Creative Writing Major Seminars

Fundamentals Seminars: An Overview

The Fundamentals in Creative Writing course is an introductory cross-genre seminar to be taken by all students in the major. Each section of the course focuses on a current debate that is relevant to all forms of literary practice and will introduce students to a group of core texts from the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Courses may center around a range of topics—such as mimesis, translation and appropriation, and art and the market—meant to draw attention to relationships across genres and to establish a deeper understanding of fundamental issues and questions in contemporary writing. Further aims of the course are to develop cohort solidarity, promote a culture of articulate exchange, and to foster a reflection on practice that will serve students’ artistic and professional development.

Fundamentals in Creative Writing is restricted to students who have declared the major. The course is taught in a seminar format and will require a final paper that will analyze one or more contemporary works in the context of a question or problem discussed in the class. Students should plan to take the course as early as possible after declaring the major, ideally in the first or second quarter in the major program.

Fundamentals Seminars Offered 2017-18:

Testimony (Ling Ma, Autumn)
Literary Empathy (Rachel DeWoskin, Winter)
The Question of Perspective (Gus Rose, Spring)

Technical Seminars: An Overview

Technical Seminars are designed to give students a deep grounding in core technical elements of their primary genre.

In these courses, students will examine works of contemporary literature in order to deepen and refine their practical understanding of a literary technique central to the genre. For example, a Technical Seminar in Fiction might concentrate on point of view in several novels and short stories, and a Technical Seminar in Poetry might look closely at the line in a range of poems.

Technical Seminars will act as a sort of “bridge” between the literature courses included in the major and the creative writing workshops. While literature courses offered through other departments may take a distinctly scholarly approach to literature from a range of time periods, Technical Seminars will ask students (and instructors) to approach contemporary literature as critics and, crucially, as practitioners.

These courses will prepare students for the writing and critiquing they will do in workshops, but with a focus on published work and critical texts rather than original student material. Instructors may include creative exercises in the syllabus, but core writing assignments will focus on analysis of assigned readings.

These courses are cross-listed with a graduate number and will give priority to students in the major and MAPH students enrolled in the Creative Writing Option. Students in the minor may take technical seminars as an elective (meaning they will count towards the minor but not towards the workshop requirement).

Technical Seminars Offered 2017-2018:

Characterization (Rachel DeWoskin, Autumn)
The First-Person Voice (Ling Ma, Winter)
Auto-Fiction, Essayism, Truth (Will Boast, Spring)
Research and World Building (Augustus Rose, Spring)

The Possibilities of Tone (David MacLean, Winter)
The Synedoche (Dan Raeburn, Spring)

Manifestos, Movements, Modes (Edgar Garcia, Autumn)
The Poem that Forgot it was a Poem (Lynn Xu, Winter)
Units of Composition (Nate Hoks, Spring)