Spring 2021

 

Download the Course Guide (PDF) or explore below.

 

UndergraduateMAMFA

COMMUNICATION

 

Introduction to Mass Communication
50:192:211:01
Th 9:35-10:55
Remote
Capuzzo

This survey course examines the rapidly changing role of mass communication in society today and the impact that mass media has on every aspect of our lives, from our cultural orientation to our political beliefs to our consumer choices. Focusing on several segments of mass communication, including music, television, radio, books, movies, the Internet, social media, video games, newspapers and magazines, and advertising, the class will trace the past and present roles of these various media in our increasingly convergent communications network, and examine the policies and practices that shape today’s mass media. Classes will once meet weekly via Zoom, with graded work including short writing assignments, a final, and group presentations at the end of the semester.

 

Special Topics: Communication, Media and Society
50:192:229:90
Online
Gimbal

This course provides an in-depth study of the relationships between electronic media and society. We will examine how radio, television, film, and interactive media are shaped by political, economic, social, and technological forces. We will also investigate the social and psychological influences of electronic mass media.

 

Special Topics: Intercultural Communication
50:192:329:01
Online
Gimbal

This course will analyze and discuss effective communication between different minority, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. By the end of the course, students will understand the broad components of intercultural communication and will have enhanced skills to become more competent communicators.

 

 

LITERATURE

 

Literature Appreciation
50:350:106:01 
T 9:35-10:55
Remote
Martin

This course is an introduction to literature designed for non-majors, though current and future English majors are welcome. We will study the three genres–fiction, drama, and poetry–in the three main units of the course. Each unit will start with a warm-up: short stories followed by a short novel; short poems written by a wide range of writers leading up to study of a single poet; two or three short plays followed by a full- length play. The aim of the course is to create a basis for a deeper appreciation of imaginative writing through a study of the elements of which it is made: plot, character, diction, setting, image, voice, figurative language, and so on. I plan to give a test at the end of each of the three units, as well as exercises that I hope students will enjoy, including making a voice recording of a poem. Among the writers under consideration for more intensive study are the African-American poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the Caribbean novelist Earl Lovelace, and playwrights Sophocles and Henrik Ibsen. This online course is mostly asynchronous, with recorded lectures and discussions on Canvas, but we may have 3-4 synchronous class meetings via Zoom as well. These would occur TTh 9:35-10:55 TBA. Fulfills the AAI General Education category.

 

Introduction to English Studies
50:350:201:01             
TTh 11:10-12:30
Remote
Green

At one point in time, being an English major almost exclusively meant literary analysis. However, areas like film analysis, cultural inquiry, and digital study have helped to complicate as well as reenergize that pursuit. This course is an introduction to the wide range of skills, vocabularies, and orientations that make up English studies. Successful students will leave the course with a strong sense of the kind of writing, thinking, and professional paths that are possible via the study of English. Several short writing assignments, quizzes, and an electronic portfolio are required. Fulfills the AAI General Education category. Required for English majors.

 

Global Perceptions of Race, Gender and Religion
50:350:212:01                 
MW  9:35-10:55
Remote
Habib

This course entails a comparative study of modern texts from various cultures, Anglo-American, European, African, Indian and Islamic. We will look at a variety of genres, and our study will be informed by various theoretical perspectives impinging on feminism, religion, colonialism, and international political developments in the modern era. The texts in this course will be examined in their historical contexts, with due emphasis upon their interrelations. Fulfills the AAI General Education category. Fulfills the Department’s Diversity requirement.

 

Special Topics: Global Food and Foodways
50:350:225:01 (Cross-listed with 50:480:101:01)
TTh  3:35-4:55
Remote
Hostetter

This course introduces students to interdisciplinary studies of contemporary global issues surrounding development and globalization such as social and economic inequalities, security, health, human rights, language, and sustainability. The analyses include historical, cultural, geographical, ecological, economic, political, and other perspectives. In this seminar, we’ll use food & food culture to explore how the world has always been interconnected and in the process of exchange and influence, for good & for ill, since earliest times. Bring a bib and the eating utensil of your choice! Fulfills the Department’s Pre-1800 requirement. Fulfills the Department’s Diversity requirement.

