Winter 2012

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 exploring and 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 might inform your work.

Instructor: Vu Tran. Day and Time: Thursdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email vtran@uchicago.edu to be placed on wait list if the class is full. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

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: Megan Stielstra. 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 megan@mygreenlife.com to be placed on wait list if the class is full.

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

Forms and Media Old and New
In this workshop/laboratory, we will read widely and variously as we test out our individual and collective relationships both to the tradition of verse and to contemporary poetic forms of expression. Each week we will focus on a different form or technique, approaching it as both an experiment in reading and a poetic act; during the final segment of the quarter we will explore the translation of poetry into visual, sonic, and time-based media as well. While exploring the role of poetry as a means of expanding the language, we will also approach constraint—of line, rhythm, sound, shape—as a gateway for risk-taking. Poems and reading responses will be due weekly to a Google groups forum, and reading and presentation of the work of peers will be essential. Attendance at readings and related events will be encouraged as we absorb the notion that "being a poet" is less a destiny than it is a practice incorporated into everyday life by those devoted to it.

Instructor: Jennifer Scappettone. Day and Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 to 1:20 PM.
PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students). Email jscape@uchicago.edu to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.

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

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, nature-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 Jenny Boully, Marilyn Johnson, Paul Gruchow, and M.F.K. Fisher.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl. 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 gcycho1@uchicago.edu to be placed on the wait list if the class if full.

Intro to Genres: Science Fiction (CRWR 12105)

This course satisfies the Arts Core requirement for undergraduates. 
It is not open to graduate students.

A monolith manifests in orbit around Jupiter, emitting a signal. A beacon? A man spontaneously discovers the ability to teleport. An evolutionary accident? A planet demonstrates consciousness to a cosmonaut. Madness? Space travel is enabled by the ingestion of enormous quantities of a geriatric spice a messianic figure suddenly learns to manipulate. A drug trip?! Among popular genres, science fiction is the riskiest conceptually and among the trickiest to master. The difference between an amazing idea and a rotten story is often slim. What makes good sci-fi work? And how best to write it? Let's put on our gravity boots and solar visors and see what we can discover. In this course, you'll read some novels (by Frank Herbert, Alfred Bester, and Ursula K. LeGuin), poetry (by Andrew Joron), a graphic novel (by Chris Ware), and screenplays (by Andrei Tarkovsky and Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke). And all the while, you'll try your hand at bending each other's minds with your own science fiction.

Instructor: Peter O'Leary. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 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.

Documentary for Radio: Audio Verité (CRWR 26320/46320 & TAPS 28300)

Audio Verité will focus on creative nonfiction radio storytelling, exploring how to document the world through sound and story. Students will learn essential radio skills, including the following: identifying worthwhile stories, writing for radio, finding a voice as narrator, recording interviews and ambient sound, and editing, mixing, and producing short, vivid, sound-rich documentaries. The class will also contain a strong critical listening and component, and active participation will be expected. THERE IS A $50 LAB FEE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS COURSE.

Instructor: Delaney Hall. Day and Time: Mondays, 3:00-5:50.
Where: Design Lab/Third Floor Theater, Reynolds Club. PQ: No prerequisites. OPEN BID through CMORE (undergrads) or your department administrator (grad students).

Intermediate-Level Courses
These courses are by APPLICATION ONLY.

Intermediate Fiction Workshop (CRWR 12000/32000)

In Intermediate Fiction Writing we shift the emphasis from the formal elements of the short story and the novel to more nuanced matters of content and aesthetic quality. We will read the entirety of two short story collections, Steven Millhauser's The Knife Thrower and Alice Munro's Moons of Jupiter, as well as a novel, Paul Harding's Tinkers, in order to figure out what makes these dissimilar examples of literary fiction tick. We will also consider more complicated issues of craft such as those taken up by Charles D'Ambrosio in Orphans and Charles Baxter in Burning Down the House. And, of course, we will workshop the short stories or novels you're currently in the process of producing. A portion of the class will be devoted to getting to know Chicago's contemporary literary culture and to preparing manuscripts for submission to literary journals or publishers.

Instructor: Paul Durica, Day and Time: Thursdays, 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 to katesoto@uchicago.edu.
Questions: pgdurica@uchicago.edu

Intermediate Poetry Workshop (CRWR 13000/33000)
Extravagant Poetry

This course will introduce students to a range of poetry exploiting language which is variously overblown, embarrassingly emotional, kitsch, avidly poetic, camp, rhetorically overwrought, gimcrack, glittering, mellifluous, narcotic, rich and indigestible. Participants will be encouraged to abandon all sense of linguistic moderation and propriety in the service of a poetry that scorns good sense and right thinking.

