Course Catalog

Winter Quarter begins January 3rd, 2022. Creative writing courses are offered once per week for two hours and 50 minutes; the current canonical hours policy is here.

View the academic calendar here.

Applications for consent-based Winter Quarter courses are now open! Please apply for all consent-based creative writing courses through the program's application form. Please sign up for the program's list serv for additional information and course application updates. Please reach out to alepique@uchicago.edu with any questions.

All Arts Core courses and Beginning Workshops are open bid through my.uchicago.edu. If you are unable to secure a spot through bidding, please contact the instructor to be placed on the waitlist. Admission into Advanced Workshops, Technical Seminars and Fundamentals in Creative Writing require instructor consent via program application form. 

All students can take creative writing classes, but students who are majoring in creative writing, completing a minor in creative writing, or completing the Creative Writing Option for MAPH receive priority in consent-based CRWR courses.

CRWR 51503 Translation Theory and Practice

Crosslistings
CMLT 43121

This course introduces students to the field of Translation Studies and its key concepts, including fidelity, equivalence, and untranslatability, as well as the ethics and politics of translation. We will investigate the metaphors and models that have been used to think about translation and will consider translation as a transnational practice, exploring how “world histories” may be hidden within “word histories,” as Emily Apter puts it. In the process, we will assess theories of translation and poetry from classical antiquity to the present; compare multiple translations of the same text; and examine notable recent translations. Students will carry out translation exercises and create a final translation project of their own.

Prerequisites

For CRWR majors and minors, this course can count as an Advanced Workshop requirement for all genres. Application process will be through the CMLT Department.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 20410/40410 Technical Seminar in Nonfiction: Epistolary Form

This reading and writing seminar will focus on works of literature that have found shape and substance via documents such as letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, legal documents, medical records, and more. Students will analyze the causes and effects of the archival impulse on various craft elements, including: dramatic pacing, narrative persona, structure, and theme. Students will conduct independent research according to the genre of their choosing (from memoirs to novels and poems) and write short critical reading reports throughout the quarter. All the while, students will compose and/or compile their own archival materials for creative experiments that test the limits and possibilities of the craft.

Day/Time: Thursdays, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20227/40227 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Reading and Writing the Body

In her seminal essay “On Being Ill,” Virginia Woolf writes, “Literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind; that the body is a sheet of plain glass through which the soul looks straight and clear. […] On the contrary, the very opposite is true. All day, all night the body intervenes.” This seminar will actively examine these bodily interventions in writing, and explore the merits of engaging deeply and precisely with the taboo subjects of sex, aging, illness, bodily change, and bodily difference. We will also discuss the concept of embodied writing—and the embodiment of physical experience through writing—using the body-centered prose of Bruno Schulz, Annie Ernaux, Rebecca Brown, Yasunari Kawabata, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and other writers. Assignments will include short critical and creative responses, a presentation, and a critical essay.

Day/Time: Mondays, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20226/40226 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Beginnings

This technical seminar will investigate the purposes and possibilities of beginnings in fiction. Students will read opening lines, paragraphs, pages, and occasionally chapters, from Aimee Bender, Miranda July, Dorthe Nors, Kobe Abe, and others, asking: what work do these beginnings do—and why, to what end? Of course, this means we will also read the stories that follow, to analyze these introductions in the framework of their narratives. How do openings guide—or mislead—the reader? How should they balance introduction and momentum? How do they orient us, not only to character, setting, and conflict, but also to elements like tone and sensibility, to a story’s own sense of itself? What archetypes or common “moves” can we identify and use? What are the implications and meanings of beginnings—of starting in a particular place and way, when a story might very well start in any number of places? And how do such authorial decisions ripple through the story? Students will be responsible for reading responses, short craft analyses, vigorous class participation, and several creative exercises putting what they learn into practice.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 12145 Reading as a Writer: Re-Vision

To revise a piece of writing isn’t merely to polish it. Revision is transformation and yields an alternate reality. A new view, a re-vision. This course will examine the radical potential of revision, drawing case studies from a range of writers such as Marguerite Duras, Jorge Luis Borges, Elizabeth Bishop, Dionne Brand, Li-Young Lee, Janet Malcolm, Lydia Davis, Terrance Hayes, Yiyun Li, francine j. harris, Bhanu Kapil, Shane McCrae, and Chase Berggrun. We’ll start by tracking compositional process, looking at brilliant and disastrous drafts to compare the aesthetic and political consequences of different choices on the page. We’ll then study poems, essays, and stories that refute themselves and self-revise as they unfold, dramatizing mixed feelings and changing minds. We’ll end by considering erasure poetry as a form of critical revision. Our conversations will inspire weekly writing exercises and invite you to experiment with various creative revision strategies. Students will be asked to lead one presentation and to share their writing for group discussion.

Day/Time: Fridays, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12146 Reading as a Writer: London vs. Nature: Writing Utopia and Dystopia in the Urban Landscape

Crosslistings
ARCH 14146

In this Arts Core course, students will be introduced to a range of the utopian and dystopian fantasies that writers have produced in response to the metropolis of London as the imperial epicenter of manufactured ecologies, from the late nineteenth century through the present day. They will study early responses to modernism and modernization in the city by figures like William Blake, Frederick Engels, Henry James, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf before moving on to contemporary writers such as R. Murray Schafer, who apprehends the city through “earwitnessing” of noise pollution, and Bhanu Kapil, who recalls the race riots of the 1970s against the backdrop of the Nestle factory on the site of King Henry VIII’s hunting grounds. Students will be exposed first-hand to how London is read by writers confronting planetary and political crisis through meetings with living publishers, authors, and art collectives like the Museum of Walking, grappling with the continual metamorphosis of the landscape—and through a sequence of on-site visits and psychogeographical experiments, they will have the opportunity to respond to the city in their own writing across a range of genres. 

Prerequisites

This course is scheduled through Study Abroad Office and acceptance to the London Study Abroad Program is a prerequisite for enrollment. 

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12143 Reading as a Writer: Embodied Language

This course studies how writers engage the senses to shape language into something actually felt and not just comprehended. We’ll track the sensual life of words—what they do to the mouth, to the ear, their musical kinships with one another—and learn how these qualities combine to generate mood and atmosphere. Alongside writing that renders embodiment and the physical world, we’ll read writing that makes abstraction feel concrete. Our reading will guide our ongoing inquiry into questions such as: what constitutes an image? How does writing enact feeling? How do the sensory elements of a piece intensify or erode or expand its subject, and to what end? Case studies may include poetry and prose by Bashō, Sei Shōnagon, Homer, John Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jean Toomer, D. H. Lawrence, Lorine Niedecker, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Ai, Elaine Scarry, Wanda Coleman, Toni Morrison, Hai-Dang Phan, Nathaniel Mackey, Durga Chew-Bose, Justin Torres, and Jenny Zhang. These writers will provide inspiration for your own creative experiments on the page. Students will be asked to lead one presentation during the quarter and to write short weekly pieces to extend the group discussion.