 

Ten Books You Should Have Read by Now
50:350:251:01   
TTh 11:10-12:30
Remote
Barbarese

Why is it always the same books or films or graphic novels that appear on syllabi? What do we mean by “classic,” “universal,” or “standard” text? Ten Books looks at ten books that always appear on syllabi and asks how they got there—from the inevitable (Hamlet, Paradise Lost, The Great Gatsby) to the controversial (Lolita, Watchman)—and may include one or two films, both original (Chinatown, Heathers) and adaptations. Good for future educators. Quizzes, a midterm and final, and a short essay. Fulfills the HAC General Education category.

 

Ten Books You Should Have Read by Now
50:350:251:H1 
Th 11:10-12:30]
Remote
Martin

This version of “Ten Books I Should Have Read by Now” will link several literary works from the ancient and medieval eras in Western Europe with several modern works, showing a continuity of human concerns and literary themes over some 2700 years. Pairings will include Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey with L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz, the Book of Genesis with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and with Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Ovid’s Metamorphoses with Franz

Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King with Angus Wilson’s modern play Fences. The aim is to provide an experience of historically and culturally meaningful literary works and to make connections between them. The course will be taught mostly with recorded lectures and on-line student discussions. There will be three or four synchronous Zoom class meetings on the TTh 11:10-12:30 schedule, dates TBA. Fulfills the HAC General Education category. THIS SECTION IS FOR STUDENTS ENROLLED IN THE HONORS COLLEGE.

 

Text and Film
50:350:261:01       
MW 9:35-10:55
Remote
Ledoux

Both novels and films derive their imaginative power and capture our attention through telling stories.

Yet how these mediums go about telling stories is markedly different—even when conveying the same basic plot. This course will examine the problem and art of adapting prose narratives to film. For example, how can a director remain “faithful” to a 300-page novel when a film’s running time is roughly 2 hours?

Because we will be examining contemporary adaptations of eighteenth-century texts, we will also ask how newer media, such as film, can render legible the cultural assumptions of historical readers. Fulfills the AAI General Education category. Fulfills Department Pre-1800 requirement.

 

Foundations of Literature
50:350:300:01   
MW     3:45-5:05
Remote
Fitter

Are we, as citizens of the 21st century, unique — or are human feelings timeless? If not merely ‘natural’, where do our values – competitive individualism, the cult of romantic love, desire for freedom, pursuit of wealth, life in cities – actually come from? This course — touching down in ancient Greece and Rome, then in the bible, then crossing the middle ages to the early modern world — will examine such questions, tracing in literature deep-seated cultural changes which have helped mold our modern identity. In the literature of the past, we can chart the emergent present. Grading will be by three exams, and a term paper. Fulfills the HAC General Education category.

 

Weird Books
50:350:303:01
MW 12:30-1:50
Remote
Sayre

The book comes sealed in a box. It looks like an old library book but when you open it up a postcard, a few handwritten notes, and a decoder ring spill out. The pages are marked up with different notes already — are those notes telling a different story? How are you even supposed to read this thing? In Weird Books, students will read stories that challenge their understanding of what makes up a text and the experience of reading. These weird books use their material forms in unconventional ways, often blurring the boundaries between literature, fine art, and gaming.

In Spring 2021, Weird Books gets even weirder as a remote course! Mixing synchronous discussions with asynchronous activities (including a “snail mail” exchange with the professor!), we will be exploring, analyzing, and even making weird books from a distance this semester. This course fulfills the AAI General Education requirement and counts as an elective in Digital Studies. No prerequisites.

