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Found 3405 courses
K30.1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2006

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one's personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1560 or V39.0817 or V39.0830 or permission of the instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2006

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2006

The Journal in the City

4 units

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our "New York City Journals."

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1350 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2006

Writing for Young Readers

4 units

Description

This course guides students in writing fiction for readers age ten through adolescence. While writing, workshopping, and revising, students consider both theoretical and practical issues of writing for young people. We explore the history of children's literature and examine the academic journal Children's Literature, the newsletter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the American Library Association's Newbery Awards and various bestseller lists. Each student presents an analysis of a favorite book. Texts we read and analyze as models will likely include such "contemporary classics" for younger readers as Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik, Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice, Walter Dean Myers's Monster, and Francesa Lia Block's Weetzie Bat; and recent works that are both popular and critically acclaimed, such as Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. We may attend a reading by a writer or editor of fiction for young readers; a writer and/or a publishing professional will be our guest speaker.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1316 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2006

Telling Truths: The Skill of Autobiography

4 units

Description

How can one tell the "truth" about one's life in narrative form? In this course we will explore the pleasures and dangers of telling stories about our lives through writing autobiographical essays, as well as through reading the autobiographies of selected others. Readings may include texts by Janet Frame, Nancy Mairs, Mary Karr, and David Sedaris. We will analyze the way in which self-narrative is constructed from the tangled materials of real life, how we read and understand the life writing of others, and how others' stories can influence our own. Topics include authenticity, memory, identity, voice, point of view, and relationships.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1317 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Only Connect: Strategies for Writing

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Ed Park

Description

The late W.G. Sebald perfected a sublime art of connection—teasing out associations between ancient snapshots, newspaper clippings, and the words of others. His elegantly haunting books (which blurred novel, history, and memoir) couldn’t be more different from the typical posts that proliferate in the so-called blogosphere. Yet Internet writing, with its hyperlinks and screen-grabs, calls upon a magpie instinct that Sebald and other illustrious writers would instantly recognize. This course takes students on a tour of writing methods old and new, imparting a ravenous approach to composition useful for work in any genre: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the borderlands of our virtual reality. Classes will focus on the use of images in text, the cento, the footnote, the double-jointed review, and more. Writing will include frequent in-class experiments and several longer assignments. Students will read works by Nicholson Baker, Alison Bechdel, Harry Stephen Keeler, Raymond Queneau, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1034 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Writing About Performance

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Julie Malnig

Description

This writing seminar will train students to become critical viewers of performance and translate their "looking" into descriptive and analytical prose. Students will be introduced to a variety of critical strategies and approaches---from formalist to ethnographic to various forms of sociological and cultural criticism---to develop their interpretive skills. These analyses will help students discover how various performance mediums are constituted, how they "work," and how they create meaning for viewers. Assignments will include interviews, artists’ profiles, performance documentations, cultural reviews, and critical and/or theoretical analyses. Occasional group excursions to performances will be arranged, as well as class speakers. Some of the authors, essayists, and artists whose works we may read include: Susan Sontag; Michael Kirby; Edwin Denby; Deborah Jowitt; Joan Acocella; Joyce Carol Oates; Anna Deavere Smith; Spalding Gray; and Henry Louis Gates, jr.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1549 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Writers as Shapers: Strategies for Sculpting the Story

4 units Fri
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Meera Nair

Description

A piece of fiction can be constructed in an unlimited number of ways and each week we will explore the formal possibilities that are available to us. We will study the choices we can make as writers—of narrative point of view, beginnings, resolutions, dialogue, description, pacing, plot and character development. We will isolate and inspect strategies that published authors have used. Students will produce and workshop their own fiction from exercises. In the conversation between student writing and the studied literature there will hopefully be a greater sense of writers as shapers, sculptors of the raw material of story. Readings: Mishima, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Charles Baxter, C.J. Hribal, Carver, Flannery O'Connor, Isaac Babel, George Saunders, James Joyce and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Notes

Students may take "Advanced Art and Craft of Poetry" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn’t when it doesn’t. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1316 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Telling Truths: The Skill of Autobiography

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Susan Weisser

Description

How can one tell the "truth" about one's life in narrative form? In this course we will explore the pleasures and dangers of telling stories about our lives through writing autobiographical essays, as well as through reading the autobiographies of selected others. Readings may include texts by Janet Frame, Nancy Mairs, Mary Karr, and David Sedaris. We will analyze the way in which self-narrative is constructed from the tangled materials of real life, how we read and understand the life writing of others, and how the stories of others can influence our own. Topics include authenticity, memory, identity, voice, point of view, and relationships.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer will focus their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students will take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1075 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Montage is the Message

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Luke Mitchell

Description

A man smiles, a shot is fired, he frowns. No: A man frowns, a shot is fired, he smiles. The sequence tells all. The order of scenes conveys more meaning even than the scenes themselves. In this class, students will draw from film theory to learn how to better structure their non-fiction narratives. We will explore how, in writing non-fiction, we make choices about what to describe and how to arrange those descriptions; and in making these choices, we begin (whether we intend it or not) to make an argument. In our examination of the theory of montage in non-fiction writing, students will analyze film sequences from Eisenstein, Alfred Hitchcock, and David Simon, and texts by literary journalists Lawrence Weschler, Ian Frazier, Joan Didion, Frederick Kaufman, and Cecilia Balli, among others. The real breakthroughs, though, will occur as students set about assembling and reassembling their own works.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1350 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Writing for Young Readers

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
June Foley

Description

This course guides students in writing fiction for readers age ten through adolescence. While writing, workshopping, and revising, students consider both theoretical and practical issues of writing for young people. We explore the history of children's literature and examine the academic journal Children's Literature , the newsletter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the American Library Association's Newbery Awards and various bestseller lists. We also read and write in response to exemplary works in a variety of forms: Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik (a comic, episodic novel for tweens); Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (a "crossover" book for adolescents and adults), Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (a fictionalized memoir), Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games (the first volume of the dystopic trilogy), David Levithan’s Love Is the Highest Law (a post-9/11 narrative from three points of view), and (former Gallatin teacher) E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (a realistic novel). Students read their work aloud in a workshop format. The course culminates in each student’s writing 20 pages of a work for young readers, along with an outline and a query letter for agents or editors. A guest speaker or two—writer and/or editor—will visit.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1039 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Writing About Popular Music

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Amanda Petrusich

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1039

Description

Effective music criticism—criticism that places a song or album within the appropriate social, political, personal, and aesthetic contexts—can be as enthralling and moving as the music it engages. In this course, we will explore different ways of writing about music, from the record review to the personal essay. We’ll consider the evolving tradition of pop music criticism (How are MP3 blogs and Web sites challenging print media? How is the critic’s role changing?) and the mysterious practice of translating sound into ideas (How do we train ourselves to be better and more thoughtful listeners?). Through reading, writing, and class discussion, we’ll contemplate the mysterious circuitry that causes people to embrace (or require) music—from Bob Dylan to Lil’ Wayne —and how best to explore that connection on the page. Readings will include Lester Bangs, Rob Sheffield, Carl Wilson, Sasha Frere-Jones, Robert Christgau, Ann Powers, Simon Reynolds, Chuck Klosterman, Ellen Willis, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1339 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Ripped from the Headlines: Current Events in Fiction

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Taylor Antrim

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1339

Description

In 1961 Philip Roth wrote: "the American writer…has his hands full in trying to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality." Is he right? Can a literary imagination encompass its social and political moment? Does it thereby lose its hold on universal truths? Or is there a perspective on and insight into current events only fiction can offer? We'll consider these and other questions through readings of novels and short stories that depict their contemporary political and cultural events. We'll pay particular attention to the ways these writers borrow, subvert, or reinvent journalistic (or "new" journalistic) techniques. Students will be expected to produce several written exercises, as well as two longer fictional pieces (short stories or novel chapters) that take current events as a starting point for narrative. These will be discussed through in-class workshops. Readings may include John Updike's Rabbit Redux, Joan Didion's Democracy, Don Delillo's Mao II, and Brett Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero, as well as short stories by Grace Paley, Alicia Erian and Martin Amis.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1341 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Oral Narratives: Stories and Their Variations

4 units Tue
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Suzanne Snider

Description

In this workshop, we’ll embrace oral history as both methodology and genre, seizing upon narrative discrepancies as oral history opportunities. Considering texts such as Voices from Chernobyl and Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me, we’ll explore how oral history can help us approach complex subjects and historic events, particularly those stories containing conflicting accounts. As part of this discussion, we’ll examine the elastic nature of memory, and the distinctions between individual memory and collective memory. We will challenge ourselves to reflect divergent viewpoints in our nonfiction writing, borrowing the lessons of conventional, as well as more overtly experimental nonfiction to accomplish this. How do we chronicle stories that do not conform to narrative convention? How can we retain conflicting accounts within our chronicle, rather than synthesizing them into one account? Students will read newspapers and magazines, looking for missing stories and missing voices. These omissions will serve as the inspiration for interviews and writing projects. The work of writers and documentarians such as Mary Ellen Mark, Luc Sante, Anna Deveare Smith, and Moises Kaufman will be included in our coursework.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1508 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Writing for Late Night Television: Monologue, Jokes, Bits, and Sketches

4 units Mon
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
D.B. Gilles

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1508

Description

This course introduces students to writing for the world of late night television. Every talk show host has a unique voice and style. Work will include learning how to write opening monologues for The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Chelsea Lately, Conan and Jimmy Kimmel among others. Understanding the difference between a sketch and a bit. How to structure a joke and find material. Work will also involve writing sketches ala Saturday Night Live. Students will learn how to go from idea, to building the sketch, to completing it and rewriting it to make it funnier. Writing assignments may include creating original on-going sketch characters, a Letterman Top Ten List, fake news items ala Weekend Update and writing short film parodies.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1070 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Writing About Film

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Christopher Bram

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1070

Description

Writing about movies is more than just issuing thumbs-up, thumbs-down judgments. In this class you will learn how to discuss a film’s content, style, and meaning in ways that can interest even people who disagree with you. You will explore some of the many different ways there are to write about cinema, expanding your command of words by reading such critics as James Agee, Pauline Kael, James Baldwin, Molly Haskell, and others. Students will write (and rewrite) five papers ranging from brief movie reviews to a final eight-to-ten page essay.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1326 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Letter as Literature

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

The letter as a genre of literature is situated in a middle space between private and public discourse. This writing seminar will inhabit the “space of the letter” to experiment with the letter-format as a unique modality of self-inscription. We will examine the “space of the letter” as an especially productive location for writing, and the literary letter as a vehicle with the potential to transport our writing from personal communication to literary work. We will theorize the letter by reading other people’s mail, such as Sylvia Plath’s “Letters Home,” Kafka’s “Letter to My Father,” and Rilke’s “Letters on Cezanne,” letters written as literary works, and letters never intended to be read. We will investigate the rhetoric, psychology and economy of the letter, a trajectory that will take us through the dead letter office (Derrida’s “Post Card”) and into the realm of blackmail (Poe’s “Purloined Letter”). As a community of writers we will “send and receive” letters in various literary formats, and take our place on the cutting edge with the electronic letter as it shifts the paradigm of this familiar, but strange, literary genre.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1305 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Art of the Personal Essay

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

The personal essay is a flexible genre that often incorporates rumination, memoir, narrative, portrait, anecdote, diatribe, scholarship, fantasy and moral philosophy. The title of Montaigne’s Essais (“attempts"), published in 1580, suggests the tentative and exploratory nature of this form as well as its freedom. The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy—the sharing of the writer’s observations and reflections with a reader, establishing a dialogue on subjects that range from the mundane to autobiographical and political meditations to reflections on abstract concepts and moral dilemmas. Style, shape, and intellectual depth lend the personal essay its drama, charm, and its ability to provoke thought. In this course, we will read and write personal essays that explore “persona,” “tone,” and “voice” in dialogue with concepts such as “the self,” “personal identity,” and “sincerity.” Readings may include essays by Seneca, Michel de Montaigne, Charles Lamb, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Wole Soyinka, Natalia Ginsburg, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gloria Anzaldua.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units
Section 002
Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Notes

Students may take "The Art and Craft of Poetry" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Notes

Students may take "The Art and Craft of Poetry" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1540 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Reading and Writing the Short Story

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Description

This short story workshop is designed for the writer who believes that there is as much to be learned from reading the works of others as from writing their own stories. We will devote a portion of each class to discussions of master stories, as well as to careful readings and discussions of stories by the members of the workshop. Exercises will be assigned each week as a way of developing and reinforcing each writer’s relationship to literary craft. Each writer will also present her or his own stories in class. Workshop members are required to participate actively in classroom critiques.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1537 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Crafting Short Fiction from the Sentence Up

4 units Tue
7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Steven Rinehart

Description

This class explores the craft of writing, starting with the sentence and ending with the scene. Half of each class is devoted to craft exercises and the remaining half to a traditional workshop approach to discussing student submissions. By the end of the semester we’ll be able to talk intelligently about some of the “micro” parts of a short story or novel, giving the students some practical tools for editing those parts.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1332 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Writing the Strange

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

In this advanced writing class students will approach writing from off-center, by taking an oblique perspective. We will examine the attempts of such writers as Pound, Stein , Mallarme, Duras, Ponge and Robbes-Grillet to achieve originality by “making it new”, by “making it strange”, by defamiliarizing their subject matter. Our writing projects will be situated at the intersection of the absurd and the surreal, and may incorporate techniques of other media such as the cubist/surrealist painters, the French graffiti artists, bricolage and the found-object. We will risk nausea with Sartre and vertigo with the Vorticists. Students will apply their exercises in the strange to “estranging” a work-in-progress as the culmination of the course. Theorists may include Deleuze, Guattari, Derrida and Baudrillard.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Dave King

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore and discuss various forms of fiction writing in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop and revise at least one complete work of fiction, and in the process hone individual styles and voices. One route to this goal is an inquiry into a range of techniques available to contemporary fiction writers. Emphasis is on characterization, structure, and narrative cohesion, and a variety of the craft aspects of fiction writing will be explored through exercises. These include point of view, narrative voice, plot, tension, time, sequence, dialogue, symbolism, and so on. Students will present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing, all within the supportive and responsive environment of the workshop group.