Day/Time: Thursdays, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12148 Intro to Genres: Speculative Women

Crosslistings
GNSE 22148

Despite common misconceptions women have been at the forefront of the speculative genre from its earliest inceptions. Not merely defying the limitations and restraints of literature as defined by their contemporary society’, but inventing whole worlds and genres which continue to influence writers and writing as a whole today. Mary Shelley’s 1818 publication of Frankenstein, to Virginia Woolf’s 1928’s publication of Orlando, and even Margaret Cavendish’s 1666’s novel, “The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World. This course will be a brief foray into the strange and yet familiar worlds of various women across the history of speculative writing. From Mary Shelley to Ursula K. Le Guin, from Lady Cavendish to Margaret Atwood, from Alice Walker to Octavia E. Butler.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 17004 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: High School Reading

We all know them—The Great Gatsby, The Lord of the Flies, The Bell Jar, and other books that seem to have been taught or read in every high school in the country since the dawn of time. In this cross-genre Fundamentals course, we’ll re-examine these and works by the likes of Henry Miller, Sandra Cisneros, Allen Ginsberg, and Zora Neale Hurston. We’ll think about the cultural history of what makes a classic high school read, about coming-of-age stories, and what it means to be educated, enlightened, and/or entertained. We’ll think, too, about how we learn to read, write, and speak back to texts as adults (whatever that means). You’ll write creative exercises, critical responses, and a final paper on a work of your choosing.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 17012 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: Creative Research/The Numinous Particulars

According to Philip Gerard, “Creative research is both a process and a habit of mind, an alertness to the human story as it lurks in unlikely places.” Creative writers may lean on research to sharpen the authenticity of their work; to liberate themselves from the confines of their personal experience; to mine existing stories and histories for details, plot, settings, characters; to generate new ideas and approaches to language, theme and story. The creative writer/researcher is on the hunt for the numinous particulars, the mysteries and human stories lurking in the finest grains of detail. In this course, we will explore the research methods used by creative writers and consider questions that range from the logistical (eg. How do I find what I need in an archive?) to the ethical (eg. How do I conscientiously write from a point of view outside my own experience?) to the aesthetic (eg. How do I incorporate all these researched details without waterlogging the poem/story/essay?). We will read poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that relies heavily on research and hear from established writers about the challenges of conducting and writing from research. Assignments will include reading responses, creative writing and research exercises, short essays and presentations.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop: Writing Identity (2)

What is the role of the self in our writing? Are we known or made things, even to ourselves, in our work? This workshop focuses on writing and revising poems that capture the nuances of our often-intersectional identities, centering the questions: How is my work representative of me, and Who is the person represented in my work? Throughout the quarter, we will read, write, and discuss contemporary poems dealing with issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, ethnicity and cultural background, etc., and develop strategies for addressing similar ideas in our own work. Throughout the quarter, you will learnthrough practice, writing drafts that engage with craft elements like imagery, form, rhythm, and voice. We will workshop these drafts as a class, building a supportive, process-oriented community that focuses on creative and critical feedback. By the end of the quarter, you will revise your work into a cumulative portfolio, and will be able to articulate your own work’s place in the landscape of contemporary poetry. While fellow students’ work will be the primary texts, other possible readings include work by Cortney Lamar Charleston, Su Cho, Tarfia Faizullah, Nikky Finney, Dorothy Chan, torrin a. greathouse, Jillian Weise, and others.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop (1)

This workshop is an introduction to writing and revising poems, and the related art of giving helpful feedback to other writers. One of the course’s goals is to help you reflect on your writing as a process. Most weeks you will write drafts that focus on the poetic concepts we are studying. You’ll receive feedback on your drafts from your classmates during workshop and will respond both critically and creatively to theirs. At the end of the quarter, you’ll revise your drafts and collect them in a portfolio, accompanied by a critical introduction. At the same time, this course will also introduce you to poetry from a variety of time periods, languages, and approaches to content and structure. You’ll learn to apply critical tools and terminology by drafting poems that experiment with elements such as form, voice, rhythm, imagery, translation, and creative response. We’ll discuss not only how poems are written, but also why they are written and what relationship they have to the contexts in which they are written and read.

Day/Time: Fridays, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop: Narrative, Lyrical & Confessional Truths (1)

Creative nonfiction is an often difficult to define genre. Frequently caught up in ontological and political controversies, and perpetually torn between allegiances to journalism, science, philosophy and art. This course will serve as a brief introduction into the genre by focusing on its history, primary influences and some of the major subgenres which compose it today. From the lyrical, narrative and hybrid, to science writing, reportage, the memoire and even illustrated journalism straight from warzones. This will be accomplished through reading, lectures, discussions and guided writing prompts.

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop (2)

Given the recent shift to remote learning and its challenging effects on mental health, this course is designed to get us out of our heads and back into our bodies, minimizing the time we spend looking at the screen through activities and prompts that stimulate physical awareness, support wellness, and enhance creativity. An active writing life demands a refined ability to stay present and receptive to ideas that not only inspire possibility but animate our hands into action. If we view the relationship between sensory experience, memory, and imagination as a triangle of interdependence, then by exercising the gifts of perception writers can gain access to a wealth of "raw material" that sparks discovery of unconscious themes and associations while forging a path for reader accessibility and immersion within the world of a story. Many issues of craft— setting, scene, imagery, characterization— boil down to a writer's intuitive understanding of how corporeality informs emotion and spirituality. From scavenger hunts to yoga, photography, cooking, and dancing, students will exercise the integration of the nervous system and the business of creation, developing original drafts that can be felt in the spine and enriched with a robust workshop experience. Given the multidimensional nature of our practice, students will have the option to pursue multimedia and cross-genre projects. Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to join in this exploration of the senses.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop: Basics of Narrative Design (1)

Describing fiction writing as an “art” is perhaps a misnomer. Depending on who’s describing it, the process of creating a narrative is more like driving in the dark, or like woodworking, or gardening. It’s like raising a half-formed, misbehaved child and then trying to reason with it. The metaphors abound, but the techniques for creating effective fictional prose are often quite consistent. This course will begin with a weeks-long consideration of selected works of fiction where discussion will aim to distinguish the basic devices of effective storytelling. Weekly topics will range from subjects as broad as point of view and plot arrangement to more highly focused lessons on scene design, dialog, and word choice. Throughout the term, the writing process will be broken down into stages where written work will focus on discrete story parts such as first pages, character introductions, and dialog-driven scenes before students are asked to compose full-length narratives. Along the way, students will chart their processes of conceptualizing, drafting, and revising their narratives. Finally, in the latter weeks of the quarter, emphasis will shift to the workshopping of students’ full stories.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Fiction Workshop (3)

“All writers are exiles wherever they live and their work is a lifelong journey toward a lost land.” So wrote Janet Frame, a singularly talented author who was institutionalized at the age of 21, then saved from a lobotomy only because she won a literary prize. In keeping with Frame’s reflection, this craft-based course will focus on strategies for saving our lives through fiction writing: how to cultivate a convincing voice; how to extract strength from our writerly weaknesses; and, ultimately, how to forge a home for ourselves in our own words. Through a combination of creative exercises and workshops, we will explore and examine the craft components of strong, original fictions, including character development, descriptive detail, compelling dialogue, and rich sentences. We’ll also learn how to read the works of published writers for creative inspiration, mining texts by established masters such as Janet Frame, Alice Munro, and Julio Cortazar, as well as lesser-known contemporary voices. We will workshop our writings throughout the term, developing a portfolio of stories that reflect our individual interests, desires, and needs as writers.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop (2)

Writers at all levels learn through the careful reading of works they admire. We will spend more than a third of our time in this class reading stories worth learning from, both classic and contemporary, by writers like James Baldwin, Sherman Alexie, Deborah Eisenberg, Adam Haslett, and Jhumpa Lahiri. Discussion will be lively--passionate opinions and enthusiasm are welcome--but most of our focus will be on the choices that writers make, the nuts and bolts of craft, including: point of view, tone, direct and summary dialog, setting, and use of time. In-class exercises will further hone your understanding of specific techniques, fire your creativity and get you writing. In writing workshop, each of you will each have the opportunity to present your work to the group. Critique will be respectful and productive, with emphasis on clarity and precision. By the end of the course, you will have generated significant raw material and completed at least one story, which will be revised and handed in as a final portfolio.

