Spring 2006 Creative Writing Courses

English 010.301 Creative Writing Elizabeth Scanlon W 2:00-5:00
English 010.302 Creative Writing: Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction
                                                                        Albert DiBartolomeo T 1:30-4:30
English 111.301 Experimental Writing Charles Bernstein MW 3:30-5:00
English 111.302 Writing and Jazz Erica Hunt R 1:30-4:30
English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Karen Rile M 2:00-5:00
English 112.302 Fiction Writing Workshop Diane McKinney-Whetstone R 1:30-4:30
English 114.401 Playwriting Bruce Graham M 2-5
English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 116.401 Screenwriting Marc Lapadula M 2:00-5:00
English 116.601 Screenwriting Marc Lapadula M 5:00-8:00
English 130.301 Advanced Screenwriting Mark Rosenthal F 2:00-5:00
English 135.301 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Lorene Cary T 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Robert Strauss M 2:00-5:00
English 135.303 Creative Non-Fiction: Writing Your Travels Marion Kant W 2:00-5:00
English 135.601 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Robert Strauss M 5:00-8:00
English 145.301 Advanced Non-Fiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 145.401 Writing in Concert Lorene Cary R 1:30-4:30
English 145.601 Advanced Non-Fiction Writing Lise Funderburg T 5:30-8:10
English 155.301 Documentary Writing Paul Hendrickson W 2:00-5:00
English 157.301 Introduction to Journalistic Writing Michael Vitez T 1:30-4:30
English 158.301 Advanced Journalistic Writing Dick Polman M 2:00-5:00
English 165.301 Writing Through Culture and Art Kenneth Goldsmith R 1:30-4:30
English 415.640 Storytelling in Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Kitsi Watterson R 5:30-8:10
English 435.640 Writing and Remembering Kitsi Watterson T 5:30-8:10




English 010.301 Creative Writing: Non-fiction and Poetry Elizabeth Scanlon
This workshop is an introduction to the writing process, which poet William Stafford once said is that which “brings about new things one would not have thought of if one had not started to say them.” Students will read each other’s work and respond to it in a way that fosters new possibilities and perspectives for the writer, not mere corrections or assessments. We will also read a variety of poems and essays by established authors and write some brief responses. The first half of the semester will be dedicated to writing poems, the other half to writing creative non-fiction – a genre which can include memoir, personal essay, reporting, and many other kinds of prose. Students will turn in a final portfolio of 10 to 15 pages, which will include both poetry and prose.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 010.302 Creative Writing Workshop: Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction DiBartolomeo
This course is for those students who are interested in writing the personal essay--which encompasses memoir, humor, travel, commentary, nature, portraiture and other forms--and fictional narrative. We'll study a number of essays and short stories selected from The Art of the Personal Essay (Philip Lopate, ed.) and The Art of the Tale, (Daniel Halpern, ed.), and in many cases note the similarities between the two forms. The published essays and stories will serve as base lines during our workshop discussions of student work. Student work will go through the workshop process at least twice during the term, there will be a number of brief writing assignments, and a single longer assignment of 13 pages will be due at the end of the term. Class participation, of course, is vital and expected.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 111.301 Experimental Writing Bernstein
This is a nontraditional "poetry immersion" workshop. The workshop will be useful for those wanting to explore new possibilities for writing and art, whether or not they have a commitment to writing poetry. The workshop will be structured around a series of writing experiments, intensive readings, art gallery visits, and the production of individual chapbooks or web sites for each participant, and performance of participants' works. There will also be some visits from visiting poets. The emphasis in the workshop will be on new and innovative approaches to composition and form, including digital, sound, and performance, rather than on works emphasizing narrative or story telling. Each week, participants will discuss the writing they have done as well as the assigned reading. Permission of the instructor is required. Send a brief email stating why you wish to attend the workshop (writing samples not required) to charles.bernstein@english.upenn.edu
Time: MW 3:30-5:00
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English 111.302 Writing and Jazz Hunt
"Words into Sound: an Exploration of Poetry and Jazz/New Music" examines poetic composition and collaboration through several lens: historical, cultural and structural frames. Music, often thought too abstract for words, escapes the lyric trap to meet words as elements of composition, inseparable from the form. Class will listen and write/score, using words to chisel, count time, pattern and give texture, not as accompaniment, but as a voicing of the moment of performance. The historical range--from the post war Bebops and Beats to the Black Arts movement to the performance/spoken word pulse of today. We'll look/listen to Langston Hughes, Babs Gonzalez, Tom Waits, Lord Buckley, Amiri Baraka, George Lewis, Nate Mackey, Ann Waldman, Tracie Morris and Sekous Sundiata and others who have collaborated to create poetry/music compositions that explore language terrain with complexity and insight.