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 to katesoto@uchicago.edu.
Questions: jwilkinson@uchicago.edu

Intermediate Nonfiction Workshop (CRWR 14000/34000)
Balancing the Factual and the Personal

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 thorough 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: Thursdays, 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 to katesoto@uchicago.edu. Questions:danraeburn@gmail.com

Journalism: News Writing in the Digital Age (CRWR 28100/48100)

Journalists today are expected to meet the standards that guided reporters in the 20th Century but more quickly and more often for the dynamic media of the 21st Century. In this course we will study and practice traditional and emerging forms of stories and reports, as well as the interaction between readers and writers that is changing the profession. We will cover the news, conduct interviews, produce a profile, keep a beat blog, discuss the legal and ethical obligations of the profession. As much as possible, we will follow the rituals of the job, completing regular assignments that target a particular audience. Sleeves will be rolled up; deadlines will be met.

Instructor: Jeff McMahon. Day and Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 to 1:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Email the instructor a statement detailing your journalism experience (experience is not required) and intentions. Include your year and department or concentration. Email to: jmcmahon@uchicago.edu
Questions: jmcmahon@uchicago.edu

Writing the Graphic Novel (CRWR 26100/46100)

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 Hornschemeier. Day and Time: Wednesdays, 12:30 PM to 3:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Please submit 3 to 5 pages of graphic narrative, preferably, or writing, as well as a one-paragraph statement of intent tokatesoto@uchicago.edu. Please compress large image files.
Questions: paul@margomitchell.com

Advanced-Level Courses
These courses are by APPLICATION ONLY.

Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (CRWR 29200/49200, section 01)

This advanced fiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major fiction project. It is primarily a workshop, so please come to our first class with your project in progress (a story collection, a novel, or a novella), ready for you to discuss and to submit some part of for critique. As in any writing workshop, we will stress the fundamentals of craft like language, voice, plot, and character development, with an eye also on how to shape your work for the longer form you have chosen. And as a supplement to our workshops, we will have brief student presentations on the writing life: our literary influences, potential avenues towards publication, etc.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in fiction are required to register for this course (or section 02).

Instructor: Vu Tran, Day and Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 to 5:50 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Please submit 3 to 5 paged writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent to katesoto@uchicago.edu. Include your year and department or concentration.
Questions: vtran@uchicago.edu.

Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (CRWR 29200/49200, section 02)
Creating Character and Conflict

This advanced fiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major fiction project. In this workshop, we will strategize about ways to create characters who feel 3-D and alive, and who drive their stories forward so readers want to follow. We'll read excerpts from works including Lolita, Invisible Man and Autobiography of Red, toward figuring out what makes some of the world's most interesting characters loveable and/or loathsome. And we will work on putting our own creations in the midst of propulsive and moving plots.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in fiction are required to register for this course (or section 01).

Instructor: Rachel DeWoskin, Day and Time: Wednesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in fiction tokatesoto@uchicago.edu and a brief statement of intent.
Questions: rachel.dewoskin@gmail.com

Advanced Poetry Workshop (CRWR 23100/43100)

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 page writing sample in poetry and a brief statement of intent to katesoto@uchicago.edu.
Questions: reddy1@uchicago.edu

Thesis/Major Projects: Poetry (CRWR 29300/49300)

This advanced poetry course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major poetry project. Because it is a thesis seminar, the course will focus on various ways of organizing larger poetic "projects." We will consider the poetic sequence, the chapbook, and the poetry collection as ways of extending the practice of poetry beyond the individual lyric text. We will also problematize the notion of broad poetic "projects," considering the consequences of imposing a predetermined conceptual framework on the elusive, spontaneous, and subversive act of lyric writing. Because this class is designed as a poetry workshop, your fellow students' work will be the primary text over the course of the quarter.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in poetry are required to register for this course.

Instructor: Suzanne Buffam. Day and Time: Tuesdays, 1:30 to 4:20 PM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in poetry and a brief plan for your project to katesoto@uchicago.edu.
Questions: suzannebuffam@gmail.com

Thesis/Major Projects Workshop: Creative Nonfiction (CRWR 29400/49400)

This advanced nonfiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major nonfiction project. Your long piece of nonfiction can be an extended essay, memoir, travelogue, literary journalism, or an interrelated collection thereof. It is a workshop, so come to the first day of class with your work underway and ready to submit. You are required to edit your classmates' writing as diligently as you edit your own. I focus on editing because writing is, in essence, rewriting. Only by learning to edit other people's work will you gradually acquire the objectivity you need to skillfully edit your own. You will profit not only from the advice you receive, but also from the advice you learn to give. I will teach you to teach each other and thus yourselves, preparing you for the real life of the writer outside the academy.

Students doing a creative honors thesis in nonfiction are required to register for this course.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn, Day and Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 to 11:50 AM.
PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3-5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a brief statement of intent to katesoto@uchicago.edu.
Questions: danraeburn@gmail.com