Notes

Students may take "Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1304 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Art of the Personal Essay

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

The personal essay is a flexible genre that often incorporates rumination, memoir, narrative, portrait, anecdote, diatribe, scholarship, fantasy and moral philosophy. The title of Montaigne’s Essais (“attempts"), published in 1580, suggests the tentative and exploratory nature of this form as well as its freedom. The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy—the sharing of the writer’s observations and reflections with a reader, establishing a dialogue on subjects that range from the mundane to autobiographical and political meditations to reflections on abstract concepts and moral dilemmas. Style, shape, and intellectual depth lend the personal essay its drama, charm, and its ability to provoke thought. In this course, we will read and write personal essays that explore “persona,” “tone,” and “voice” in dialogue with concepts such as “the self,” “personal identity,” and “sincerity.” Readings may include essays by Seneca, Michel de Montaigne, Charles Lamb, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Wole Soyinka, Natalia Ginsburg, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gloria Anzaldua.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1316 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2013

Telling Truths: The Skill of Autobiography

4 units Mon Wed
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Susan Weisser

Description

How can one tell the "truth" about one's life in narrative form? In this course we will explore the pleasures and dangers of telling stories about our lives through writing autobiographical essays, as well as through reading the autobiographies of selected others. Readings may include texts by Janet Frame, Nancy Mairs, Mary Karr, and David Sedaris. We will analyze the way in which self-narrative is constructed from the tangled materials of real life, how we read and understand the life writing of others, and how the stories of others can influence our own. Topics include authenticity, memory, identity, voice, point of view, and relationships.

Notes

Session II: July 8 - August 16

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2011

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Meera Nair

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Notes

Session I: May 23-July 1.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2011

The Journal in the City

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Victoria Blythe

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1324

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our “New York City Journals.”

Notes

Session II: July 5-August 12.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1370 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2011

Writing About Love

4 units Mon Wed
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Susan Weisser

Description

Rather than focus on one genre in their reading and writing, student writing in this course will be inspired by a theme: the nature and meanings of romantic love as both private feeling and social ideology. Love has assumed an enormously important place in Western culture in the last two centuries, shaping expectations of what the good life should be, as well as evoking anxiety about how to achieve the fulfillment of that dream. Students will try varied forms of writing about romance in our modern world, such as writing about their own emotions and experiences, literary analysis, cultural observation, and opinion. Accordingly, our texts will likewise be diverse: memoir, letters and diaries; sociological studies of gender and romance; cultural theory about dating; and not least, film and magazine articles. Classes will be devoted to analyzing the texts to elicit ideas for writing, intensive workshopping of drafts in student groups, and personal conferences with the instructor.

Notes

Session II: July 5-August 12.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and others.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1550 or CRWRI-UA 815 or CRWRI-UA 816 or CWRI-UA 820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1105 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Freelance Writing

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Lizzie Skurnick

Description

Successful freelancers know that their days are spent cultivating and shaping story ideas, tracking down sources, parsing one story idea into three, and pitching, pitching, pitching. But where does one begin? How can new writers break in if they don’t have any clips to show an editor? In this seminar, we will interrogate the art and business of freelance writing: what it takes to create a story, as well as what it takes to sell it. Writing assignments will include a variety of story types, including reviews, profiles, service stories, and personal essays, along with the all-important pitch letter. We will look to the masters of the craft (Susan Orlean, Michiko Kakutani, James Surowiecki, Katharine Boo, Elizabeth Kolbert, James Wood, Alex Ross, and more), and we will also discover reading in the real world of the newspapers and magazines students plan to solicit.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Thu
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer’s quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we’ll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We’ll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo–Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We’ll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one’s own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Fiction Writing

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1550

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore (and practice) various forms of fiction—short story, flash fiction, novel, and graphic novel—in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop their individual styles and voices and to make them aware of the various techniques available to them. Every aspect of the craft of writing fiction is examined: point of view, narrative voice, plot, tension, time, sequence, crisis, resolution, dialogue, symbolism, etc. Students are taught to look at texts from the unique perspective of a fellow writer and encouraged to become part of a community of writers where they will work with their peers in a safe, honest and considerate environment. Students will present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing. The workshop group and instructor provide a supportive audience that listens and responds to the work of each member. Students will be required to write either two short stories, or a short story and a chapter from a novel, or a short story and several pieces of flash fiction. The reading assignments will include selections from old and contemporary authors such as Chekhov, Joyce, Borges, Alice Munro, George Saunders, Edward P. Jones, Junot Diaz, Marjane Satrapi.

Notes

Students may take "Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1034 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Writing About Performance

4 units Mon
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Julie Malnig

Description

This writing seminar will train students to become critical viewers of performance and translate their "looking" into descriptive and analytical prose. Students will be introduced to a variety of critical strategies and approaches---from formalist to ethnographic to various forms of sociological and cultural criticism---to develop their interpretive skills. These analyses will help students discover how various performance mediums are constituted, how they "work," and how they create meaning for viewers. Assignments will include interviews, artists’ profiles, performance documentations, cultural reviews, and critical and/or theoretical analyses. Occasional group excursions to performances will be arranged, as well as class speakers. Some of the authors, essayists, and artists whose works we may read include: Susan Sontag; Michael Kirby; Edwin Denby; Deborah Jowitt; Joan Acocella; Joyce Carol Oates; Anna Deavere Smith; Spalding Gray; and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1336 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Writing Your Ancestry

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Nancy Agabian

Description

This workshop will give students the opportunity to practice elements of creative nonfiction through a multi-faceted approach to writing on ancestry and cultural heritage. The main goal will be a written exploration of the self to consider wider issues of history, community, identity, place, and family. The major assignments will be structured around various tasks: a personal essay will help to define themes and set scenes in the present; memoir writing will involve mining your memories of family to identify possible leads into the past; a reported piece will entail interviews of family members, historical research, and/or a visit to an ancestral site. These essays will be developed gradually with the help of shorter at-home assignments and in-class exercises on style, structure, and strategy. Revision will be built into the process, and we will read each other's work and give supportive feedback throughout the semester. Likely authors to be read and discussed for inspiration will include Ian Frazier, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Honor Moore, Lawrence Weschler, Sarah Vowell, Bliss Broyard, Brenda Lin, Tara Bray Smith, and D.J. Waldie.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1026 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Lives in Brief

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Christopher Bram

Description

"I can never get enough of knowing about other people's lives," said William Maxwell. People love to read biography in many forms: fat books, short obituaries, newspaper feature stories, and magazine profiles. This class will explore the writing of short biography, how you can capture the spirit and shape of a person's life in a few hundred words. We will read a variety of writers, from Sigrid Nunez and Oliver Sacks to Janet Malcolm and Lawrence Weschler, to discover tools and methods. Students will write (and rewrite) four assignments, ranging from short personal snapshots to detailed book reviews to an interview-derived essay. We will discuss research techniques and ethical issues.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one’s personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1560 or V39.0817 or V39.0830 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Poetry Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1301 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Advanced Creative Nonfiction

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Cris Beam

Description

This is a course for students with some experience in reporting, researching and writing nonfiction, who want to experiment in literary, long-form journalism. Students will choose a small culture or community on which to focus throughout the semester. We’ll start by writing one profile of a member of this community, developing interviewing skills, and learning about voice and point of view. We’ll also write a reflective piece on interrogating the ways we explore this community without exploiting, exoticizing or oversimplifying our sources. Then students will move on to one major work of literary feature-writing—the bulk of the semester’s work—which will be written in sections and go through several revisions. Borrowing the best tools from fiction writing—like charac-ter development, a strong arc, and engaging scenes—these features will be rich in narra-tive and as complex as the communities they portray. Students will learn advanced re-porting techniques, story organization and editing skills, and debate the ethical issues inherent to truth-gathering. Readings will likely include Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, Alex Kotlowitz, Leon Dash, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and Peter Hessler.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1300 or V39.0850 or permission of instructor (beamc@earthlink.net).

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1024 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Magazine Writing

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Taylor Antrim

Description

For more than a century the American print magazine has provided a distinct literary experience—timely subjects, a juxtaposition of text and image (still unmatched in digital media), a rich grab bag of styles and forms. In this seminar we’ll look at examples of reporting, profile writing, criticism and memoir from the pages of magazines past and present (from The Saturday Evening Post to Vogue to Vice ). How have magazines, and their distinctive design vocabulary, driven the national conversation? How do we understand "facts" in these publications? What roles do voice, point-of-view, character, dialogue, and plot—the traditional elements of fiction—play? Can criticism be the equal of art? Over the course of the semester students will be expected to generate long- and short-form magazine story ideas, to shape a magazine pitch and write and revise stories on deadline. Readings may include selections from the works of Mark Twain, H. L. Mencken, James Thurber, Martha Gellhorn, James Baldwin, Gay Talese, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Henry Louis Gates, Susan Orlean, David Foster Wallace, and George Saunders.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1309 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Writer in the City

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Kelly McMasters

Description

E. B. White appreciated New York City for the "gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy," qualities that are necessary for one’s writing to bloom. This perhaps explains why so many writers are drawn to the metropolis---this, along with the millions of stories that can be found simply by walking out the front door. Students will track this vibrant history of the relationship between New York and its writers, try out techniques of observation and voice, and explore the city in the spirit of the poets, novelists, and nonfiction writers we read in class. We will experiment with multiple genres, and assignments will be inspired by our readings, such as a walking-around poem like Frank O’Hara’s "The Day Lady Died" or a personal essay about a bus ride turned moral conundrum like James Agee’s "America, Look at Your Shame!" The goal will be a cohesive collection of pieces that illuminates a personal and distinct view of the city. Readings may include works by Joseph Mitchell, Joan Didon, Zora Neale Hurston, Luc Sante, Ezra Pound, Phillip Lopate, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Nicholas Christopher, and James Baldwin.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1522 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Thin Stories: Alternative Narrative Strategies

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Anthony Tognazzini

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1522

Description

This course will explore a strain of storytelling that might seem, at first glance, a little spindly. The texts under examination will feature extreme compression, elliptical structures, and conspicuous narrative absences, storytelling modes that stand in direct opposition to the larger scope, causal sequencing, and exposition-heavy style often found in conventional novels and short stories. In the class readings and their own original work, students will investigate fiction that proposes new formal approaches, incorporates strategies from poetry and other genres, and "minimizes" the traditional narrative arc by slicing it up in new ways. Texts will include Yasunari Kawabata’s Palm of the Hand Stories , Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red , Lydia Davis’s Almost No Memory , Joe Wenderoth’s Letters To Wendy’s and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities , among others. Ultimately, the class will be a kind of creative laboratory where students can craft experimental narrative forms, discovering their own “thin stories” and the rich, tricky possibilities therein.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1029 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

The Nonfiction Narrator

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Alex Halberstadt

Description

Much of the most exciting and influential postwar nonfiction—magazine writing as well as longer forms—has been marked by the emergence of a first-person narrator as a character and sometimes as a protagonist. It ushered in a newly lyrical and personal body of work, making the case for nonfiction as a full-fledged literary genre. In this class students will narrate their work from inside the story, trying their hand at first-person reporting, memoir, essay, cultural coverage. We will explore opportunities for enriching reporting with memoiristic writing and composing scenes, while learning to avoid preciousness and solipsism. We will also examine the way this technique changed the course of long-form journalism and nonfiction in readings from Michael Herr, Truman Capote, Wells Tower, Renata Adler, Dave Hickey, Geoff Dyer, James Baldwin and Eileen Myles.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1360 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

The Path of the Storyteller: Writing Children's Fiction

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Maryrose Wood

Description

From Charlotte’s Web to the Harry Potter series, the enduring works of children’s fiction epitomize the twin virtues that all classic novels share: a great story, beautifully told. Through reading and discussion of assigned texts, and in-class workshopping of the students’ own novels in progress, this class offers writers of fiction for the middle-grade reader (ages 8 through early adolescence) a solid foundation in the principles of storytelling and the tools of the writer’s craft. Through writing exercises and close reading of assigned books, we’ll examine character development, point of view, and other elements of fiction. We’ll improve the quality of our prose by learning to recognize common errors and revise our drafts into polished, finished works. Assigned readings are drawn from the best of children’s literature and trace the development of the form, from early 20th century classics (Tolkien’s The Hobbit ) to later novels by E. B. White, Madeleine L’Engle, and others. We’ll end by looking at work by contemporary writers such as Neil Gaiman, Louis Sachar and Thanha Lai.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1560

Description

In this workshop poets focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process and on Poetry as a two-headed tradition, having an Oral Tradition and a Written Tradition. A brief review covers some of poetry's history including metric and syllabic measures of writing from the Anglo-Saxon to modern free verse. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle serves as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression.

