Fall 2006 Creative Writing Courses

English 010.301Creative Writing: The Art of Narrative Nonfiction Deborah Burnham TR 1:30-3:00
English 010.302Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry Lynn Levin W 2:00-5:00
English 010.303Creative Writing Courtney Zoffness T 1:30-4:30
English 111.301 Experimental Writing Seminar: Uncreative Writing Kenny Goldsmith R 1:30-4:30
English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 112.302 Fiction Writing Workshop Albert DiBartolomeo W 2:00-5:00
English 113.301 Poetry Writing Workshop Gregory Djanikian T 1:30-4:30
English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Karen Rile M 2:00-5:00
English 116.401 Screenwriting Marc Lapadula M 2:00-5:00
English 116.402 Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco T 1:30-4:30
English 116.601 Screenwriting Marc Lapadula M 5:00-8:00
English 117.301 The Arts and Popular Culture Anthony DeCurtis R 1:30-4:30
English 119.301 Writing Criticism of the Performing Arts Marion Kant M 2:00-5:00
English 130.401 Advanced Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco M 2:00-5:00
English 130.402 Advanced Screenwriting Alec SokolowF 2:00-5:00
English 135.301 Creative Nonfiction Writing Max Apple R 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Creative Nonfiction Writing Lise Funderburg W 2:00-5:00
English 135.303 Creative Nonfiction Writing Deborah Burnham TR 3:00-4:30
English 135.305 Creative Nonfiction Writing Valerie RossTR 10:30-12:00
English 135.601 Creative Nonfiction Writing Robert Strauss M 5:00-8:00
English 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 145.302 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Robert Strauss M 2:00-5:00
English 156.301 Telling Stories Out of Photographs Paul Hendrickson W 2:00-5:00
English 158.301 Advanced Journalistic Writing Dick Polman M 2:00-5:00
English 159.301 Political Writing in the Blog Age Dick Polman W 2:00-5:00
English 412.640 Archaeology of Fiction Kathryn Watterson r 5:30-8:10



English 010.301 Creative Writing Burnham
In this course, we'll explore the possibilities of two genres: creative non-fiction and poetry. We'll begin with some exercises that will help us generate lots (and lots) of material, material that we'll then shape into personal essays and poems. We'll read, and re-read, essays and poems that will inspire, or annoy, or cajole us into writing our own pieces. You won't get topics assigned: rather, you'll be asked to find your own subjects from the exploratory writing. You may find yourself writing about basketball, coffee, keys, bad choices, speeding tickets, disappointment, red dresses, scars, repetition, hair, mosh pits or running twenty miles. We'll do a lot of collaborative work in class. At the end of the semester, you'll turn in a portfolio of at least fifteen pages of completed work, plus sketches and drafts. If you have questions, please feel free to write me: dburnham@english.upenn.edu
Time: TR 1:30-3:00
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English 010.302 Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry Levin
This workshop-style class is an introduction to the pleasures of the writing process. Students will benefit from in-depth readings and constructive critical support in a class that fosters a community of writers. We will spend half the semester writing poems, and the other half writing fiction. Some of each meeting will be devoted to reading poems or a short story by established authors, with the emphasis on reading as writers rather than scholars. Experimentation and revision will be encouraged. Class participation and attendance are vital. We will have some brief in-class writing exercises and a variety of take-home assignments designed to help students generate and shape work. Students will turn in a final portfolio of 15 or so pages, which will include both poetry and prose. We will also write some brief (up to one page) responses to work read and written in class.
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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English 010.303 Creative Writing: Memory: Fact & Fiction Zoffness
This course explores the bridges and boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. Students will work to translate their own recollections and experiences into narrative prose - first as a creative, nonfictional essay, and next as a short story. Since good writers are attentive, critical readers, we will also study a range of essays and stories, from the classic works of Vladimir Nabakov to the genre-defiant Tim O'Brien to the recently popularized James Frey. This workshop-style seminar depends on active participation, in-class and take-home writing assignments, formal critiques of one another's work, and commitment to the process of revision. Students will turn in final portfolios of 15 or so pages, based on a relevant topic of their choosing.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 111.301 Experimental Writing Seminar: Uncreative Writing Goldsmith
It's clear that long-cherished notions of creativity are under attack, eroded by file-sharing, media culture, widespread sampling, and digital replication. How does writing respond to this new environment? This workshop will rise to that challenge by employing strategies of appropriation, replication, plagiarism, piracy, sampling, plundering, as compositional methods. Along the way, we'll trace the rich history of forgery, frauds, hoaxes, avatars, and impersonations spanning the arts, with a particular emphasis on how they employ language. We'll see how the modernist notions of chance, procedure, repetition, and the aesthetics of boredom dovetail with popular culture to usurp conventional notions of time, place, and identity, all as expressed linguistically.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop 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 participation are essential.