The course will feature visits to the class by important and interesting figures in the jazz/poetry world.

Enrollments in this special creative writing seminar are strictly limited. Students who want to take the course should send a short email application to

jazzpoetry@writing.upenn.edu

and send:

* your name, year, major
* a very brief description of your interest in the course
* any relevant experience or background
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Rile
This class is a workshop, which means that most of what you produce will be considered work-in-progress, and that your active participation is essential. Come prepared to roll up your sleeves and work!

Each week will bring a new technical topic and a writing prompt designed to illuminate it. You will write every week and present your writing to the workshop for group critique many times throughout the semester. Readings from selected contemporary short stories will be discussed over the class email list and, as necessary, during class. In addition to assigned writing prompts, each student writer will have at least one opportunity to present a complete, independently-conceived short story to the workshop for detailed critique.

The most important reading assignments will be the work submitted by your fellow students. In this course, the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your criticism is as crucial as the quality of the written work you produce.

Admission to this class is by instructor permit. Please email work samples to: krile@writing.upenn.edu.
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 112.302 Fiction Writing Workshop McKinney-Whetstone
Text: Not yet determined for this semester

This is a course for students interested in serious fiction writing--literary or genre or somewhere in between--but always seriously and always with a mind to perfecting the work at hand. To that end, we will read short fiction from an anthology and some--very little--"instructional" material. We will discuss the fiction primarily as writers, as opposed to literary "analyzers." We will talk about why the stories engage us and why not. We will identify their "prime movers," that is, the elements in a narrative that urge us--or not--through them. Are the characters interesting and consistent (where this question applies, usually to conventional, realistic fiction as opposed to metafiction, where the question is often irrelevant)? Is there sufficient movement (action, plot, story)? Can we appreciate the art of the narration's technique? Is there a discernable style that we can appreciate?

We will ask the same questions of student work during workshops, which will begin early in the term. Workshop pieces can be revised--you are expected to revise everything, particularly your major assignments--and then submitted as your graded writing assignments. Every student will take at least one turn at serving as an editor for the workshop piece under discussion, and the editor will write an informal "response" to the work to be given to the writer and to the instructor.

There is one major writing assignment of 20 pages. Ideally, this should be a single story. If, however, you must "write short," two or perhaps even three fictions of shorter length and totaling 20 pages will do.

Throughout the term, students will be required to write three brief scenes, length open, all of which can be used--reworked, let's hope--in the longer requirements. These are due: 4th week, 7th week, and 10th week. Naturally, a scene can be dialogue-driven (almost all dialogue) or, at the other extreme, completely exposition (no dialogue). If the scene does not come at the beginning of a narrative, then you will need to write a brief set-up as an introduction to the scene.

Class participation is vital and expected.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English114.401 Playwriting Graham
This class is designed to introduce students to the basic components required for the creation of a play. By the end of the course students will show an ability to recognize and apply the following: dramatic tension, characterization, exposition, and rhythms. Students will also be exposed to the realities behind writing for the theater, which include stage time vs. real time, the differences between writing for theater and writing for film, realistic expectations for actors, and the working relationship between playwright and director.
M 2:00-5:00


English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Apple
The class will be conducted as a seminar. Every student will write three stories during the semester; each story will be discussed by the group. The instructor will, from time to time, suggest works of fiction that he hopes will be illustrative and inspirational but there will be no required books. Attendance and active class participation are essential. Please submit a brief writing sample to: maxapple1@comcast.net
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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Time: W 2:00-5:00 top

English 116.401 Screenwriting Lapadula
This course will look at the screenplay as both a literary text and blue-print for production. Several classic screenplay texts will be critically analyzed (i.e. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, CHINATOWN, PSYCHO, etc.) Students will then embark on writing their own scripts. We will intensively focus on: character enhancement, creating "believable" cinematic dialogue, plot development and story structure, conflict, pacing, dramatic foreshadowing, the element of surprise, text and subtext and visual story-telling. Students will submit their works-in-progress to the workshop for discussion.