Day/Time: Mondays, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 23123/43123 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Form and Formlessness

Wallace Stevens suggests that “The essential thing in form is to be free in whatever form is used.” How does form provide a kind of freedom for a poet? How does it manifest itself in a poem? Does it mean we have to follow prescribed rules, or is there a more intuitive approach? This course will give students a chance to try out a range of traditional and experimental forms, both as an attempt to improve as writers and in order to interrogate form and its other, what Bataille called the formless, or “unformed” (l’informe). We’ll explore traditional and contemporary takes on a variety of forms and modes, such as sonnets, odes, aphorisms, serial poems, and poetic collage. Readings may include a mixt of poems and prose by Will Alexander, Joyelle McSweeney, Mark Leidner, Robert Hass, Aimé Césaire, Wallace Stevens, Dean Young, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Thylias Moss. Students should expect to write exercises, submit new poems, contribute feedback on peer work, write short response papers, and submit a final portfolio.

Day/Time: Fridays, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu (include writing sample). Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24009/44009 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing Lives

Certain lives catch and keep our attention – they seem magnetic, illustrative, confusing, broken off, revelatory. Sometimes we suspect that through studying a life we will be able to understand a scientific discovery, an artistic creation, a political issue or an historical period; sometimes we are drawn by the drama of the life the subject lived, or by the person’s introspection or testimony. This is a course for students interested in writing lives – and might be of particular interest to a variety of students: creative writers from nonfiction, fiction, and playwriting with an interest in profiles, group portraits, documentary work, or historical meditation; graduate and undergraduate students of history, art, politics, medicine, or law who imagine one day writing a biography, or who are interested in oral history, portraits, medical narrative writing, testimony, case histories, or writing for general / magazine audiences. We’ll work to learn methods and techniques of interviewing, quotation, portrayal and documentation from historians and journalists, and also from playwrights, psychoanalysts, documentary photographers and archivists. Students will write weekly exercises in a variety of forms, and will complete one longer essay to be workshopped in class and revised.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24014/44014 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: The Performative Essay

The advantage of working within a non-genre is best understood as a spatial metaphor: the house of fiction has kicked us out, but so what? That only means we are free to roam a limitless landscape, mingling with other genres and establishing new traditions. In recent years small presses have begun to celebrate the hybrid impulses of nonfiction writers, and as a result we are witnessing an exciting explosion of books that challenge our impulse to categorize literature. To name a few pioneers, many of whom are women of color: Claudia Rankine, Solmaz Sharif, Jenny Boully, Anne Carson, and Natalie Diaz. In this course, students will unlock a new way of reading and writing postmodern works that dissolve the lines between poetry, prose, visual and performance art, exploring what is becoming known as “the performative essay.” Central to our aim is defining the limits and possibilities of literature that subverts our expectations and defies description. Topics will include Viktor Shklovsky’s defamiliarization, Andy Graff’s Foundational Narrative Design, and deviation from John Gardner’s “fictional dream.” Each week, students will playfully experiment with prompts targeting innovative sources of narrative momentum and share original hybrid works in progress. Self-assessments, conferences, and workshops will be student-led. To conclude the quarter, students will perform revisions of the workshop essay and reflect on the power of performative works to incite social change.

Day/Time: Fridays, 11:30am-2:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22133/42133 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Writing the Uncanny

Sigmund Freud defines "the uncanny" ("unheimlich") as something that unnerves us because it is both familiar and alien at the same time, the result of hidden anxieties and desires coming to the surface. In this advanced fiction workshop, we will explore how fiction writers use the uncanny to create suspense, lend their characters psychological depth, thrill and terrify their readers, and lay bare the darkest and most difficult human impulses. We will read and discuss fiction by writers like Shirley Jackson, Jamaica Kincaid, Octavia Butler, Kelly Link, Ben Okri, Haruki Murakami, and Victor Lavalle, drawing craft lessons from these writers to guide our own attempts at writing the uncanny. Much of our class time will be dedicated to evaluating student work and honing our skills of composition and critique. In addition to shorter writing exercises and "mini-workshops" throughout the quarter, every student will complete a full-length "uncanny" short story for workshop and compose critique letters for each of their peers. Students will be required to significantly revise their full-length short story by the end of the quarter.

Day/Time: Thursdays, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22128/42128 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Novel Writing, The First Chapters

In this workshop-focused class we will focus on the early stages of both developing and writing a novel: choosing the POV, establishing the setting, developing the main characters and the dynamics between them, setting up the conflicts and seeding the themes of book, etc. As a class we will read, break down and discuss the architecture of the openings of several published novels as you work on your own opening chapters, which will be workshopped during the course. 

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu (include writing sample). Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22110/42110 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Exploring Your Boundaries

What natural and artificial boundaries do we impose on ourselves as writers? Are those boundaries clarifying or limiting? How might we push beyond them to more effectively tell the stories we need to tell? This workshop-based course will focus on these questions and ask you to expand the formal and also emotional, thematic, and aesthetic possibilities in your fiction. To that end, we’ll read the work of writers who offer distinct visions of the world through innovative storytelling approaches, and we'll examine how their risk-taking might be as personal as it is literary—an encouragement for you not necessarily to be “experimental” writers, but to explore more meaningful, honest, and expansive ways of telling your own stories. For the course, you will do writing exercises and weekly reading responses, as well as workshop one full-length story that attempts an approach in form or content that you have not tried before in your fiction.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22146/42146 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Disruption and Disorder

This workshop-based course proceeds from the premise that disorder and disruption are fruitful aesthetics that might be applied to numerous elements of fiction to unlock new possibilities in our work. Students will seek to identify typical narrative conventions and lyrical patterns and then write away from them—or write over them, toward subversion, surprise, and perhaps even a productive anarchy. In the first half of the course, students will search for hidden structures in work by Mary Gaitskill, Dennis Johnson, Taeko Kono, A.M. Homes, Lydia Davis, and Diane Williams, examining the methods these writers use to lead readers to unexpected, original, and transgressive places. Students will complete several short creative exercises in which they practice disruption and disorder in plot, pace, dialogue, and syntax. In the second half of the course, students will workshop one story or excerpt and write thoughtful, constructive critiques of peer work. Revision is also a crucial component of this class, as it is an opportunity to radically warp and deviate from our prior visions. Throughout the quarter, we will attempt to interrupt and shake up our own inclinations as artists.

Day/Time: Fridays, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 29300/49300 Thesis/Major Projects in Poetry (2)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in poetry, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. Because it is a thesis workshop, 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in poetry and CW minors completing minor portfolios in poetry.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29300/49300 Thesis/Major Projects in Poetry (1)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in poetry, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. Because it is a thesis workshop, 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in poetry and CW minors completing minor portfolios in poetry.

Day/Time: Friday, 11:30am-2:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29400/49400 Thesis/Major Projects in Nonfiction (2)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in nonfiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. Student work can be an extended essay, memoir, travelogue, literary journalism, or an interrelated collection thereof. It’s a workshop, so come to the first day of class with your work underway and ready to submit. You’ll 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’ll profit not only from the advice you receive, but 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in nonfiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in nonfiction.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29400/49400 Thesis/Major Projects in Nonfiction (1)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in nonfiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. Student work can be an extended essay, memoir, travelogue, literary journalism, or an interrelated collection thereof. It’s a workshop, so come to the first day of class with your work underway and ready to submit. You’ll 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’ll profit not only from the advice you receive, but 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in nonfiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in nonfiction.

Day/Time: Friday, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29500/49500 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction/Nonfiction (1)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis or minor portfolio in either fiction or nonfiction--or both. In other words, your project may take a number of forms: fiction only, nonfiction only, a short story and an essay, a novel chapter and a piece of narrative journalism, and so on. This course might be of special interest to those working on highly autobiographical pieces or incorporating substantial research into their creative process--fiction that hews close to fact, say, or nonfiction that leans heavily into storytelling. And/or it might be useful for those who want to pursue hybrid or between-genres projects or simply want to continue working in more than one form. We'll be open to many possibilities.

