Fall 2013 Creative Writing Courses

English 016.301 Freshman Seminar: Writing About Art Susan Bee W 2:00-5:00
English 010.301 Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry Deborah Burnham TR 10:30-12:00
English 010.302 Creative Writing: Journalism and Memoir Jamie-Lee Josselyn M 2:00-5:00
English 010.303 Creative Writing: Poetry/Memoir Laynie Browne T 1:30-4:30
English 010.601 21st Century Creative Writing Daniel Snelson W 5:00-8:00
English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 112.601 Fiction Writing Workshop Melissa Jensen T 5:30-8:30
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 Kathleen DeMarco Van Cleve M 2:00-5:00
English 116.402 Screenwriting Keir Politz T 4:30-7:30
English 116.601 Screenwriting Keir Politz R 4:30-7:30
English 117.301 The Arts and Popular Culture Anthony DeCurtis R 1:30-4:30
English 121.301 Writing for Children Donna Jo Napoli W 2:00-5:00
English 130.401 Advanced Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco Van Cleve W 2:00-5:00
English 135.301 Creative Nonfiction Writing Max Apple R 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Reality Check: Experience and the Art of Nonfiction Jay Kirk T 1:30-4:30
English 135.303 Creative Nonfiction: Writing Your Travels Marion Kant M 2:00-5:00
English 135.401 Peer Tutoring Valerie Ross TR 10:30-12:00
English 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 145.601 The Art of the Personal Essay Kathryn Watterson T 5:30-8:30
English 156.301 Writing from Photographs Paul Hendrickson W 2:00-5:00
English 157.301 Introduction to Journalistic Writing: Writing About Food Rick Nichols T 1:30-4:30
English 157.302 Entrepreneurial Journalism Sam Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 157.303 Introduction to Journalistic Writing Gwyneth Shaw R 1:30-4:30
English 158.301 Journalistic Story-Telling Dick Polman M 2:00-5:00
English 159.301 Political Writing in the Blog Age Dick Polman W 2:00-5:00
English 165.301 Writing through Art and Literature Kenneth Goldsmith R 1:30-4:30
English 435.640 Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop Kathryn Watterson R 5:30-8:10

Descriptions

English 016.301
Writing about Art
Bee
W 2:00-5:00

The seminar will engage critical issues related to visual arts, with a focus on writing about contemporary exhibitions. Most weeks there will be both a writing assignment and suggested reading. Members of the seminar will visit and review Philadelphia area exhibitions, including shows at the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and local galleries. In the seminar, students will be able to practice different descriptive and critical approaches to writing about art works. We will also focus on editing and the role of the editor in creating the final written work. There will be ample time given to discuss a wide range of contemporary visual art.

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English 010.301
Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry
Burnham
TR 10:30-12:00

In this class, we’ll read personal essays, mostly contemporary American, and poems from all over. The readings are structured to emphasize the contrasts among various structures. We’ll read some essays that are built along traditional lines (chronological, logical, etc.) and some that are segmented and less linear. You’ll write several short essays and one longer piece, drawing from your experience in idiosyncratic and unpredictable ways. You’ll also write very short responses to the readings that will form the core of a writer’s notebook, useful in generating more writing.

We’ll read some very contemporary and some very old poetry structured like lists, without the familiar organizing principles of rhyme and closed endings. We’ll also read and write poems in what are accurately called “obsessive forms”, poems that contain, magnify and alter their subjects. We’ll read, and write, prose poems and perhaps some forms of your own design.

The class is structured along familiar discussion/workshop designs. You’ll be responsible for presenting your work periodically, and for responding to the work of others in writing and in class. If you have questions, please feel free to write me: dburnham@english.upenn.edu

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English 010.302
Journalism and Memoir
Josselyn
M 2:00-5:00

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 010.303
Creative Writing: Poetry/Memoir
Browne
T 1:30-4:30

In this course we will read texts that skirt boundaries between poetry, autobiography and memoir, and consider various approaches to creative writing from life. Readings will include works by Joe Brainard, Lyn Hejinian, Hannah Weiner, Pamela Lu and others. We will consider various approaches to verse or prose memoir. Final portfolios for this course will include several sections of a verse or prose memoir, as well as written responses to readings.

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English 010.601
21st Century Creative Writing
Snelson
W 5:00-8:00

In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche used his typewriter to declare: “Our writing tools are also working on our thoughts.” How might we consider forms of poetry and fiction in a time when our thoughts are constantly reworked on by iPhones, YouTube, and Google? This class follows new trends in 21st century creative writing, where literature is equally likely to appear in a book, at an art gallery, in PDFs, through online videos, or even on FaceBook. Through readings and class visits from internet artists and emerging poets, we will explore works that push the literary envelope into a variety of new media formats. How might Twitter facilitate a serial novel? What does YouTube demand of poetry? Using the workshop format, we’ll engage in a series of weekly writing experiments that attempt to find some of our own answers to today’s most pressing technological demands. By the end of the semester, students will have the technical and creative tools necessary to gather these experiments into an impressive online portfolio. No previous training in poetry or new media is required!

