and doodle to multi-page, complex comics. Students will develop graphic narratives of varying lengths, culled from their own sketches, notes, and memories gathered throughout the class. A wide variety of storytelling and graphic “languages” – spanning from hieroglyphics to Hitchcock – will be discussed and dissected, as students employ a variety of tools and approaches to build a language of symbols and icons entirely their own.

Instructor: Paul Hornschmeier. Day and TIme: Tuesdays, 12:00 to 2:50 PM. 
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline 2/22/10. Please submit 3 to 5 pages of graphic narrative, preferably, or writing.

Fiction

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

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: OPEN BID. Email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

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

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, Annie Dillard, and others. We will read a lot of contemporary short fiction (one to two stories per week) and the whole of Stuart Dybek’s The Coast of Chicago, 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 workshop. Throughout the quarter I will invite guests from Chicago’s community of writers, editors, and publishers to help us consider the relationship between our work and an audience outside the classroom.

Instructor: Paul Durica. Day and Time: Thurs, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: OPEN BID. Email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Intermediate Fiction Writing (CRWR 12002/32002)

Student work will be the primary 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 will also be on the syllabus, including essays and interviews relating to fiction. Form, story, character, dialogue, aspects of style and other elements of craft will be discussed; careful attention will be paid to the individual student’s voice, and each of these factors will be discussed regarding the process of revision. Critical and thoughtful participation in class discussion is required, and students are expected to write three new stories during the term, turning in revisions of two of these stories before the end of the quarter.

Instructor: Augustus Rose. Day and Time: Wed, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in fiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Advanced Fiction (CRWR 22100/42100)

In this class, we will explore fiction that explores territory not familiar to the writer – fiction based research. Frequently, when writers try to create characters or situations outside of their own experience, they find themselves stumped: What is a truant officer’s day really like? Do housepainters have their own vernacular? Are there hangouts where cabbies have lunch? Are there any metaphoric or symbolic possibilities in cooking kosher, fencing, putting up drywall, a dentist’s office? In this class, we’ll figure out how to break out of our known world for the purpose of enriching and creating stories. We will be doing outside reading, research and analysis, and our own writing. Most importantly, we will be considering what we need for our narratives in terms of information and how to go about getting it.

Instructor: Achy Obejas. Day and Time: Mon, 6:00 to 8:50 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in fiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Poetry

Beginning Poetry: Lyric Fundamentals (CRWR 10300/30300)

No course can teach you how to be a poet.  That work takes a lifetime, and more than a little desire.  You can, however, learn some useful skills in class, and cultivate that desire among a community of peers.  This course will introduce you to the fundamental concepts in the writing of lyric poetry, with an aim to equipping you with some of the necessary technique, vocabulary, and sense of a rich and varied tradition.  We will read essays on poetic craft, history and theory, while exploring the work of many poets both contemporary and past.  We will study traditional poetic forms and approaches alongside currents in contemporary lyric poetry, and will consider the extent to which these may challenge and complicate our own writing practices.  Because the course is designed as a workshop, a significant portion of each class will be devoted to the discussion and critique of one another’s poems.  By the end of the quarter, you will have generated a substantial portfolio of original work and refined your skills as readers of poetry.  Some of you may even go on to be poets. 

Instructor: Suzanne Buffam. Day and Time: Wed, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: OPEN BID. Email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Intermediate Poetry Workshop: Line, Sentence, and Image (CRWR 13002/33002)

This intermediate poetry workshop is designed to refine and extend student’s engagement with the craft of lyric writing.  Over the course of ten weeks, we will investigate three areas of poetic composition—the line, the sentence, and the image—through intensive readings in contemporary poetry supplemented by prose essays by established writers at work in the field today.  Most importantly, we will explore these questions of craft through the composition of our own original poems. Coursework will include weekly writing exercises, attendance at poetry readings here at the university, and participation in workshop discussion.  

Instructor: Srikanth Reddy. Day and Time: Thurs, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in poetry and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Advanced Poetry Workshop (CRWR 23104/43104)

In this course, we will examine various formal, theoretical, and sociological currents in contemporary American poetry as a means of provoking and informing our own creative work in the lyric field.  While the class will be a “writing workshop” first and foremost, we will also study recent books of poetry from a variety of contemporary “schools” at work in the fertile, sectarian, and maddeningly complex landscape of today’s lyric writing.  We will also attend poetry readings by some of these authors here at the university in order to explore the world of contemporary verse as fully as possible.  It is important to keep in mind, however, that this is ultimately a course about your work as a poet.  Throughout the semester, we will read one another’s writing within the broad context of contemporary American poetics, and yet we will respect the solitary and idiosyncratic nature of the lyric enterprise as well.

Instructor: Srikanth Reddy. Day and Time: Tues, 1:30 to 4:20 PM
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in poetry and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Poetry Of & Off the Page (CRWR 26320/46320)

Is there a place for poetry in a universe subject to time-space compression and virtualization? We will explore and experiment with material whose response is a delirious yes—text that revels in charging the confines of the page and book. Exposure to an archive of modernist visual and sound poetry, contemporary installation and performance works, and relevant theories of media dislodgment will help us compose our own answers to the (old) question: what forms are poems obliged or inspired to take as language goes viral, in the face of total information, digitization, and post-literary culture?  Readings in Walter Benjamin, David Harvey, Dee Morris, Gertrude Stein, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Aram Saroyan, Dick Higgins, Johanna Drucker, Kenny Goldsmith, Tan Lin, Stephanie Strickland, others; visits to local writing-arts collections and by working Chicago artists. Students will complete weekly assignments, engage with the writing of their peers formally, and work toward a culminating piece that may take the form of a chapbook, installation, performance, or other pertinent channel.

Instructor: Jennifer Scappettone. Day and Time: Tues, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in poetry and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Creative Nonfiction

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

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, biography, 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 Dodie Bellamy, James Fallows, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Dave Gessner.

Instructor:  Garin Cycholl. Day and Time: Thurs, 1:30 to 4:20 P.M.
PQ: OPEN BID. Email katesoto@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Intermediate Nonfiction Workshop: Balancing the Factual and the Personal (CRWR 14003/34003)

In this course we will examine what is creative about so-called creative nonfiction. What makes a personal narrative different from journalism, scholarship, or editorial opinion? What makes for lasting, literary art? Through daily and weekly reading, writing, and editing you will learn to combine the facts of the matter at hand with your own retrospection and reflection. Your grade will be based on the artistry you display in balancing these two and in recognizing how they can both complement and contradict one another. This is a workshop, so come to the first day of class with ideas and work underway and ready to share. Be prepared to write every day of the week and to finish two full rewrites of an essay of fifteen or so pages. We will also read and discuss published exemplars of the form.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Day and Time: Thurs, 9:00 to 11:50 AM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Online submission deadline: 2/22/10. Submit a 3–5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a brief plan for your project.