Creative Writing Course Descriptions

Creative Writing 201 - Introduction to Creative Writing

The Short Story
Full course for one semester. This workshop will introduce students to some basic techniques and structures of short fiction, and provide some experience in writing it. Special emphasis will be given to understanding the demands and possibilities of the short story form, with focus on preparation, criticism, and revision. Class sessions will be used for the discussion of assigned readings, technique assignments, and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a prose sample of three to five pages and consent of the instructor. Conference.

Introduction to Creative Writing
Full course for one semester. This genre-free creative writing course is generative in nature and will focus on stimulating the creative muse. Students will do intensive in-class writing each week but very little “workshopping” in the traditional sense. We will focus on image; storytelling; writing powerful, compelling and tight metaphors; rhythm; sound; and orality. We will also strive to find new ways of “seeing” the world around us. To that end, students enrolling in this class must be willing to travel off campus at least two Saturdays during the semester. Prerequisites: a writing sample, either prose or poems, and/or consent of instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Creative Writing 207 - Introduction to Creative Nonfiction: The Personal Essay

Full course for one semester. In this workshop students will write personal essays that cover a range of genres (such as memoir, analytic meditation, and portrait); they will also read and discuss published essays and the work of their peers. Class sessions will be used for discussion of assigned readings and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a prose writing sample of three to five pages and consent of the instructor. Conference.

Creative Writing 221 - Fiction Studio I: Questions of Narrative

Full course for one semester. In this workshop students will write short stories and read the work of their classmates, as well as that of published authors. Special emphasis will be given to understanding narrative strategies, critically responding to others’ work, and revising one’s own fiction. The exercises provided and the published stories read (such as Kawabata, O’Connor, Hemingway, Joyce, and Munro) will illustrate basic narrative decisions and some strategies used to enhance narrative development. Class sessions will be used for discussion of assigned readings and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five pages, at least sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor. Conference.

Creative Writing 224 - Poetry Studio I: Experiments in Poetry

Full course for one semester. This is an introductory course in the craft and discipline of poetry. To that end, each class session will include discussion of published poems, generative writing exercises, and, as the semester advances, discussion of student work. Guided exercises in figurative language, musicality, imagery, abstraction and allusion will complement our readings of a vast array of emerging poets, contemporary giants, and old masters including Ilya Kaminsky, Robert Hass, Anne Carson, Gertrude Stein, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson and John Donne. A poem will be due each week. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of 3 poems and consent of the instructor. Conference.

Creative Writing 274 - Poetry Studio II: Forms: Closed, Received and Open

Full course for one semester. This workshop will explore closed forms such as the villanelle, pantoum and sestina, received forms such as the pastoral and elegy and open forms such as the prose poem while also focusing on the crafting of the free verse line. Considering why and how any given poem reveals content will be the underpinning of readings and discussions encouraging exploration of the breadth of poetic voice. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five poems, Creative Writing 224, sophomore standing and consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Creative Writing 321 - Special Topics Studio

Memoir (Nonfiction)
Full course for one semester. This workshop is designed for students with considerable experience and ability in writing the personal essay and creative nonfiction. Each week, students will read selections by one published author (such as Didion, Baldwin, Sedaris, and Ondaatje). Special emphasis will be given to individual voices, critical response to others’ work, and the revision of one’s own stories. Class sessions will be used for discussion of assigned readings and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five pages, one 200-level creative writing course, at least sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Economy
Full course for one semester. This workshop is designed for students with considerable experience in writing short fiction. Students will read stories by published authors (such as Lydia Davis, Crace, Lightman, and Kawabata) in order to learn how to manage effects economically, and to write with maximum efficiency and suggestion. Students will write one story per week; emphasis will also be placed on critically responding to others’ work and on revising one’s own stories. Class sessions will be used for discussion of assigned readings and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five pages, one 200-level creative writing course, at least sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Mentors
Full course for one semester. This workshop is designed for students with considerable experience in writing short fiction. Students will read several stories by one published author, such as O’Connor, Hemingway, Cheever or Gaitskill, in order to learn from these writers by investigating their range. Special emphasis will be given to individual voices, critical response to others’ work, and the revision of one’s own stories. Class sessions will be used for discussion of assigned readings and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five pages, one 200-level creative writing course, at least sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Conference.