It's not a prerequisite that you've taken both a fiction and creative nonfiction course previously, but it will nonetheless be quite helpful to have done so. Note, too, that this is the cumulative course in Creative Writing. There will still be room to explore and rethink (sometimes radically) the pieces you've drafted in previous classes, but please do come to our first session with a clear sense of what you want to work on over the quarter. 

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction or nonfiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction or nonfiction.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30pm-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu (in application please indicate experience in fiction & nonfiction and how this thesis workshop informs your own writing practice). Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (6)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. 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, and 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (5)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. 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, and 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (4)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. 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, and 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction.

Day/Time: Monday, 11:30am-2:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (3)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. 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, and 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 12:30pm-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (2)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. 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, and 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects in Fiction (1)

This thesis workshop is for students writing a creative BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as creative writing minors completing the portfolio. 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, and 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.

Required for CW majors and MAPH CW Option students completing creative BA and MA theses in fiction and CW minors completing minor portfolios in fiction.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 20309/40309 Technical Seminar in Poetry: Generative Genres

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 and how do new ones arise? In this course we will study modern variations on traditional genres (the elegy, the epistle, the dramatic monologue, the pastoral) alongside experiments in such "non-poetic" genres as the listicle, the blog entry, the obituary, and the tweet, in the hopes of expanding and regenerating our encounter with the art.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 12:30pm-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20409/40409 Technical Seminar in Nonfiction: Lyrical Reportage

Where do art and fact meet? Our seminar will explore how creative nonfiction responds to timely issues through vivid scene work, responsible fact-checking, and artistic expression. We will investigate the ways to communicate enormous subjects to a readership. Students will develop a clearer vision of how to approach current crises of climate change, social justice, public health, and more, through storytelling. Our readings will highlight the ways in which creative nonfiction is borne of traditions in reportage and literary writing. To wit, we will ask how “lyrical” reportage is driven not only by narrative and veracity, but language, tone, image, and form. Through close readings and brief writing assignments, students will engage with models of how to: use different kinds of media to recreate very specific spaces; make music of technical jargon; hone creative, humanist approaches to writing research. Readings will include texts by Eula Biss, Timothy Egan, Maggie Nelson, Elena Passarello, Claudia Rankine, Luis Alberto Urrea, and *visiting writers.*

Day/Time: Monday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20224/40224 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Narrative Tempo

"At certain moments," writes Italo Calvino of his early literary efforts, "I felt that the entire world was turning into stone." Slowness and speed govern not just the experience of writing but also the texture of our fictional worlds. And this is something we can control. Sublimely slow writers like Faulkner or Duras can make time melt; spritely magicians like Bulgakov and Rushdie seem to shuffle planes of reality with a snap of their fingers. This seminar gathers fictions that pulse on eclectic wavelengths, asking in each case how narrative tempo embodies a fiction's character. Our exercises will play with the dial of compositional speed, testing writing quick and slow; alternately, we'll try to recreate the effects of signature texts. Weekly creative and critical responses will culminate in a final project.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20223/40223 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Narration and POV

The question of which point of view to use is central to any fiction writer beginning a story or a novel, but what does it mean to choose one point of view over another? Who is narrating the story and how does she present herself? Is the narrator speaking directly to the reader, as a character in the story itself? Is she hiding in the shadows, trying to be as invisible as possible? Does she have a god-like omniscience, narrating from on high? Or does she exist in a liminal state, narrating through both a character and herself simultaneously through “free indirect discourse"? How does a writer's choice of POV and narrative distance affect such things as voice, rate of revelation, and even worldbuilding? How does it affect the reader's experience? And how can a writer maximize their choice of POV to best serve the story they want to tell? Students will read various works of long and short fiction in different POVs to study their effects, as well as critical and craft texts. They will write weekly reading responses as well as creative exercises. Each student will also be expected to give a presentation and write a final creative / analytical paper for the class.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20221/40221 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Detail

John Gardner said that the writer’s task is to create “a vivid and continuous fictional dream.” This technical seminar will focus on the role of detail in maintaining this dream. In this course we will deconstruct and rebuild our understanding of concepts like simile, showing vs. telling, and symbolism, asking what these tools do and what purpose they serve. Drawing from fiction and essays from Ottessa Moshfegh, Barbara Comyns, Zadie Smith, and others, students will practice noticing, seeing anew, and finding fresh and unexpected ways of describing. We will also examine what is worthy of detail in the first place, how detail functions outside of traditional scene, and the merits and limits of specificity, mimesis, and verisimilitude. Finally we will consider what it means to travel across a landscape of vagueness and euphemism as we search for the quality of “thisness” that James Wood claims all great details possess. In addition to assigned readings, students will be responsible for reading responses, short craft analyses, vigorous class participation, and several creative exercises and peer critiques applying these lessons.

Day/Time: Thursday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 12112 Reading as a Writer: Chicago "City on the Remake"

This course invites writers to reconsider the influence of Chicago’s public spaces on genre and artistic form, but in a city reimagined within the force of climate change. How does one tell a “Twenty-Second Century Chicago story?”Where does one reimagine the boundaries between water and wetland in thisredrawn city?Is there a “Chicago epic?” Working through these questions, students will analyze and explore Chicago writers’ work in fiction,poetry, and journalism. To these ends, we will examine work bywriters including Saul Bellow, Dan Egan, Eric Klinenberg, Nnedi Okorafor, Ed Roberson, Tariq Shah, and Lois Wille.Working from adopted critical approaches, participants will develop their own individual and collaborative creative responses to this “prairied Paris.”

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12149 Intro to Genres: False Chicagos

Beginning with a notation of a “false Chicago” on Marquette’s map, this course works with texts as maps (and maps as texts) to explore the imagined, walked, and disappearing city. In particular, we’ll explore fictionalized versions of the city (i.e., Frank Baum’s Oz, the “White City” of the 1893 World’s Fair, the city as one stop along Sun Ra’s space of cosmic flight, etc.). Participants will examine area maps (i.e., Marquette's mapping of Lake Michigan, CTA maps, Richard J. Daley's proposed Aquaport, etc.), then build parallels within work by writers including Baum, Daniel Borzutzky, Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, Kenneth Rexroth, Salima Rivera, Mike Royko, Carl Sandburg, and William Sites. What serious geographic play echoes in Chicago’s architecture and urban blues? What points of transit mark the fictive Chicagos that emerge in the course’s maps and texts? How are poems, stories, and autobiography also markers of (dis)placement? In exploration of these questions, participants will develop their own individual and collaborative creative responses to “the Paris of the Midwest.”

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12144 Intro to Genres: Elegy

How does language perform and represent mourning? How should writing commemorate the dead? Can an elegy address the full complexity of a person, resisting hagiography? We’ll begin our investigation of elegy by looking briefly at its Classical origins, reading examples by Catullus, Sappho, and Ovid, among others, and considering the early life of elegy as a poetic form not necessarily related to death and lament. We’ll then turn our attention toward a range of modern and contemporary interpretations of the elegy, spanning fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Readings may include works by Virginia Woolf, Paul Celan, Jamaica Kincaid, Raúl Zurita, Samuel Delany, Federico García Lorca, Allen Ginsberg, Brandon Shimoda, Alice Oswald, Isaac Babel, and Solmaz Sharif. As we read, we’ll pay particular attention to literary structures and devices writers use to manifest absence and incarnate the dead in the body of a text. Students will be asked to lead one presentation and to write weekly creative and/or critical responses for group discussion.

