Spring 2011

Beginning-Level Courses

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: Thurs., 6:00 to 8:50 PM. 
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email megan@mygreenlife.com to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

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: Achy Obejas. Day and Time: Mon., 6:00 to 8:50 PM. 
PQ: OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email achy.obejas@gmail.com to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Beginning Nonfiction Writing: Finding your Voice (CRWR 10400/30400, Section 01)

In this workshop you are free to write about anything at all as long as you do so in an intimate and personal, rather than academic, voice. To that end you will try your hand at a true story--be it a memoir, travelogue, anecdote, character study, essay or argument--and submit it to your classmates, who will edit and critique it. Together we will refine our narratives and our prose, primarily by insisting on rigorous reflection and total honesty. Finding your voice takes time, but we have only ten weeks. So come to the first day of class with ideas and work already underway and ready to share. Be prepared to finish three total 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: Thurs., 9:00 to 11:50 AM. 
PQ: OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email danraeburn@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Beginning Poetry Writing (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 lwilson@saic.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Intermediate-Level Courses

Intermediate Fiction Writing (CRWR 12000/32000, Section 01)

This intermediate fiction workshop will build on the fundamental elements of craft laid out in Beginning Fiction Writing and encourage you to begin cultivating your own aesthetic—not merely your own writing style, but more importantly your unique perspective on the world that necessarily informs and is informed by that style.  We will read a selection of writers (like Raymond Carver, Paul Bowles, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, Lorrie Moore) who have very unique and identifiable voices, and then complement those readings with writing exercises that will help you contextualize, refine, and expand your emerging voice.  As always, there will be an emphasis on the workshop process so that you are actively engaging with your own work and the work of your peers.  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.  Please come to class prepared to share your work, your ideas, your enthusiasm, and your honesty.

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Tues., 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.

Intermediate Poetry Workshop: Generative Genres (CRWR 13000/33000, Section 01)

Poets often turn to the constraints and conventions of lyric forms (sonnets, sestinas, pantoums, etc.) as a way to generate material and experiment within a poetic tradition.  The history of poetry, however, is as rich in genres as it is in forms. How is genre different from form?  How do the two intersect?  How have different genres evolved over time?  In this course we will study various traditional genres (the elegy, the epistle, the dramatic monologue, for example) alongside such "non-poetic" genres as the essay, the obituary, and the travelogue, in the hopes of expanding and refining our encounter with the art.

Instructor: Suzanne Buffam. Day and Time: Tues., 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.

Advanced-Level Courses

Advanced Fiction Writing (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.  In our workshops, we will focus on the fundamentals of craft like language, voice, and plot and character development, but with an eye also on expanding our perspective on our subject matter and the form we use to write about it.  To that end, we will read a selection of writers (like Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Donald Barthelme, Alice Munro, George Saunders, Tim O’Brien) who experiment with form, who unravel the rules of a well-made story and reconstitute it in order to tell their own particular narratives in a more meaningful way.  Our goal in this class is to create a constructive, critical atmosphere that facilitates and demands the process of revision, and that expands the horizon of expression for each student while also refining their emerging voice.  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.  Please come to class prepared to share your work, your ideas, your enthusiasm, and your honesty.

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Thurs., 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 Nonfiction Workshop: Aiming for Publication (CRWR 24000/44000, Section 01)

The goal of this workshop is to produce 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 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, which is the larger, more universal meaning that arises naturally from these facts. By developing the two and by tying them more artfully together 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: Tues., 9:00 to 11:50 AM. 
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent.

Advanced Poetry Writing (CRWR 23100/43100, Section 01)

In this workshop, the work of Ezra Pound and Basil Bunting, one of Pound’s primary disciples, will serve to guide our lessons and experiments. By way of a close reading of Pound’s poetry and a scrutiny of his poetic practices, as well as a close reading of Bunting’s poetry, including his lyrics and long-form poems, students will generate poetry making use of techniques derived from Pound and Bunting, including lyric inventions, odes, Imagist and Vorticist experiments, para-translation, mythic re-enactment, song forms, rhymes, and polemics. The goal of this workshop is to come away from the works of Pound and Bunting with an understanding functioning at the level of composition, enacted in your own poems. Additionally, we will read prose by both poets, to which you will attempt responses. Texts include Ezra Pound’s New and Selected Poems, selections from his literary essays, and Bunting’s Complete Poems.

Instructor: Peter O’Leary. Day and Time: Thurs., 12:00 to 2:50 PM. 
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3–5 paged writing sample in poetry and a brief statement of intent.

Core Corses (UG only, satisfy Arts Core Requirement)

Reading as a Writer (CRWR 12103, Section 01)

How does a writer read? Not for a seminar, which is the first contradiction this course must face. A poet may cultivate distracted reading, a novelist may undertake research of scholarly scope and rigor. To read for writers is to read for generative use in writing. Two examples central to this course will be Lydia Davis' translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary with her own 'Ten Stories from Flaubert' and Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot, and Ted Berrigan's Sonnets read alongside the poems by Frank O'Hara which they imitate. Members of this class will learn to read creatively, and to perpetrate literary (mis)readings, including translation, parody, homage, recovery of lost voices and physical treatments of books. Students will write reflections upon the experience of reading literature from the perspective of a writer throughout the quarter, as well as experimenting with creative imitations of literary precursors.

Instructor: John Wilkinson. Day and Time: Wed, 1:30 to 4:20 PM. 
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads only). Emailjwilkinson@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

Intro to Genres (CRWR 12104, Section 01)

In this course, students will explore the formal vocabularies of literary fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.  The first course meeting of each week will be devoted to the analysis and interpretation of a particular masterpiece in one of the major literary genres.  The arc of internal conflict, the degrees of perspectival omniscience, patterns of grammatical subordination, and various other questions will shape the study of what makes imaginative writing “work.” The second class meeting of each week will be devoted to the discussion of students’ weekly creative writing assignments within a workshop setting.  Weekly assignments may range from writing a sestina during a unit on literary form to composing an archive of source texts for a work of creative nonfiction.  Because each week’s reading discussion and creative writing workshop will be organized around a unifying theme – “Perspective,” or “Mimesis” for example – the writing assignments will build a comprehensive overview of problems and topics within the making of literary art.  The collaborative work of peer critique and workshop discussion will be central to the work of the course.

Instructor: Augustus Rose. Day and Time: Thurs., 3:00 to 5:50 PM. 
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads only). Emailaugustusrose@sbcglobal.net to be placed on wait list if the class is full.