Notes

Students may take The Art and Craft of Poetry two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1026 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Lives in Brief

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Christopher Bram

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1026

Description

"I can never get enough of knowing about other people's lives," said William Maxwell. People love to read biography in many forms: fat books, short obituaries, newspaper feature stories, and magazine profiles. This class will explore the writing of short biography, how you can capture the spirit and shape of a person's life in a few hundred words. We will read a variety of writers, from Sigrid Nunez and Oliver Sacks to Janet Malcolm and Lawrence Weschler, to discover tools and methods. Students will write (and rewrite) four assignments, ranging from short personal snapshots to detailed book reviews to an interview-derived essay. We will discuss research techniques and ethical issues.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1301 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Advanced Creative Nonfiction

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Elyssa East

Description

This is a course for students with some experience in reporting, researching and writing nonfiction, who want to experiment in literary, long-form journalism. Students choose a small culture or community on which to focus throughout the semester. We’ll start by writing one profile of a member of this community, developing interviewing skills, and learning about voice and point of view. We’ll also write a reflective piece on interrogating the ways we explore this community without exploiting, exoticizing or oversimplifying our sources. Then students move on to one major work of literary feature-writing—the bulk of the semester’s work—which is written in sections and go through several revisions. Borrowing the best tools from fiction writing—like character development, a strong arc, and engaging scenes—these features will be rich in narrative and as complex as the communities they portray. Students learn advanced re-porting techniques, story organization and editing skills, and debate the ethical issues inherent to truth-gathering. Readings likely include Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, Alex Kotlowitz, Leon Dash, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and Peter Hessler.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1300 or CRWRI-UA 825, CRWRI-UA 850 or permission of instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1360 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Path of the Storyteller: Writing Children's Fiction

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Maryrose Wood

Description

From Charlotte’s Web to the Harry Potter series, the enduring works of children’s fiction epitomize the twin virtues that all classic novels share: a great story, beautifully told. Through reading and discussion of assigned texts, and in-class workshopping of the students’ own novels in progress, this class offers writers of fiction for the middle-grade reader (ages 8 through early adolescence) a solid foundation in the principles of storytelling and the tools of the writer’s craft. Through writing exercises and close reading of assigned books, we’ll examine character development, point of view, and other elements of fiction. We’ll improve the quality of our prose by learning to recognize common errors and revise our drafts into polished, finished works. Assigned readings are drawn from the best of children’s literature and trace the development of the form, from early 20th century classics (Tolkien’s The Hobbit ) to later novels by E. B. White, Madeleine L’Engle, and others. We’ll end by looking at work by contemporary writers such as Neil Gaiman, Louis Sachar and Thanha Lai.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1555

Description

The aim of this class is to present the (mostly) verifiable, repeatable, teachable, learnable and nearly non-negotiable elements—scene, summary, evoking of the senses, want, choice, et cetera—of the theory of story that repeatedly wake a want in the reader to reach for the next page. The Scientific Method is our model, and we use published narratives—from The New Yorker, Zoetrope, others—for field observation, vivisection, analysis. The idea is to help you begin to acquire the tools of narrative—through systematic measurement, experiment, modification of hypotheses—necessary to resist reader indifference. Students turn in three drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. Critiques are rigorous but constructive: no nastiness allowed.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1550 or CRWRI-UA 815 or CRWRI-UA 816 or CRWRI-UA 820 or permission of instructor. Students may take Advanced Fiction Writing two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1024 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Magazine Writing

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Taylor Antrim

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1024

Description

For more than a century the American print magazine has provided a distinct literary experience—timely subjects, a juxtaposition of text and image, a rich grab bag of styles and forms. In this seminar we’ll look at examples of reporting, profile writing, criticism and memoir from the pages of magazines past and present (from The Saturday Evening Post to Vogue to Vice ). How have magazines, and their distinctive design vocabulary, driven the national conversation? How do we understand "facts" in these publications? What roles do voice, point-of-view, character, dialogue, and plot—the traditional elements of fiction—play? Can criticism be the equal of art? Over the course of the semester students will be expected to generate long- and short-form magazine story ideas, to shape a magazine pitch and write and revise stories on deadline. Readings may include selections from the works of Stephen Crane, Morris Markey, James Thurber, John Hersey, Lillian Ross, James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Herr, Martin Amis, Gay Talese, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Michael Lewis, Denis Johnson, and Janet Malcolm.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1555

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn’t when it doesn’t. We attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success—obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students—and the teacher—will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques are rigorous but constructive: no nastiness allowed. We also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1550 or CRWRI-UA 815 or CRWRI-UA 816 or CRWRI-UA 820 or permission of instructor. Students may take Advanced Fiction Writing two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1250 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Creating a Magazine: A Multimedia Approach

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Molly Kleiman

Description

This pair of collaborative courses will enact Gallatin’s multidisciplinary, self-directed approach to learning, as students explore the potential of magazines as catalysts, cultural barometers, alternative communities, and forums for debate and new ideas. Through the discussion of critical texts about the history of publication, the analysis of various historical and contemporary magazines, and the development of new publications, students will learn to communicate ideas through design, editorial, and medium-specific approaches; analyze and question the features of the codex, the page, and the screen; and play with how these features affect how we read and perceive art. In the advanced writing course, students will concentrate on writing and editing for multiple platforms. In the arts workshop, students will focus on print media and design. In addition, students in both classes will have the opportunity to commission and edit both written text and art works from one another. Class meets once per week, with sessions split between discussions with designated professor and collaborative lab sessions with both classes and both professors. Lab sessions will be devoted to the conception, development, and production of publications that will each include a 32-page print prototype and new media elements. Lab days will also enable students to meet with guest speakers from the worlds of publishing and design; and go on field trips to the offices of contemporary experimental magazines and relevant institutions and archives.

Notes

Please note this course meets frequently with ARTS-UG 1653 so that students may conceive, develop, and produce print and new media publications together.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1536

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer focuses their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1329 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writing the Fragment

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

This writing seminar will explore the fragment as a literary genre and as a modality for literary production. Our engagement with the fragment will focus on interruption as a force for generating writing, a dynamic that leaves in its wake literary debris to be collected and recouped. Revisiting our own literary scenes of destruction we will develop a writing technique based on bricolage. Using the writing workshop as a literary archeological dig we will learn to recognize our usable fragments, to reconfigure and recontextualize them into revitalized works. (Students will bring fragments from their own work to the project.) We will look at some famous literary fragments such as the classic “Anaximander Fragment” and the remains of Sappho’s odes on love. Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” Eliot’s “Wasteland,” Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” and selections from Benjamin’s monumental bricolage-work will figure in our itinerary among the ruins. Theoretical writings may include Said's “Beginnings” and Blanchot's “Writing the Disaster.” Students will revisit and redeploy their own literary fragments and will also work within the genre of the “intentional fragment.”

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1059 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Issues in Urban Journalism: New York City and the News

4 units
Section 002
Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Lauren Walsh

Description

This course in “urban journalism” explores some of the ways that our city is represented in the media, primarily in print and photography. We read about the journalistic coverage of diverse people and events around New York City, examining hot-button issues surrounding race and class, and considering ways in which crime is covered in the news. Our focus on photojournalism, meanwhile, investigates intricacies and even controversies of photographic representation as we also visit and report on some of the city’s visual offerings, be they formal installations, cultural events, or impromptu art. Throughout, we direct our attention to such concerns as the mediatized representation of others, journalistic ethics, and the politics of what kinds of news stories sell papers. Guest speakers may include NYC journalists, and city-based excursions are an important part of this seminar. Our readings derive from a number of disciplines (urban studies, sociology, journalism), and authors may include Joan Didion, Henri Lefebvre and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as news articles from NYC papers and reflections by seasoned journalists, such as David Krajicek of the Daily News. This course does not teach how to be a reporter; rather, with the emphasis on critical reading, students learn to assess others’ journalistic output and to understand how that journalistic work both informs and is informed by its social and political contexts. Students write reaction pieces and academic papers, give presentations, and create a photojournalism project on a subject of their choice.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1303 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writing Nonfiction on Social Change

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Nancy Agabian

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1303

Description

In this course, we’ll examine nonfiction from times of conflict and crisis to help us write essays and critiques in which we witness, report, advocate, question, and/or desire change in our own era. To provide inspiration, we’ll read essays on 9/11 and its aftermath, Occupy Wall Street, the recent events in Ferguson MO, and other issues. We'll read authors such as Ta-Nahesi Coates, John D’Agata, Edwidge Danticat, Carolyn Forche, Roxane Gay, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Kiese Laymon, Arundhati Roy, and Lawrence Weschler, to study their use of formal tools such as narration, observation, analysis, reflection, and argument in exploring avenues of change in the world around them. How do writers bring a personal voice to writing a political essay? And how do reporters balance opinion and research to show the need for change? These questions are considered as you write 1) an essay centered on an issue that you care about, and 2) a report that you write from observation about a social or political movement. Finally, writing an argument or advocacy piece on a public debate allows you to incorporate many of the lessons from the semester. Revision is part of our process, guided by peer reviews.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1549 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writers as Shapers: Strategies for Sculpting the Story

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Meera Nair

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1549

Description

A piece of fiction can be constructed in an unlimited number of ways and this course seeks to explore the formal possibilities available to us. We will study the choices we can make as writers—of narrative point of view, characterization, beginnings, dialogue, scene, summary, pacing, plot and resolutions. We will isolate and inspect strategies that published authors have used, even as students produce and workshop their own fiction from exercises. In this conversation between student writing and the studied literature we will hopefully get a greater sense of writers as sculptors of the raw material of story. Possible texts: Mishima, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Charles Baxter, C.J. Hribal, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Alice Munroe, Jhumpa Lahiri.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1370 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writing About Love

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Susan Weisser

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1370

Description

Rather than focus on one genre in their reading and writing, student writing in this course will be inspired by a theme: the nature and meanings of romantic love as both private feeling and social ideology. Love has assumed an enormously important place in Western culture in the last two centuries, shaping expectations of what the good life should be, as well as evoking anxiety about how to achieve the fulfillment of that dream. Students may try varied forms of writing about romance in our modern world, including writing about their own emotions and experiences, literary analysis, cultural observation, and opinion. Accordingly, our texts will likewise be diverse, and may include memoir, letters and diaries; philosophy; pop culture; sociological studies of gender and romance; and cultural theory about dating. You will have a great deal of choice as to the type of writing you would like to do, but out of five pieces, at least one non-fiction essay and one creative piece will be required. Classes will be devoted to responding to the texts to inspire ideas for writing, intensive workshopping of drafts in student groups, and personal conferences with the instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1024 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Magazine Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Alex Halberstadt

Description

The most ambitious of the postwar American journalism to appear in magazines like The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire and The New York Review of Books gave rise to a new and distinctly indigenous documentary literature, with its own possibilities and poetics. In this class we explore how this body of work redrew the formal boundaries of longform reporting, the profile, the essay, personal history and cultural criticism. We consider the emergence of the narrator as a character, the uses of rhetoric, approaches to the sentence, tone, rhythm, and structure, as well as questions of veracity and credibility. Students try their hand at these forms while responding to readings that include James Baldwin, Ian Frazier, Joseph Mitchell, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Donald Antrim, Janet Malcolm, Alma Guillermoprieto, George W.S. Trow, Lester Bangs, Wells Tower, Fran Leibowitz, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Lillian Ross, Adam Gopnik, John Jeremiah Sullivan and Richard Rodriguez.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1549 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
WI 2015

Writers as Shapers: Strategies for Sculpting the Story

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Meera Nair

Description

A piece of fiction can be constructed in an unlimited number of ways and this course seeks to explore the formal possibilities available to us. We will study the choices we can make as writers—of narrative point of view, characterization, beginnings, dialogue, scene, summary, pacing, plot and resolutions. We will isolate and inspect strategies that published authors have used, even as students produce and workshop their own fiction from exercises. In this conversation between student writing and the studied literature we will hopefully get a greater sense of writers as sculptors of the raw material of story. Possible texts: Mishima, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Charles Baxter, C.J. Hribal, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Alice Munroe, Jhumpa Lahiri.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1316 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2009

Telling Truths: The Skill of Autobiography

4 units Tue Thu
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Description

How can one tell the "truth" about one's life in narrative form? In this course we will explore the pleasures and dangers of telling stories about our lives through writing autobiographical essays, as well as through reading the autobiographies of selected others. Readings may include texts by Janet Frame, Nancy Mairs, Mary Karr, and David Sedaris. We will analyze the way in which self-narrative is constructed from the tangled materials of real life, how we read and understand the life writing of others, and how others' stories can influence our own. Topics include authenticity, memory, identity, voice, point of view, and relationships.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2009

The Journal in the City

4 units Tue Thu
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our "New York City Journals."

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class teaches students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft are discussed. Emphasis is placed on developing and strengthening one’s personal style and voice. Through workshopping, students further refine their critical abilities as poets and readers. The class includes exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1560 or CRWRI-UA 817 or CRWRI-UA 830 or permission of instructor. Students may take Advanced Poetry Writing two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1042 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Pop Culture Criticism

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Amanda Petrusich

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1042

Description

In an era where criticism has been democratized and art is often judged exclusively by the amount of chatter it incites, the role of the professional critic is changing (and fast – these days, even reviews are subject to reviews). In this advanced writing workshop, we’ll explore the best, most effective ways for writers to engage critically with pop culture. Should critical writing be personal or objective? Is it more important to contextualize or describe? Given the overwhelming deluge of options facing media consumers, is the critic’s job merely to direct the conversation? Students submit four original pieces of criticism for workshop; readings may include works by Emily Nussbaum, A.O. Scott, Ellen Willis, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1524 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Five x Five: Contemporary Masters of Short Fiction

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Anthony Tognazzini

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1524

Description

Students in this writing-intensive class will engage in a close study of short fiction by reading five contemporary masters of the form: Donald Barthelme, Amy Hempel, Barry Hannah, Lydia Davis, and George Saunders. In Barthelme and Davis, students will be exposed to a shifting kaleidoscope of forms, in Hempel they’ll see conventional dramatic material reworked via elliptical design and redaction, in Saunders a unique approach to satire, cultural critique, and social engagement, and in Hannah a fresh take on Southern storytelling traditions. In examining the range of voices, techniques, and formal strategies these authors employ, and by experimenting with some of these same approaches in their own fiction, students will expand their understanding of the diversity, vitality, and possibility available to today’s short story writer. The class will feature close readings, discussion, group work, in-class exercises, formal assignments, and workshop.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1505 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writing Short Comedy

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
D.B. Gilles

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1505

Description

This course introduces students to writing short humor, including political satire (The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Real Time With Bill Maher), sketch humor (Saturday Night Live and in the tradition of Kids In The Hall, Mad TV, Upright Citizens Brigade), monologues (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel), observational humor (stand-up comedy), parody (essays, think pieces, video, YouTube). Students learn the difference between a sketch and a bit, how to create memorable original characters, where to find humor. Students experiment with writing a different specific piece each week, possibly including a parody of a TV commercial, fake news stories à la The Onion, Jimmy Fallon Thank You Notes, monologue jokes for talk-show hosts, humorous short films for Funny Or Die, and a humorous Op-Ed piece for The New York Times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore (and practice) various forms of fiction in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop their individual styles and voices and to make them aware of the various techniques available to them. We will examine every aspect of the craft of traditional fiction writing: plot, structure, point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, building of individual scenes, etc as well as the new techniques of the digital age: hypertext, self-editing text, visual and audio images, animation. Students will present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing. Students will be required to write either two short stories, or a short story and a chapter from a novel, or a short story and several pieces of flash fiction. The reading assignments will include selections from old and contemporary authors such as Chekhov, Borges, Nabokov, Alice Munro, Annie Proulx, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan.

Notes

Students may take "Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1546 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Content is Key: Editing Short Fiction

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Steven Rinehart

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1546

Description

This class explores the hard decision-making involved in fiction, and attempts to give the students tools for deciding which content belongs in a story and which needs to be put aside for later use, or discarded altogether. We look at ways to discover what the first and second drafts are about, and which parts of the story add to that idea and which detract. We also hold a traditional workshop, discussing student stories in a roundtable session.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1328 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Writing the Double

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

Maurice Blanchot observed, “When I am alone, someone is there.” In this writing course, we will get acquainted with the "someone" who haunts (and sometimes sabotages) the scene of writing, the “Writing-I” who always participates in our “solo act” of writing. Writing from the place of the double, in subjective genres (the memoir, the letter, the confessional poem, the interior monologue), we will experience and analyze the writer's “double bind.” We will also observe the “split-subject” in some well-known “double-writers” such as Rilke ( Malte: Journal of My Other Self ), Borges ( Borges & I ), Kafka ( The Metamorphosis ), Conrad ( The Secret Sharer ), and Wilde ( The Picture of Dorian Gray ). In a workshop format, students will work with a “double,” writing and discussing a number of “doppelgänger” pieces, and will have the opportunity to develop a substantial work of fictional duplicity over the course of the semester. As our guides to the topography of the double, we will consult theorists such as Blanchot himself, Kristeva (the split subject), Freud (the Narcissus complex), Lacan (the mirror stage) and Jung (the Shadow), and we will not avoid Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2010

The Journal in the City

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our "New York City Journals."

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2010

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Steven Rinehart

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1331 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2010

The Voyage: Writing About Travel

4 units

Description

Beginning with readings of contemporary travel writers, we will move backwards in history to explore the theme of the voyage in literature, and at the same time write about our own journeys past and present. This course will explore travel accounts, novels, poems, stories, and plays by authors from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and North America. We will ask how modern works permit us to reinterpret acknowledged classics, and better understand the encounter between self and other. Our discussions of the rhythms of departure, progression, arrival, and return in texts from different times and cultures will form the basis of our writing about the voyage. Readings may include works by Peter Matthiesen, Toni Morrison, Pablo Neruda, Basho, Shakespeare, and Homer, as well as brief selections by Pico Iyer, Elizabeth Bishop, Jorge Luis Borges, Edith Wharton, Arthur Rimbaud, and Friedrich Hölderlin. Students may write in various genres, both critical and creative.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1070 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Writing About Film

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Christopher Bram

Description

Writing about movies is more than just issuing thumbs-up, thumbs-down judgments. In this class you will learn how to discuss a film’s content, style, and meaning in ways that can interest even people who disagree with you. You will explore some of the many different ways there are to write about cinema, expanding your command of words by reading such critics as James Agee, Pauline Kael, James Baldwin, Molly Haskell, and others. Students will write (and rewrite) five papers ranging from brief movie reviews to a final eight-to-ten page essay.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1540 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Reading and Writing the Short Story

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Description

This short story workshop is designed for the writer who believes that there is as much to be learned from reading the works of others as from writing their own stories. We will devote a portion of each class to discussions of master stories, as well as to careful readings and discussions of stories by the members of the workshop. Exercises will be assigned each week as a way of developing and reinforcing each writer’s relationship to literary craft. Each writer will also present her or his own stories in class. Workshop members are required to participate actively in classroom critiques.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units
Section 002
Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1430 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Literary Translation

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Idra Novey

Description

This course will introduce students to the craft of literary translation and the many ways it can help them become better writers. Students will work individually and together to choose authors not yet known in English whose work strikes the students as exciting and innovative. We will discuss how the process of choosing an author and bringing that author’s work into English is a way to explore what makes a piece of writing distinctive. We will talk about translating tone, humor and innuendo and explore how students might experiment with these aspects in their own work. Over the course of the semester, we’ll workshop translations together with original writing and also look at the work of various leading writer-translators like Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, and Charles Simic and discuss the connections between the authors these writers have translated and the innovations in their own prose and poetry.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1526 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

The Monster Under Your Story: Exploring the Possibilities of Genre

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM

Description

From the Gothic mansions of Poe to the gleaming hovercrafts of Gibson, genre fiction is often a craft of extremes: extreme imagination, extreme emotion. Do the trappings of "literary fiction" sometimes feel constraining to you as a writer? Do the settings feel too familiar, the conventions too tame for the story you want to tell? Could your story use a cowboy? A flesh-eating zombie? In this course, students will examine and write in different genres, from mystery to science fiction, western to horror. While the course will include close, textual readings of works by authors such as Stephen King, Kelly Link, Ursula K. Le Guin, Koji Suzuki, Walter Mosley, Karen Russell, Elmore Leonard, and Max Brooks, the majority of each class will be spent workshopping student fiction.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and others.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer will focus their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students will take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1026 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Lives in Brief

4 units Mon Wed
7:45 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

This course provides grounding in how to create short, compelling biographies of intriguing people. We will explore the form by reading examples drawn from classical and contemporary literature, discuss research methods including the use of archival sources and interviews, and investigate the techniques of various writers. Students will write two short papers and one long one using different approaches to biography, including one based on interviews. Readings include Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey, The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm, Footsteps by Richard Holmes, and profiles by Lawrence Weschler, Susan Orlean, and others.

Notes

SNY

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1045 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Writing Race in Contemporary America

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Description

In contemporary America, we have a multicultural and racially diversified population; our national image is no longer dominated by people of European descent. This is easily evidenced in our mass media and in the last U.S.Census Report where the statistics demonstrate that our African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and "Other" populations are rapidly growing and developing. We are interbreeding, intermarrying, interracial, and interlocked. In this writing course, we will increase awareness of the phenomenon of our multicultural identities by writing personal essays, biographies, and autobiographies. We will focus on exploring our own racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as exploring this theme in readings and in a variety of films. Readings include Race and Remembrance: A Memoir by Arthur L. Johnson and Brown: The Last Discovery of America by Richard Rodriguez.

Notes

SNY

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1549 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Writers as Shapers: Strategies for Sculpting the Story

4 units Fri
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Description

A piece of fiction can be constructed in an unlimited number of ways and each week we will explore the formal possibilities that are available to us. We will study the choices we can make as writers—of narrative point of view, beginnings, resolutions, dialogue, description, pacing, plot and character development. We will isolate and inspect strategies that published authors have used. Students will produce and workshop their own fiction from exercises. In the conversation between student writing and the studied literature there will hopefully be a greater sense of writers as shapers, sculptors of the raw material of story. Readings: Mishima, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Charles Baxter, C.J. Hribal, Carver, Flannery O'Connor, Isaac Babel, George Saunders, James Joyce and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1026 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Lives in Brief

4 units Fri
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Christopher Bram

Description

This course provides grounding in how to create short, compelling biographies of intriguing people. We will explore the form by reading examples drawn from classical and contemporary literature, discuss research methods including the use of archival sources and interviews, and investigate the techniques of various writers. Students will write two short papers and one long one using different approaches to biography, including one based on interviews. Readings include Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey, The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm, Footsteps by Richard Holmes, and profiles by Lawrence Weschler, Susan Orlean, and others.

Notes

SNY

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1350 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Writing for Young Readers

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
June Foley

Description

This course guides students in writing fiction for readers age ten through adolescence. While writing, workshopping, and revising, students consider both theoretical and practical issues of writing for young people. We explore the history of children's literature and examine the academic journal Children's Literature, the newsletter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the American Library Association's Newbery Awards and various bestseller lists. Each student presents an analysis of a favorite book. Texts we read and analyze as models will likely include such "contemporary classics" for younger readers as Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik, Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice, Walter Dean Myers's Monster, and Francesa Lia Block's Weetzie Bat; and recent works that are both popular and critically acclaimed, such as Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. We may attend a reading by a writer or editor of fiction for young readers; a writer and/or a publishing professional will be our guest speaker.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1526 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

The Monster Under Your Story: Exploring the Possibilities of Genre

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM

Description

From the Gothic mansions of Poe to the gleaming hovercrafts of Gibson, genre fiction is often a craft of extremes: extreme imagination, extreme emotion. Do the trappings of "literary fiction" sometimes feel constraining to you as a writer? Do the settings feel too familiar, the conventions too tame for the story you want to tell? Could your story use a cowboy? A flesh-eating zombie? In this course, students will examine and write in different genres, from mystery to science fiction, western to horror. While the course will include close, textual readings of works by authors such as Stephen King, Kelly Link, Ursula K. Le Guin, Koji Suzuki, Walter Mosley, Karen Russell, Elmore Leonard, and Max Brooks, the majority of each class will be spent workshopping student fiction.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1330 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Writing on Borderlines

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

This course will examine "borderline cases," those types of writing that balance precariously between one genre and another, for example, between fiction and non-fiction. We will look into such literary hybrids as the prose poem (Baudelaire et al.); journalistic-fiction (J. Barnes, Didion, D.F. Wallace); fictional journals (Rilke, Nin); such literary imposters as the faux-autobiography (Stein/Toklas), the discovered manuscript (Borges) and the imaginary portrait (Pater). We will attempt to distinguish and work with what Virginia Woolf calls (in her essay on biography) the truth of fact and the truth of fiction. Students will have the opportunity to engage in various borderline writing exercises and to bring one original borderline case to conclusion by the end of the course.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1307 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Finding a Voice: The Personal Essay

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Robert Huddleston

Description

In this course we will consider the personal essay as an art of narrative, a mode of storytelling that gives rise to questions about both the nature of writing and of factual reporting. How does narrative arise from observation and reportage? What sort of warrant as to strict truthfulness should the reader expect from the essayist? To what extent ought the writer's viewpoint be grounded in the voice of personal reflection, the "I," and to what degree does even that commitment shade into fiction? Reading and writing essays on subjects that range from the mundane to the autobiographical to political, literary critical, and philosophical meditations, we will consider how writers tell nonfictional stories about themselves and others by selecting certain events and images, how writers use their writing to come to self-awareness, and how writers may cover up or omit important facts in the construction of a literary persona. Readings may include selections from works by such authors as Samuel Johnson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Virginia Woolf, Junichiro Tanizaki, Walter Benjamin, C. G. Jung, Janet Malcolm, Jorge Luis Borges, Wole Soyinka, Mary McCarthy, James Baldwin, Joan Didion and Alice Walker.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1336 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Writing Your Ancestry

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Nancy Agabian

Description

This workshop will give students the opportunity to practice elements of creative nonfiction through a multi-faceted approach to writing on ancestry and cultural heritage. The main goal will be a written exploration of the self to consider wider issues of history, community, identity, place, and family. The major assignments will be structured around various tasks: a personal essay will help to define themes and set scenes in the present; memoir writing will involve mining your memories of family to identify possible leads into the past; a reported piece will entail interviews of family members, historical research, and/or a visit to an ancestral site. These essays will be developed gradually with the help of shorter at-home assignments and in-class exercises on style, structure, and strategy. Revision will be built into the process, and we will read each other's work and give supportive feedback throughout the semester. Likely authors to be read and discussed for inspiration will include Ian Frazier, Honor Moore, Lawrence Weschler, Sarah Vowell, Bliss Broyard, Brenda Lin, Tara Bray Smith, and D.J. Waldie.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one's personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1560 or V39.0817 or V39.0830 or permission of the instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1336 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Writing Your Ancestry

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

Description

This workshop will give students the opportunity to practice elements of creative nonfiction through a multi-faceted approach to writing on ancestry and cultural heritage. The main goal will be a written exploration of the self to consider wider issues of history, community, identity, place, and family. The major assignments will be structured around various tasks: a personal essay will help to define themes and set scenes in the present; memoir writing will involve mining your memories of family to identify possible leads into the past; a reported piece will entail interviews of family members, historical research, and/or a visit to an ancestral site. These essays will be developed gradually with the help of shorter at-home assignments and in-class exercises on style, structure, and strategy. Revision will be built into the process, and we will read each other's work and give supportive feedback throughout the semester. Likely authors to be read and discussed for inspiration will include Ian Frazier, Honor Moore, Lawrence Weschler, Sarah Vowell, Bliss Broyard, Brenda Lin, Tara Bray Smith, and D.J. Waldie.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer's quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we'll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We'll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo—Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We'll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one's own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one's personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1560 or V39.0817 or V39.0830 or permission of the instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2009

Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2009

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units
Section 002
Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Stacy Pies

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2009

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2009

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Dave King

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Fiction Writing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore (and practice) various forms of fiction—short story, flash fiction, novel, and graphic novel—in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop their individual styles and voices and to make them aware of the various techniques available to them. Every aspect of the craft of writing fiction is examined: point of view, narrative voice, plot, tension, time, sequence, crisis, resolution, dialogue, symbolism, etc. Students are taught to look at texts from the unique perspective of a fellow writer and encouraged to become part of a community of writers where they will work with their peers in a safe, honest and considerate environment. Students will present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing. The workshop group and instructor provide a supportive audience that listens and responds to the work of each member. Students will be required to write either two short stories, or a short story and a chapter from a novel, or a short story and several pieces of flash fiction. The reading assignments will include selections from old and contemporary authors such as Chekhov, Joyce, Borges, Alice Munro, George Saunders, Edward P. Jones, Junot Diaz, Marjane Satrapi.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Dave King

Description

Good writing often depends on the balance of concrete and abstract, and this workshop course will likewise balance inquiries into fiction’s grander theoretical questions with more mechanical considerations, such as how to apply dialogue, insert flashback material, and so on. Assignments will include outside essays and stories as well as occasional short exercises, but our true focus will be on student writing. Participants will be asked to read each others’ work rigorously, with an eye to precision and plausibility, but also with the generous understanding that fiction itself has many goals, and that the colleague across the table may be on to something ingenious and inspired, even while the work itself is still in development.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1537 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Crafting Short Fiction from the Sentence Up