 

Gothic Literature
50:350:319:01 
Online
Blackford

This course focuses on how the American female Gothic tradition represents conditions of being disenfranchised from full citizenship. Texts under consideration include The Hidden Hand (E.D.E.N. Southworth), A Long Fatal Love Chase (Alcott), short stories by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Phelps,

Harriet Prescott Spofford, Willa Cather, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edith Wharton, Mary Wilkins Freeman, and Flannery O’Connor, The Ballad of the Sad Café (Carson McCullers), The Haunting at Hill House (Shirley Jackson), Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice), and Kindred (Octavia Butler). Please send suggestions for works you would like to see on the syllabus. This course is asynchronous and online; you will be responsible for continual posting and responding to classmates, a midterm close-reading exam (4-5 pp), and a final project—comparable to a 5-7 pp paper—that may be electronic or multimodal. Fulfills the AAI General Education category. Fulfills the Department’s Pre-1800 requirement.

 

Special Topics: Weaponized Nostalgia
50:350:364:01   (Cross-listed with 56:350:594:01)
T 6:00-8:50
Remote
Hostetter

History and literature are useful to discovering the past, to exploring heritage and identity, to understanding the present, & figuring out our paths into the future. Kings and rulers have always depended on mobilizing history to enforce claims of legitimacy and drive peace and war, justice and oppression. We continue to do so. Medievalists have been horrified to discover how their texts, myths, stories, and archives are being used to drive fascism and white supremacy, through pernicious nostalgia for times & eras that are not real. This class will look at how nostalgia replaces history to drive ugly political forces, from Beowulf to the Chanson de Roland, to modern-day misunderstandings of the Crusades, the Vikings, and Cristoforo Columbo. Fulfills the Department’s Pre-1800 requirement.

 

Portfolio Seminar
50:350:400:01 
Online
DuBose

A one-hour seminar in which students complete a self-directed electronic portfolio that presents their experience and achievements as English majors in relation to professional life, graduate school, and/or other post-baccalaureate goals.

 

AMERICAN LITERATURE

 

Modern American Poetry
50:352:336:01 (Cross-listed with 56:352:593:01)
Tuesdays
Online
Hoffman

Poetry is the oldest kind of writing we have, and yet it’s not very well understood, in part because sometimes poetry—and sometimes on purpose—can be difficult. In this course we’ll read a wide variety of modern and contemporary American poetry and work through it together, considering how the poet says what she wants to say. What techniques are involved? How is poetic language put together? What traditional and nontraditional forms can help shape a poetic message? In short, we will think carefully about, and analyze, the ‘craft’ of poetry. In addition to learning how to unpack a poem and to more fully enjoy poetry, you’ll be given opportunities to write your own poetry, both according to rules and without. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of poetry, or any previous practice reading or writing it. Assignments will include: weekly discussion posts and replies; weekly poetry writing exercises; a mid-term exam; a final paper; and a final exam.

 

FILM

 

Rich and Poor in Western Cinema
50:354:317:01     
MW 2:05-3:25
Remote
Fitter

What was it like to be poor in the middle ages? Do the super-rich live lives of fulfilment? More philosophically, is it healthy for a society to have extremes of wealth and poverty, as the precondition of citizen ambition, or is a ‘mild hierarchy’ more beneficial? This course takes a double approach to these subjects: at home over the weekends we will screen movies, showing the lives of rich and poor across four centuries; in class we will read arguments by philosophers (Right-wing and Left-wing) debating the issue of social equality. Grading will be by three exams, and a term paper. Fulfills the EAV General Education category. Counts toward the interdisciplinary film minor.

 

Film Genre: Crime Film
50:354:398:90   
Online
Sorrento

In this course we will analyze the theme of crime in a variety of American film genres, including the classic gangster film, film noir, the victim film, and the heist picture. Through close viewings of representative films and companion readings, we will analyze how cinematic crime has served the public imagination throughout the 20th century in response to cultural and historical changes, including Prohibition, the Second World War, Counterculture of the 1960s, Watergate, the 1980s. Course requirements: Four online discussions, four short tests, and two papers. Counts toward the interdisciplinary film minor.