Day/Time: Friday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 17000 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: Literary Empathy

In this fundamentals course, students will investigate the complicated relationship between writers, fictional characters, and readers, toward determining what place literary empathy has in our conversation about contemporary literature. James Baldwin once observed that, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” We will use weekly reading assignments including fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction to ask questions about what Virginia Woolf described as the “elimination of the ego” and “perpetual union with another mind” that take place when we read. Students will write critical responses, creative exercises, and a final paper on a topic to be approved by the instructor. Readings include Baldwin, Bishop, Beard, Carson, Walcott, and Woolf.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Fundamentals

MAPH 42920 Coming of Age: Reading and Writing Autobiographical Memoirs

Crosslistings
CRWR 20500/40500

This course seeks to study the mixed literary history of coming-of-age narratives, beginning with 19th century autobiography and the Bildungsroman through to modern memoir in order to inform the writing of our own coming-of-age narratives. The analytical and creative habits of mind will be closely linked in this course as we learn about how childhood, adolescence and development took on new significance in the nineteenth century, setting generic terms that were continually mobilized, revised and reimagined in the coming-of-age memoirs of the twentieth century and beyond. Readings by Mary Prince, John Stuart Mill, Charlotte Bronte, George Orwell, Blake Morrison, Helen McDonald, and Jan Morris. 

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:00am-2:20pm

Prerequisites

This course can count as a Technical Seminar in Fiction or Nonfiction for CRWR majors.

Will Boast, Elaine Hadley
2021-2022 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 10606/30606 Beginning Translation Workshop (1)

This workshop will explore literary translation as a mode of embodied reading and creative writing. Through comparative and iterative readings across multiple translations of both poetry and fiction, we will examine the interpretive decisions that translators routinely encounter when assigning an English to a work of literature first written in another language, as well as the range of creative strategies available to translators when devising a treatment for a literary text in English. Students will complete weekly writing exercises in retranslation and English-to-English translation, building to the retranslation of either a short piece of fiction or selection of poems. No foreign language proficiency is required to participate in this course. 

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. To participate in this class, students should have intermediate proficiency in a foreign language.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop (1)

This course explores basic approaches to writing poems through careful reading and discussion of modern and contemporary poets. We’ll practice poetic elements, such as rhythm, diction, syntax, and metaphor, at the same time that we explore the movements of mind and the moods that lyricism makes available. The class will practice literary community building by discussing peers’ poems in workshops, by responding to poems and essays by contemporary and modern poets and critics, and by attending literary events on campus. For the first few sessions, our discussions will focus primarily on readings. As we move forward, we will spend the majority of time workshopping student work.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 12:30-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop: Writing Science & The Environment (1)

A long tradition of scientific and environmental writing animates the genre of creative nonfiction. In this introductory workshop, you will develop a writing practice and deepened understanding of nonfiction through readings and prompts focused on expressing ecological realities and scientific facts through literary art. Writing prompts will offer techniques in translating jargon into lyricism, data into story. Bring your love of memoir and personal essay, and we will also trouble notions of nature and reconsider how language shapes our relationship to the environment. In exciting the boundaries of the essay, we might, as David Quamman puts it, write wild thoughts from wild places. Throughout the course of the quarter, we will examine our own work and others' from a critical perspective, looking carefully at tenets of voice, language, and form. We will finish the course with a more nuanced understanding of creative nonfiction as a whole, as well as our position within the field and the changing world more generally. Readings will include texts by Linda Hogan, Lacy Johnson, Helen MacDonald, Arundhati Roy, Esmé Weijun Wang, and *visiting writers.*

Day/Time: Friday, 9:30-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop: The Personal Essay (2)

In the same way that water is composed of two elements—hydrogen and oxygen—the personal essay essentially consists of anecdotes and reflections, i.e., facts and thoughts, or the objective and the subjective. What happened, and what what happened means. The artistry of the essay consists of not only balancing these two elements but combining them so that they complement but also contradict one another. In this workshop you’ll write multiple drafts of your own attempt at the form while line editing and critiquing your classmates’ attempts. At the same time we’ll read (and write about) foundational essays that are in overt dialogue with one another, starting with “Why I Write,” by George Orwell, and “Why I Write,” by Joan Didion. We’ll read James Baldwin in conjunction with the seminal essay he inspired Adrienne Rich to write, then look at infusions of poetry into the form via Natalia Ginzburg and Margaret Atwood. We'll end by reading Didion’s essay, “Goodbye to All That,” paired with Eula Biss' cover version, also titled "Goodbye to All That." You'll leave knowing the recent history, basic theory, and practice of nonfiction's most fundamental form.

Day/Time: Friday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop: The Short Story (1)

“The novel is exhaustive by nature,” Steven Millhauser once wrote. “The short story by contrast is inherently selective. By excluding almost everything, it can give perfect shape to what remains.” Through readings of published stories and workshops of students’ own fiction, this course will explore the parameters of the short story, its scope and ambitions, its limitations as well. We’ll read established masters as well as many newer literary voices, breaking down their stories, not simply as examples of meaningful fiction, but as road maps toward a greater awareness of what makes a short story operate. Over the course of the quarter, students will submit full-length 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, language, etc.—in an effort to define the ways in which a narrative can be conveyed with economy, precision, and ultimately, power.

Day/Time: Monday, 9:30-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop (2)

Writers at all levels learn through the careful reading of works they admire. We will spend more than a third of our time in this class reading stories worth learning from, both classic and contemporary, by writers like James Baldwin, Sherman Alexie, Deborah Eisenberg, Adam Haslett, and Jhumpa Lahiri. Discussion will be lively--passionate opinions and enthusiasm are welcome--but most of our focus will be on the choices that writers make, the nuts and bolts of craft, including: point of view, tone, direct and summary dialog, setting, and use of time. In-class exercises will further hone your understanding of specific techniques, fire your creativity and get you writing. In writing workshop, each of you will each have the opportunity to present your work to the group. Critique will be respectful and productive, with emphasis on clarity and precision. By the end of the course, you will have generated significant raw material and completed at least one story, which will be revised and handed in as a final portfolio.

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 23113/43113 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Waste, Surplus, Reuse

What do poets do with surplus, with extras, leftovers, and other excesses of production? Is there a creative use to put them to? When viewed in the context of ecology and economy, what are the ethical dimensions of working with surplus? Or are there also ethics and aesthetics of the useless? With these guiding questions, this course will introduce students to methods for a creative approach to waste and develop revision practices that draw on the reuse of material surplus. We will consider forms of excess (literary, artistic, economic, material, etc.) and their creative applications. We’ll examine diverse types of waste and things that “waste”, including literal trash, ruins, the body, time, the dream, and everyday texts (such as emails, text messages, rough drafts, conversations, and ephemeral media). Ultimately, this course will help students engage in the revision process. Reading may include A. R. Ammons’ Garbage, Eliot’s The Waste Land, Jen Bervin’s Nets, Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day, André Breton’s Mad Love, Joyelle McSweeney’s Dead Youth, or The Leaks, George Perec’s An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Day/Time: Monday, 12:30pm-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 23126/43126 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Poetry and the Present Moment

In this workshop we will tackle the problem of writing poetry in the present moment at a range of scales, thinking critically about our world's obsession with the "contemporary." At the grandest scale, we will ask what it means to write into the contemporary moment, one in which we seem to feel time fading with every status update and tweet, and one that demands embodied engagement—reading works that have been written recently, in dialogue with living authors. At the most intimate scale, we will consider how poetry can cultivate critical awareness of the present moment amidst forces that pull us with dopamine-induced promises and regrets into the future and past. How does poetry, with its odd ability to punctuate, syncopate, fragment, and suspend time, intervene in daily life and in the historical record? Authors for consideration will include Issa, Basho, Gertrude Stein, F.T. Marinetti, David Harvey, Cecilia Vicuna, Bernadette Mayer, Etel Adnan, Leslie Scalapino, Lyn Hejinian, Julie Patton, CA Conrad, Julian T. Brolaski, and Bhanu Kapil. Students will have the chance to experiment with different forms of attunement to the present, and will produce a daybook in tandem with a final "book" project that may take a range of forms.