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Steven Rinehart

Description

This class explores the craft of writing, starting with the sentence and ending with the scene. Half of each class is devoted to craft exercises and the remaining half to a traditional workshop approach to discussing student submissions. By the end of the semester we’ll be able to talk intelligently about some of the “micro” parts of a short story or novel, giving the students some practical tools for editing those parts.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1105 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Freelance Writing

4 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Kelly McMasters

Description

Successful freelancers know that their days are spent cultivating and shaping story ideas, tracking down sources, parsing one story idea into three, and pitching, pitching, pitching. But where does one begin? How can new writers break in if they don’t have any clips to show an editor? In this seminar, we will interrogate the art and business of freelance writing: what it takes to create a story, as well as what it takes to sell it. Writing assignments will include a variety of story types, including reviews, profiles, service stories, and personal essays, along with the all-important pitch letter. We will look to the masters of the craft (Susan Orlean, Michiko Kakutani, James Surowiecki, Katharine Boo, Elizabeth Kolbert, James Wood, Alex Ross, and more), and we will also discover reading in the real world of the newspapers and magazines students plan to solicit.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1039 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Writing About Popular Music

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Amanda Petrusich

Description

Effective music criticism—criticism that places a song or album within the appropriate social, political, personal, and aesthetic contexts—can be as enthralling and moving as the music it engages. In this course, we will explore different ways of writing about music, from the record review to the personal essay. We’ll consider the evolving tradition of pop music criticism (How are MP3 blogs and Web sites challenging print media? How is the critic’s role changing?) and the mysterious practice of translating sound into ideas (How do we train ourselves to be better and more thoughtful listeners?). Through reading, writing, and class discussion, we’ll contemplate the mysterious circuitry that causes people to embrace (or require) music—from Bob Dylan to Lil’ Wayne —and how best to explore that connection on the page. Readings will include Joan Didion, Lester Bangs, Sasha Frere-Jones, Robert Christgau, Nick Tosches, Peter Guralnick, Ann Powers, Simon Reynolds, Chuck Klosterman, Ellen Willis, Jeff Chang, Nelson George, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1321 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Travel Writing

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Susan Brownmiller

Description

A sense of place, dialogue and dialect, the creation of a narrative through a sequence of anecdotes: these are some of the particular demands in travel writing. Students will be required to take a few short trips in the New York area in order to experience an ethnic neighborhood or a cultural milieu that is not familiar to them. When writing their pieces they will practice the literary skills that convey adventure and sensory impressions while incorporating a fair amount of factual information and historical background. They will look for the unique, revealing detail, and learn to exploit the value of the unexpected encounter. They will discover that there are many ways to write about a journey, and many different reasons to read a travel story. Writings of professionals we study in this class include excerpts from Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar ; Alexandra Fuller, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight ; Dervla Murphy, Full Tilt ; Rory Stewart, The Places in Between ; and some magazine pieces.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1341 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Oral Narratives: Stories and Their Variations

4 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Suzanne Snider

Description

In this workshop, we’ll embrace oral history as both methodology and genre, seizing upon narrative discrepancies as oral history opportunities. Considering texts such as Voices from Chernobyl and Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me , we’ll explore how oral history can help us approach complex subjects and historic events, particularly those stories containing conflicting accounts. As part of this discussion, we’ll examine the elastic nature of memory, and the distinctions between individual memory and collective memory. We will challenge ourselves to reflect divergent viewpoints in our nonfiction writing, borrowing the lessons of conventional, as well as more overtly experimental nonfiction to accomplish this. How do we chronicle stories that do not conform to narrative convention? How can we retain conflicting accounts within our chronicle, rather than synthesizing them into one account? Students will read newspapers daily, looking for missing stories and missing voices. These omissions will serve as the inspiration for weekly interviews and writing projects. The work of writers and documentarians such as Mary Ellen Mark, Luc Sante, Anna Deveare Smith, Moises Kaufman, and Alex Haley will be included in our coursework.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer’s quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we’ll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We’ll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo–Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We’ll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one’s own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1339 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Ripped from the Headlines: Current Events in Fiction

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Taylor Antrim

Description

In 1961 Philip Roth wrote: "the American writer…has his hands full in trying to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality." Is he right? Can a literary imagination encompass its social and political moment? Does it thereby lose its hold on universal truths? Or is there a perspec-tive on and insight into current events only fiction can offer? We'll consider these and other questions through readings of novels and short stories that depict their contemporary political and cultural events. We'll pay particular attention to the ways these writers borrow, subvert, or reinvent journalistic (or "new" journalistic) techniques. Students will be expected to produce several written exercises, as well as two longer fictional pieces (short stories or novel chapters) that take current events as a starting point for narrative. These will be discussed through in-class workshops. Readings may include John Updike's Rabbit Redux , Joan Didion's Democracy , Don Delillo's Mao II , John Edgar Wideman's Philadelphia Fire , Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation , and Tao Lin's Shoplifting from American Apparel.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1505 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Writing Short Comedy

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
D.B. Gilles

Description

This course introduces students to writing short humor, including political satire ( The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Bill Maher ), sketch humor ( Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, Upright Citizens Brigade ), monologues (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel), observational humor (stand-up comedy), parody (essays, think pieces, video, YouTube) and improvisation. Students will learn the difference between a sketch and a bit, how to create memorable original characters, how to write a joke from premise to payoff and where to find humor. Students will experiment with writing a different specific piece each week, possibly including a parody of a TV commercial, fake news stories à la The Onion , a Letterman Top 10 list, monologue jokes for a talk-show host, humorous short films for Funny Or Die , and a humorous Op-Ed piece for The New York Times .

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1317 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Only Connect: Strategies for Writing

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Ed Park

Description

The late W.G. Sebald perfected a sublime art of connection—teasing out associations between ancient snapshots, newspaper clippings, and the words of others. His elegantly haunting books (which blurred novel, history, and memoir) couldn’t be more different from the typical posts that proliferate in the so-called blogosphere. Yet Internet writing, with its hyperlinks and screen-grabs, calls upon a magpie instinct that Sebald and other illustrious writers would instantly recognize. This course takes students on a tour of writing methods old and new, imparting a ravenous approach to composition useful for work in any genre: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the borderlands of our virtual reality. Classes will focus on the use of images in text, the cento, the footnote, the double-jointed review, and more. Writing will include frequent in-class experiments and several longer assignments. Students will read works by Nicholson Baker, Alison Bechdel, Harry Stephen Keeler, Raymond Queneau, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Fiction Writing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 AM

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer will focus their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students will take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer's quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we'll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We'll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo—Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We'll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one's own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one's personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1560 or V39.0817 or V39.0830 or permission of the instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1026 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Lives in Brief

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM

Description

This course provides grounding in how to create short, compelling biographies of intriguing people. We will explore the form by reading examples drawn from classical and contemporary literature, discuss research methods including the use of archival sources and interviews, and investigate the techniques of various writers. Students will write two short papers and one long one using different approaches to biography, including one based on interviews. Readings include Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey, The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm, Footsteps by Richard Holmes, and profiles by Lawrence Weschler, Susan Orlean, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 AM

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and others.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1316 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2007

Telling Truths: The Skill of Autobiography

4 units

Description

How can one tell the "truth" about one's life in narrative form? In this course we will explore the pleasures and dangers of telling stories about our lives through writing autobiographical essays, as well as through reading the autobiographies of selected others. Readings may include texts by Janet Frame, Nancy Mairs, Mary Karr, and David Sedaris. We will analyze the way in which self-narrative is constructed from the tangled materials of real life, how we read and understand the life writing of others, and how others' stories can influence our own. Topics include authenticity, memory, identity, voice, point of view, and relationships.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2007

The Journal in the City

4 units

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our "New York City Journals."

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2007

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and others.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2007

Fiction Writing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1330 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2007

Writing on Borderlines

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM

Description

This course will examine "borderline cases," those types of writing that balance precariously between one genre and another, for example, between fiction and non-fiction. We will look into such literary hybrids as the prose poem (Baudelaire et al.); journalistic-fiction (J. Barnes, Didion, D.F. Wallace); fictional journals (Rilke, Nin); such literary imposters as the faux-autobiography (Stein/Toklas), the discovered manuscript (Borges) and the imaginary portrait (Pater). We will attempt to distinguish and work with what Virginia Woolf calls (in her essay on biography) the truth of fact and the truth of fiction. Students will have the opportunity to engage in various borderline writing exercises and to bring one original borderline case to conclusion by the end of the course.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2007

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression. The emphasis is on inhabiting the quality of language; some time is spent at defining clarity, aesthetics, elegance, and eloquence. The course also covers a brief review of some of poetry's history, including metric and syllabic measures of writing.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

K30.1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1330 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Writing on Borderlines

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Victoria Blythe

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1330

Description

This course will examine "borderline cases," those types of writing that balance precariously between one genre and another, for example, between fiction and non-fiction. We will look into such literary hybrids as the prose poem (Baudelaire et al.); journalistic-fiction (J. Barnes, Didion, D.F. Wallace); fictional journals (Rilke, Nin); such literary imposters as the faux-autobiography (Stein/Toklas), the discovered manuscript (Borges) and the imaginary portrait (Pater). We will attempt to distinguish and work with what Virginia Woolf calls (in her essay on biography) the truth of fact and the truth of fiction. Students will have the opportunity to engage in various borderline writing exercises and to bring one original borderline case to conclusion by the end of the course.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1515 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Art of Satire: Laughter as a Political Instrument

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Anya Ulinich

Description

Laughter is fundamental and universal. Satire is often able to illuminate cultural and social issues more effectively than straight polemical discourse because it strikes directly at the reader's sensory response. Throughout history, satire has acted as an instrument of social change by provoking debate and planting seeds of social conscience while entertaining – Jon Stewart is a great example of this. Most politically engaged fiction writers are natural satirists, because unfunny polemical fiction quickly curdles into propaganda, or stagnates into social realism. This class will read and write satirical pieces, both fiction and non-fiction. We will investigate what makes a piece of writing funny: primarily the choice of the point of view, voice, and detail, as well as such devices as contrast, repetition, and the deadpan delivery. The students will be able to follow their interests and passions in choosing topics for their writing. Readings may include: Mark Twain, Mikhail Bulgakov, Sherman Alexie, Jon Stewart, George Saunders, Gary Shteyngart, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, Lorrie Moore, Tina Fey, and the writers of The Onion.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1370 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2012

Writing About Love

4 units Mon Wed
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Susan Weisser

Description

Rather than focus on one genre in their reading and writing, student writing in this course will be inspired by a theme: the nature and meanings of romantic love as both private feeling and social ideology. Love has assumed an enormously important place in Western culture in the last two centuries, shaping expectations of what the good life should be, as well as evoking anxiety about how to achieve the fulfillment of that dream. Students will try varied forms of writing about romance in our modern world, including writing about their own emotions and experiences, literary analysis, cultural observation, and opinion. Accordingly, our texts will likewise be diverse, and may include memoir, letters and diaries; film and pop culture; sociological studies of gender and romance; and cultural theory about dating. You will have a great deal of choice as to the type of writing you would like to do but out of five pieces, at least one non-fiction essay and one fiction story will be required. Classes will be devoted to analyzing the texts to elicit ideas for writing, intensive workshopping of drafts in student groups, and personal conferences with the instructor.

Notes

Session II: July 2-August 10.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2012

The Journal in the City

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Victoria Blythe

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our “New York City Journals.”

Notes

Session II: July 2-August 10.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1045 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Writing Race in Contemporary America

4 units

Description

In contemporary America, we have a multicultural and racially diversified population; our national image is no longer dominated by people of European descent. This is easily evidenced in our mass media and in the last U.S.Census Report where the statistics demonstrate that our African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and "Other" populations are rapidly growing and developing. We are interbreeding, intermarrying, interracial, and interlocked. In this writing course, we will increase awareness of the phenomenon of our multicultural identities by writing personal essays, biographies, and autobiographies. We will focus on exploring our own racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as exploring this theme in readings and in a variety of films. Readings include Race and Remembrance: A Memoir by Arthur L. Johnson and Brown: The Last Discovery of America by Richard Rodriguez.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer will focus their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students will take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Notes

SNY

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1075 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Montage is the Message

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Luke Mitchell

Description

A man smiles, a shot is fired, he frowns. No: A man frowns, a shot is fired, he smiles. The sequence tells all. The order of scenes conveys more meaning even than the scenes themselves. In this class, students will draw from film theory to learn how to better structure their non-fiction narratives. We will explore how, in writing non-fiction, we make choices about what to describe and how to arrange those descriptions; and in making these choices, we begin (whether we intend it or not) to make an argument. In our examination of the theory of montage in non-fiction writing, students will analyze film sequences from Eisenstein, Alfred Hitchcock, and David Simon, and texts by literary journalists Lawrence Weschler, Ian Frazier, Joan Didion, Frederick Kaufman, and Cecilia Balli, among others. The real breakthroughs, though, will occur as students set about assembling and reassembling their own works.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1022 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Introduction to Investigative Reporting

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Joshua Phillips

Description

Good non-fiction narratives depend on robust, comprehensive research, and in-depth journalism often requires strong investigative reporting. This course will introduce writers and reporters to these skills through the development of an investigative project. Students will learn basic approaches to gathering public documents, performing background research on organizations and individuals, learning how to skillfully conduct interviews, and understanding the mechanics of storytelling. The class will cooperatively produce an investigative project that centers on one local topic—such as looking into recent issues pertaining to the New York City Housing Authority or the Administration for Children’s Services—with students finally producing a series of polished articles that will comprise a sequence on the course topic. To complement our writing, students will read texts about investigative reporting, and some of the best contemporary examples of investigative reporting in literary journalism. Readings may include texts by Jane Mayer, Juan Gonzalez, The Investigative Reporter's Handbook , by Brant Houston, Len Bruzzese and Steve Weinberg, A Civil Action , by Jonathan Harr, Muckraking!: The Journalism That Changed America , Judith Serrin and William Serrin, and The Journalist and the Murderer , by Janet Malcolm.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1555

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn’t when it doesn’t. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1550 or CRWRI-UA 815 or CRWRI-UA 816 or CRWRI-UA 820 or permission of instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1042 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Pop Culture Criticism

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Amanda Petrusich

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1042

Description

In an era where criticism has been democratized and art is often judged exclusively by the amount of chatter it incites, the role of the professional critic is changing (and fast – these days, even reviews are subject to reviews). In this advanced writing workshop, we’ll explore the best, most effective ways for writers to engage critically with pop culture. Should critical writing be personal or objective? Is it more important to contextualize or describe? Given the overwhelming deluge of options facing media consumers, is the critic’s job merely to direct the conversation? Students will submit five original pieces of criticism for workshop; readings may include works by Pauline Kael, Nancy Franklin, Nitsuh Abebe, A.O. Scott, Sasha Frere-Jones and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2012

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Mon Wed
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer’s quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we’ll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We’ll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo–Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We’ll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one’s own experience.