Students who have completed and taken pleasure in a fiction writing course need not submit writing samples. Others please submit brief samples to: maxapple1@comcast.net.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 112.302 Fiction Writing Workshop DiBartolomeo
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 fictions 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. Permission required: please email a sample of your work directly to adibarto@writing.upenn.edu.

Class participation is vital and expected.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 113.301 Poetry Writing Workshop Djanikian
A course for students who have had some experience writing poetry but who wish to improve the rhythm and expressiveness of their language, and who may want to see the things of this world in new relationships and, perhaps, with a broader vision. Students will be asked to write every week, and to discuss and respond to the works of classmates and established poets. A final portfolio of revised poems will be required at the end of the course. Students interested in taking the class should submit three poems to Greg Djanikian via email at djanikia@writing.upenn.edu. Permit is required from the instructor.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Rile
English 115 a workshop for advanced writers who have already completed at least one semester of English 112 or its equivalent. Participants should be familiar with technical topics in fiction writing, such as point of view and narrative distance.

In this class you will have at least two opportunities to present a story or novel excerpt to the workshop. You are also encouraged to present revisions of your work. We will do some exercises designed to illuminate technical, ethical, and aesthetic issues in fiction, but the emphasis throughout the semester will be workshopping student-initiated projects. Admission to this class requires an instructor permit. Send a sample of your fiction directly to me at krile@writing.upenn.edu.
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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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 drop off a brief writing sample in Professor Marc Lapadula's box at CPCW 3808 Walnut St. 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 116.402 Screenwriting DeMarco
This is a workshop-style course for those who have thought they had a terrific idea for a movie but didn't know where to begin. The class will focus on learning the basic tenets of classical dramatic structure and how this (ideally) will serve as the backbone for the screenplay of the aforementioned terrific idea. Each student should, by the end of the semester, have at least thirty pages of a screenplay completed. Classic and not-so-classic screenplays will be required reading for every class, and students will also become acquainted with how the business of selling and producing one's screenplay actually happens. Students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email briefly describing their interest in the course. kathydemarco@writing.upenn.edu

Time: T 1:30-4:30
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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 drop off a brief writing sample in Professor Marc Lapadula's box at CPCW, 3808 Walnut St. 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 117.301 The Arts and Popular Culture DeCurtis
"Writing About the Arts" is a workshop-oriented course that will concentrate on all aspects of writing about artistic endeavor, including criticism, reviews, profiles, interviews and essays. For the purposes of this class, the arts will be interpreted broadly, and students will be able -- and, in fact, encouraged -- to write about both the fine arts and popular culture. Students will be doing a great deal of writing throughout the course, but the main focus will be a 3000-word feature story about an artist or arts organization in Philadelphia (or another location approved by the instructor) that will involve extensive reporting, interviews and research. Potential subjects can range from a local band to a museum, from a theater group to a novelist -- all of which students have written about in previous classes.

Class meetings will include detailed discussions of the students' own writing, as well as that of the instructor and other writers whose work appears in magazines, newspapers and journals. A considerable effort will be made to have the course be as professionally focused and "real time" as possible, so current stories in the media will frequently be the subject of class discussion and critique. A number of writers, critics, journalists, editors and other media types will visit the class to share their work and experiences with the students, and to participate in the discussions. It should be emphasized that, in discussing the work of fellow students, courtesy and respect will be as much required as candor.

Those interested in taking the course should email as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose to Anthony DeCurtis at ADeCurtis@aol.com . Applicants can also mail their work directly to the instructor at: 875 West End Avenue, Apt 10G, New York, NY 10025. Also include your name, SS#, undergraduate class, and the telephone number where you can be reached. Permit is required by the instructor.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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English 119.301 Writing Criticism of the Performing Arts Kant
The seminar aims to provide basic tools for understanding and writing performance criticism. Students will practice observing performances from high culture opera and ballet to avant-garde performances and multi-media spectacles and translating what they hear as well as the images they see into words. They will be introduced to the professional requirements a critic is confronted with and will learn to write within time and space constraints. Performances will be watched and then written about. The seminar will also focus on discussing controversial attitudes within performance criticism itself and analyze well known critics reviews of events.
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 130.401 Advanced Screenwriting DeMarco
This is a workshop-style course for students who have completed a screenwriting class, or have a draft of a screenplay they wish to improve. Classes will consist of discussing student's work, as well as discussing relevant themes of the movie business and examining classic films and why they work as well as they do. Classic and not-so-classic screenplays will be required reading for every class in addition to some potentially useful texts like What Makes Sammy Run? Students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email. Please send a writing sample (in screenplay form), a brief description of your interest in the course and your goals for your screenplay, and any relevant background or experience. Applications should be sent to kathydemarco@writing.upenn.edu
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 130.402 Advanced Screenwriting Sokolow
The Creative Writing Program in the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW) and the Cinema Studies Program are co-sponsoring a fall 2006 advanced screenwriting workshop to be taught by ALEC SOKOLOW. Sokolow has written 47 screenplays, including TOY STORY (1995), GOODBYE, LOVER (1999), and CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2003). For TOY STORY he received an Academy Award nomination. He was also a staff writer and segment producer for several television shows, including The Arsenio Hall Show. He has written a musical play, a children's book and numerous TV pilots.

