Spring 2007 Creative Writing CoursesEnglish 010.301 Creative Writing: Memory, Fact and Fiction
Courtney Zoffness W 2:00-5:00 English 010.302 Creative Writing: Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction
Albert DiBartolomeo T 1:30-4:30
English 010.303 Creating Possibilities in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry
Tom Devaney MW 2:00-3:30
English 111.301 Experimental Writing Charles Bernstein W 2:00-5:00
English 111.302 Poetry and Poetics Linh Dinh T 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 113.301 Poetry Workshop Herman Beavers R 1:30-4:30
English 114.401 Playwriting Bruce Graham M 2:00-5:00
English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 115.601 Advanced Fiction Writing Kathryn Watterson R 5:30-8:30
English 116.401 Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco T 1:30-4:30
English 116.601 Screenwriting Marc Lapadula M 5:00-8:00
English 118.301 Advanced Poetry Workshop Gregory Djanikian W 2:00-5:00
English 130.401 Advanced Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco W 2:00-5:00
English 130.402 Advanced Screenwriting Mark Rosenthal R 1:30-4:30
English 135.301 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Lorene Cary R 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 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 Robert Strauss M 2:00-5:00
English 145.401 Writing in Concert Lorene Cary T 1:30-4:30
English 155.301 Documentary Writing Paul Hendrickson M 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 169.301 Advanced Projects in Nonfiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 435.640 Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop Kathryn Watterson T 5:30-8:10
English 435.641 Creative Non-fiction Writing Deborah Burnham W 6:00-8:40
English 010.301 Memory: Fact and 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: W 2:00-5:00
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
English 010.303 Creative Possibilities in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry Devaney Creative nonfiction is essays, memoirs, literary journalism, and related writings. Student work is the focus of discussion in this workshop, along with analysis of selected readings. Modes of creative nonfiction, narrative, structure, aspects of style, and other elements of craft are studied. Our focus in creative nonfiction includes writing about people and places as well as inventive approaches to the essay. In the section on poetry, the relationship between poetry and prose is explored, as well as writing “mini-essay” list poems, Haiku (as an editing tool for prose and poems), and prose poems. Scenes, vignettes, and slices of life are the building blocks of both creative nonfiction and poetry. Creative nonfiction differs from traditional nonfiction (and is related to poetry) because subjectivity is not only permitted, but encouraged. This lively workshop will explore the art and craft of writing and will attempt to push the boundaries of what can be done story-wise and otherwise. The goal is for students to submit one revised work for full class review, in addition to weekly peer-review, writing, and reading assignments. Students will keep a journal and will complete a final portfolio of 12-15 pages of revised work. Time: MW 2:00-3:30
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
More information at http://writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/syllabi/111-intro.html
Time: R 1:30-4:30
English 111.302 Poetry and Poetics Dinh State of the Union
If you have something very urgent to say, you'll find a way to say it. In this poetry writing workshop, we’ll examine the real state of our union, at variance with the official one. Informed and provoked by the essays of James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg and Susan Sontag, etc, we’ll arrive, hopefully, at a deeper understanding of the many crises confronting America. Looking past the spins and jives, seeing behind what’s behind, we’ll deconstruct America. There will be a writing assigment each week, with ensuing class discussions. By the end, each student will have a body of poems that reflects his or her state of the union. Permission of the instructor is required. Send a brief email stating why you wish to attend the workshop (writing samples not required) to email@example.com
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time: M 2:00-5:00
English 112.302 Fiction Writing Workshop McKinney-Whetstone 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. Email a writing sample to email@example.com
Class participation is vital and expected.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
English 113.301 Poetry Workshop Beavers This workshop is intended to help students with prior experience writing poetry develop techniques for generating poems along with the critical tools necessary to revise and complete them. Through in-class exercises, weekly writing assignments, readings of established poets, and class critique, students will acquire an assortment of resources that will help them develop a more concrete sense of voice, rhythm,prosody, metaphor, and the image as well as a deeper understanding of how these things come together to make a successful poem. In addition to weekly writings, students will be asked to produce a final portfolio of poems and to participate in a public reading.
Students who wish to participate in this workshop should submit 3-5 poems (none longer than 30 lines) to Herman Beavers, 127 Bennett Hall/6273. In addition to your name, please provide a phone number or e-mail address where you can be reached. Permission of the instructor is required for registration in this course.
Time: R 1:30-4:30
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Time: T 1:30-4:30
English 115.601 Advanced Fiction Writing Watterson This workshop will 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. 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.Please submit a brief writing sample to: email@example.com Time: R 5:30-8:30
English 116.401 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 to firstname.lastname@example.org Time: T 1:30-4:30
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
English 118.301 Advanced Poetry Workshop Djanikian This workshop is designed for those of you who desire advanced study in poetry writing. The hope is that by semester's end, through revision, you will have a portfolio of poems which are for the most part consistent in voice, form, and/or thematic concern. Discussion and constructive peer responses to student work will be the primary focus of the course so your participation is essential. We'll read essays about writing, and individual collections by at least 6 contemporary poets.
