Autumn 2010 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 the fiction we read—in workshop as well as with published stories—from the writer’s perspective: in terms of form, character, and language and how the writer might succeed, fail, or innovate in these areas of craft. We will also approach our work with the notion that fiction, because of its fictive elements, can often provide us with the most truthful rendering of our realities, so that it becomes a limitless, indeed essential, way of expressing who we are and how we see the world. We’ll begin the term with a series of craft-oriented writing exercises and readings in canonical and contemporary short fiction, all intended to stoke your creativity while exploring the aesthetic and formal traditions that might inform your writing. Over the course of the term, you will complete two full-length stories and put up both for class critique. 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 PM to 5:50 PM

PQ: OPEN BID. Email 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: Megan Stielstra. Day and Time: Thurs. 10:30 AM to 1:20 PM 

PQ: OPEN BID. Email to be placed on wait list if the class is full.


Advanced Fiction Workshop (CRWR 22100/42100)

The task of fiction, wrote novelist John Fowles, is “to create a world as real as, but other than, the world that is.” Toward that end, this class will be an intensive tutorial in creating and sustaining a fictional voice that is authentic, powerful, distinctive, provocative and consequential. We will read as much as we write; the reading will be drawn from a wide variety of styles, genres and eras, with an emphasis on the many new ways and means to do a very old thing: tell stories that captivate and satisfy readers. We will read (or re-read) classics such as “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers and more contemporary fare such as “Breath,” by Australian novelist Tim Winton, and Marissa Silver’s story collection “Alone With You.” Students doubtless are already embarked upon their own major projects, and this course will enhance that work. Sam Shepard once compared the writing of a play to the making of a chair, and it is precisely that quality—the straightforward, unpretentious, handmade nature of a literary creation—which will be emphasized and celebrated in this class.

Instructor: Julia Keller. Day and Time: Wed. 3:00 PM to 5:50 PM

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in fiction and a one-paragraph 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: Wed. 12:00 PM to 2:50 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.


Beginning Poetry Workshop (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 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 PM to 4:20 PM

PQ: OPEN BID. Email to be placed on wait list if the class is full.


Intermediate Poetry Workshop (CRWR 13000/33000)

This workshop seeks to help you deepen your awareness of the constituent elements of poetry; namely, diction, image, and tone by one understanding. Or eye, ear, and mind, by another. You will explore these elements through readings and exercises focused on diction, for example, or sound. Likewise, you will sharpen your compositional skills by testing the possibilities in two genres: epigrams and spells. In addition to writing poetry, you will write book reviews. Our texts include The Oxford Book of American Poetry, The Sound Mirror by Andrew Joron, The Granite Pail by Lorine Niedecker, The Epigrams of Martial and the poems of Catullus.

Instructor: Peter O’Leary. Day and Time: Thur. 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in poetry and a one-paragraph statement of intent.


Advanced Poetry Workshop (CRWR 23104/43104)

No matter how solitary a craft it may seem, all poetry springs from – and ultimately engages with – a context of contemporary and historical peers. In this workshop-based course, students will read several volumes of contemporary poetry, from a range of aesthetic and political interests, and consider the extent to which their own practices as writers may be challenged or enriched by this context. While the focus of the course will be on the individual writing direction and practice of each student, we will also try our hands at writing reviews of new books with an eye towards publication and engagement with the broader world of poetry today.

Instructor: Suzanne Buffam. Day and Time: Tues. 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in poetry and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Creative Nonfiction

Beginning Creative Nonfiction Writing (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: Mon. 3:00 PM to 5:50 PM

PQ: OPEN BID. Email to be placed on wait list if the class is full.


Writing About Books and Authors: Reviews, Interviews, Essays, and other forms of Literary Journalism (CRWR 26410/46410)

Students will study and practice the art of book reviewing and other forms of literary journalism by reviewing the work of literary critics, reading critically and reviewing diverse books of fiction and nonfiction (including books related to the students' other areas of study), critiquing and conducting author interviews, and exploring the place of book reviews and literary journalism in a changing media landscape.

Instructor: Donna Seaman. Day and Time: Tues. 6:00 PM to 8:50 PM

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.


Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop (CRWR 14003/34003)

This course will require students to consider the fiction/non-fiction boundary, and to produce a prose work, whether a novella, an essay, or short story(ies), that destabilize the reading  experience through bringing actual/historical figures into  the fictive universe, or through inserting fictional characters and events into documented contexts via some aperture that 'invites' a literary transgression of this kind. The course aims to raise questions about the stable fact/fiction divide; and to provoke an understanding of 'character' in relation to a field of meaning. At some level, the course is a meditation on autonomy and the creative process, and the weight of the realist tradition.

Instructor: Colleen Taylor. Day and Time: Wed., 3:00 PM to 5:50 PM

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.


Memoir: Making the Personal Matter (CRWR 26420/46420)

In this reading and writing workshop, students will conceptualize, research, write and revise personal narratives. We will explore strategies for integrating outside research into first-person creative non-fiction, toward building stories that move in contexts that matter. Readings include St. Augustine, Anne Carson, Edwidge Danticat, Frederick Douglass, Vladimir Nabokov, and George Orwell. 

Instructor: Rachel DeWoskin. Day and Time: Wed. 1:30 PM to 4:20 PM 

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 to 5 page writing sample in nonfiction and a one-paragraph statement of intent.

Writing for Performance

Adaptation: Text and Image (CRWR 27002/47002)

A course concerned with the marriage of image and text that explores films, illuminated manuscripts, court masques, comic books/graphic novels, children's picture books and present day (perhaps local) theater productions that deal at their core with the balance and dance between story and picture. Examples of work studied would be Chris Marker's  La jetée,  any of the masques that Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones collaborated on, the comics of Winsor McCay, William Blake's engraved poems and images, as well as more contemporary works, e.g. Superman comics, and music videos. The theatrical collaborations of the instructors themselves  ("The Cabinet" and "Cape and Squiggle", both produced by Chicago's Redmoon Theatre in the last year) will be discussed as well.

Instructor: Mickle Maher and Frank Maugeri. Day and Time: Monday 6:00 PM to 8:50 PM 

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 page writing sample and a one-paragraph statement of intent. Visual materials are welcome but not required.


Arts In Education (CRWR 27003/47003 / TAPS 20999)

This course examines the role of arts in school culture, community outreach, and youth development. With local arts outreach efforts as models, classes are both seminar and workshop to explore arts integration in curriculum planning as well as social, developmental, and economic contexts for co-curricular arts programming. Readings help us to consider community, environment, and audience. Site visits to schools and arts organizations serve as field laboratories.

Instructor: Tiffany Trent. Day and Time: Tue/Thur, 1:30-2:50.

PQ: Instructor consent required. Submit a 3 page writing sample and a one-paragraph statement of intent. Please note that seats are very limited for this course and that commitment extends throughout the year with hands-on workshops in local public schools. Please contact Kate Soto at for more details and to discuss your interest.