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English 112.301
Fiction Writing Workshop
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 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@verizon.net. Permit from the instructor is required.

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English 112.601
Fiction Writing Workshop
Jensen
T 5:30-8:30

We've all heard the adage about writing today: There are no new stories, only good or bad retellings. Whether or not that's true, the fact remains that fairy and folk tales are an age-old and endless source for good stories. We see them on tv (Grimm, Once Upon a Time), in films (Snow White and the Huntsman, She's All That, even Black Swan), and in every genre of novel from children's picture books (The True Story of the Three Little Pigs) to adolescent fantasy (Harry Potter) to adult mystery (The Big Over Easy). In this course, students will read both original tales and some adaptations, and will create their own. Requirements include completion of writing and reading assignments, and thoughtful critique of both. If all little girls and boys are very well behaved, there might be a film or two. If not, there will be wolves.

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English 113.301
Poetry Workshop
Djanikian
T 1:30-4:30

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 Gregory Djanikian via email at djanikia@writing.upenn.edu Permit from the instructor is required.

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English 115.301
Advanced Fiction Writing
Rile
M 2:00-5:00

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.

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English 116.401
Screenwriting
DeMarco Van Cleve
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.eduPermit from the instructor is required.

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English 116.402
Screenwriting
Politz
T 4:30-7:30

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 116.601
Screenwriting
Politz
R 4:30-7:30

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

This 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 piece 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 comedian.

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English 121.301
Writing for Children
Napoli
W 2:00-5:00

This is a course for students who want to know about writing for children because they are writers and/or future teachers and/or interested in child development and/or interested in child language, and on and on. The class will be conducted as a seminar in which we study a wide variety of published children's books in all genres as well as how children talk to each other and what they talk about in order to make a mapping from real to rendered speech that rings true to the child reader's ear. We will discuss what makes a good book for children, how to create compelling characters, a good plot, appropriate pacing, a distinctive voice. There will be a writing assignment each week as well as a final project. No previous experience in writing for children is required but students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email that includes a brief description of their interest in the course and a writing sample of no more than 1000 words. Please email applications to Mingo Reynolds at mingo@writing.upenn.edu

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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
Apple
R 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
Reality Check: Experience and the Art of Nonfiction
Kirk
T 1:30-4:30

Every work of nonfiction is a writer’s attempt to reconstruct experience. But experience can be an elusive thing to capture: a strange hybrid of the highly subjective and the more tangible zone of perceptible fact. How do we strike a balance in narrative nonfiction? For one, we employ the same devices that we already use to navigate our way through the world—that of our senses. The more vivid the details of sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound, the more immersed the reader will become in the author’s re-created world of words. But what of the more abstract, less concrete sixth sense of thought? After all, it is our mind that perceives and finds the subjective meaning in experience. In this narrative nonfiction writing workshop, we will look at craft, literary technique, the mechanics of building vivid and powerful scenes, discuss the role of story-logic, and the importance of hard fact-checking. Yet, the student is also urged to pay close attention to their own internal narrator, and to be mindful of the intuitive (and unconscious) powers at play in their writing. Each week we will review classics in the genre, do in-class writing exercises, go on periodic “experiential” assignments, and explore how the art of playing around with the raw material of everyday life (i.e., “reality”) can make for great and unexpected stories.

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English 135.303
Creative Nonfiction: Writing Your Travels
Kant
M 2:00-5:00

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).

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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 145.301
Advanced Non-fiction 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 145.601
The Art of the Personal Essay
Watterson
T 5:30-8:30

Our voices as writers take shape as we begin to identify the complexities of our inner landscapes, perceptions, dreams, and fears. Memory is a dynamic force, and as we grow through our lives, our relationships with the past often change. This seminar will help you tap into and write about experiences that have helped shape who you are. We will use the personal essay, a form the Handbook of Literature defines as “a kind of informal essay, with an intimate style, some autobiographical content or interest and a…. conversational manner.” Class work will include meditation, freewriting, and visualization exercises; revision, peer review and class discussions. Readings will include works by Maxine Hong Kingston, Kaye Gibbons, Jorge Luis Borges, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion and Walt Whitman. In addition to in-class writing, students will maintain a daily practice of free-writing; write reading responses to assigned books, essays, and stories; conduct interviews, do research and write and revise two to three personal essays during the semester.