Day/Time: Thursday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24002/44002 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing About the Arts

Crosslistings
ARTH 24002/34002

This workshop will support students in developing useful practices and experimenting boldly. Working with recent technological transformations in the visual arts world, we’ll be keeping art notebooks in different forms (by hand, photographs, blog, instagram, collage). We’ll begin with Walter Benjamin’s classic essay about art and mechanical reproduction, and then work with some examples: 1. Virtually seen. Jennie C. Jones’s show Constant Structure, hung at the Arts Club of Chicago via face time, with pamphlet-catalogue by poet and critic Fred Moten; 2. Unseen. Lori Waxman, long the art critic of the Chicago Tribune, and her pandemic 60 word / min art critic project in Newcity of art reviews for artists with canceled shows; 3. Explained / packaged. The instagram feeds of museums; 4. Technological diary / memory methods. Looking back to T.J. Clarke’s book of 2006 The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing, and to Teju Cole’s Blind Spot, which uses his own photographs, and looking now at instagram feeds of Cole and other art writers; 5. Collaborations. Artists working as collaborator-curators and self-interpreters, with reference to a recent Dawoud Bey show at the Art Institute and a Venice installation by iris Kensmil and Remy Jungerman. Each class will begin with student-led observation. Students will visit, in-person or on-line, five installations / exhibitions / events, and be workshopped twice. Final work, revised essay and looking notebook.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24019/44019 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Experimental Essay

Most introductions to creative nonfiction include one sections devoted to the strange and unwieldy—Ander Monson’s “I’ve Been Thinking About Snow” or a page or two of Anne Carson’s Nox. A brief foray into the metaphysical essay, the interactive essay, the performance essay and then back into the mainstream of creative nonfiction. This course, however, will be ignoring the mainstream entirely and, rather, will be devoted to the fringe, the strange and almost undefinable. From the performance essay to the video game essay, from the illustrated essay to the found essay and everything in between. This course will consist of experimental readings with accompanying writing prompts and in-class discussions, as well as dedicated workshops to each student’s own experimental creative nonfiction project.

Day/Time: Thursday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22132/42132 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Strange Magic in Short Fiction

In this workshop based course we'll investigate how strangeness and magic function in short fiction. We'll read stories by authors like Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, and Alice Sola Kim, examining how these writers portray the fantastical and impossible. We'll explore concepts like defamiliarization, versimilitude, and the uncanny. We will contemplate how magical realism and surrealism differ from sci-fi and fantasy genre writing, and ask how we, as writers, can make the quotidian seem extraordinary and the improbable seem inevitable, and to what end? Students will complete several short creative exercises and workshop one story that utilizes magic or strange effects. Students will also be expected to write thoughtful, constructive critiques of peer work. Throughout the course, we'll consider how the expectations of literary fiction might constrain such narratives, and we can engage with and transcend these archetypes.  

Day/Time: Friday, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22150/42150 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Radical Revision

Like so many essential and life-sustaining processes—relationship maintenance, money management, digestion—revision is something we often talk about without “really” talking about it (to use the words of writer Matthew Salesses). Yet by refusing (or failing) to “really” talk about revision, writers deny themselves the opportunity to actively engage with the potentialities of their work: the different shapes, forms, and shifts it might take. In this class, we will demystify the revision process by analyzing the works of writers—such as Anna Kavan, Edwidge Danticat, and Suzanne Scanlon—who have pursued radical revisions to their projects, including expansions (short stories developed into novels), compressions (longer works condensed into shorter pieces), point of view changes, and dramatic stylistic transformations. With a combination of creative exercises and workshops, we will also work toward our own radical revisions.

Day/Time: Friday, 1:30pm-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22148/42148 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Learning from Literature in Translation

This class workshops original student fiction in the context of challenging recent work from outside English. Each week we will read a different author in translation and seek to define those technical qualities that make their fiction at once strange and instructive: elliptical prose in Fleur Jaeggy, improvisational procedure in César Aira, or freely transplanted fairy tales in German-Japanese writer Yoko Tawada. We'll touch on different models of world literature—as markets, as centers and peripheries, as national traditions—and discuss questions of translation. While reading these authors and pondering the nature of cross-linguistic influence, you will write and workshop two original stories or novel chapters. Once during the quarter students will be asked to either translate a short passage from recent fiction in a language of their choice or to write a direct imitation of one of the authors we've read.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 20305/40305 Technical Seminar in Poetry: Imagery and Description

This technical seminar explores different theoretical and practical approaches to imagery and description in poetry. To begin with, we’ll try to distinguish between the two terms, to the extent necessary and possible. Then we will examine and practice writing radically different approaches to image making and description (e.g. synesthetic, collaged, surrealist, eco-poetic, abstract, juxtapositional, haiku, etc.). Along the way, we’ll consider theories about the rhetorical functions of imagery and description in the poetic text. Although this course focuses on poetry, it is certainly relevant to prose writers interested in the role of descriptive detail in literary writing, and for comparison we will examine famous examples of description in works of fiction. Students should plan to submit a weekly exercises, write a critical essay, and give a class presentation.

Day/Time: Friday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20408/40408 Technical Seminar in Nonfiction: Memoir's Privileged Perspective

Whether a memoir operates in the past or present tense, its narrator must reckon with some kind of unfinished business. While memory is the raw material of an autobiographical story, the drama exists inside the act of remembering, of reckoning with the “why” or “how” a narrator’s previous character or worldview has been transformed. In this class, we will study the structural, tonal, and representational possibilities of the "privileged perspective”: the vantage point from which a narrator writes across time and emotional distance from an experience, usually with the goal of resolution, revelation, or the conveyance of something that can only be approximated. We will close-read a number of contemporary memoirists that teach us how the privileged perspective works to drive forward a narrator’s agenda while upholding the reader’s stake in a story, exploring a multitude of interpretations through student-led presentations. Authors may include Jean-Dominique Bauby, Vladimir Nabokov, Vivian Gornick, Hisham Matar, Darin Strauss, and Joan Didion. In addition to one group presentation, students will be expected to track and analyze the functions of the privileged perspective via critical reading reports and technical writing prompts.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 12:30-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20211/40211 Technical Seminar in Fiction: The Dilemma

Some of the most compelling works of fiction are built around moral, social, and psychological dilemmas. Characters are set loose in a dark woods of ambiguity and conflicting values, where they reveal themselves (and their/our humanity) through the decisions they make, the actions they undertake. Such stories present a dramatized prism of arguments and resist easy "lessons." Rather, they end with a question mark that invites conversation between reader and narrative long after the story has ended. The challenge for writers, of course, is to avoid polemic, instead exploring this moral, social, and psychological terrain in a way that is even-handed and flows organically out of character. In this technical seminar, we will read fiction (by writers like James Alan McPherson, Graham Greene, Tayari Jones, and Cynthia Ozick, among others) that centers on an uneasy choice between moral positions. We will examine how the dilemma shapes conflict and plot, and, perhaps most important, how the writer invites the reader to get lost in a dark woods alongside the story's characters. The emphasis of this course will be on critical writing, but students will also have opportunities to write creative responses to the readings and experiment with the craft techniques we discuss.

