Spring 2008 Courses


Beginning Fiction Writing (CRWR 10200/30200)

The goal of this class is to introduce students to the processes involved in fiction writing by emphasizing the technical aspects of the form. This class will undertake a study of the essential methods and practices involved with the creation of fiction, primarily through the intensive reading and analysis of stories by established authors, but also by guiding students in creating their own work. Students will learn to identify various aspects of literary craft and incorporate them into creative exercises. Students will participate in critical discussions of literary work, with an emphasis on an author’s use of the rhetorical strategies that fiction writing involves. Students are expected to illustrate their understanding of such strategies by utilizing them in their own exercises. The class involves many readings and a weekly creative exercise, as well as a final project. In addition, students are expected to participate in discussions and critiques in a online forum designed for the class.

Instructor: Nic Pizzolatto . Day and Time: Tuesday, 9:00-11:50am

PQ: Online registration. No submission necessary.


Intermediate Fiction Writing (CRWR 12001/32001)

Student work will be the primary focus of discussion, along with analysis of contemporary short stories with a wide variety of themes and styles chosen to engage the writer’s imagination. Other selected readings will also be on the syllabus, including essays and interviews relating to fiction. Form, story, character, dialogue, aspects of style and other elements of craft will be discussed; careful attention will be paid to the individual student’s voice, and each of these factors will be discussed regarding the process of revision. Critical and thoughtful participation in class discussion is required, and students are expected to write three new stories during the term, turning in revisions of two of these stories before the end of the quarter.

Instructor: Elizabeth Crane. Day and Time: Wed, 9:30am-12:20pm 

PQ: Beg Fiction suggested, Instructor Consent required. Online submission: Submit 3-5 page fiction sample by 3/1/08 


Advanced Fiction Workshop (CRWR 22105/42105)

The goal of this class is to further students’ understanding of the rhetorical strategies, theories, and artistic processes involved with creating narrative fiction. To that end, the class will emphasize a holistic approach to fiction, centered around the idea of characterization. Students will learn primarily through the intensive reading and analysis of work by established authors, technical excercises, and the creation and evaluation of their own fiction. In addition to discussions and readings, this class will utilize a new version of the workshop format-- one quite different than the typical workshop. The class involves many readings, discussions, excercises, and the creation and revision of a substantial piece of fiction by the student.

Instructor: Nicolas Pizzolatto. Day and Time: Thursday, 9:00-11:50am 

PQ: Int Fiction suggested, Instructor Consent required. Online submission: Submit one full-length short story by 3/1/08. 


Beginning Poetry Workshop (CRWR 10300/30300)

Introduction to the foundational concepts and tools in the craft of poetry is the focus of this workshop course. We will study how to present ideas through the use of visual imagery and figures of speech, and the use of sound, verbal rhythm and melody to frame those ideas. We will examine the work of contemporary as well as canonical poets with the intent of becoming not only better poets, but also better critical reader’s of others’ work.

Instructor: Ed Roberson. Day and Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30-11:50am

PQ: Online registration. No submission necessary.


Intermediate Poetry Workshop: Autobiography in American Poetry (CRWR 13003/33003)

This workshop-centered course invites writers to regularly submit ongoing work in poetry, both shorter poems and longer projects.  We’ll examine how “confessional poets” engaged autobiographical questions, then consider how other writers have used geographical, historical, and cultural impulses to explore personal narrative. To this end, we’ll examine work by poets including Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, Lyn Hejinian, C.S. Giscombe, Michael O’Brien, and Joe Amato.

Instructor: Garin Cycholl . Day and Time: Thursday, 1:30-4:20pm 

PQ: Beg Poetry suggested, Instructor Consent required. Online submission: Submit a five-to-ten-page (max) collection of poems by 3/1/08 


Advanced Poetry Workshop: Poets on Poetry (CRWR 23104/43104)

In this class, we will explore how poets talk and write about poetry, their own and others’ work. We will also try to look at how this discussion is used to generate their own creativity. Students will experiment with imitation, adaptation and other techniques to create their own original poetic works and will be encouraged to discover and read meticulously the writers whose work can be most informative to their own writing.

Instructor: Ed Roberson . Day and Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30-2:50pm 

PQ: Beg Poetry suggested, Instructor Consent required. Online submission: Submit 3-5 poems by 3/1/08.

Creative Nonfiction

Beginning Creative Nonfiction: The Personal Essay (CRWR 10401/30401)

In this workshop we will study and practice nonfiction's fundamental form, the personal essay. Unlike other forms of nonfiction, the personal essay does not necessarily rely for its narrative power upon action, events, or plot. Instead, the story of an essay is the story of thinking. The form's inherently elastic, striving, thought-like structure makes it the perfect vehicle for clarifying our own struggles, as well as those of our culture and our time. This is a workshop, so come to the first day of class with ideas and work underway and ready to share. Be prepared to write every day of the week and to finish two full rewrites of an essay of fifteen or so pages. We will also read and discuss published exemplars of the form.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Day and Time: Tuesday, 1:30-4:20pm 

PQ: Online registration. No submission necessary.


Intermediate Creative Nonfiction (CRWR 14002/34002)

This course concentrates on the application of literary and story-writing techniques to nonfiction writing, i.e. using the power of students' individual voices and a heightened sense of imaginative seeing and movement to help organize and write nonfiction and researched material. The activities of the course will emphasize the interrelated connections of reading, writing, listening, oral telling, sense of personal voice, imaginative seeing, and structure. Students are required to write instance collections of personal observation and of research employing the Basic Forms assignments, and write a researched and/or personal essay, which will be extensively rewritten and workshopped. The activities of the course will emphasize close reading of assigned texts with particular emphasis on reading as a writer, as opposed to literary criticism. Discussion and recall and comment will be used extensively, as well as journal work aimed directly at writing problems and solutions the student is encountering in his or her own writing. There will be small group activities that utilize the group as a stand-in for the book-buying audience beyond the classroom, as well as extensive rewriting of selected sections of the beginning, middle, and endings of the students’ work.

Instructor: Megan Stielstra . Day and Time: Monday, 6:00-8:50pm 

PQ: Beg Creative Nonfiction suggested, Instructor Consent Required. Online application: Submit 3-5 page writing sample by 3/1/08.


Advanced Creative Nonfiction (CRWR 24102/44102)

Like antimatter, so-called 'creative' nonfiction defines itself in the negative. It is not the truth but that which is not untrue. Like journalism it traffics in reality, reporting, and facts; unlike journalism, it cherishes the subjective, the lyrical, and the emotional. Ultimately it values honesty perhaps even more than the truth. Nevertheless it must adhere to the truth. In this course we will help you to determine your own truths and to develop an ethical relationship to your own memory and to your own stories. We will use daily and weekly reading, writing, and editing assignments to study how our memory can edit reality and enrich, rather than obscure, your truth. This is a workshop, so come to the first day of class with ideas and work underway and ready to share. Be prepared to write every day of the week and to finish two full rewrites of your work in progress. We will also read and discuss successful published work.

Instructor: Dan Raeburn. Thursday, 1:30-4:20pm

PQ: Int. Creative Nonfiction suggested, Instructor Consent Required. Online application: Submit 5-20 page creative nonfiction sample by 3/1/08-- academic essays, news reports, or critical term papers are not acceptable.

Special Topics

The Craft of Narrative Nonfiction (CRWR 26403/46403) 
(Vare Writer-in-Residence Nonfiction Course)

This course, which deals with the techniques of writing long-form nonfiction narrative, will cover three major aspects: Selecting a story, reporting, and writing that story. Students will read and discuss a small selection of seminal works in the field, taken from both books and magazine articles, but the main emphasis will be on reporting and writing. This will include two short pieces and one longer work. Students will be expected to discuss in class their works-in-progress. One bit of caution: While use of limited-first person as a narrative strategy is perfectly acceptable, memoir will not be the focus of this class.

Instructor: Jonathan Harr . Day and Time: Wednesday, 3:00-5:50pm 

PQ: Instructor Consent Required. Online application: Submit a 10-page (max) writing sample by 3/1/08. If you don't have a narrative nonfiction writing sample, please also include a note about your interest in the course. 


Writing the Graphic Novel (CRWR 26100/46100, ARTV 24201/34201)

Cartooning can be a means for creative self-discovery, the exploration of ideas, and social and political commentary. Participants will learn to develop material for creating graphic novels by keeping a sketchbook that will serve as a journal for notes, observations, experiences, memories, and anecdotes. They will then translate this material into various cartoon narratives, ranging from simple one-panel cartoons to full-fledged, multiple-page stories. The class will explore the various rhythms of storytelling inherent in the cartoon language with a focus on honing down the material in the sketchbooks into finished pieces through critiques and class discussions. We will discuss the formal elements of comics, as well as the process of composing comics pages and structuring graphic narratives. We will also discuss the wide variety of possible tools and media that can be used to draw comics. The goal will be to move from rough ideas to initial sketches and then to use the workshop to refine those sketches into finished pieces. The class will focus as much on storytelling, using the iconic language of comics, as on developing ability in drawing.

Instructor: Ivan Brunetti. Day and Time: Wednesday, 6:00-8:50pm 

PQ: Instructor Consent Required. Online application: Submit a sample of 3-5 pages of comics or another type of graphic narrative by 3/1/08. If you cannot send your work as a PDF, you may submit a hardcopy to Walker 411 by the deadline.

Writing for Performance

Performance Poetry (CRWR 26200/46200, TAPS 28412)

Where do our poems live before we write them down? Where do we want them to go once we’ve written them? A good performance poem starts with a great written poem, and there are as many ways to perform a poem as there are to write one. In this course you will develop/reveal your voice on the page and on the stage. Through in-class writing and performance assignments, theatre and movement  exercises, critiqu e, discussion, “field research” and a guest or two, this course is designed to encourage you to produce and perform poetry of increasing quality in a safe, inspiring, challenging environment. And have as much fun as possible doing it.

Instructor: cin Salach. Day and Time: Thursday, 6:00-8:50pm 

PQ: Instructor Consent Required. Online application: Submit 3-5 poems AND a one-page statement about why you are interested in performance poetry and any performance experience (poetry or otherwise) you have had by 3/1/08.Performance experience of any kind is NOT a requirement.


Visit the University Theater website for info about courses in Playwriting, Screenwriting, and TV Writing.