Students will also be asked to submit written responses of each other's poems, as well as on the assigned collections and essays. Please email me three sample poems at email@example.com.
Time: W 2:00-5:00
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Time: W 2:00-5:00
English 130.402 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 email@example.com.
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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: R 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Creative Non-Fiction: Writing Your Travels. Kant In this course students will learn to observe 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
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
English 145.301 Advanced Non-Fiction Writing Strauss I’m 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Time: M 2:00-5:00
English 145.401 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 texts will be Kindred and Blood Child by Octavia Butler, the first science fiction writer ever to reveive a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant (1995) and recipient of Hugo and Nebula awards. Butler, who died last year at 58 years old, described herself as "comfortably asocial--a hermit in the middle of Seattle--a pessimist if I'm not careful, a feminist, a Black, a former Baptist, an oil-and-water combination of ambition, laziness, insecurity, certainty, and drive."
Students will study the common texts 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. We also work with intensity and focus on issues of learning and teaching to prepare students to teach at 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. On Friday, April 7th, students attend a panel discussion and reading featuring other African-American sci-fi writers who will read from Butler's works and describe her influence on them and the genre at Art Sanctuary, a North Philadelphia arts organization at the Church of the Advocate www.artsanctuary.org. At least one other university will participate in this citywide project that makes deep connections among the academy, literature, writers, readers, and learners.
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.
Here's a taste of what a couple of the last year's students wrote:
Community grows me. This is the point I must make here. If I don't start by saying it I'll try to convince myself otherwise. The praise of community is a painful admission for me. I don't want to have to need people. I don't want to admit that community is far more powerful than my own devices. I cannot harvest myself. I cannot truly grow without other people. Every point of my life affirms this need for others. I have never thrived on my own. Yet I can't shake the notion that maybe, if I just give solitude enough time, a break through will come. For some reason I keep my expectations of the future separate from my experiences of the past. I expect to be able to accomplish great things on my own but it has never happened that way. I expect to be disappointed or misunderstood by others yet this has rarely been the case. I expect that teaching Sonia Sanchez will require an outpouring of my intellect and wisdom, yet my most profound moments of learning have come through community experiences.
Maybe I'm afraid that I don't have enough to offer them in return. Sometimes I feel like a fraud trying to teach 9th graders lessons that I still haven't really learned for myself or that I still struggle with as a 21 year old. I think there is a perfectionist lurking somewhere inside of me. She never comes out when she should, like when I need to keep my room clean, or meticulously edit a paper. She only comes out after the prep work is done to make fun of me and remind me of all the skills I don't have. She often reminds me of how I changed schools so many times between middle school and high school that no one could catch that I never took Algebra 1 and struggled to pass every subsequent math class as a result. No one noticed that I had never had an introductory English course in high school, so I never officially learned how to write a paper. No one caught that I spent 4 years in high school and never took a real history class. I may be the only person to ever slip through the cracks and still manage to maintain an A minus average. My foundation is shaky and every time I step in front of a classroom, I fear that someone may discover a crack and the mansion I've built on top of it will come crashing down. --Tracee Thomas
Time: T 1:30-4:30
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: M 2:00-5:00
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: email@example.com.
Time: M 2:00-5:00
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time: W 2:00-5:00
English 169.301 Nonfiction Writing: Special Projects Hendrickson A course of limited enrollment and by permission only, for those advanced nonfiction writers who already may have written an extended piece of nonfiction, but who wish to focus on tone and style appropriate to subject matter, paying even closer attention to the smallest sentences, their rhythm and pitch as they contribute to the whole. Students will work closely with the instructor in preparing their work for publication, and, at semester’s end, will submit their pieces to appropriate journals. The course is designed to introduce students to the life of the professional writer, the nuts and bolts of seeing a piece of writing through to its end. Inquiries may be emailed to Professor Hendrickson at email@example.com. Students should submit writing samples to P. Hendrickson (they can slide them under the door of Fisher-Bennett 234; no electronic samples, please), and to include email and phone and last four digits of their social security number. Time: T 1:30-4:30
English 435.640 Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop Watterson This workshop will help both new and experienced writers explore the elements that go into creating an effective memoir - the storytelling that allows writers to recreate for their readers the events that helped them shape their inner lives 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 Zinsser, 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
English 435.641 Creative Non-fiction Writing Burnham Creative non-fiction is at least as old as Defoe, and as new as an unfinished memoir. Conventional definitions of the genre include memoir and autobiography, but the boundaries get pushed each time that a writer's idiosyncratic experience embraces, slams or dodges the external world. In this class, we will read from established essayists including Adrienne Rich, James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, Alice Walker and Lewis Thomas and from a wide range of new writers. Writing assignments will include a few short exercises, a journal, and four longer pieces: a profile, a essay on place, and two of your choice. Classes will include both student-led discussion on the assigned writings and workshop sessions. While the writing assignments will be explicitly non-fiction prose, the disciplines and freedoms of writing such pieces can be of considerable benefit to poets and fiction writers. If you have questions, please feel free to write to the instructor: firstname.lastname@example.org Time: W 6:00-8:40