"Students interested in taking the class should submit a brief writing sample to Professor Marc Lapadula, Department of English, 3600 Market St. Suite 501A/6273. Also, include your name, last four digits of your social security number, E-mail, address where you can be reached. Permit is required from the instructor."
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 116.601 Screenwriting Lapadula
This course will look at the screenplay as both a literary text and blue-print for production. Several classic screenplay texts will be critically analyzed (i.e. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, CHINATOWN, PSYCHO, etc.) Students will then embark on writing their own scripts. We will intensively focus on: character enhancement, creating "believable" cinematic dialogue, plot development and story structure, conflict, pacing, dramatic foreshadowing, the element of surprise, text and subtext and visual story-telling. Students will submit their works-in-progress to the workshop for discussion.

"Students interested in taking the class should submit a brief writing sample to Professor Marc Lapadula, Department of English, 3600 Market St., Suite 501A/6273. Also, include your name, last four digits of your social security number, E-mail, address where you can be reached. Permit is required from the instructor."
Time: M 5:00-8:00
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English 130.301 Advanced Screenwriting Rosenthal
Writing for the screen has been called an "architectural" skill. The writer creates a narrative by framing a structure. This course will be a workshop in which writers can try out this very particular and peculiar craft. (Along with sharing gossip with professional screenwriters and discussing good movies!)

At several points during the semester, students will meet with visiting screenwriters, who will also make public presentations at the Kelly Writers House.

Note: This is a special writing workshop with an eminent screenwriter. Students wanting to enroll should consult Mark Rosenthal's faculty bio here: http://writing.upenn.edu/cw/faculty.php. Students will be admitted on the basis of an application: by email, send a writing sample, brief description of your interest in the course, and any relevant background or experience. Applications should be sent to screenwriting@writing.upenn.edu.

Time: F 2:00-5:00
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English 135.301 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Cary
Each student will write three essays and the class will offer criticism and appreciation of each. There will be some discussion of and instruction in the form, but the course will be based on the student writing. Attendance and participation required.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 135.302 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Strauss
Do you feel you have a fresh perspective on life's goings-on? Did you look at a building today and wonder what's going on inside? Is there an event, a person, an idea that you think has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, under-appreciated? If so, come and investigate with me. We will spend the semester doing our best to write out of that paper bag that is made up of our curiosity, our observations and our prejudices. The best creative non-fiction explains, but it also makes us run to learn more about the subject. We will have a special emphasis on humor, perhaps the most difficult type of writing to pull off. We'll look at different definitions and styles of humor, from Woody Allen's to Mark Twain's to, with good fortune, your own. We will be reading some of the best magazine and newspaper writing of the last century, and hopefully be writing some stuff like it as well. We will talk about essays, arts reviews, general features and even sportswriting. Students will be required to write at least two pieces of magazine length (2000 words or so) and several shorter pieces. The longer pieces will be presented to the class for workshop criticism.
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 135.303 Creative Non-Fiction: Writing Your Travels. The Journey, the Traveler, and Travel Writing Kant
In this course students will learn to ovserve and record what they see when they travel. They will explore a popular form of writing and practice it in their own daily activities. The familiar will become strange and new as they return home, walk through the campus, visit Center City or explore an ethnic community in order to write accounts of what they see. They will, in the process, learn about themselves but without that preoccupation with the self alone that marks much student writing. They will see themselves in the mirror of "the other". The course will explore famous works by travelers who visited the USA as a means to see the familiar through foreign eyes, such works as Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" (1835), Charles Dickens' "On America and the Americans" (ed. Michael Slater), G.K. Chesterton's "What I Saw in America" (1922). Jonathan Raban's "Old Glory: An American Voyage" (1981) and the expatriate who returns like Bill Bryson's "I am a Stranger here myself: Notes on returning to America after twenty years" (1999).
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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English 135.601 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Strauss
Do you feel you have a fresh perspective on life's goings-on? Did you look at a building today and wonder what's going on inside? Is there an event, a person, an idea that you think has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, under-appreciated? If so, come and investigate with me. We will spend the semester doing our best to write out of that paper bag that is made up of our curiosity, our observations and our prejudices. The best creative non-fiction explains, but it also makes us run to learn more about the subject. We will have a special emphasis on humor, perhaps the most difficult type of writing to pull off. We'll look at different definitions and styles of humor, from Woody Allen's to Mark Twain's to, with good fortune, your own. We will be reading some of the best magazine and newspaper writing of the last century, and hopefully be writing some stuff like it as well. We will talk about essays, arts reviews, general features and even sportswriting. Students will be required to write at least two pieces of magazine length (2000 words or so) and several shorter pieces. The longer pieces will be presented to the class for workshop criticism.
Time: M 5:00-8:00
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English 145.301 Advanced Non-Fiction Writing Hendrickson
This is an intensive course in creative nonfiction--both the reading and practice of it. It's seeking to look at fact as literature. Think of it as the art of fact: using reportage and some of the literary techniques of fiction in the service of compelling, true, real-life stories--sometimes your own story. The core goal is to get a circle of student writers writing, and have them willing to share the work aloud in class. Implicit in this is the willingness to suffer some gentle slings of criticism. We will be examining models of nonfiction from present and past word masters: Annie Dillard, E.B. White, Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Michael Herr, Tim O'Brien, John Hersey, James Agee, George Orwell, Thomas Lynch. Ever heard this last name? Lynch is a Michigan undertaker. He writes like a dream. Good writing is where you find it; sometimes it will be about the art of taking folks under.

We will attempt different forms of creative nonfiction, starting with the personal essay or family memoir. Then we'll move on to something deeply reported and/or researched--something that's essentially outside oneself. For this piece it's likely a student will travel into the nearby world and observe something: or interview someone (or several someones). The piece--and these are always to be thought of as "pieces," not as "papers"--could be a profile of a local personality or athlete. It could be an extended scene, say, of a jazz club, or of a hospital emergency room, or of a homeless shelter, or of the Reading Terminal Market. The student will have the primary say in what he or she wishes to tackle. But the instructor will approve the story idea and will monitor and help guide its development. Although not a direct aim of the workshop, it's slimly possible someone will emerge with a piece of nonfiction that any professional magazine or newspaper editor in his or her right mind would be proud to publish. This has happened in previous workshops.

Those interested in taking the course should submit as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose (paper copies only, no electronic submissions will be accepted) to Paul Hendrickson, Department of English 3600 Market St., Suite 501A/6273. Also include your name, last four digits of SS#, undergraduate class, e-mail address and telephone number where you can be reached. Permit is required by the instructor. Those chosen for the course will be notified by the end of the current term.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 145.302 Writing in Concert Cary
Writing in Concert comprises two parts: teaching a common text and writing about the experience using memoir, reportage, and criticism.

This year's text will be Homegirls and Handgrenades (1984) or Like the Singing Coming off the Drums (1999), depending on availability, by poet Sonia Sanchez, author of 16 books, including poetry, short fiction, and children's stories, as well as plays and essays. A distinct, female voice in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s (BAM), Ms. Sanchez helped to found the Black Arts Repertoire Theater; the first black studies program in the U.S., at San Francisco State University in 1968; and the first course on the black woman, at the University of Pittsburgh. Other books include Shake Loose My Skin, Homecoming, Under a Soprano Sky, and Does Your House Have Lions? Full Moon of Sonia, her latest CD, features her poetry with jazz, R&B, gospel, blues, Afro-Cuban, and hip hop music. A journal, B'Ma, at www.pages.drexel.edu/~delancfe/index-old.htm, was created to focus exclusively on Sanchez' work and the Black Arts Movement.

Students will learn the common text in close reading, discussion and preliminary essay exercises. The idea is to develop an intimate relationship with a text, learn about yourself as a writer from your responses to it, and then, by creating a mini-course syllabus and lesson plans, learn how to help readers at different stages in life and literacy find their own ways to enter the text. Learning the work takes three to four weeks; teaching requires four to six, with some overlap. Students teach in several urban learning sites, each with its own challenges and charisma: high school English classes, a church-based book group, adult education centers, a recovery house, and homeless shelters. In April students attend a reading by Sonia Sanchez at Art Sanctuary, a North Philadelphia arts organization at the Church of the Advocate(www.artsanctuary.org).