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20222/40222 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Temporality

"Time is a created thing," according to Lao Tzu. In this course, we will look at how fiction writers "create" the sense of time in their stories, and how they grapple with temporality as an organizing narrative force. To that end, we will study how and why writers implement flashbacks, flash forwards, memories, jump cuts, and repeating scenerios, among other techniques. We will look at both straightforwardly chronological and intuitively nonchronological timelines, and discuss how different temporal approaches create different stories. Readings may include works by Roberto Bolaño, Lauren Groff, and William Maxwell. In addition, please come to class prepared to engage with creative exercises.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 12:30-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20220/40220 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Sentences

"Do you like sentences?" Such is the litmus test posed to would-be writers in Annie Dillard's The Writing Life. In order to understand narrative, we often go abstract—we summarize, we speak of structure, we read between the lines—yet everything that happens in fiction still happens in sentences. Some writers therefore make the sentence the cynosure of all effort: they dazzle. Others forge a rough music out of odd locutions and interrupted sense. In this course we'll study (and appreciate) such limit cases, as well as sentences of quieter grace, while reserving the most of our effort for sentences of our own, testing them against the manifold requirements of narrative: pace, logic, voice, and flow. In exercises and communal editing sessions we'll trim, paste, lard, complicate, rewrite, recast, and sometimes simply delete sentences by ourselves and others. And the more we relish what might seem like tedium, the more we'll prove that we do like sentences.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 12145 Reading as a Writer: Re-Vision

To revise a piece of writing isn’t merely to polish it. Revision is transformation and yields an alternate reality. A new view, a re-vision. This course will examine the radical potential of revision, drawing case studies from a range of writers such as Marguerite Duras, Jorge Luis Borges, Elizabeth Bishop, Dionne Brand, Li-Young Lee, Janet Malcolm, Lydia Davis, Terrance Hayes, Yiyun Li, francine j. harris, Bhanu Kapil, Shane McCrae, and Chase Berggrun. We’ll start by tracking compositional process, looking at brilliant and disastrous drafts to compare the aesthetic and political consequences of different choices on the page. We’ll then study poems, essays, and stories that refute themselves and self-revise as they unfold, dramatizing mixed feelings and changing minds. We’ll end by considering erasure poetry as a form of critical revision. Our conversations will inspire weekly writing exercises and invite you to experiment with various creative revision strategies. Students will be asked to lead one presentation and to share their writing for group discussion.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12143 Reading as a Writer: Embodied Language

This course studies how writers engage the senses to shape language into something actually felt and not just comprehended. We’ll track the sensual life of words—what they do to the mouth, to the ear, their musical kinships with one another—and learn how these qualities combine to generate mood and atmosphere. Alongside writing that renders embodiment and the physical world, we’ll read writing that makes abstraction feel concrete. Our reading will guide our ongoing inquiry into questions such as: what constitutes an image? How does writing enact feeling? How do the sensory elements of a piece intensify or erode or expand its subject, and to what end? Case studies may include poetry and prose by Bashō, Sei Shōnagon, Homer, John Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jean Toomer, D. H. Lawrence, Lorine Niedecker, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Ai, Elaine Scarry, Wanda Coleman, Toni Morrison, Hai-Dang Phan, Nathaniel Mackey, Durga Chew-Bose, Justin Torres, and Jenny Zhang. These writers will provide inspiration for your own creative experiments on the page. Students will be asked to lead one presentation during the quarter and to write short weekly pieces to extend the group discussion.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:30-5:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12115 Intro to Genres: The Surveilled City and the Googled Chicago

This course invites readers to reconsider Chicago as collage constructed through literary, journeyed, and virtual navigation.  We’ll examine work by writers and artists including Claude Dangerfield, Thomas Dyja, Eve Ewing, Bradley Garrett, Aleksandar Hemon, Richard Nickel, Mike Shea, and Chris Ware.  At what points does Chicago’s necropolis “peek out?”  Versus Walt Whitman, how does the artist’s eye retain defining power in the twenty-first century?  Is there such a thing as a “Chicago flâneuse or flâneur?”  In exploration of these questions, participants will develop their own individual and collaborative creative responses to “the world’s second most closely observed city.” 

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 17003 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: Truth

In this class we'll study how writers define and make use of truth--whatever that is. In some cases it's the truth, singular; in others a truth, only one among many. Some writers tell it straight, others slant. Some, like Tim O'Brien, advocate story-truth, the idea that fiction tells deeper truths than facts. To get at the heart of these and other unanswerable questions we'll read writers who've written about one event in two or more modes. Nick Flynn's poems about his father, for example, which he's also set down as comic strips as well as in prose. Jeanette Winterson's first novel as well as her memoir, sixteen years later, about what she'd been too afraid to say in it. Karl Marlantes' novel about the Vietnam war, then his essays about the events he'd fictionalized. Through weekly responses, creative exercises, and longer analytic essays you'll begin to figure out your own writerly truths, as well as the differences-and intersections-between them.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

This is class is restricted to students who have declared a major in Creative Writing. Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop (1)

This course explores basic approaches to writing poems through careful reading and discussion of modern and contemporary poets. We’ll practice poetic elements, such as rhythm, diction, syntax, and metaphor, at the same time that we explore the movements of mind and the moods that lyricism makes available. The class will practice literary community building by discussing peers’ poems in workshops, by responding to poems and essays by contemporary and modern poets and critics, and by attending literary events on campus. For the first few sessions, our discussions will focus primarily on readings. As we move forward, we will spend the majority of time workshopping student work.

Day/Time: Thursday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop (2)

There’s really no such thing as the “voiceless.” There is only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.~~Arundhati Roy 

Invasion and occupation, waves of nomads and immigrants, the African slave trade, the Underground Railroad, the Great Migration, the Trail of Tears, the Dust Bowl, and the “southern border,” our American story contains multitudes, united in motion. Wanderers and drifters, exiles and refugees, we are on the run and in the mix, our collective experience one of forced migration as well as voluntary uprooting—we’re at once victims and agents, objects and subjects. Oral History, “the poetry of the everyday,” the literature of the street, is perfectly poised to open a unique window onto our migration stories, offering a narrative space where an interviewer, listening with empathy and identification, and a story-teller, seizing an occasion to perform an account of events and experiences, co-create a relationship and reveal a universe of meaning-making. Seeking authenticity, oral historians become attuned to contradiction, tension, disagreements, silences, inconsistencies, ambiguities, paradoxes, uncertainties, and every other kind of human muddle; we dive head-first into the wide, wild world of human experience and human meaning-making, offering an important antidote to propaganda, dogma, imposition and stereotype. We look for what happened, what people say happened, and the webs of significance people construct to make sense of what happened. In this seminar we will study the theory and practice of Oral History, and we will create original oral accounts of migration from our own families as well as from a much wider range of Chicago communities. 

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop (1)

Exploration of traditional nonfiction genres including literary journalism, memoir, and genre-writing. In a workshop environment, writers will develop working familiarity with basic aspects of craft in reportage and narrative. An added focus to the course is the exploration of “American space” and memory, particularly through autobiographical writing by American women (including work by Joan Didion, Margo Jefferson, Vivian Gornick, and MFK Fisher).

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop: Basics of Narrative Design (1)

Describing fiction writing as an “art” is perhaps a misnomer. Depending on who’s describing it, the process of creating a narrative is more like driving in the dark, or like woodworking, or gardening. It’s like raising a half-formed, misbehaved child and then trying to reason with it. The metaphors abound, but the techniques for creating effective fictional prose are often quite consistent. This course will begin with a weeks-long consideration of selected works of fiction where discussion will aim to distinguish the basic devices of effective storytelling. Weekly topics will range from subjects as broad as point of view and plot arrangement to more highly focused lessons on scene design, dialog, and word choice. Throughout the term, the writing process will be broken down into stages where written work will focus on discrete story parts such as first pages, character introductions, and dialog-driven scenes before students are asked to compose full-length narratives. Along the way, students will chart their processes of conceptualizing, drafting, and revising their narratives. Finally, in the latter weeks of the quarter, emphasis will shift to the workshopping of students’ full stories.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop (3)

Writers at all levels learn through the careful reading of works they admire. We will spend more than a third of our time in this class reading stories worth learning from, both classic and contemporary, by writers like James Baldwin, Sherman Alexie, Deborah Eisenberg, Adam Haslett, and Jhumpa Lahiri. Discussion will be lively--passionate opinions and enthusiasm are welcome--but most of our focus will be on the choices that writers make, the nuts and bolts of craft, including: point of view, tone, direct and summary dialog, setting, and use of time. In-class exercises will further hone your understanding of specific techniques, fire your creativity and get you writing. In writing workshop, each of you will each have the opportunity to present your work to the group. Critique will be respectful and productive, with emphasis on clarity and precision. By the end of the course, you will have generated significant raw material and completed at least one story, which will be revised and handed in as a final portfolio.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop (2)