The Novella
Full course for one semester. This workshop is designed for students with considerable experience in writing short fiction. Students will read novellas by published authors such as Millhauser, Parvin, DeLillo, and Messud in order to learn from these writers how narratives are expanded and with the hope of coming to some definition of what a novella is. Special emphasis will be given to individual voices, critical response to others’ writing, and the gradual development of one’s own novella-length work. Class sessions will be used for discussion of assigned readings and work in progress. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five pages, one 200-level creative writing course, at least sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Adaptation to Screenwriting
Full course for one semester. This course will investigate the similarities and differences in storytelling between the media of fiction and screen. We will read works of fiction, discuss potential issues in translating them to screen, and then view the films that have been made. Adaptations of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son , Julio Cortazar’s “Blow Up,” Mary Gaitskill’s “Secretary,” Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers,” James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Sherman Alexie’s Smoke Signals , and others will be treated. Students will also write adaptations—singly, and in collaboration with their peers—of their own and published fiction. Class meetings will be used to discuss reading and to workshop student writing; additional class sessions, for viewing films, will also be required. Prerequisites: a writing sample, a 200-level creative writing course, and permission of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Creative Writing 331 - Special Topics Studio

The Mind of Poetry
Full course for one semester. This course explores the poem as a little world made cunningly (John Donne) by strong, creative minds. How does the mind and imagination extend to write long, winding meditative poems? How does a small, volcanic poem erupt upon the page? What kinds of poetic strategies can harness the mind’s most startling, most moving, most inventive creations? In this course, we will explore these relationships, as well as the question of a poem’s music, obsessions, and energy, all the while watching how the poetic mind engages the world outside and the world within. We will read published poets in order to analyze their strategies but most focus will be paid to generative in-class writing exercises and peer workshopping. Students will be asked to “collect” excerpts from their work in other courses (philosophy, art history, mathematical theory, history, psychology, etc.) for specific exercises in writing and thinking. Prerequisites: sophomore standing, a sample of 3-5 poems, Creative Writing 224, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Subject Matters
Full course for one semester. In this advanced workshop we will craft poems one task at a time. Historically, the poem has been asked to be political, elegiac, reverent, irreverent, comforting, beautiful, musical, meditative or public. The poem sounds warnings and woos the beloved. It is historical witness and cultural voyeur. It remembers even as it pushes us forward. This course will take a task each week and, with a rich selection of poems as our guides and teachers, we will write towards these subjects, themes and ghostly frames. These tasks will be our starting point—the weekly shifts will reveal our individual strengths, sensibilities, and the work ahead of us. The semester will culminate in a portfolio of 10-15 poems. The poems will be workshopped throughout the semester alongside weekly readings and in-class exercises. Prerequisites: sophomore standing, a sample of 3-5 poems, Creative Writing 224, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Firsts
Full course for one semester. This advanced course will consider firsts of all kinds: first lines, first person, first books, a poem’s first thoughts, first figuration, first brilliance, first misstep. With this in mind, we will read the first books of poets only. Not the tenth book that won all the prizes, but the first—a poet’s starting point. Readings will be done with an eye toward the craft of the first book—how does the first poem choose to break silence, how does the poet establish authority on page one, how is the book structured? Weekly poem assignments will be gleaned from what we find in these “firsts,” and will culminate in a collection of 10-15 poems by the end of the semester. Student collections will include all aspects included in a book of poems: title, epigraph, intentional structure, arc, ending, etc. Throughout the semester these poems will be workshopped. Two additional weekend day-workshops in bookbinding will be offered so students can, if they choose, learn to make a hand-sewn collection of their poems. Prerequisite: sophomore standing, a sample of 3-5 poems, Creative Writing 224, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Prose Poems and Epistles
Full course for one semester. These two flexible poetic forms (both of which are old) offer contemporary poets fresh, new ways of approaching content. The prose poem invites poets to work freely beyond the boundaries of line breaks. Likewise, epistles, dating back to ancient Rome, encourage writers to truly explore point of view and, in a contemporary format, might include forms such as email letters and notes to oneself. Students will work intensively on creating a body of prose poems and epistles. This studio is designed for students who have had extensive creative writing workshop experience. Prerequisites: a writing sample and/or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Deepening: Process and Re-Vision
Full course for one semester. In this workshop for experienced writers we will explore through readings and focused suggestions for writing what it means to be engaged in the process and craft of poetry. This class will be based on writing a new poem every other week—on alternate weeks we will explore workshop suggestions, crack open and sometimes re-conceptualize poems in order to more fully deepen and explore the range of voice and the possibilities of the poem itself. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five poems, Creative Writing 224, sophomore standing and consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Autobiography and Archetype
Full course for one semester. “Archetype is the machinery through which autobiography achieves something larger than the single life; and autobiography is the means by which archetypes are renewed.” So writes the poet Stanley Plumly in an essay from which this course takes its name. How do the deeply personal, the poetry of family, the poetry of the place you speak from (the house you grew up in, the body you inhabit …) or the poetry of speaking to the other, speak universally? In this workshop for experienced writers, through readings, focused suggestions for writing, and discussion of students’ poems, we will explore how raw and often difficult, emotional material is crafted into a poem that speaks not just to its author but to readers seen and unseen who may encounter it. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of three to five poems, Creative Writing 224, sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor. May be be repeated for credit. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Creative Writing 481 - Independent Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Independent writing projects. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and division.




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