Sokolow lives and works in Los Angeles. He will make three extended visits to Penn. Students must be available for meetings on Thursday evening, all day Friday, and Saturday morning during these three periods:

September 14-16
October 26-28
December 7-9

In addition, the class will meet Fridays with teaching assistant Blake Martin and will confer with Alec Sokolow by phone/conference call. Mr. Sokolow will also work individually with each student by email and phone.

Students will be admitted to this course by permission of the instructor. Applications should be sent to

screenwriting@writing.upenn.edu

Applications should include: a short note describing your interest and relevant experience (coursework and otherwise) and a brief (8 pages max.) sample of your writing. Those with resumes can send one also, but it's not required.

This is the second in a series of advanced screenwriting courses offered by eminent working screenwriters through a collaboration of Cinema Studies and Creative Writing. Generous funding for this project has been provided by Jon Avnet (C'71).
Time: F 2:00-5:00
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English 135.301 Creative Nonfiction Writing Apple
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: R 1:30-4:30
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English 135.302 Creative Nonfiction Writing Funderburg
Creative nonfiction essays, at best, celebrate curiosity, observation, prejudice, and other idiosyncrasies of the human condition. They use reportage and the literary techniques of fiction in the service of compelling real-life stories. In this workshop-style class you will write and revise four essays (1200-1500 words each).

Aside from some general guidance, the subject matter of your work is deliciously open and up to you. I am, however, available to help shape and steer and urge you away from the overly solipsistic. Take advantage of the city that surrounds you; the questions and answers you've stumbled across; the way life has surprised you, held you captive, or set you free. Subjects can range from the Reading Terminal at lunchtime, an open mike night, a Howard Johnson's counter on a rainy afternoon, a contentious dorm meeting, the bird outside your window, or a visit home.

In assignments, class exercises and discussions of the readings, we will address technical issues such as narrative/thematic tension, transition, character development, dialogue, point of view, characterization, imagery, metaphor, as well as the skills of interviewing, structure, tone, style, and personal voice. We will use your (and occasionally my) work as the bases for discussion. Since I am a full-time freelance writer, you will also be subjected to my wit and wisdom about the publishing world.

The core aim here is to get a group of student writers writing, and to have you stretch beyond what you know by grappling with the revision process and sharing work with the class. Class participation is vital and expected.

Time: W 2:00-5:00
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Burnham
English 135.303 Creative Nonfiction Writing Burnham
What is creative nonfiction? In our reading and writing, we'll explore the fascinating and productive tension between the two poles: what we imagine, and what "really" happened. We'll respect our memories and let our imaginations work in high gear as we learn ways to retrieve material, and shape it into surprising pieces of writing.

We'll read, and re-read, a small number of contemporary essays, mining them for ideas and useful structures. You'll complete three significant pieces. One will be a profile of a person (a friend, an ex-friend, a relative, a coach, teacher, neighbor - someone who got under your skin and/or into your heart.) You'll also do a "profile" of a place that you know well. This could be your workplace, your block, your gym, your studio- any place that has its own characters and obsessions. Finally, you'll do a very personal essay, on a subject absolutely of your choice.