 

JOURNALISM

 

Reporting on Race, Religion and Social Diversity
50:570:309:01 
T 11:10-12:30
Remote
Capuzzo

We are living through one of history’s most contentious periods, with stark divides in our attitudes on race relations, religion, and social diversity. From Black Lives Matter protests to immigration laws to LGBTQ policies to reproductive rights, so much of our news coverage today intersects with these issues, and never has there been a more important time for journalists to examine these subjects in a fresh, honest, and self- critical manner. This course will explore these timely matters, reporting on issues such as racial equity and its historic roots, political correctness vs. free speech, diversity in the workplace, criminal justice reform, how public outcry influences government policy, and the role of media in exposing individual and societal bias. The class will meet a weekly basis via Zoom to discuss these topics in a round-table format; graded work will include three reporting assignments, a final, and a group project at the end of the semester.

Fulfills the Department’s Diversity requirement.

 

Freelance Article Writing
50:570:335:01
T 2:00-3:20
Remote
Capuzzo

In our remote, gig economy, freelance writing provides aspiring journalists and writers with route to get published across spectrum of media and business outlets, writing on a wide variety of topics. And, if you’re lucky, getting paid for it! This course will explore what it takes to be a freelancer, whether it’s creating a compelling blog, website or social media brand, working as a stringer for a mainstream media outlet, ghost writing for businesses and organizations, or writing a full-length feature articles for magazines or the web. We will investigate freelance opportunities, practice effective techniques for pitching editors, and produce writing geared toward target audiences and media outlets. The course will be conducted in a workshop-like setting, with students sharing a series of written pieces with classmates and providing feedback, which should prove to be a beneficial experience. Fulfills the WRI General Education category.

 

LINGUISTICS

 

Language, Power and Politics
50:615:341:01 
TTh 3:35-4:55
ON CAMPUS
Cross-listed with 56:615:560:01                                                                                  
Epstein

This course will discuss a range of political issues concerning language. We will focus, in particular, on how dominant language ideologies in the United States have been used to define and oppress less privileged groups in society. Topics to be covered include: language attitudes (discrimination, the notions of “authority” and “correctness” in language), dialects/standard language ideology and subordination, the language of politicians, language in the media/advertising, language policy in the U.S., politically correct language, language and gender, ecolinguistics (the relations between linguistic/biocultural diversity, knowledge and the environment). The main goal of the course is for students to gain an appreciation for the powerful effect of language on the structure of society and in social change.

Course requirements: Midterm, final exam, and 2 short papers. Fulfills the DIV General Education category. Fulfills the EAV General Education category.

 

RHETORIC

 
Special Topics: Rhetoric of Style
50:842:328:01  (Cross-listed with 56:842:554:01)
MW 2:05-3:25
Remote
 FitzGerald

An in-depth, hands-on investigation of prose style—the rhetorical use of words and sentences, paragraphs and even punctuation, and patterns of language use known as rhetorical figures to makes language compelling and persuasive. We will learn to analyze style, considering what makes for good and bad style based on context and genre. Equally, through study and practice acquire a repertoire of strategies to use style effectively in our own writing. We will examine style across all kinds of non-fiction texts in politics, culture, business and technology. We will also read and apply insights about style from classical to contemporary times. Our main text is Jeanne Fahnestock’s Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion (Oxford University Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0199764112) to be supplemented by articles and websites on style and by various sample texts.

 

WRITING

 

Introduction to Professional Writing
50:989:200:01   
Online
DuBose

This course serves as a foundational course for the Department of English’s track in Professional Writing and Communication prepares students for the further study of writing in professional settings. Approaching writing as a social and material practice, we will examine how writing (among other literate activities) is conceived, produced, circulated, and stored; how genres of writing structure human activity; how the functions of writing evolve in line with developments in technology; and how the digital age is transforming writing practices today. We will examine writing in business, scientific, and other professional contexts, and we’ll practice several major forms of workplace documents, such as memos, reports, and resumes, and experiment with common writing tools, such as power point and Google docs. Requirements: writing projects including a resumé and cover letter, formal proposal, memos and presentations. Fulfills the WRI General Education category.