Notes

Session I: May 21-June 29.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1024 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Magazine Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Taylor Antrim

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1024

Description

For more than a century the American print magazine has provided a distinct literary experience—timely subjects, a juxtaposition of text and image (still unmatched in digital media), a rich grab bag of styles and forms. In this seminar we’ll look at examples of reporting, profile writing, criticism and memoir from the pages of magazines past and present (from The Saturday Evening Post to Vogue to Vice). How have magazines, and their distinctive design vocabulary, driven the national conversation? How do we understand "facts" in these publications? What roles do voice, point-of-view, character, dialogue, and plot—the traditional elements of fiction—play? Can criticism be the equal of art? Over the course of the semester students will be expected to generate long- and short-form magazine story ideas, to shape a magazine pitch and write and revise stories on deadline. Readings may include selections from the works of Stephen Crane, Morris Markey, James Thurber, John Hersey, Lillian Ross, James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Herr, Martin Amis, Gay Talese, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Michael Lewis, Denis Johnson, and Janet Malcolm.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1336 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Writing Your Ancestry

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Nancy Agabian

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1336

Description

This workshop will give students the opportunity to practice elements of creative nonfiction through a multi-faceted approach to writing on ancestry and cultural heritage. The main goal will be a written exploration of the self to consider wider issues of history, community, identity, place, and family. The major assignments will be structured around various tasks: a personal essay will help to define themes and set scenes in the present; memoir writing will involve mining your memories of family to identify possible leads into the past; a reported piece will entail interviews of family members, historical research, and/or a visit to an ancestral site. These essays will be developed gradually with the help of shorter at-home assignments and in-class exercises on style, structure, and strategy. Revision will be built into the process, and we will read each other's work and give supportive feedback throughout the semester. Likely authors to be read and discussed for inspiration will include Ian Frazier, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Honor Moore, Lawrence Weschler, Sarah Vowell, Bliss Broyard, Brenda Lin, Tara Bray Smith, and D.J. Waldie.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1315 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Exploring the Possibilities of Travel Writing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Aaron Hamburger

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1315

Description

In this creative writing workshop, we unearth the wide range of creative possibilities available to practitioners of the much-misunderstood genre of travel literature. In addition to developing practical skills of research and crafting sentences, we consider how the struggle to capture settings with words reveals larger truths about not only the places we visit, but also the people who inhabit them (including ourselves). Other issues we examine include the ethical dilemmas of travel writing, the relationship of place of origin to destination, and the thorny question of the “authentic” travel experience. Students craft four original pieces during the term that represent four different genres of travel literature. We begin with two shorter pieces and then work toward creating a longer research-based non-fiction feature. Finally, we conclude with a work of short fiction. For inspiration, we do short exercises and analyze work by writers like D. H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, Patricia Highsmith, Bruce Chatwin, W. G. Sebald, Mary Gordon, Jhumpa Lahiri, Barack Obama, as well as contemporary working travel writers.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1536

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer will focus their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students will take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1034 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Writing About Performance

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Julie Malnig

Description

This writing seminar will train students to become critical viewers of performance and translate their "looking" into descriptive and analytical prose. Students will be introduced to a variety of critical strategies and approaches---from formalist to ethnographic to various forms of sociological and cultural criticism---to develop their interpretive skills. These analyses will help students discover how various performance mediums are constituted, how they "work," and how they create meaning for viewers. Assignments will include interviews, artists’ profiles, performance documentations, cultural reviews, and critical and/or theoretical analyses. Occasional group excursions to performances will be arranged, as well as class speakers. Some of the authors, essayists, and artists whose works we may read include: Susan Sontag; Michael Kirby; Edwin Denby; Deborah Jowitt; Joan Acocella; Joyce Carol Oates; Anna Deavere Smith; Spalding Gray; and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1508 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Writing for Late Night Television: Monologue, Jokes, Bits, and Sketches

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
D.B. Gilles

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1508

Description

This course introduces students to writing for the world of late night television. Every talk show host has a unique voice and style. Work will include learning how to write opening monologues for The Daily Show , The Colbert Report , Chelsea Lately, Conan and Jimmy Kimmel among others. Other subjects we will cover include understanding the difference between a sketch and a bit, how to structure a joke, and and how to find material. Work will also involve writing sketches such as those on Saturday Night Live . Students will learn how to go from idea, to building the sketch, to completing it and rewriting it to make it funnier. Writing assignments may include creating original on-going sketch characters, a Letterman Top Ten List, fake news items ala Weekend Update and writing short film parodies.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1305 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

The Art of the Personal Essay

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

The personal essay is a flexible genre that often incorporates rumination, memoir, narrative, portrait, anecdote, diatribe, scholarship, fantasy and moral philosophy. The title of Montaigne’s Essais (“attempts"), published in 1580, suggests the tentative and exploratory nature of this form as well as its freedom. The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy—the sharing of the writer’s observations and reflections with a reader, establishing a dialogue on subjects that range from the mundane to autobiographical and political meditations to reflections on abstract concepts and moral dilemmas. Style, shape, and intellectual depth lend the personal essay its drama, charm, and its ability to provoke thought. In this course, we will read and write personal essays, and, in the process, explore how writers create “persona,” “tone,” and “voice.” We will also consider concepts such as “the self,” “personal identity,” and “sincerity.” Readings may include essays by Seneca, Michel de Montaigne, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Jorge Louis Borges, Natalia Ginsburg, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Adrienne Rich, and Hanif Kureishi.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1341 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Oral Narratives: Stories and Their Variations

4 units Mon
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Nancy Agabian

Description

In this workshop, we’ll explore how oral tradition – through performance, interviewing, and oral history – can inform the craft of written stories. From ancient epic poetry to the authors of This American Life, students will consider how storytelling has given way to printed narrative, and vice versa, as they first develop their own autobiographical monologues and then write the narratives of others. Through the reading of monologues, interviews, and oral histories in various formats (poetry, performance text, literary journalism, memoir, archive, theatre, video and film), students will consider the motives for placing spoken or spontaneous language down on the page to read as a permanent text. Journalistic interviews with a family or community member will inform an assignment to write a profile, as students determine how to best represent their own voice alongside the speech of their subject. We'll also use oral history methodology to collect the accounts of a group of people, examining conflicts and discrepancies among individual stories as an opportunity to explore form. Students will then use transcriptions of their interviews to inform a historical piece in a genre (or mixed genre) of their choice: poetry, nonfiction, or performance text. Authors to be read include Anna Deavere Smith, Studs Terkel, Spalding Gray, Sherman Alexie and Ntozake Shange. We'll also visit an oral history archive as well as mine the crafted "archives" of Def Poetry Jam, the Moth live storytelling series, and Meem (a Beirut-based queer women's group) for inspiration.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1329 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Writing the Fragment

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Victoria Blythe

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1329

Description

This writing seminar will explore the fragment as a literary genre and as a modality for literary production. Our engagement with the fragment will focus on interruption as a force for generating writing, a dynamic that leaves in its wake literary debris to be collected and recouped. Revisiting our own literary scenes of destruction we will develop a writing technique based on bricolage. Using the writing workshop as a literary archeological dig we will learn to recognize our usable fragments, to reconfigure and recontextualize them into revitalized works. (Students will bring fragments from their own work to the project.) We will look at some famous literary fragments such as the classic “Anaximander Fragment” and the remains of Sappho’s odes on love. Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” Eliot’s “Wasteland,” Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” and selections from Benjamin’s monumental bricolage-work will figure in our itinerary among the ruins. Theoretical writings may include Said's “Beginnings” and Blanchot's “Writing the Disaster.” Students will revisit and redeploy their own literary fragments and will also work within the genre of the “intentional fragment.”

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1215 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Writing the Other

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Aaron Hamburger

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1215

Description

Writing professors often advise students, “Write what you know.” But how about writing from what you know into what you don’t know, specifically by tackling the perspective of someone who is different from you? In this course, we’ll explore a range of identities: gender, race, sexual orientation, class, age, disability, body type, and many more. How can we learn to recognize our own blind spots that prevent us from fully seeing the people and the world around us? And how can we confront and overcome our fears of causing offense in our attempts to get inside someone whose life experience we don’t share? During the course, we’ll examine how categories of “Same” and “Other” can shift wildly not only from person to person, but within each person. We’ll also look at how the process of choosing or rejecting various identity labels intersects with issues of characterization. Finally, we'll consider the possible dangers of writing about the Other, such as distortion, erasure, or stereotype. Students will produce several short pieces of creative fiction and two complete short stories (10-15 pages each) to be workshopped and then revised, each focusing on capturing a character who does not share at least one identity marker with the author. For inspiration, we’ll also read examples of work by writers like Ha Jin, Manuel Munoz, Edwidge Danticat, Victor LaValle, Lorrie Moore, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Bernard Malamud.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1549 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Writers as Shapers: Strategies for Sculpting the Story

4 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Meera Nair

Description

A piece of fiction can be constructed in an unlimited number of ways and each week we will explore the formal possibilities that are available to us. We will study the choices we can make as writers—of narrative point of view, beginnings, resolutions, dialogue, description, pacing, plot and character development. We will isolate and inspect strategies that published authors have used. Students will produce and workshop their own fiction from exercises. In the conversation between student writing and the studied literature there will hopefully be a greater sense of writers as shapers, sculptors of the raw material of story. Readings: Mishima, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Charles Baxter, C.J. Hribal, Carver, Flannery O'Connor, Isaac Babel, George Saunders, James Joyce and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1316 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Telling Truths: The Skill of Autobiography

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Susan Weisser

Description

How can one tell the "truth" about one's life in narrative form? In this course we will explore the pleasures and dangers of telling stories about our lives through writing autobiographical essays, as well as through reading the autobiographies of selected others. Readings may include texts by Janet Frame, Nancy Mairs, Mary Karr, and David Sedaris. We will analyze the way in which self-narrative is constructed from the tangled materials of real life, how we read and understand the life writing of others, and how others' stories can influence our own. Topics include authenticity, memory, identity, voice, point of view, and relationships.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer's quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we'll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We'll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo—Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We'll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one's own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Fiction Writing

4 units
Section 002
Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Steven Rinehart

Description

Fiction Writing is a course in two parts. Each class will begin with a craft discussion, along with group exercises and some lecture. We'll go over reading assignments and short homework assignments designed to stimulate classroom discussion. The second half of each class is devoted to the workshop process, where we examine the writing of you and your classmates. The craft portion will be concerned with the mechanics of writing fiction as well as analyzing the content of short stories; in other words, not only how to improve your fiction sentence-by-sentence, but also how to include the right details to do the job. Workshops involve very close reading and supportive discussion, and every member of the class is required to participate in that process as both an author and a reader.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students--and the teacher--will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite K30.1550 or V39.0815 or V39.0816 or V39.0820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1339 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Ripped from the Headlines: Current Events in Fiction

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Taylor Antrim

Description

In 1961 Philip Roth wrote: "the American writer…has his hands full in trying to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality." Is he right? Can a literary imagination encompass its social and political moment? Does it thereby lose its hold on universal truths? Or is there a perspec-tive on and insight into current events only fiction can offer? We'll consider these and other questions through readings of novels and short stories that depict their contemporary political and cultural events. We'll pay particular attention to the ways these writers borrow, subvert, or reinvent journalistic (or "new" journalistic) techniques. Students will be expected to produce several written exercises, as well as two longer fictional pieces (short stories or novel chapters) that take current events as a starting point for narrative. These will be discussed through in-class workshops. Readings may include John Updike's Rabbit Redux , Joan Didion's Democracy , Don Delillo's Mao II , John Edgar Wideman's Philadelphia Fire , Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation , and Tao Lin's Shoplifting from American Apparel.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1540 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Reading and Writing the Short Story

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1540

Description

This short story workshop is designed for the writer who believes that there is as much to be learned from reading the works of others as from writing their own stories. We will devote a portion of each class to discussions of master stories, as well as to careful readings and discussions of stories by the members of the workshop. Exercises will be assigned each week as a way of developing and reinforcing each writer’s relationship to literary craft. Each writer will also present her or his own stories in class. Workshop members are required to participate actively in classroom critiques.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Scott Hightower

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1564

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one’s personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1560 or CRWRI-UA 817 or CRWRI-UA 830, or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Poetry Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1039 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Writing About Popular Music

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Amanda Petrusich

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1039

Description

Effective music criticism—criticism that places a song or album within the appropriate social, political, personal, and aesthetic contexts—can be as enthralling and moving as the music it engages. In this course, we will explore different ways of writing about music, from the record review to the personal essay. We’ll consider the evolving tradition of pop music criticism (How are MP3 blogs and Web sites challenging print media? How is the critic’s role changing?) and the mysterious practice of translating sound into ideas (How do we train ourselves to be better and more thoughtful listeners?). Through reading, writing, and class discussion, we’ll contemplate the mysterious circuitry that causes people to embrace (or require) music—from Bob Dylan to Lil’ Wayne —and how best to explore that connection on the page. Readings will include Lester Bangs, Rob Sheffield, Carl Wilson, Sasha Frere-Jones, Robert Christgau, Ann Powers, Simon Reynolds, Chuck Klosterman, Ellen Willis, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1550

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore (and practice) various forms of fiction in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop their individual styles and voices and to make them aware of the various techniques available to them. We will examine every aspect of the craft of traditional fiction writing: plot, structure, point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, building of individual scenes, etc as well as the new techniques of the digital age: hypertext, self-editing text, visual and audio images, animation. We will learn how to balance the traditional with the new without overwhelming the written text with gadgets. Students will be taught to look at texts from the unique perspective of a fellow writer and encouraged to become part of a community of writers where they will work with their peers in a safe, honest and considerate environment. Students will present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing. Students will be required to write either two short stories, or a short story and a chapter from a novel, or a short story and several pieces of flash fiction. The reading assignments will include selections from old and contemporary authors such as Chekhov, Joyce, Borges, Nabokov, Alice Munro, George Saunders, Edward P. Jones, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan.