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English 156.301
Writing from Photographs
Hendrickson
W 2:00-5:00

A 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." 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 157.301
Introduction to Journalistic Writing: Writing about Food
Nichols
T 1:30-4:30

Some of the worst writing in the world is passed off as "food writing." And some of the finest, most moving, most joyful prose, as well. This course aims to push the needle -- your needle -- closer to the latter. We'll move smartly through various forms -- profiles (of guest chefs, farmers, turnips), reviews (of the likes of Han Dynasty, local tacquerias, Penn's food trucks), columns (on why avocados once cost less in Canada than Philadelphia, how the Amish may be killing blue crabs in the Chesapeake, the downsides of eating local). Finally, we'll tackle a longer piece that will serve as a final exam. The possibilities are as endless as the cornfields of Iowa (or the snack shelves at Acme). But in the end, the object is to write engagingly, be the subject feast or famine. To write with meaning. That means learning to report well, live and in person. To test conventional wisdom and to dish up what you have to say fresh and tasty. That's not an easy job. We'll look to Dickens for guidance, and the masters, M.F.K. Fisher, Joseph Mitchell, A. J. Liebling, Upton Sinclair and, maybe, Swift and Malthus. And newer voices -- Gopnik, Pollan, Trillin, Reichl, Bittman, Kurlansky. There will be field trips. There will be discussions of how immigration and war and technology (the stove! GMOs!) and transportation have shaped what's on our plate; or short-changed whole populations. Talking about this is a piece of cake. Writing about it -- and in a way that grabs, and holds the reader (of a website, newspaper, magazine, pitch for a best-selling book) -- is a different matter. It is what this course is all about. And, yes, there will be light refreshments!

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English 157.302
Enterpreneurial Journalism
Sam Apple
T 1:30-4:30

This class is designed to help students develop their own digital journalism models. Working alone or in small groups, students will conceive of a unique site or app and then spend the semester fine-tuning the concept and developing a basic business plan. Along the way, we'll explore some of the key challenges facing the industry, from how to build a reliable revenue stream at a moment when few people are willing to pay for content, to how to best engage an audience across multiple social media platforms. At the end of the semester, students will prepare brief presentations for their projects and present them before a panel of outside judges who will distribute $7,500 in seed funding. A team of developers will also help build the winning projects at an end of semester "hackathon." (No technical expertise is necessary for the class.)

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English 157.303
Introduction to Journalistic Writing
Gwyneth Shaw
R 1:30-4:30

This class will focus on the meat and potatoes of journalism - how to identify, report and write clear and effective news stories. How do you decide what the story is? How do you structure it? How do you frame questions? How do you know what to leave out? How do you know what's fair? We will cover the building blocks, then write profiles and features, as well as columns, commentary and opinion pieces. This is a newswriting exercise at heart. But its lessons are not limited to old-school newspapering: They can be applied to journalism whatever its form, and in fields far beyond - anywhere, in fact, where keen observation, concise expression and vivid language are of the essence

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English 158.301
Journalistic Story-Telling
Polman
M 2:00-5:00

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.,P. 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.

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English 159.301
Political Writing in the Blog Age
Polman
W 2:00-5:00

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 five presidential campaigns, is also valuable for followers of politics who want to become more discerning readers.

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

In recent years, archiving has increasingly been referred to as the new folk art, something that is widely practiced and has unconsciously become integrated into a great many people’s lives, potentially transforming a necessity into a work of art. Like quilting, archiving employs the obsessive stitching together of many small found pieces into a larger vision, a personal attempt at ordering a chaotic world. It’s not such a far leap from the quiltmaker to the stamp collector or book collector. Walter Benjamin, an obsessive collector himself, wrote about the close connection between collecting and making in his essay “Unpacking My Library”: “Among children, collecting is only one process of renewal; other processes are the painting of objects, the cutting out of figures, the application of decals — the whole range of childlike modes of acquisition, from touching things to giving them names.” In Benjaminan terms, all of these impulses — making, collecting & archiving — can be construed as folk practices.

Let’s add to that the organizing of digital materials. The advent of digital culture has turned each one of us into an unwitting archivist. From the moment we used the “save as” command when composing electronic documents, our archival impulses began. “Save as” is a command that implies replication; and replication requires more complex archival considerations: where do I store the copy? Where is the original saved? What is the relationship between the two? Do I archive them both or do I delete the original?

This year-long seminar will explore the intersection between the acts of archiving and the writing of literature. Coinciding with Penn's Institute of Contemporary Art's 50th anniversary year and their monumental retrospective of the archive-driven works of sculptor Jason Rhoades, we will spend the year examining ICA's archives and institutional structures in order to explore ways in which these materials can give us clues towards the creation of new types of literature. Throughout the year, we'll study artists (Marcel Duchamp, Andrea Fraser, Louise Lawler, Fred Wilson, Marcel Broodthaers), poets (Vanessa Place, Georges Perec, Charles Reznikoff) theorists (Fredrich Kittler, Lisa Gittleman, Vilém Flusser, Marshall McLuhan), historians (Claire Bishop, Rosalind Krauss, Benjamin Buchloh), archivists (Rick Prelinger, Brewster Kahle) and online institutions (aaaaarg, UbuWeb, monoskop, PennSound, EPC). In addition, we'll be granted unprecedented access to the ICA's extensive archive documenting its own history. The class will feature several class visitors from prominent practitioners in the fields of archiving and institutional critique and will include frequent class trips to New York City.

This seminar — which is co-sponsored by the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) — will culminate in a major publication to be launched at ICA's 50th anniversary party in the Spring of 2014.

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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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