Much of our work in class will be collaborative. We'll look at big ideas and at short sentences, offering advice and asking questions. If you have questions, please feel free to email dburnham@english.upenn.edu
Time: TR 3:00-4:30
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Ross
English 135.305 Creative Nonfiction Writing Ross
This course is intended for capable writers who possess the maturity and temperament to work successfully as peer tutors at Penn. The course emphasizes the development of tutors' own writing through the process of collaborative peer-criticism, individual conferences, and intensive sessions on writing, from mechanics to style. The class meets twice weekly; tutors also work two hours weekly in the Writing Center or elsewhere, and confer regularly in small groups or one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Tutors are required to write five short papers, eight one-page peer reviews, and two responses to readings. Additionally, students keep a journal and give two class presentations. CWIC-affiliated course.
Time: TR 10:30-12:00
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English 135.601 Creative Nonfiction 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 Nonfiction 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, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 234 (please slide work under the door if no one is in the office). 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 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Strauss
Im looking for a cadre of folks who are serious about having fun with words. You will have to have a sense of humor that has a bent for real analysis as well. Think about some words we use every day: soccer mom, very, middle-aged, interesting, the fact that. Where do they come from? Why do they exist? Can we do better? I assign a lot of short writing on topics common and whimsical. I expect something far different from term paperese, perhaps something you have never thought of writing before. I am a working journalist as well and may even be able to impart some wisdom in those quarters. We will also workshop your longer writing with the rest of the class to get what will presumably be a wealth of insight from your contemporaries as well. The point here is not that you will become Hemingway, or even Dave Barry, in 15 weeks, but that you may be inspired to pursue good writing your own and that of others for having spent time here. Permission is required. Please email a sample of your writing to rsstrauss@comcast.net
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 156.301 Telling Stories Out of Photographs Hendrickson
A new creative writing course built entirely around the use of photographs, and the crafting of compelling nonfiction narratives from them. The essential concept will be to employ photographs as storytelling vehicles. So we will be using curling, drugstore-printed Kodak shots from our own family albums. We will be using searing and famous images from history books. We will be taking things from yesterday's newspaper. We will even be using pictures that were just made by the workshop participants outside the campus gates with a disposable camera from CVS or with their own sophisticated digital Nikon. In all of this, there will be one overriding aim: to achieve memorable, full-bodied stories. To locate the strange, evocative, storytelling universes that are sealed inside the four rectangular walls of a photograph. They are always there, if you know how to look. It's about the quality of your noticing, the intensity of your seeing.

Writers as diverse as the poet Mark Strand and the novelist Don DeLillo and the memoirist Wright Morris have long recognized the power of a photograph to launch a story. In this course we are going to employ memory and imagination to launch our stories, but most of all we are going to make use of fact-everything that can be found out, gleaned, uncovered, dug up, stumbled upon. Because first and last, this is nonfiction, this is the art of reported fact. So a lot of this class will go forward using the tools and techniques of journalism: good, old-fashioned reporting and research, legwork. And turning that reporting into writing gold.
A photograph represents time stopped in a box. It is a kind of freeze-frame of eternity. It is stopped motion, in which the clock has seemed to hold its breath. Often, the stories inside of photographs turn out to be at surprising odds with what we otherwise thought, felt, imagined.
Say, for instance, that you hunger to enter the photographic heart of this youthful, handsome, dark-haired man-who is your father-as he leans now against the gleaming bumper of a 1951 Pontiac. It was three decades before you were born. The moment is long buried and forgotten in your collective family's past-and yet in another way, it is right here before you, on this photosensitive surface. Whether the figure in the photograph is alive or deceased, you are now going to try with all of your writing and reporting might to "walk back in." Almost literally. You are going to achieve a story about this moment, with a beginning, middle, and end.

"Every great photograph has a secret," a noted critic once said. An essayist for Time magazine once wrote: "All great photographs have lives of their own. But sometimes they can be false as dreams."

Candidates for the course are asked to submit as soon as possible one or two samples of their best creative nonfiction prose to Paul Hendrickson, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 234 (please slide work under the door if no one is in the office). Paper copies only, no electronic submissions. Be sure to include name, phone number, email address, the last four digits of your social security number.
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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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: dpolman@phillynews.com.

Time: M 2:00-5:00
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English 159.301 Political Writing in the Blog Age Polman
A primer on writing about U.S. politics, in an era of major technological upheaval and serious voter polarization. Today's 24/7, wi-fi'd, blogging environment - along with the rise of new conservative media - are changing the ways that writers cover politics and deliver the information. The course will put all these trends in a historical context, tracing the changes that have occurred during the four decades since Theodore H. White wrote "The Making of the President 1960." Students will write in different formats, including: the traditional straight story, commentary, and blogs. Outstanding and controversial work, from writers such as author Richard Ben Cramer and Hunter S. Thompson, will be studied. The course, taught by a veteran reporter of four presidential campaigns, is also valuable for followers of politics who want to become more discerning readers.

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: dpolman@phillynews.com.
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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English 412.640 Archaeology of Fiction Watterson
This workshop will help both new and experienced writers dig for the layers of experience buried in their own stories and uncovered through exercises that tap memory, imagination and visualization. We will explore the elements of fiction, from the focus on details to reveal the larger world of the story, to character development, dialogue, point of view, style and voice. We will mine a deeper understanding of the craft by reading short stories and excerpts from a wide range of writers, including Raymond Carver, John Edgar Wideman, Robertson Davies, Flannery O'Conner and Ursula Hegi. 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: R 5:30-8:10
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