Notes

Students may take "Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Notes

Students may take "The Art and Craft of Poetry" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1547 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Writing the Novel

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Description

The main objectives of this course are to provide students interested in writing a novel an awareness of the various techniques available to them and to help them develop their own approach to novel writing. We will examine every aspect of the craft of novel writing: plot, structure, point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, building of individual scenes, etc. Students will learn to study texts from the unique perspective of a writer. The class will become a community of writers working in a safe, honest and considerate environment, presenting their own fiction, responding to the writing of others, and discussing questions about literature, editing, and publishing. Each student will write a novel outline and two chapters. Reading assignments will include works by a variety of classic and contemporary authors, such as Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Junot Diaz, and Jennifer Egan.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1564

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one’s personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1560 or CRWRI-UA 817 or CRWRI-UA 830 or permission of instructor. Students may take "Advanced Poetry Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Dave King

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1550

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore and discuss various forms of fiction writing in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop and revise at least one complete work of fiction, and in the process hone individual styles and voices. One route to this goal is an inquiry into a range of techniques available to contemporary fiction writers. Emphasis is on characterization, structure, and narrative cohesion, and a variety of the craft aspects of fiction writing will be explored through exercises. These include point of view, narrative voice, plot, tension, time, sequence, dialogue, symbolism, and so on. Students will present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing, all within the supportive and responsive environment of the workshop group.

Notes

Students may take "Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1026 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Lives in Brief

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Christopher Bram

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1026

Description

"I can never get enough of knowing about other people's lives," said William Maxwell. People love to read biography in many forms: fat books, short obituaries, newspaper feature stories, and magazine profiles. This class will explore the writing of short biography, how you can capture the spirit and shape of a person's life in a few hundred words. We will read a variety of writers, from Sigrid Nunez and Oliver Sacks to Janet Malcolm and Lawrence Weschler, to discover tools and methods. Students will write (and rewrite) four assignments, ranging from short personal snapshots to detailed book reviews to an interview-derived essay. We will discuss research techniques and ethical issues.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1333 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Writing the Family

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Many of us want to write memoirs, but families—good or bad—are loaded territory. How do we navigate wisely? In this class we’ll look at writers who have done it, such as James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Vivian Gornick, Richard Rodriguez, and Sister Souljah, to trace their fault lines and unearth their strategies for remaining faithful to their readers while truthful to their lived experience. We’ll look at issues of voice and point of view, and how to gain enough emotional distance from characters to make them both believable and three-dimensional. We’ll write and workshop several family scenes, building them into a few full-length stories or, if the student wishes, chapters for a larger work. Readings may include Modern American Memoirs , edited by Annie Dillard and Cort Conley; Heaven’s Coast , Mark Doty; Name All the Animals, Alison Smith; The Women , Hilton Als; and An American Childhood , Annie Dillard.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1505 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Writing Short Comedy

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
D.B. Gilles

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1505

Description

This course introduces students to writing short humor, including political satire (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Bill Maher), sketch humor (Saturday Night Live and in the tradition of Kids In The Hall, Mad TV, Upright Citizens Brigade), monologues (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel), observational humor (stand-up comedy), parody (essays, think pieces, video, YouTube) and improvisation. Students will learn the difference between a sketch and a bit, how to create memorable original characters, how to write a joke from premise to payoff and where to find humor. Students will experiment with writing a different specific piece each week, possibly including a parody of a TV commercial, fake news stories à la The Onion, a Letterman Top 10 list, monologue jokes for a talk-show host, humorous short films for Funny Or Die, and a humorous Op-Ed piece for The New York Times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1560

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Notes

Students may take "The Art and Craft of Poetry" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units
Section 002
Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Stacy Pies

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1560

Description

In this workshop poets will focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer’s process. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle will serve as point of departure for discussion of the relationships of craft and expression. Each student will also briefly present a favorite poet/poem for the enjoyment and learning of the class. A final portfolio of poems is required at the end of the course.

Notes

Students may take "The Art and Craft of Poetry" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1555

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn't when it doesn't. We will attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We will engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques will be rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We will also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1550 or CRWRI-UA 815 or CRWRI-UA 816 or CWRI-UA 820 or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Fiction Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1534 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Sidelines: The World of the Cross-Genre Writer

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Lizzie Skurnick

Description

There’s the work writers actually do over their careers, and then the work for which they’re remembered. What’s the difference between a cookbook author and a Pulitzer-Prize nominated novelist? A video-game reviewer and a literary icon? An anthropologist and a cultural satirist? Less than you’d think, if you examine the work of writers whose brilliance spans these genres and more over the course of their careers. In Sidelines, we’ll look at Patricia Highsmith’s first novel, The Price of Sal t, a lesbian coming-of-age work; Martin Amis’s video game reviews; Ernest J. Gaines’ children’s novel, A Long Day in November ; Nora Ephron’s searing GQ cultural criticism; Shirley Jackson’s comedic essays on parenting, and other forgotten works in order to gain valuable understanding about the writing life and the use of mastering many media. Students will also take a crack at writing in the standard and nonstandard forms of the writers of our age, such as blogging, Tumblring, and tweeting, and then write their own cross-genre works, anything from straightforward fiction to narrative recipes for nutmeg cake.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1019 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

The Basics and the Bold: Fundamentals of Editing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Barbara Jones

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1019

Description

Book editors and agents find that a great variety of submissions (including novels, short story collections, memoir and narrative nonfiction) require precisely the same kinds of editorial attention. Learning to identify and attend to these ubiquitous weaknesses in concept, narrative and prose can lift a manuscript from the “no” pile to enthusiastic acceptance and, later, from lackluster publication to strong word of mouth and review attention. This class will focus on two kinds of editing that can address those frequent, genre-crossing manuscript problems: the bold—identifying and troubleshooting the bigger conceptual and structural problems, including the young writer’s frequent habit of not being bold at all; and the basics—sweating the small stuff by learning and using the tricks of an editor’s trade. Readings will include works by writers such as Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Karr, Laura Hillenbrand and others (models of successful basics and boldness), and student writings. Students will be expected to: 1) bring in one story, chapter of a novel, piece of memoir or narrative nonfiction that they have written, 2) edit (including a line edit and an editorial letter) and 3) revise their own piece of writing in response to editorial feedback from the class.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1070 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Writing About Film

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Christopher Bram

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1070

Description

Writing about movies is more than just issuing thumbs-up, thumbs-down judgments. In this class you will learn how to discuss a film’s content, style, and meaning in ways that can interest even people who disagree with you. You will explore some of the many different ways there are to write about cinema, expanding your command of words by reading such critics as James Agee, Pauline Kael, James Baldwin, Molly Haskell, and others. Students will write (and rewrite) five papers ranging from brief movie reviews to a final eight-to-ten page essay.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1537 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Crafting Short Fiction from the Sentence Up

4 units Tue
7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Steven Rinehart

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1537

Description

This class explores the craft of writing, starting with the sentence and ending with the scene. Half of each class is devoted to craft exercises and the remaining half to a traditional workshop approach to discussing student submissions. By the end of the semester we’ll be able to talk intelligently about some of the “micro” parts of a short story or novel, giving the students some practical tools for editing those parts.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer’s quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we’ll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We’ll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo–Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We’ll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one’s own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1547 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Writing the Novel

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Lara Vapnyar

Description

The main objectives of this course are to provide students interested in writing a novel an awareness of the various techniques available to them and to help them develop their own approach to novel writing. We examine every aspect of the craft of novel writing: plot, structure, point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, building of individual scenes, etc. Students learn to study texts from the unique perspective of a writer. The class becomes a community of writers working in a safe, honest and considerate environment, presenting their own fiction, responding to the writing of others, and discussing questions about literature, editing, and publishing. Each student writes a novel outline and two chapters. Reading assignments include works by a variety of classic and contemporary authors, such as Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Junot Diaz, and Jennifer Egan.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1303 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Writing Nonfiction on Social Change

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Nancy Agabian

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1303

Description

In this course, we’ll examine nonfiction from times of conflict and crisis to help us write essays and critiques in which we witness, report, advocate, question, and/or desire change in our own era. To provide inspiration, we’ll read essays on 9/11 and its aftermath, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and other issues. We read works by authors such as John D’Agata, Edwidge Danticat, Arundhati Roy, Carolyn Forche, Ryszard Kapuscinski, and Lawrence Weschler, to study their use of formal tools such as narration, observation, analysis, reflection, and argument in exploring avenues of change in the world around them. How do writers bring a personal voice to writing a political essay? And how do reporters balance opinion and research to show the need for change? These questions are considered as you write 1) an essay centered on an issue that you care about, and 2) a report that you write from observation about a social or political movement. Finally, writing an argument or advocacy piece on a public debate allows you to incorporate all the lessons from the semester. Revision is part of our process, guided by peer reviews.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1360 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The Path of the Storyteller: Writing Children's Fiction

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Maryrose Wood

Description

From Charlotte’s Web to the Harry Potter series, the enduring works of children’s fiction epitomize the twin virtues that all classic novels share: a great story, beautifully told. Through reading and discussion of assigned texts, and in-class workshopping of the students’ own novels in progress, this class offers writers of fiction for the middle-grade reader (ages 8 through early adolescence) a solid foundation in the principles of storytelling and the tools of the writer’s craft. Through writing exercises and close reading of assigned books, we’ll examine character, conflict, point of view, and other elements of fiction. We’ll improve the quality of our prose by learning to recognize common errors and revise our drafts into polished, finished works. Assigned reading are drawn from the best of children’s literature and trace the development of the form, from early 20th century classics (Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables , Tolkien’s The Hobbit ) to later novels by E. B. White, Madeleine L’Engle, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, and others. We’ll end by looking at work by contemporary writers such as Neil Gaiman, Louis Sachar and J.K. Rowling.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Emily Fragos

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class teaches students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft are discussed. Emphasis is placed on developing and strengthening one’s personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class includes exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1560 or CRWRI-UA 817 or CRWRI-UA 830 or permission of instructor. Students may take Advanced Poetry Writing two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1430 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Literary Translation

4 units Mon
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Idra Novey

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1430

Description

This course introduces students to the craft of literary translation and the many ways it can help them become more innovative writers. Students work individually and together to choose authors not yet known in English whose work strikes the students as distinctive and exciting. We discuss how the process of choosing a writer they admire and bringing that author’s work into English is a way to explore what makes a piece of writing stand out from other works of the same period. We talk about translating tone, humor, voice and innuendo and explore how students might experiment with these aspects in their own work. Over the course of the semester, we’ll workshop translations together with original writing the students generated while working on their translations. We'll also look at the work of leading writer-translators like Christian Hawkey, Sawako Nakayasu, Lydia Davis, and Charles Simic and discuss the aesthetic connections between the authors they've translated and their own prose and poetry.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1075 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The Montage is the Message

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Luke Mitchell

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1075

Description

A man smiles, a shot is fired, he frowns. No: A man frowns, a shot is fired, he smiles. The sequence tells all. When it comes to telling stories, the order of scenes conveys more meaning even than the scenes themselves. In this class, students draw from film theory to learn the secrets of constructing a propulsive and persuasive non-fiction narrative. We explore how writers make choices about what to describe and how to arrange those descriptions; and also how in making these choices, they begin (whether they intend it or not) to make an argument. Students analyze film sequences from Eisenstein, Kubrick, and Welles, and magazine stories by Cecilia Balli, Joan Didion, Ian Frazier, Frederick Kaufman, and Lawrence Weschler. The real breakthroughs, though, occur as students set about assembling and reassembling their own magazine articles.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1332 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Writing the Strange

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Victoria Blythe

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1332

Description

In this advanced writing class students approach writing from off-center, by taking an oblique perspective. We examine the attempts of such writers as Pound, Stein , Mallarme, Duras, Ponge and Robbes-Grillet to achieve originality by “making it new”, by “making it strange”, by defamiliarizing their subject matter. Our writing projects are situated at the intersection of the absurd and the surreal, and may incorporate techniques of other media such as the cubist/surrealist painters, the French graffiti artists, bricolage and the found-object. We risk nausea with Sartre and vertigo with the Vorticists. Students apply their exercises in the strange to “estranging” a work-in-progress as the culmination of the course. Theorists may include Deleuze, Guattari, Derrida and Baudrillard.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1555 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Advanced Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1555

Description

The aim of this course is to fathom why fiction works when it works, and why it doesn’t when it doesn’t. We attempt to teach ourselves to read like writers, so we can learn from those who have come before, so we can began to write like writers. We engage all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success--obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. Students—and the teacher—will turn in three first drafts of fiction, each 10-14 pages long, to be critiqued in a workshop setting. The critiques are rigorous but constructive; no nastiness allowed. We also complete short, extemporaneous, writing exercises. Readings taken from The New Yorker, Zoetrope , and others.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1550 or CRWRI-UA 815 or CRWRI-UA 816 or CRWRI-UA 820 or permission of instructor. Students may take Advanced Fiction Writing two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1564 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Advanced Poetry Writing

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1564

Description

A workshop designed for serious poets, this class will teach students how to take their writing to another level both intellectually and artistically; depth of theme, imagination, and craft will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening one’s personal style and voice. Through work-shopping, students will further refine their critical eye as poet and reader. The class will include exercises and readings. Submission of work will be discussed and encouraged.