 

Writing Public Arguments
50:989:300:90
Online
Brzyski

The fundamental techniques of argument, demonstration, and persuasion; analysis of sample readings and extensive writing practice. Fulfills the WRI General Education category.

 

Art of Revision
50:989:301:90           
Online
Collemacine

Practice in the art of constructing clear, concise prose, with emphasis on developing a personal style. Fulfills the WRI General Education category.

 

Introduction to Creative Writing
50:989:305:90     
Online
Barbarese

Introduction to the writer’s craft that surveys available genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

 

Poetry Writing Workshop
50:989:306:01     
Online
Rosal

In this class we’ll read and write poems. We’ll think about poetry composed of image and therefore delve into the sources of imagery (observation, memory, and the imagination). We’ll look at other art forms like film, music, visual art, and theater for inspiration and as instructional models for our own writing.

 

Theory and Practice of Tutoring Writing
50:989:315:01   
MW 12:30-1:50
Remote
DuBose

This course serves as a foundational course for the Department of English’s track in Professional Writing and Communication prepares students for the further study of writing in professional settings. Approaching writing as a social and material practice, we will examine how writing (among other literate activities) is conceived, produced, circulated, and stored; how genres of writing structure human activity; how the functions of writing evolve in line with developments in technology; and how the digital age is transforming writing practices today. We will examine writing in business, scientific, and other professional contexts, and we’ll practice several major forms of workplace documents, such as memos, reports, and resumes, and experiment with common writing tools, such as power point and Google docs. Requirements: writing projects including a resumé and cover letter, formal proposal, memos and presentations. Fulfills the WRI General Education category. Fulfills the XPL General Education category.

 

Advanced Writing: Writing Reading the Environment
50:989:401:01   
MW 3:45-5:05
Remote
Sayre

Reading and Writing the Environment is a crossover course mixing literary studies and creative writing and open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students. In this course, we will be thinking about how authors have written about the environment from classic nature writing to science fiction and beyond. We will be analyzing the writings of others and experimenting and developing our own creative engagements with the world around us.

 

 

Theory and Criticism
56:350:514:01
W  6:00-8:50
Remote
Habib

Is there a correct way of interpreting a piece of literature? Should we just read the “words on the page” as suggested by critics in the early twentieth century or should we take into account the author’s biography, social class, psychology, and audience? What is the purpose of literature? Moral? Political? Simply pleasure? What ideological assumptions do we bring to the study of literature? As we shall see in this course, these are some of the questions posed by the greatest Western thinkers from Plato and Aristotle through Kant, Hegel and Marx; and they have been raised in more modern contexts by critics working from the perspectives of Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Reception Theory, “New” Historicism, Deconstruction, Postcolonialism, Critical Race Theory, and Global Studies.

 

Special Topics: Critical Analysis of Popular Culture
56:350:530:01 
M 6:00-8:50
Remote
Gimbal

The course covers critical theory as a way of critiquing popular culture. We will learn about critical theory and apply it to current pop culture artifacts such as television shows, movies, video games, music videos and advertisements. Students will leave the course with a better understanding about the ways pop culture messages influence them on an individual and societal level. This course satisfies the Diversity requirement.

 

Special Topics: Childhood and Social Justice
56:352:593:01     
Th 6:00-8:50
Remote
Blackford

This course investigates literature focusing on childhood and conditions of marginalization, including poverty, race, immigration, abuse, sexuality, gender, and various intersectionalities. Texts under consideration include Our Nig, At the Back of the North Wind, Brown Girl, Brownstones, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Obasan, The Bluest Eye, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, To Kill a Mockingbird, Other Voices, Other Rooms, Bone, Bastard Out of Carolina, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Please email me any works you wish to see on the syllabus. The plan is to reserve our weekly meeting time, which is long for zoom, but we will divide the time with student presentations and discussion, and supplement with online posts and discussion. You will be responsible for a presentation on a work of your choice, a take-home (close-reading) exam of 5-7 pp, participation online, and a final project— comparable to a 10-12 pp research paper—which may be electronic or multimodal and which can be tailored to your desired profession, portfolio, or future capstone. Fulfills the Social Justice concentration in the MA.