This course aims to deepen your understanding of the craft of short fiction through intensive study of contemporary writers and through workshops of both your own work and that of your classmates. Together we will examine stories by Mary Gaitskill, Kevin Brockmeier, Charles Yu, and others, reading as writers, searching not for theme but for a sense of how the stories were created, what craft choices the authors made, and what their structures can teach us as we create our own narratives. In addition to these readings, you will complete several short writing exercises and one longer story, which you will workshop and substantially revise. You will also engage with the work of your peers, delivering thoughtful, encouraging, constructive critiques.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 11:00am-1:50pm

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Course requires consent after add/drop begins; contact the instructor for a spot in the class or on the waiting list.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 21502/41502 Advanced Translation Workshop

All writing is revision, and this holds true for the practice of literary translation as well. We will critique each other’s longer manuscripts-in-progress of prose, poetry, or drama, and examine various revision techniques—from the line-by-line approach of Lydia Davis, to the “driving-in-the-dark” model of Peter Constantine, and several approaches in between. We will consider questions of different reading audiences while preparing manuscripts for submission for publication, along with the contextualization of the work with a translator’s preface or afterword. Our efforts will culminate in not only an advanced-stage manuscript, but also with various strategies in hand to use for future projects. Students who wish to take this workshop should have at least an intermediate proficiency in a foreign language and already be working on a longer translation project.

Day/Time: Friday, 10:30am-1:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu (include writing sample). Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Students who wish to take this workshop should have at least an intermediate proficiency in a foreign language and already be working on a longer translation project.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 23132/43132 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Poets' Prose

“Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose," wrote Charles Baudelaire in Paris Spleen,"... supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?” This genre-blurring workshop will explore elements of the history and practice of the prose poem, and other poems and texts that combine strategies, forms and gestures of prose (fiction, nonfiction, etc.) with those of poetry. We will also read texts that are difficult to classify in terms of genre. “Flash Fiction,” “Short Shorts,” the fable, the letter, the mini-essay, and the lyric essay will be examined, among others. We will discuss the literary usefulness (or lack of it) of genre and form labels. The class will be taught as a workshop: students will try their hand at writing in their choices of hybrid forms, and will be encouraged to experiment. Writers from all genres are welcome, as what we will be studying, discussing, and writing will involve the fruitful collision of literary genres.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 12:30-3:20PM

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 23133/43133 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Poets in Archives

This course will examine how the historical archive can be a source for poetry writing, seeking to develop frameworks for interpreting the experiences that poets enact through archives. Deeper questions to be examined involve the relation between poetic form and historical knowledge; the relation between imagination and memory; between material histories and their inscription; between poets and their historical and biographical pasts; and between the critical and creative, the historical and biographical, and the exteriors and interiors of literature, history, myth, and politics. Because this is an advanced workshop, we will rely on mutual exchange dedicated to improving writing. Critique will therefore be our core activity, guided by our readings and professor instruction, but driven primarily by original student work and discussion.

Day/Time: Monday, 12:30-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24012/44012 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing the Narrative Nonfiction Feature

In this writing workshop, students will go through all the stages of composing a narrative nonfiction feature story. After generating a few ideas that seem original, surprising in their approach, and appropriate in scope, we will write and re-write pitches, learning how to highlight the potential story in these ideas. After the class agrees to “assign” one of these features, each student will report, research and write a draft. The features will be workshopped in class, and students will go through an editorial process, polishing their stories through drafts and experimenting with style and form for a final assignment. Along the way, we will consider the mechanics, ethics and craft of this work as we read published nonfiction and talk to writers/reporters about their process. In the end, we should be able to put together a publication that contains all of these feature stories.

Day/Time: Friday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24020/44020 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing the Eco-memoir

We live in an era marked by human-driven environmental change, an epoch distinguished not only by the reality of anthropogenic impacts, but of human witness. Never before, writes Elizabeth Rush, have humans been here to tell the story of collapse, extinction, adaptation, and memory. In this workshop, we will read and write eco-memoir, a hybrid form of literary nonfiction that blends the work of ecology, history, and personal narrative to understand more fully how memory is bound to ecosystems. Some might simply call this memoir, following J. Drew Lanham’s view that the writing of memoir is also the writing of environment. This course will ask how the memoirist looks at place, taking up W.G. Sebald’s thinking that places seem to “have some kind of memory, in that they activate memory in those who look at them.” Students will practice using the tenets of literary memoir-writing to engage with the theoretical frameworks of such environmental thinkers as Donna Haraway and Jedidiah Purdy. We will ask: to what extent is remembering a collective act? How might the eco-memoir represent the uneven consequences of ecological disruption? What narrative structures does the story of an ecosystem take? Students will write two-full length essays or memoir chapters. Readings will include texts by Kendra Atleework, Elizabeth Bush, Linda Hogan, J. Drew Lanham, W.G. Sebald, and visiting writers.

Day/Time: Monday, 9:30am-12:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22142/42142 Advanced Fiction Workshop: The Fantastical

From the short stories of George Saunders to the TV show Atlanta, speculative fiction often introduces the fantastical into narratives seemingly set in everyday reality. This workshop will focus on the fantastical in contemporary literature, and the logistical issues and questions that commonly arise around it. We will look at the role of fantastical in puncturing the veil of "realism." What is the fantastical doing that can't be done through other narrative modes? How does the narrative metabolize this disruption? How should the fantastical be tempered by the mundane? Students for this course should not only have an interest in speculative fiction, but should have already made some efforts within this mode. Note that this course does not focus exclusively on fantasy or science fiction, though there may be some genre overlap. Readings may include works by Rachel Ingalls, Ted Chiang, and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

Day/Time: Thursday, 12:30-3:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22149/42149 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Long Stories

"The advantage, the luxury, as well as the torment and responsibility of the novelist," writes Henry James, "is that there is no limit to what he may attempt." Writers interested in these torments and responsibilities can begin to experiment with long form in this workshop. Each student will compose a single long story of about forty pages. We'll attend to the freshness of beginnings, the satisfactions (and compromises) of endings and, most acutely, to the crises of middles. A scaffolding of workshops, outlines, and conferences will support and structure your efforts. Along the way we'll catalog the classic problems of long-form composition with examples from the likes of Alice Munro, Katherine Anne Porter, Franz Kafka, or John Keene.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22147/42147 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Dangerous Historical Fiction

In this advanced fiction workshop, students will read and research “dangerous” and/or banned literature, and work to write short stories or chapters from longer works of fiction that address complex social, personal, and/or historical moments. What makes art dangerous? Banned books from Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain to Chopin’s The Awakening and Morrison’s Beloved will guide our conversation as we consider the crucial relationship between literature and context, writer and interlocutor, research and imagination. We will attend UChicago’s American premiere of the banned, never-before produced opera, Korngold’s opera Die Kathrin in April 2022.*

Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:30-5:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22134/42134 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Cultivating Trouble and Conflict

“If you want a compelling story, put your protagonist among the damned.” --Charles Baxter

While crisis is to be avoided in life, when it comes to narrative, trouble is your friend. In this advanced workshop we'll explore the complex ways writers create conflict in their stories, be it internal or external, spiritual or physical, romantic, financial or familial. We'll read masters of the form like Edward P. Jones, George Saunders, ZZ Packer, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Yiyun Li, and discuss how they generate conflict that feels organic, character-driven, and inevitable. Weekly writing exercises will encourage you to take creative risks and hone new skills. Each student will workshop two stories, with strong emphasis on focused and productive peer critique and in-class commentary.

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20pm

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2021-2022 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops