Spring 2012 Creative Writing Courses

English 010.301 Creative Writing:Personal Essay/Fiction Sam Apple M 2:00-5:00
English 010.302 Creative Writing: Travel Writing/Short Fiction Rolf Potts W 2:00-5:00
English 010.303 Creative Writing: Journalism and Memoir Jamie-Lee Josselyn R 1:30-4:30
English 111.401 Experimental Writing Charles Bernstein M 2:00-5:00
English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Karen Rile M 2:00-5:00
English 114.401 Playwriting Seth Bauer M 2:00-5:00
English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 116.401 Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco M 2:00-5:00
English 116.402 Screenwriting Staff R 4:30-8:30
English 117.301 The Arts and Popular Culture Anthony DeCurtis R 1:30-4:30
English 118.301 Advanced Poetry Workshop Gregory Djanikian T 1:30-4:30
English 119.301 Art Reviewing and Criticism Susan Bee W 2:00-5:00
English 121.601 The Cat in the Sorting Hat: Why and How Kid Lit Works Melissa Jensen T 5:30-8:30
English 130.401 Advanced Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco W 2:00-5:00
English 135.301 Creative Nonfiction Writing Lorene Cary T 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Creative Nonfiction Writing Beth Kephart T 1:30-4:30
English 135.303 Creative Nonfiction Writing Jay Kirk W 2:00-5:00
English 135.401 Peer Tutoring Valerie Ross TR 10:30-12:00
English 135.601 Creative Nonfiction: Finding Voice--
Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender
Kathryn Watterson T 5:30-8:30
English 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 158.301 Advanced Journalism: Science, Technology, Society Peter Tarr T 1:30-4:30
English 160.301 Long-Form Storytelling Paul Hendrickson W 2:00-5:00
English 161.301 The Art of the Profile Dick Polman M 2:00-5:00
English 162.301 The 2012 Republican Primaries Dick Polman W 2:00-5:00
English 165.301 Writing through Art and Literature Kenneth Goldsmith R 1:30-4:30
English 170.301 Advanced Writing Projects in Art and Popular Culture Anthony DeCurtis F 2:00-5:00
English 410.640 Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry Lynn Levin T 5:30-8:10
English 435.640 Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop Kathryn Watterson R 5:30-8:10

Descriptions

English 010.301
Creative Writing: Personal Essay/Fiction
Sam Apple
M 2:00-5:00

In this workshop-style class we'll focus on the personal essay for the first half of the semester and then move on to fiction. In addition to writing and critiquing essays and stories, we'll read and discuss a wide range of work from both established masters and emerging young writers. Several of the authors we read will make guest appearances (in-person and via video) to discuss their work and answer student questions.

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English 010.302
Travel Writing/Short Fiction
Rolf Potts
W 2:00-5:00

This class, which mixes story-craft seminars and workshop sessions, will explore literary travel writing and short fiction, giving students the opportunity to write and revise in both genres, as part of a supportive writing community. Craft seminars will combine in-class free writing with an examination and discussion of classic and contemporary readings from both genres. This will give students the tools not just to write their own short fiction and travel pieces, but also to evaluate each other's writing in workshop sessions. Since workshops are meant to be process-oriented, class participation and effective rewriting will figure into the final grade, as well as a portfolio consisting of one travel story and one piece of short fiction.

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English 010.303
Creative Writing: Journalism and Memoir
Josselyn
R 1:30-4:30

This interactive workshop will focus on the way a writer constructs characters in journalistic profiles, memoirs and personal essays. Students will examine – through their own work and others’ – how nonfiction writers must shape information to render people on the page in a way that is accurate, honest, and engaging.

Much of this workshop will be spent on the “I” character. How do we portray ourselves, both when we’re at the center of our stories and when we’re on the edges looking in? How do we decide what to include and how do we justify what we exclude? We will look to the writers Joan Didion, Phillip Lopate and others for help when we need it.

The majority of class time will be spent discussing student work. Revision will be essential. An email listserv will be used to discuss readings and other topics. In addition to writing assignments throughout the semester, students will complete a final portfolio of approximately fifteen pages of revised work.

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English 111.401
Experimental Writing
Bernstein
M 2:00-5:00

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
More information at http:// writing.upenn.edu/ bernstein/syllabi/111-intro.html

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English 112.301
Fiction Workshop
Rile
M 2:00-5:00

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 toassigned 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.

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English 114.401
Poetry Workshop
Bauer
M 2:00-5:00

This course is designed as a hands-on workshop in the art and craft of dramatic writing. It involves the study of existing plays, the systematic exploration of such elements as story making, plot, structure, theme, character, dialogs, setting, etc.; and most importantly, the development of students' own plays through a series of written assignments and in-class exercises. Since a great deal of this work takes place in class -- through lectures, discussions, spontaneous writing exercises, and the reading of student work -- weekly attendance and active participation is crucial.

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English 115.301
Advanced Fiction Writing
Apple
T 1:30-4:30

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@verizon.net

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English 116.401
Screenwriting
DeMarco
M 2:00-5:00

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 kathydemarco@writing.upenn. edu Permit from the instructor is required.

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English 116.402
Screenwriting
Staff
R 4:30-8:30

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 the instructor.

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English 117.301
The Arts and Popular Culture
DeCurtis
R 1:30-4:30

"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, undergraduate class, and the telephone number where you can be reached. Permit from the instructor is required.

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English 118.301
Advanced Poetry Workshop
Djanikian
T 1:30-4:30

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 djanikia@writing.upenn.edu

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English 119.301
Art Reviewing and Criticism
Susan Bee
W 2:00-5:00

This is a workshop on writing about visual art. Most weeks there will be both a writing assignment and suggested reading. We will review Philadelphia area exhibitions, including shows at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and galleries. We will also make some class visits to local art spaces. In the workshop, students will be able to try out different approaches to writing about art works, concentrating on various descriptive and critical approaches. The workshop will be useful to budding journalists and critics but also to visual art and art history students, who are interested in honing their writing and analytical skills. We will also discussing editing and the role of the editor in creating the final written piece. And there will be plenty of opportunities for us to talk about a wide range of contemporary visual art.

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English 121.601
The Cat in the Sorting Hat: Why and How Kid Lit Works
Jensen
T 5:30-8:30

It's something of a glorious phenomenon, this steady rise of Children's Literature in the book world. While many other genres are lagging--or disappearing altogether--Kid Lit grows. Is it that more kids are reading? Or that more adults are reading things ostensibly written for kids? Are the books better, or the times worse? Are we as engaged by century-old books as brand new ones? What we do know is that these books and what they represent are absolutely critical to young minds. Students will examine the genre for what makes it enjoyable, certainly, but more importantly, they will examine it for what makes it important, even necessary. This class will be based around lots of reading, some lively debate, and livelier critique. Reading selections will cross time and sub-genre. Written assignments will vary from critical and analytical to creative. Students will both analyze established works and create their own, with the opportunity to workshop their creative fiction/non-fiction pieces.

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English 130.401
Advanced Screenwriting
DeMarco Van Cleve
W 2:00-5:00

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.

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English 135.301
Creative Nonfiction Writing
Cary
T 1:30-4:30

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.

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English 135.302
Creative Nonfiction Writing
Kephart
T 1:30-4:30

We’ll be asking questions throughout this section of Creative Nonfiction, and we’ll be writing and reading our way toward answers: What do we owe our writing, and what does it owe us? What is the role of imagination in memoir? How is the persona of our nonfiction different from the person we know ourselves to be, and how different should it be? How important is it, really, to distinguish between story and situation? We’ll be provoked and inspired by the work of such authors as Patricia Hampl, Lia Purpura, Joan Didion, Julian Barnes, Natalie Goldberg, Grace Paley, William Fiennes, Michael Ondaatje, Vivian Gornick, and Terrence Des Pres. We’ll workshop essays, memoir, and profile.

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English 135.303
Creative Nonfiction Writing
Kirk
W 2:00-5:00

The craft of travel writing is the craft of storytelling. Stories are a tool we use to see the world around us more clearly, and to travel is simply a way of reminding oneself I am here right now. Stories are the way we come to understand ourselves, and to find meaning in our lives and in our world. Our job here is to learn to see more vividly; to capture that most elusive of things called experience, which is the essence of all travel. This will be a workshop where we will meditate on the idea of travel-as-experience and how to recreate these experiences as vivid narrative. We will discuss craft, the mechanics of writing effective narrative nonfiction, and yet we will try to be mindful of the intuitive (and unconscious) powers at play in our writing as well. Each week we will do in-class writing exercises and students will go on weekly “travel” assignments, to be brought back to class, read aloud, and critiqued. In a way, the class will operate like the editorial meeting at a magazine, where we brainstorm different ideas for “assignments,” and then discuss what might make any given story work more effectively. Perhaps one story might require a little historical research; another might benefit from an interview with an expert (or interesting character); other stories might be best as a mix of stream-of-consciousness and reportage or as David Foster Wallace might have deemed it: “experiential postcards.” The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that travel writing can be anything you want it to be, so please be prepared to break boundaries.

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English 135.401
Peer Turoring
Ross
TR 10:30-12:00

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.

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English 135.601
Creative Nonfiction: Finding Voice--Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender
Watterson
T 5:30-8:30

Our voices as writers take shape in the complex ground of our inner landscapes, seeded by our lives as children, our family dynamics and myths, and our cultural, psycho/social connections. In this writing workshop, we will explore the impact of “identity”—primarily race, class and gender—as it informs the way we convey our experiences and personal truths to the world. Students will read a variety of authors to gain insight into various ways writers build narratives to make sense out of the conflicting histories and memories that influence the progression of their lives. Students will conduct interviews, do research, writing exercises and visualizations to generate ideas, and to develop and revise personal essays, articles and opinion pieces.

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English 145.301
Advanced Nonfiction Writing
Hendrickson
T 1:30-4:30

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 email by attachment as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose to Paul Hendrickson at phendric@sas.upenn.edu. Also include your name, last four digits of SS#, undergraduate class, and telephone number where you can be reached. Permit is required by the instructor.

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English 158.301
Advanced Journalistic Writing: Science, Technology, Society
Tarr
T 1:30-4:30

Subjects such as cloning, genetically modified foods, and climate change present challenges of comprehension for the general public and political leaders alike. We will address the problem of writing about science and technology for a public that has grown skeptical of science’s role in shaping the future. The semester will begin with a review of some of the fundamentals of journalism. In the second half of the semester, members of the workshop will engage in an extended reporting project whose subject matter requires them to move between the two cultures of "science" and "human values," and identify where they intersect. A partial list of potential subjects, in addition to those already mentioned, includes: stem cell research; problems of public health in the developing world; nano-biotech and synthetic biology; safety of our food and water supplies; the challenge of “clean energy”; artificial intelligence and the human interface; genetic enhancement of human function; how the web transforms our world; science in service of national security objectives. This being a writing course, our stress will be on selecting a suitable topic; devising a realistic research and interview strategy; and techniques for bringing it all together in the form of an extended article suitable for magazine or web publication.

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English 160.301
Long-Form Storytelling
Hendrickson
W 2:00-5:00

This is a reading/writing course in the art and history of long-form narrative journalism, which to some might seem a lost art and term. And yet the long-form story still has its fervent adherents, and who is to say such a form—call it even a craving—for the full-bodied piece of narrative work won’t have a kind of renaissance as we further try to find our way in the mysteries of cyberspace and the digital age?

Students will study the roots and origins of what came to be thought of in the 1960s as “New Journalism.” So the works and lives of Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Hunter Thompson, John McPhee, Joan Didion, Michael Herr—to cite only seven esteemed practitioners—will be examined. But we will also study the lives and works of some descendants, or maybe inheritors, of those early writers, whose names you know far less well: Gary Smith, Tom Junod, Richard Ben Cramer, Janet Malcolm. Your professor himself is an “inheritor,” and as a matter of fact so are you. Which is only to say: If there will be a large emphasis on reading in the course, there will be an equally large emphasis on the practice of the form. Each student admitted to the class will produce his or her own long-form piece of journalistic prose, something in the neighborhood of twenty to twenty-five double-spaced pages, employing the various techniques of the novelist (scene, characterization, detail, telling moment, revelatory quotes) and yet at the same time remaining absolutely sacred to the responsibility of facts, as you are able to gather and find them.

This is not a course for the faint-hearted. Any long-form piece of distinctive journalistic work is first and foremost about the reporting. The reporting, the reporting, the reporting. You’ll have to find your subject, and go after it. And then it’s about the writing, the writing, the writing, which is the even sweatier act. Joan Didion, one of the finest and sparest of the long-form journalists we will read, once said: “I don’t write well; I revise well.”

Those interested in the course should submit one or two pieces of their best prose, by Word attachment, to phendric@english.upenn.edu. The professor has this goofy notion it should be a lot of fun.

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English 161.301
The Art of the Profile
Polman
M 2:00-5:00

One of the toughest challenges for any journalist is to master the art of profile-writing. In this new course, students will read and critique some of the classic profile articles of the past 40 years, and, most importantly, write profile articles of their own. Writing about people is often very rewarding, but rarely easy. In this course, students will debate the questions that have plagued and energized journalists for generations: How do you persuade somebody that he or she is a worthy topic for a profile? How do you ask sensitive questions? If the person is a celebrity, how do you avoid being manipulated into writing a "puff piece"? Do you tape the interviews or just take notes? How do you structure a profile in order to keep the reader's attention? Is it even possible to capture the essence of a person on the written page? Are you a friend to the profile subject - or a manipulator? A journalist at The New Yorker recently said that a writer's relationship with the profile subject is "a kind of love affair." On the other hand, a famous author once said that a profile writer is typically "gaining their trust and betraying without remorse." Which is closer to the truth? Students, in addition to writing their own profiles, will kick around these questions while reading some of the best contemporary profile writers, including Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, David Remnick, Mark Bowden, and Judy Bachrach. The instructor will also offer several of his own.

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English 162.301
The 2012 Republican Primaries
Polman
W 2:00-5:00

This in-depth course on political commentary writing will focus heavily on the competition among Republican candidates to capture the nomination and challenge Barack Obama in the autumn election. Students will write weekly on a class blog, chronicling and analyzing the latest primary results and candidate debates. Students will track the news as it unfolds week by week, and deepen their understanding of what constitutes effective commentary writing.

All opinions are welcome, but they must be effectively backed up with substantive factual evidence, and, most importantly, they must be communicated in clear, persuasive, and (especially) lively prose. In short, the course will emphasize the importance of effective thinking and effective writing. The course will also feature several guest speakers from Washington--including Politico columnist Roger Simon (who will talk about the differences between writing for print and writing online), and Republican strategist/blogger Rich Galen (who will talk about his experiences as both insider and commentator).

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English 165.301
Writing throught Art and Literature
Goldsmith
R 1:30-4:30

Stefan Sagmeister, the award-winning graphic designer who has collaborated with artists such as Lou Reed and Talking Heads, will be the subject of large exhibition at Penn's Institute of Contemporary Art focusing on the recurrent themes of LANGAUGE and HAPPINESS in his work. Sagmeister has pioneered the concept of graphic design as a way of living a free, happy, and creative life, providing a new take on the 20th century idea of the intersection of Art and Life.