 

Special Topics: Weaponized Nostalgia
56:615:594:01   (Cross-listed with 50:350:364:01)  
T  6:00-8:50
Remote
Hostetter

History and literature are useful to discovering the past, to exploring heritage and identity, to understanding the present, & figuring out our paths into the future. Kings and rulers have always depended on mobilizing history to enforce claims of legitimacy and drive peace and war, justice and oppression. We continue to do so. Medievalists have been horrified to discover how their texts, myths, stories, and archives are being used to drive fascism and white supremacy, through pernicious nostalgia for times & eras that are not real. This class will look at how nostalgia replaces history to drive ugly political forces, from Beowulf to the Chanson de Roland, to modern-day misunderstandings of the Crusades, the Vikings, and Cristoforo Columbo.

 

Special Topics: Truth and Lies: Autobiographical Fiction and Fictional Autobiography
56:350:595:01   (Cross-listed with 56:200:569:01)
2:00-4:50
Remote
Zeidner

This is a hybrid class that talks about ways of handling autobiographical material. What are the differences in voice, and approach to plot, in fiction and memoir? When are embellishments, and half-truths, preferable or permissible? We’ll do some reading of writers who have used the same material in both forms, including Kathryn Harrison and Gary Shteyngart, as well as workshop your own writing. Note: this course can count as either workshop or craft class for MFA requirements, and is open to MA students with the creative writing concentration.

 

Special Topics: Improvisation and the Body
56:350:596:01 (Cross-listed with 56:200:521:01)
M  2:05-3:25
Remote
Rosal

How can we think outside of the traditional limits of poetry as a “discipline.” What can sound improvisers, theater artist, filmmakers and other artists teach us about the limits of the page, the formal assumptions of the “poem”, the narrow minimalism of the physical book, as well as the possibilities of language, sound, silence, image, collaboration, spontaneity, and improvisation? In this class we’ll look at a lot of different art together to help us think more about gathering, extemporaneity, the questionable dichotomy of composition/improvisation, the biases of the page, the sociopolitical mandates of professionalism in the university and the publishing industry — which is to say you can expect a lot of experimentation with process, collaboration, and play.

 

Special Topics: Modern American Poetry
56:352:593:01 (Cross-listed with 56:352:336:01)
Online
Hoffman

Poetry is the oldest kind of writing we have, and yet it’s not very well understood, in part because sometimes poetry—and sometimes on purpose—can be difficult. In this course we’ll read a wide variety of modern and contemporary American poetry and work through it together, considering how the poet says what she wants to say. What techniques are involved? How is poetic language put together? What traditional and nontraditional forms can help shape a poetic message? In short, we will think carefully about, and analyze, the ‘craft’ of poetry. In addition to learning how to unpack a poem and to more fully enjoy poetry, you’ll be given opportunities to write your own poetry, both according to rules and without. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of poetry, or any previous practice reading or writing it. Assignments will include: weekly discussion posts and replies; weekly poetry writing exercises; a mid-term exam; a final paper; and a final exam.

 

Language, Power and Politics
56:615:560:01  (Cross-listed with 50:615:341:01)     
TTh  3:45-4:55
ON CAMPUS 
Epstein

This course will discuss a range of political issues concerning language. We will focus, in particular, on how dominant language ideologies in the United States have been used to define and oppress less privileged groups in society. Topics to be covered include: language attitudes (discrimination, the notions of “authority” and “correctness” in language), dialects/standard language ideology and subordination, the language of politicians, language in the media/advertising, language policy in the U.S., politically correct language, language and gender, ecolinguistics (the relations between linguistic/biocultural diversity, knowledge and the environment). The main goal of the course is for students to gain an appreciation for the powerful effect of language on the structure of society and in social change.

 

Special Topics: Rhetoric of Style
56:842:569:01 (Cross-listed with 50:842:328:01)
MW  2:05-3:25
Remote
FitzGerald

An in-depth, hands-on investigation of prose style—the rhetorical use of words and sentences, paragraphs and even punctuation, and patterns of language use known as rhetorical figures to makes language compelling and persuasive. We will learn to analyze style, considering what makes for good and bad style based on context and genre. Equally, through study and practice acquire a repertoire of strategies to use style effectively in our own writing. We will examine style across all kinds of non-fiction texts in politics, culture, business and technology. We will also read and apply insights about style from classical to contemporary times. Our main text is Jeanne Fahnestock’s Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion (Oxford University Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0199764112) to be supplemented by articles and websites on style and by various sample texts.

 

 

 

The following courses are open to students registered in the MFA Program. Some space may be available to English MA students by permission of Lauren Grodstein.

 

Fiction
56:200:518:01
T  2:00-4:50
Remote
Lisicky

What does it mean to write fiction in 2021? In this class, we’ll think about how one develops a singular voice in a time of cultural shift, which doesn’t mean we’ll neglect the examples of our literary ancestors.

We’ll consider that challenge through the lens of recently published work, but your writing will be our primary text. You’ll be responsible for providing written feedback to your peers, as well as workshopping three pieces of your own over the course of the term.

 

Special Topics: Improvisation and the Body
56:200:521:01  (Cross-listed with 56:350:596:01)  
M  2:05-3:25
Remote
Rosal

How can we think outside of the traditional limits of poetry as a “discipline.” What can sound improvisers, theater artist, filmmakers and other artists teach us about the limits of the page, the formal assumptions of the “poem”, the narrow minimalism of the physical book, as well as the possibilities of language, sound, silence, image, collaboration, spontaneity, and improvisation? In this class we’ll look at a lot of different art together to help us think more about gathering, extemporaneity, the questionable dichotomy of composition/improvisation, the biases of the page, the sociopolitical mandates of professionalism in the university and the publishing industry — which is to say you can expect a lot of experimentation with process, collaboration, and play.

 

Creative Nonfiction
56:200:529:01
W 12:30-3:20
Remote
Grodstein

The creative nonfiction workshop is an intensive semester of reading and critiquing students’ memoirs, investigative nonfiction, and other varieties of the form. Students will also read and discuss published works of creative nonfiction.

 

Craft: Point of View
56:200:568:01
Th 2:00-4:50
Remote
Zeidner

This craft class will look at the surprisingly complex questions about how fiction uses narrative point of view. We’ll discuss the differences between omniscient and third person limited viewpoints, first person, the notion of reliability in narration, and many other issues, including the voices of children and even animals. Reading of short passages will help us to identify POV quickly and confidently. We’ll also look at your own writing.

 

Truth and Lies: Autobiographical Fiction and Fictional Autobiography
56:200:569:01  (Cross-listed with 56:350:595:01)
W  
2:00-4:50
Remote
Zeidner

This is a hybrid class that talks about ways of handling autobiographical material. What are the differences in voice, and approach to plot, in fiction and memoir? When are embellishments, and half-truths, preferable or permissible? We’ll do some reading of writers who have used the same material in both forms, including Kathryn Harrison and Gary Shteyngart, as well as workshop your own writing. Note: this course can count as either workshop or craft class for MFA requirements, and is open to MA students with the creative writing concentration.

 

Special Topics in Craft: Fractals: A Class in Close Reading
56:200:573:01
Th 6:00-8:50
Remote
Lisicky

We’ve all heard about the importance of learning to be a more precise, nuanced reader, but what does that really mean? What can we learn from looking at a piece’s individual components, and do they communicate implications for the larger design? We’ll think about these questions by studying some examples of recent creative nonfiction, but our key task will be to examine chapters, segments, paragraphs, and sentences, both for their own sake but also to see what meaning might lie beyond–or within. Alongside this project, we’ll work on occasional short creative pieces suggested by the readings, which we’ll discuss informally as a group.