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.

Writing Creatively
Full course for one semester. This genre-free creative writing course is generative in nature and will focus on stimulating creativity. Students will do intensive in-class writing each week but very little “workshopping” in the traditional sense. We will focus on the basics of writing creatively: storytelling, image, rhythm, sound, metaphor, and character. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample, either prose or poems, and consent of instructor. Conference.

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: Awakenings and Connections

Full course for one semester. According to Lucille Clifton, “Poetry began when somebody walked off a savanna or out of a cave, looked up at the sky with wonder and said, ‘Ah-h-h!’” In this introductory poetry studio students will engage in writing exercises designed to help them strengthen their poetry writing skills. We will read, listen to, and analyze poetry written by nationally recognized authors in an attempt to find a common critical language that we will use while discussing student work. To that end, students will write poetry, both in and out of class, and will workshop that poetry with their peers. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisites: a writing sample of 3 to 5 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 2007-08.

Creative Writing 321 - Special Topics Studio

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 2007-08.

Creative Non-Fiction
Full course for one semester.  This course is designed for students with considerable experience as writers and an interest in the aesthetic and ethical issues involved in the practice of creative non-fiction. The class will read essays from a wide range of writers (Hazlitt, Emerson, Turgenev, E.M Cioran, Camus, Orwell, Joan Didion, Eldridge Cleaver, Denis Johnson, etc.).  Class time will be divided between a discussion of reading assignments and a workshop in which the group critiques student essays.  Enrollment limited to 15.  Prerequisites:  a writing sample of three to five pages, a 200-level creative writing course, at least sophomore standing, and consent of the instructor.  May be repeated for credit.

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 2007-08.

Linked Short Stories
Full course for one semester. This workshop is designed for students with considerable experience in writing short fiction. Students will read published stories by writers such as Munro, Hemingway, Joyce, Dybek, Diaz, and Porter, that are linked by theme, character, plot, setting, etc.  Our goal will be to understand such connection as a generative device that lends dimension to fictional worlds.  Student work will also focus on writing stories that are linked.  Special emphasis will be given to individual voices, critically responding 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/or consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Conference.

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 2007-08.

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. Not offered 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

Creative Writing 331 - Special Topics Studio

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 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

Identity
Full course for one semester. One of the prevailing themes in literature is identity, and how we construct identity is complicated by social, economic, and cultural factors. In this class, students will focus on writing poems that directly create a multifaceted and universally compelling identity. We will use current events, family history, and mythology in an effort to stimulate the creative process. Students will work towards creating a portfolio of poems in which identity emerges as the primary theme. Most of our time will be spent assessing student work. This studio is designed for students who have had extensive creative writing workshop experience. Prerequisite: 224, a writing sample of three to five poems, and consent of 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 2007-08.

Reading for Writers
Full course for one semester. There are many ways of reading. We read as fans, voyeurs, news gatherers, scholars. Writers can also read with a different set of goals in mind: to learn how to craft poems. In this course, our goal is to collect as much data as we can about the way master poets employ elements like narrative, image, metaphor, sound, rhythm, and pacing . We will then practice what we’ve learned by imitating master poets’ work. What students will learn in this class has as much to do with the craft of master poets as it does what their own stylistic, thematic, and craft preferences. We will read and imitate at least seven texts and engage in a traditional workshop of our imitations. Poets we study might include Snyder, Clifton, Forche, Hoagland, Doty, among others. We might also tie some of our inquires to the Visiting Writers Reading Series. Prerequisite: 201 or 224 and a writing sample of three to five poems and consent of the instructor. Conference.

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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