The final essay will reflect each student's experience with the text, teaching, and the Reading in Concert performance. It is likely that some of you will want to submit it somewhere for publication, or use it for inclusion in a longer work. Clearly, the emphasis during the term is on focus, practice, learning, relationships, revision, and language. It comes at you from all sides, a literary bum's rush meant to dislodge comfortable writing habits and push you toward intense, carefully thought and deeply-felt nonfiction prose.

Because this course partners with Art Sanctuary, whose Full Year of Sonia presents Sanchez' work in several kinds of programs, you will also see a video, music-and-poetry and panel discussion that will inform your understanding of Sanchez' work, writers' processes, and their relationships to culture.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 145.601 Advanced Non-Fiction Writing Funderburg
This course will be organized around short in-class and weekly writing assignments, readings and exercises, some of which will be looked at in workshops. Additionally, there will be one longer, feature-length piece that will connect the writer to the outside world and will go through an intensive drafting and revision process. While personal investment and perspective are welcomed in all the writing for this class, the long assignment will focus outward, on an event, person, place or topic that will allow the inclusion of reported content…so that art and fact can meet on the page.
Time: T 5:30-8:10
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English 155.301 Documentary Writing Hendrickson
This offering in advanced nonfiction writing will function as a workshop, with a select group of students. It's a course that will honor the spirit and tradition of "documentary" writing. The word "documentary" has meant many things over time. Here, it means a kind of nose-close observation and reportage. It means a level of being with one's subject matter in a way that other creative writing courses don't allow because of their format and structure. In English 155, a student writer at Penn will dare to "hang" with his topic--a girl's high-school basketball team; a medical intern in a HUP emergency room; a cleaning lady doing the graveyard shift in a classroom building; a food-truck operator crowding the noontime avenues; a client-patient in the Ronald McDonald House near campus; a parish priest making his solitary and dreary and yet redemptive rounds of the sick and the dying in the hospital--for the entire term.

Yes, the whole term. And at term's end, each writer in the course will have produced one extended prose work: a documentary piece of high creative caliber. This is our goal and inspiration. The piece will be 30 to 35 pages long.

Some people tend to think of the "documentary" genre (whether on film or in words) as work devoid of emotion--just the facts ma'am. But in truth, emotion and deep sensitivity are prerequisites for any lasting documentary work. The nature of documentary, true documentary, implies moral and social scrutiny; means detailed fact-based reporting, depends on personal response to that factuality. This course will draw on specific literary and journalistic interests of the instructor that go back about 30 years.

The core reading models will be James Agee and George Orwell--Specifically, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Agee and The Road to Wigan Pier by Orwell. Separately, across oceans, in 1936, in the belly of the Depression, these two incomparably gifted journalist/authors--one an American, one an Englishman--entered some damaged lower-class lives and proceeded to produce literary classics of the form. Agee went to Hale County, Alabama, to live with sharecroppers. Orwell traveled to the industrial grit of north England to observe coal miners.

Under the instructor's guidance, the students will choose within the first three weeks. Choosing the subject is crucial. Access will have to be gained, cooperation assured. Within five weeks, rough drafts will begin to be produced--scenes, sketches, captured moments--and these will then be brought in to be read aloud to the group. This will be a way of finding the piece's eventual form as well as making sure all participants are working at a level of continual intensity. The final product will be due at the 13th or 14th week of the term. Throughout the term we will constantly be consulting the various documentary reading models, even as we are concentrating on our own work. Candidates for this course are asked to submit as soon as possible one or two samples of nonfiction prose (paper copies only, no electronic submissions will be accepted). Give them to the department administrative assistants who will then get them to the instructor. When submitting writing samples please include name, phone number, e-mail address and last four digits of your social security number. A brief interview with the instructor is required before a permission to enroll can be granted. Those chosen for the course will be notified by the end of the current term.
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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English 157.301 Introduction to Journalism Vitez
This class will teach the essentials of reporting and writing news stories. What is a news story? How do you find sources and what do you ask them? We will cover the nuts and bolts of determining what makes a good news story, how to report it, and how to write it in a compelling way. We will also cover the fundamentals of feature writing, reviews and criticism, sports and business. Whether you one day go into television, on-line, or magazine journalism, or pursue a career totally unrelated, this course should make you a faster, clearer writer and help you understand how news is covered.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 158.301 Advanced Journalistic Writing Polman
This is a how-to course for talented aspiring writers -- how to write well in the real world; how to hook the reader and sustain interest; how to develop the journalistic skills that enable a writer to gather, sift and report information. The instructor will share his own real-world experience, as a full-time working journalist for the past three decades. He will be joined on occasion by eminent journalists- including several star journalists from the New York Times- who will address the class and appear at mandatory forums to be held at the Kelly Writers House.

