Spring 2013

Attendance on the first day is mandatory for all classes.

Please note: All submissions should be double-spaced (except poetry) in Word documents using a 12-point standard font, accompanied by a brief (one-paragraph) statement of purpose. Include your name, class you are applying for, quarter/year, and indicate whether you are an undergrad, a MAPH student, or a PhD student (plus department) on the document. Please also indicate whether you are doing a CW minor or thesis.

With the exception of beginning and core courses, acceptance into courses is not automatic. The course instructor will contact you before the quarter begins to let you know whether you've been accepted.

Email the committee coordinator with questions.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 22, 2013

Beginning-Level Courses

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

This beginning workshop is designed to encourage and refine your skills in writing fiction.  Ideally, it will also refine you as a reader and a critic.  We will approach every work of fiction we read, whether published or workshopped, from the writer’s perspective: in terms of form, character, and language and how the writer succeeds, fails, or innovates in these areas.  And since fiction, like any art, is essentially an expression of who we are and how we see the world, we will also begin developing our individual voices as writers.  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.  The course will also include a series of writing exercises and readings in canonical and contemporary short fiction, all intended to stoke your creativity and illuminate the aesthetic traditions that inform your work. 

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

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

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, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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: Mondays, 10:30 AM to 1:20 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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

Poetry is one of the finest, most artistic forms of human expression, and this course is rich in original material-making, We will encounter and connect with the brilliant works of John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Eleni Sikelianos, Catherine Theis, Frank O’Hara, Denise Levertov, George Oppen, W.S. Merwin, and Basho, among others. Braiding together deep readings of the greats, jaunty in-class writing assignments, and our deep reflection on student’s original poetry, we will certainly grow as writers. We will investigate human rituals as practices of meaning-making in various landscapes, and explore what it means to be a human “animal-artist” in harmony and in tension with our natural world—what do rituals mean in terms of the art of being human? In order to create fruitful images and metaphors in our own original work, we will imagine poetry in deep relationship to a multitude of art forms (architecture, music, painting, dye transfer, décollage, the screenplay, monument building, etc.) through examining the works of, for example, Adolf Loos, Germaine Tailleferre, Joan Mitchell, Pierre Le Hors, Alec Soth, Aspen Mays, Chris Marker, Joseph Beuys and Adam Ekberg. The painter J.M.W. Turner would sometimes complete his paintings before the public on “varnishing days” at the National Gallery: “Turner went about from one to another of [his paintings] on the varnishing days piling on, mostly with a knife, all the brightest pigments he could lay his hands on.” We will think on creative practice as at once creative and violent, reading “Before the Dawn” by Kikaku (“For presentation/I have added the darkness--/the plum blossoms”), and we will meditate upon Li Liweng’s philosophical verse: “First we see the hills in the painting/ Then we see the painting in the hills”, to investigate questions such as where does art grow and live, and how is art inherent to our human environment? Two poems will be due each week; one assigned, one a free poem.

Instructor: Jessica Savitz. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 10:30 AM to 1:20 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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

Poetry is one of the finest, most artistic forms of human expression, and this course is rich in original material-making, We will encounter and connect with the brilliant works of John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Eleni Sikelianos, Catherine Theis, Frank O’Hara, Denise Levertov, George Oppen, W.S. Merwin, and Basho, among others. Braiding together deep readings of the greats, jaunty in-class writing assignments, and our deep reflection on student’s original poetry, we will certainly grow as writers. We will investigate human rituals as practices of meaning-making in various landscapes, and explore what it means to be a human “animal-artist” in harmony and in tension with our natural world—what do rituals mean in terms of the art of being human? In order to create fruitful images and metaphors in our own original work, we will imagine poetry in deep relationship to a multitude of art forms (architecture, music, painting, dye transfer, décollage, the screenplay, monument building, etc.) through examining the works of, for example, Adolf Loos, Germaine Tailleferre, Joan Mitchell, Pierre Le Hors, Alec Soth, Aspen Mays, Chris Marker, Joseph Beuys and Adam Ekberg. The painter J.M.W. Turner would sometimes complete his paintings before the public on “varnishing days” at the National Gallery: “Turner went about from one to another of [his paintings] on the varnishing days piling on, mostly with a knife, all the brightest pigments he could lay his hands on.” We will think on creative practice as at once creative and violent, reading “Before the Dawn” by Kikaku (“For presentation/I have added the darkness--/the plum blossoms”), and we will meditate upon Li Liweng’s philosophical verse: “First we see the hills in the painting/ Then we see the painting in the hills”, to investigate questions such as where does art grow and live, and how is art inherent to our human environment? Two poems will be due each week; one assigned, one a free poem.

Instructor: Jessica Savitz. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Beginning Creative Nonfiction Writing (CRWR 10400/30400)

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: Tuesdays, 9:00 to 11:50 AM

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Introduction to Genres: Four Western Myths (CRWR 12105) *Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core Requirement.

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.

Instructor: Peter O'Leary. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads). This course is not open to graduate students. Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

The American City in Literature: Past, Present, Future, and Fantasy (CRW 12110) *Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core Requirement.

The late nineteenth century witnessed what historian Arthur Schlessinger, Sr. called the “rise of the city” in the United States; for the first time since the founding of the republic, the majority of Americans were living in urban environments, and the shift from country to city was sudden and dramatic, producing as many problems as potential benefits. Poets and novelists responded to this shift, often representing the city as more of a character than a setting; historians, sociologists, and philosophers have all drawn upon this literature of the city in their own accounts of the urban experience. This course seeks to investigate how the city has been represented over time (that is, in the past and present but also in imagined futures) and as a site outside time, as a reflection of utopian longings and dystopian fears. Three cities from different regions—New York, Chicago, and San Francisco—serve as examples that reflect the range of differences but also the similarities of urban life in America.

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

PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads). This course is not open to graduate students. Complete this form to be placed on the waiting list if the class is full.  Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Intermediate-Level Courses

Intermediate Fiction Workshop (CRWR 12000/32000)

This intermediate fiction workshop will build on the fundamental elements of craft laid out in Beginning Fiction and encourage you to cultivate your own aesthetic: not just your 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 who have distinctive voices (Raymond Carver, Paul Bowles, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, Lorrie Moore, et al.) and then complement those readings with writing exercises that will help you contextualize, refine, and expand your own emerging voice.  As always, there will be an emphasis on the workshop process so that you are actively engaging with 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.  

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Thursdays, 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 via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Short Story Workshop (CRWR 12001/32001)

The short story is always ducking for cover,” Steven Millhauser once wrote. “The novel buys up the land, cuts down the trees, puts up the condos. The short story scampers across a lawn, squeezes under a fence.” This course will consider the particular spaces that short fiction occupies in the literary landscape as a means toward giving students a clearer understanding of how to compose a high-functioning narrative. Through readings of published stories and workshops of students’ own fiction, we’ll explore the parameters of the short story, its scope and ambitions, its limitations as well. We’ll read established masters like Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Joy Williams, and Stuart Dybek as well as newer voices such as Wells Tower and Anthony Doerr, breaking down their stories, not simply as examples of meaningful fiction, but as roadmaps toward a greater awareness of what makes a short story operate. Over the course of the quarter, students will submit two stories for consideration in workshop, as well as other experimental efforts in short-short and micro fiction. Discussion will revolve around basic elements of story craft—point of view, pacing, character development, etc.—in an effort to define the ways in which a narrative can be conveyed with economy, precision, and ultimately, power.

Instructor: Baird Harper. Day and Time: Thursdays, 12:00 to 2:50 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. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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: 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 via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Investigations through Rhyme (CRWR 13006/33006)

Rhyme, and its almost necessary companion, Meter, have found their way into almost every form of expressive language, low and high: from sonnets to limericks, quatrains to playground insults, plays to songs, mnemonic devices for school children to didactic sermons, raps to jingles -- even the occasional novel. Though it may be something of a mystery as to Why, that rhyme can be pleasing to the reader (and listener) is established. What practical use, however, might it be to the writer? This course -- welcoming writers of any stamp -- will explore how composing in rhyme uncovers previously unsuspected pathways in a writer's imagination, and is a powerful editing tool, as well. Rhymed poetic, dramatic, and rhetorical writings and basic verse structures (the Onegin stanza,  sonnet,  quatrain, etc)  will be introduced and analyzed. The focus, however, will be on the "translation" of works of prose -- some selected, but mostly pieces original with the student -- into rhymed verse, with the aim of exploding/unfolding those works out in fresh directions. Possible texts/authors/artists: Shakespeare, Pope, William Blake, Chuck D, Emily Dickenson, Yip Harburg, Cole Porter, Magnetic Fields, Ogden Nash.

Instructor: Mickle Maher. Day and Time: Mondays, 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. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Translation (CRWR 11505/31504)

In this workshop and reading course, we will explore the range of work that translation can perform upon an original text, testing—and ultimately challenging—the truism that this art form and intellectual activity always occasions loss. We will think critically about the metaphors that have been used to describe the activity of translation (or as Ezra Pound called it, with reference to the French, traduction) and about the presumptions of equivalence that govern attitudes toward the field. Reading across theory and praxis—encountering writings from the likes of Jerome Dante, Schleiermacher, Benjamin, Zukofsky, Derrida, Venuti, Spivak, Anne Carson, and a range of younger contemporary writers—will provide us with models or countermodels for our own practices of translation. Students with no previous experience in translation are welcome to join the laboratory, but a high level of reading (and preferably speaking) knowledge of at least one foreign language is a requirement. Please send two pages of translation(s) with a note of experience and/or interest to be considered for admission.

Instructor: Jennifer Scappettone. Day and Time: Tues., 6:00 to 8:50 PM. 

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 paged writing sample in creative nonfiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

The Self in Print: Personal Essays, and the Person made into Persona (CRWR 14004/34004)

This class will examine the personal essay as well as a few memoirs. We will look at the problems of dictating the complicated self onto the page. In addition to our reading, there will be writing exercises and an opportunity to workshop student’s work. This class will include craft lectures but will rely heavily on class discussions. Some texts that will be examined: Vivian Gornick's The Situation and the Story; Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Lauren Slater's Lying, and others.

Instructor: David S. MacLean. Day and Time: Mondays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 paged writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Advanced-Level Courses

Advanced Fiction Workshop: Creating Conflict (CRWR 22109/42109)

In this class, we will have a laser-like focus on one thing: conflict. Without conflict, stories are flat or meandering. Conflict is the engine, the heart, ground zero of a story -- whether it’s a blaster or a 900-page novel. But what does "conflict" mean? How do we discover, exploit and raise the stakes in a story? How do we set up conflict so it’s not terribly obvious or cliché? And how do we use conflict to advance our story? Please note that this class is craft- and practice-based. You will participate in writing exercises almost every class, and will also have to produce one solid, complete and revised story that illustrates the elements of conflict. 

Instructor: Achy Obejas. 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 via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Advanced Poetry Workshop (CRWR 23106/43106)

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” in order to familiarize ourselves with some of the questions of contemporary poetics which are being debated today.  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: 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.

Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Aiming for Publication (CRWR 24001/44001)

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: Thurs., 9:00 to 11:50 AM. 

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 paged writing sample in creative nonfiction and a brief statement of intent via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Writing the Graphic Novel (CRWR 26100/46100)

This course provides students with a means for creative self-discovery and the exploration of complex ideas. Students will record their observations, experiences and memories in a sketchbook and then translate this material into various graphic narratives of varying lengths. The class will explore the rhythms of storytelling, discuss the formal elements of comics, and compose comics pages using this iconic visual language, all the while experimenting with a variety of tools, media and approaches.

Instructor: Jeremy Smith. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 6:00 to 8:50 PM.

PQ: Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing and drawing sample via the online submission form. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.