Our writing seminar will explore the graphic design techniques pioneered by Sagmeister -- words inscribed on the body, the use of unorthodox and handwritten fonts, the merging of language, fashion, and graffiti -- and translate them onto the page as explorations into new possibilities for creative writing. We will trace the histories of visual language both on and off the page in various mediums including poetry, graphic design and visual art. In literature, we will investigate the use of visual lanaguage from medieval illuminated manuscripts, to the spatialist works of Stéphane Mallarmé, Zaum, and Futurist visual poetry, mid-century concrete poetry, and contemporary uses in electronic and web-based media; in graphic design, we'll explore the split between clean high modernism and messy expressionistic post-modernism; and in the visual arts, we'll look at the uses of language in conceptual art, body art, as well as in propaganda and political art. And of course, we'll examine the Sagmeister-inspired ways that HAPPINESS and JOY can inspire our own written explorations.

This year-long creative writing class, given as a collaboration of CPCW and the ICA, will use the Sagmeister's works as a basis to inspire a wide variety of written, spoken, and recorded works by participating students. Students will be encouraged to develop correspondent methods of responding to the ICA's exhibitions, specifically in conjunction with an exhibition. The class will involve monthly trips to New York City to attend concerts, museums and lectures. The students will have access to the most cutting-edge artists today via class visits and studio visits. English 165 will culminate in a publication co-sponsored by the ICA and CPCW.

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English 170.301
Advanced Writing Projects in Art and Popular Culture
DeCurtis
F 2:00-5:00

This advanced course in writing about the arts and popular culture is limited in enrollment (by permission of the instructor) and intended for students who wish to concentrate on specific aspects of their writing -- whether as critics, essayists or profile writers. Occasional meetings of the full group will concentrate on issues relevant to all aspects of arts-and-culture writing, while meetings with individual students will focus and help realize the larger individual projects that will constitute the course's main work. Readings for the course will be geared specifically to the interests of the students who have been selected, and will be drawn from work that is appearing at that time in journalistic publications, both in print (for example, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker) and online (Slate, Salon and sites of similar quality). Ideally, applicants will have already taken 117.301 with the instructor, but that is not a firm pre-requisite and other students should absolutely feel free to apply.

Please send an email describing your interest to ADecurtis@aol.com

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English 410.640
Writing Fiction and Poetry
Levin
T 5:30-8:10

Designed for students in the Master of Liberal Arts program, this introductory creative writing course focuses on fiction and poetry. You will benefit from in-depth readings and constructive critical support in a class that fosters a community of writers. During the first part of the semester, you will write a short story. In the second half, you will write poems. Some of each meeting will be devoted to mini-lectures on issues of craft and discussion of short stories or poems by established authors. Most of each class period will be dedicated to workshopping student work. Experimentation is encouraged. Revising your drafts and participating in class are vital. We will have some brief in-class writing exercises and a variety of homework assignments designed to help you generate and shape work. You will turn in one short story of about seven pages and packet of about six pages of poetry.

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English 435.640
Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop
Watterson
R 5:30-8:10

Whether you’re a new or experienced writer, this seminar will help you explore the elements that go into creating an effective memoir —the storytelling that creates for your readers events/people/places that have helped shape your inner life and sense of self. Memory is a dynamic force, and as we move and grow through our lives, our perspectives shift and change our relationships with the past. Through exercises and assignments, you will tap into your imagination and learn not only how to explore the mysteries that have helped to shape your own life and others' lives, but how to write vividly about them. We will focus on details, pace, and tone, as well as on research and revision and the ethics of how to write “truths” that may effect other people’s lives. We also will mine a deeper understanding of the art and craft by writing from a wide range of authors, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Kaye Gibbons, Jorge Luis Borges, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, James Baldwin, and Zora Neale Hurston. In addition to in-class writing, students are asked to a maintain a daily practice of free-writing; write reading responses (2-3 pages weekly) to assigned books, essays, and stories; participate in workshop discussions and peer review, and write and revise three stories or personal essays (4-5 pages) during the semester.

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