Even though students will read and critique some famous practitioners of non-fiction writing-among them, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Truman Capote and Richard Ben Cramer-along with contemporary newspaper storytellers that include the instructor (a national correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer), the emphasis will be on the students' own writing.

The goal is to inspire students to tap their own potential, gain fresh insights, and feel comfortable enough to share their assigned work-both short and long pieces-with others in the class over the span of the semester. Students will write all kinds of non-fiction pieces, from personal memoirs to long-form features about anything from the Philadelphia scene to campus issues and events. The topics are less important than the craftsmanship; anything can be a great read if it's written and reported well.

Journalistic issues, both practical and ethical, will also be addressed-among them: how to decide who to interview, and how to handle an interviewee; how to use (and not use) the Internet; when to use (or not use) anonymous sources.

Spaces in this special course are strictly limited. Students will be admitted to the workshop on the basis of an application: students should submit several writings, along with a thoughtful message explaining their interest (and any relevant background or experience) by email to: journalism@writing.upenn.edu.

This course is a collaboration of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and the Annenberg School for Communication.

Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 165.301 Writing Through Culture and Art Goldsmith
This year-long seminar will explore the intersections of several modes of writing -- critical (evaluative), creative, functional -- that pertain to the world of contemporary art and culture. In the first semester the students will study modes of writing that related to art: art-historical writing, art-critical writing, literary and especially experimental writing, functional writing (e.g. the press release, the artist's statement, grant writing). And students will keep some sort of journal or account of their own writing in response to visits to galleries, installations, performances, films, dance, theatre, etc. In the second semester, students will begin to work closely with the ICA's professional design staff on a publication project that will be created and designed to highlight the varieties of ways in which writers-about-art do their work. The working thesis serving as the basis of this magazine project is: Culture can be known through art, and perhaps vice versa; and writing is the conduit to this knowledge. The purpose of the course itself is to teach the diversity of ways people write about art and to underscore the idea that even the most experimental or "difficult" art is not separate from culture. (The course will continue, as English 165, in the spring semester of 2006--meeting at the same time and place.)

Students will receive a grade at the end of each semester. Those interested in taking the course should email Kenny Goldsmith (kg at ubu dot com) a one- or two-paragraph statement describing why they want to be involved in this project and what academic (or perhaps non-academic) experience makes them especially eligible. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 415.640 Storytelling in Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Watterson
This workshop will focus on how to tell a good story—whether in fiction or creative nonfiction. The process will help writers tap into their own experiences to create, shape and revise stories for a wider audience. In-class writing exercises and visualizations will jump start or enhance works-in-progress that may include the short story, personal essay, novel or memoir. Students also will explore the importance of detail, humor, perspective, character, dialogue, and place in both fiction and nonfiction, while also examining the substance of the story within a larger context. We will read selections from a range of authors, including Fannie Flagg, Richard Wright, Audre Lorde, Alfred Kazin, E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, Anne Lamott and others. Students will be asked to maintain daily writing journals, participate in and lead workshop discussions, contribute to peer review, and write and revise stories on a weekly basis.
Time: R 5:30-8:10
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English 435.640 Writing and Remembering Watterson
This workshop will help both new and experienced writers explore the elements that go into creating an effective memoir-the storytelling that recreates for readers events that helped shape the writer's inner life and sense of self. Through exercises and assignments, students will tap into their memories and imagination and learn how not only to validate the stories and the themes of their own lives, but how to write vividly about them. We will focus on details, pace, and tone, as well as on revision and on the ethics of how to write "truth" when it may have an impact other people's lives. We will also mine a deeper understanding of the craft by reading from a wide range of writers, including Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Barbara Kingsolver, John Edgar Wideman, William Zinnser, Tobias Wolfe, James Baldwin, and Jamaica Kincaid. In addition to in-class writing, students will be asked to maintain writing journals, participate in workshop discussions and peer review, and write and revise work on a weekly basis.
Time: T 5:30-8:10
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