Notes

Prerequisite WRTNG-UG 1560 or CRWRI-UA 817 or CRWRI-UA 830, or permission of the instructor. Students may take "Advanced Poetry Writing" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1039 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Writing About Popular Music

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Amanda Petrusich

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1039

Description

Effective music criticism—criticism that places a song or album within the appropriate social, political, personal, and aesthetic contexts—can be as enthralling and moving as the music it engages. In this course, we will explore different ways of writing about music, from the record review to the personal essay. We’ll consider the evolving tradition of pop music criticism (How are MP3 blogs and Web sites challenging print media? How is the critic’s role changing?) and the mysterious practice of translating sound into ideas (How do we train ourselves to be better and more thoughtful listeners?). Through reading, writing, and class discussion, we’ll contemplate the mysterious circuitry that causes people to embrace (or require) music—from Bob Dylan to Lil’ Wayne —and how best to explore that connection on the page. Readings will include Lester Bangs, Rob Sheffield, Carl Wilson, Sasha Frere-Jones, Robert Christgau, Ann Powers, Simon Reynolds, Chuck Klosterman, Ellen Willis, and others.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1300 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Creative Nonfiction

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Cris Beam

Description

Creative nonfiction marks the intersection between journalism and literature, and bears the hallmarks of both. Stories feature strong character development, well-developed, nuanced scenes, and a tangible narrative arc. But they also privilege thorough research, live reporting and a writer’s quizzical, intelligent stance. In this course, students will not only learn the components of a good story, but what makes an idea compelling to a diverse audience to begin with. Students will choose their own topics, but we’ll all write and revise one profile and one long investigative-style piece of researched and reported literary nonfiction. We will workshop these longer stories in sections, and students will learn effective editing strategies for their own writing by working closely with their peers. We’ll read masters of the genre like Joseph Mitchell, Katherine Boo, and Alex Kotlowitz as well as some newer or more experimental voices like Pumla Gobodo–Madikizela and Lauren Slater. We’ll also look at broader ethical questions like going undercover, cloaking source identities, and writing outside of one’s own experience.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1370 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Writing About Love

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Susan Weisser

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1370

Description

Rather than focus on one genre in their reading and writing, student writing in this course will be inspired by a theme: the nature and meanings of romantic love as both private feeling and social ideology. Love has assumed an enormously important place in Western culture in the last two centuries, shaping expectations of what the good life should be, as well as evoking anxiety about how to achieve the fulfillment of that dream. Students may try varied forms of writing about romance in our modern world, including writing about their own emotions and experiences, literary analysis, cultural observation, and opinion. Accordingly, our texts will likewise be diverse, and may include memoir, letters and diaries; film and pop culture; sociological studies of gender and romance; and cultural theory about dating. You will have a great deal of choice as to the type of writing you would like to do, but out of five pieces, at least one non-fiction essay and one creative piece will be required. Classes will be devoted to responding to the texts to inspire ideas for writing, intensive workshopping of drafts in student groups, and personal conferences with the instructor.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1324 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SU 2013

The Journal in the City

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Victoria Blythe

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1324

Description

Literary journalists have long been inspired by the urban muse. Paris, London, Berlin, Prague and New York have nurtured such noted journalists as Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Allen Ginsberg. As we look into the journals of these intriguing writers we will immerse ourselves in the New York City milieu, asking what is the impact of the city on the text, as well as examining the effect of the city on our own journals. As writers, how do we interact with the city? Whom do we become in our journals in the city? We will keep and develop literary journals for the duration of the course: our “New York City Journals.”

Notes

Session II: July 8 - August 16

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1070 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Writing About Film

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Christopher Bram

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1070

Description

Writing about movies is more than just issuing thumbs-up, thumbs-down judgments. In this class you will learn how to discuss a film’s content, style, and meaning in ways that can interest even people who disagree with you. You will explore some of the many different ways there are to write about cinema, expanding your command of words by reading such critics as James Agee, Pauline Kael, James Baldwin, Molly Haskell, and others. Students will write (and rewrite) five papers ranging from brief movie reviews to a final eight-to-ten page essay.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1540 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Reading and Writing the Short Story

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1540

Description

This short story workshop is designed for the writer who believes that there is as much to be learned from reading the works of others as from writing their own stories. We will devote a portion of each class to discussions of master stories, as well as to careful readings and discussions of stories by the members of the workshop. Exercises will be assigned each week as a way of developing and reinforcing each writer’s relationship to literary craft. Each writer will also present her or his own stories in class. Workshop members are required to participate actively in classroom critiques.

Notes

Students may take "Reading and Writing the Short Story" two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1328 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Writing the Double

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Victoria Blythe

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1328

Description

Maurice Blanchot observed, “When I am alone, someone is there.” In this writing course, we will get acquainted with the "someone" who haunts (and sometimes sabotages) the scene of writing, the “Writing-I” who always participates in our “solo act” of writing. Writing from the place of the double, in subjective genres (the memoir, the letter, the confessional poem, the interior monologue), we will experience and analyze the writer's “double bind.” We will also observe the “split-subject” in some well-known “double-writers” such as Rilke (Malte: Journal of My Other Self ), Borges ( Borges & I ), Kafka ( The Metamorphosis ), Conrad ( The Secret Sharer ), and Wilde ( The Picture of Dorian Gray ). In a workshop format, students will work with a “double,” writing and discussing a number of “doppelgänger” pieces, and will have the opportunity to develop a substantial work of fictional duplicity over the course of the semester. As our guides to the topography of the double, we will consult theorists such as Blanchot himself, Kristeva (the split subject), Freud (the Narcissus complex), Lacan (the mirror stage) and Jung (the Shadow), and we will not avoid Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1549 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Writers as Shapers: Strategies for Sculpting the Story

4 units Wed
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Meera Nair

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1549

Description

A piece of fiction can be constructed in an unlimited number of ways and this course seeks to explore the formal possibilities available to us. We will study the choices we can make as writers—of narrative point of view, characterization, beginnings, dialogue, scene, summary, pacing, plot and resolutions. We will isolate and inspect strategies that published authors have used, even as students produce and workshop their own fiction from exercises. In this conversation between student writing and the studied literature we will hopefully get a greater sense of writers as sculptors of the raw material of story. Possible texts: Mishima, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Charles Baxter, C.J. Hribal, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Alice Munroe, Jhumpa Lahiri.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1534 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Sidelines: The World of the Cross-Genre Writer

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Anthony Tognazzini

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1534

Description

Boundaries between literary genres can be quite foggy, and for this we should be grateful, since beautiful things take shape in fog. In this course, which will emphasize craft and creative practice, we’ll explore literary hybrid forms that blur or erase lines between fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. We’ll look at prose poems, lyrical essays, fictional autobiographies, hoaxes that pass as truth (and vice versa), graphic novels, and other genre crossbreeds. We’ll discuss and explore, through writing exercises and assignments, the possibilities these forms create for our notions of storytelling, authenticity, literary craft, and imaginative expression. Students will read works by Kafka, Jamaica Kincaid, Anne Carson, Michael Ondaatje, Lydia Davis, Italo Calvino, Colson Whitehead, Joan Didion, and Vladimir Nabokov, among others, and use these models as springboards for their own hybrid inventions.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Fiction Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chris Spain

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1550

Description

A workshop and introduction to the story writing concepts—theatre of the mind, evoking, thingness, story time, character want, reader want, authorial contracts, consistency—that story writers have used through the ages to accomplish that first and last task of every narrative, the waking of want in the reader to reach for the next page. We will “workshop” student drafts and favorite published fictions. With student work (turned in under deadline and duress) we will concentrate on potential as opposed to measuring drafts against the completed best. As best we can we will focus on "the how" of the craft of fiction as opposed to focusing on "the what" of what a story might have to say. Required materials: open mind, obsession to learn, humbleness mixed with arrogance (it takes a certain arrogance to imagine anyone would want to give up part of their life to read what you have written), a sense to be humored.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1537 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Crafting Short Fiction from the Sentence Up

4 units Tue
7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Steven Rinehart

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1537

Description

This class explores the craft of writing, starting with the sentence and ending with the scene. Half of each class is devoted to craft exercises and the remaining half to a traditional workshop approach to discussing student submissions. By the end of the semester we’ll be able to talk intelligently about some of the “micro” parts of a short story or novel, giving the students some practical tools for editing those parts.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1508 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

Writing for Late Night Television: Monologue, Jokes, Bits, and Sketches

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
D.B. Gilles

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1508

Description

This course introduces students to writing for the world of late night television. Every talk show host has a unique voice and style. Work will include learning how to write opening monologues for The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Chelsea Lately, Conan and Jimmy Kimmel among others. Other subjects we will cover include understanding the difference between a sketch and a bit, how to structure a joke, and and how to find material. Work will also involve writing sketches such as those on Saturday Night Live . Students will learn how to go from idea, to building the sketch, to completing it and rewriting it to make it funnier. Writing assignments may include creating original on-going sketch characters, a Letterman Top Ten List, fake news items ala Weekend Update and writing short film parodies.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1019 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

The Basics and the Bold: Fundamentals of Editing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Barbara Jones

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1019

Description

Book editors and agents find that a great variety of submissions (including novels, short story collections, memoir and narrative nonfiction) require precisely the same kinds of editorial attention. Learning to identify and attend to these ubiquitous weaknesses in concept, narrative and prose can lift a manuscript from the “no” pile to enthusiastic acceptance and, later, from lackluster publication to strong word of mouth and review attention. This class will focus on two kinds of editing that can address those frequent, genre-crossing manuscript problems: the bold—identifying and troubleshooting the bigger conceptual and structural problems, including the young writer’s frequent habit of not being bold at all; and the basics—sweating the small stuff by learning and using the tricks of an editor’s trade. Readings will include works by writers such as Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Karr, Laura Hillenbrand and others (models of successful basics and boldness), and student writings. Students will be expected to: 1) bring in one story, chapter of a novel, piece of memoir or narrative nonfiction that they have written, 2) edit (including a line edit and an editorial letter) and 3) revise their own piece of writing in response to editorial feedback from the class.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1305 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
FA 2013

The Art of the Personal Essay

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

The personal essay is a flexible genre that often incorporates rumination, memoir, narrative, portrait, anecdote, diatribe, scholarship, fantasy and moral philosophy. The title of Montaigne’s Essais (“attempts"), published in 1580, suggests the tentative and exploratory nature of this form as well as its freedom. The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy—the sharing of the writer’s observations and reflections with a reader, establishing a dialogue on subjects that range from the mundane to autobiographical and political meditations to reflections on abstract concepts and moral dilemmas. Style, shape, and intellectual depth lend the personal essay its drama, charm, and its ability to provoke thought. In this course, we will read and write personal essays, and, in the process, explore how writers create “persona,” “tone,” and “voice.” We will also consider concepts such as “the self,” “personal identity,” and “sincerity.” Readings may include essays by Seneca, Michel de Montaigne, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Jorge Louis Borges, Natalia Ginsburg, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Adrienne Rich, and Hanif Kureishi.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1550 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Fiction Writing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Anthony Tognazzini

Description

This course provides students interested in writing fiction an opportunity to explore and discuss various forms of fiction writing in a workshop environment. The main objective of the course is to help students develop and revise their own works of fiction, and in the process hone individual styles and voices. One route to this goal is an inquiry into a range of techniques available to contemporary fiction writers. Emphasis is on characterization, structure, setting, narrative cohesion, and prose. A variety of the craft aspects of fiction writing are explored through exercises focused on narrative voice, plot, tension, time, sequence, dialogue, and other issues that arise in student work. Students present their own fiction, respond to the writings of others, and pose questions about literature, editing, and publishing, all within the supportive and responsive environment of the workshop group.

Notes

Students may take Fiction Writing two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1024 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Magazine Writing

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Alex Halberstadt

Description

The most ambitious of the postwar American journalism to appear in magazines like The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire and The New York Review of Books gave rise to a new and distinctly indigenous documentary literature, with its own possibilities and poetics. In this class we explore how this body of work redrew the formal boundaries of longform reporting, the profile, the essay, personal history and cultural criticism. We consider the emergence of the narrator as a character, the uses of rhetoric, approaches to the sentence, tone, rhythm, and structure, as well as questions of veracity and credibility. Students try their hand at these forms while responding to readings that include James Baldwin, Ian Frazier, Joseph Mitchell, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Donald Antrim, Janet Malcolm, Alma Guillermoprieto, George W.S. Trow, Lester Bangs, Wells Tower, Fran Leibowitz, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Lillian Ross, Adam Gopnik, John Jeremiah Sullivan and Richard Rodriguez.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1505 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Writing Short Comedy

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
D.B. Gilles

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1505

Description

This course introduces students to writing short humor, including political satire ( The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Bill Maher ), sketch humor ( Saturday Night Live and in the tradition of Kids In The Hall, Mad TV, Upright Citizens Brigade ), monologues (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel), observational humor (stand-up comedy), parody (essays, think pieces, video, YouTube) and improvisation. Students learn the difference between a sketch and a bit, how to create memorable original characters, how to write a joke from premise to payoff and where to find humor. Students experiment with writing a different specific piece each week, possibly including a parody of a TV commercial, fake news stories à la The Onion , a Letterman Top 10 list, monologue jokes for a talk-show host, humorous short films for Funny Or Die , and a humorous Op-Ed piece for The New York Times .

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1560 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The Art and Craft of Poetry

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Scott Hightower

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1560

Description

In this workshop poets focus on the foundations and intricate dynamics of poetry as a writer's process and on Poetry as a two-headed tradition, having an Oral Tradition and a Written Tradition. A brief review covers some of poetry's history including metric and syllabic measures of writing from the Anglo-Saxon to modern free verse. A weekly reading of a poem by each poet in the circle serves as point of departure for discussions of the relationships of craft and expression.

Notes

Students may take The Art and Craft of Poetry two times.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)

WRTNG-UG1536 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The Short Story: A Workshop on Revising

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Carol Zoref

Syllabus

WRTNG-UG1536

Description

This workshop is dedicated to the oft-repeated observation that all writing is re-writing. Each writer focuses their efforts on only one or two short stories, rather than starting many new stories and abandoning them in favor of yet another new beginning. Students take each of their stories through a number of drafts and revise them in response to (though not necessarily in accord with) questions and comments raised by other members of the workshop. The objective is to learn ways of staying with such challenges as maintaining the story's voice, determining the order of experience, and arriving at an ending that satisfies the design of the story as well as the intentions of the writer. Workshop members share their stories in class throughout the semester and comment in detail on one another's work. Participants should have some experience writing short stories.

Type

Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG)