Spring 2014 Creative Writing Courses

English 010.301 Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction Sam Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 010.302 Journalism and Memoir Jamie-Lee Josselyn M 2:00-5:00
English 010.303 Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry Lynn Levin W 2:00-5:00
English 010.304 Creative Writing: Fiction/Nonfiction A. Naomi Jackson T 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 113.401 Poetry Workshop Herman Beavers W 2:00-5:00
English 114.401 Playwriting Jackie Goldfinger M 2:00-5:00
English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 115.302 Advanced Fiction Writing: One Book,
One Philadelphia, One UPenn
Lorene Cary W 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 116.403 Screenwriting Keir Politz R 4:30-7:30
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 120.401 The Translation of Poetry/The Poetry of Translation Taije Silverman TR 10:30-12:00
English 121.601 The Cat in the Sorting Hat: Writing for Young(er) Readers Melissa Jensen T 5:30-8:30
English 126.301 The Art of Editing Julia Bloch 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 Beth Kephart T 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Creative Nonfiction Writing Gwyneth Shaw W 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 145.302 Advanced Nonfiction Writing: Lise Funderburg R 1:30-4:30
English 145.401 Writing in Concert: Learn Lorene Cary T 1:30-4:30
English 145.601 Finding Voice: Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender Kathryn Watterson T 5:30-8:30
English 157.301 Introduction to Journalistic Writing Avery Rome T 1:30-4:30
English 158.301 Global Journalism: Writing Across Cultures Peter Tarr W 2:00-5:00
English 160.301 Long-Form Journalistic Writing 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 Political Commentary Writing 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 410.641 Storytelling in Fiction and Nonfiction Kathryn Watterson R 5:30-8:10

Descriptions

English 010.301
Creative Writing: Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction
S. Apple
T 1:30-4:30

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
Creative Writing: 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: Fiction and Poetry
Levin
W 2:00-5:00

This workshop-style class is an introduction to the pleasures of the writing process. Students will benefit from in-depth readings and constructive critical support in a class that fosters a community of writers. We will spend half the semester writing poems, and the other half writing fiction. Some of each meeting will be devoted to reading poems or a short story by established authors, with the emphasis on reading as writers rather than scholars. Experimentation and revision will be encouraged. Class participation and attendance are vital. We will have some brief in-class writing exercises and a variety of take-home assignments designed to help students generate and shape work. Students will turn in a final portfolio of 15 or so pages, which will include both poetry and prose. We will also write some brief (up to one page) responses to work read and written in class.

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English 010.304
Creative Writing: Fiction/Nonfiction
Jackson
T 1:30-4:30

In this course, we will explore works by writers whose prose defies distinctions between fiction and creative non-fiction for clues to their overarching thematic concerns and writing styles. Short stories, novel excerpts, and essays by Junot Diaz, Victor LaValle, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, and Toni Morrison, among others, will foreground our conversations about how to develop a narrative voice (i.e., a writing personality). The focus of this class will be on developing keen critical and creative eyes so that we can become better readers and writers. Students can expect to generate a portfolio of new work, respond to reading assignments and the work of their peers, and build creative community with other writers.

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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 113.401
Poetry Workshop
Beavers
W 2:00-5:00

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. .

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English 114.401
Poetry Workshop
Jackie Goldfinger
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 storymaking, plot, structure, theme, character, dialogue, 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 115.302
Advanced Fiction Writing
Cary
W 2:00-5:00

In this class students will write fiction and revise and edit their own and others’ writing in the context of the One Book One Philadelphia project. We will read the year’s featured One Book novel, Kevin Powers' Yellow Birds, and use it as an anchor. The citywide program, in which we’ll participate, will act as our extended classroom.

First, students will read the featured novel, and use it as a guide to create for our class a series of prompts and exercises. We will share this writing amongst ourselves and come up with protocols for workshopping drafts and revisions. Based on our experience, we will then give a workshop, using our exercises, to a high school class. Our UPenn students will give feedback to younger writers, then invite them to submit their revised work for publication on a special page on our website. In this way, our class participates in the One Book program, and our students’ editing and critiquing—as well as their writing—becomes available to a wider community.

Students will also attend at least one other of the many One Book events and write up their experience, on our blog. These blogs on the class website will be linked to the One Book site and connect the students’ observations to the community read-in. Off-line we will use the assignments to practice fidelity to fact in reporting—and then using fact as fiction fodder, experimenting on our scenes with point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, rhythm, even genre.

In collaboration with the Free Library, we will also host the One Book One Philadelphia author for an open class, giving students another signal opportunity to connect with the larger community of contemporary writers.

One Book One Philadelphia ends in March. For the second half of March through April, we will meet in small groups to debrief, workshop, revise. Students will prepare portfolios—at least one short-short story, one short story, blogs, and scenes—and their end-of-term own reading. Students interested in the course should submit writing samples to Lorene Cary at lorene.cary@gmail.com

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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.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 kpolitz@gmail.com Permit from the instructor is required.

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English 116.403
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 kpolitz@gmail.com Permit from the instructor is required.

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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 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
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 discuss 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.

English 120.401
The Translation of Poetry/The Poetry of Translation
Silverman
TR 10:30-12:00

“No problem is as consubstantial with literature and its modest mystery as the one posed by translation.” --Jorge Luis Borges

In this class we will study and translate some of the major figures in 20th century poetry, including Rainer Maria Rilke, Claire Malroux, Pablo Neruda, Cesare Pavese, Anna Akhmatova, and Bei Dao. While the curriculum will be tailored to the interests and linguistic backgrounds of the students who enroll, all those curious about world poetry and the formidable, irresistible act of translation are welcome. Those wishing to take the translation course should have, at least, an intermediate knowledge of another language. We will study multiple translations of seminal poems and render our own versions in response. Students with knowledge of other languages will have the additional opportunity to work directly from the original; students may also work in pairs, or groups. A portion of the course will be set up as a creative writing workshop in which to examine the overall effect of each others’ translations so that first drafts can become successful revisions. While class discussions will explore the contexts and particularity of (among others) Urdu, Italian, French, and Polish poetry, they might ultimately reveal how notions of national literature have radically shifted in recent years to more polyglottic and globally textured forms. Through guest speakers, essays on translation theory, and our own ongoing experiments, this course will celebrate the ways in which great poetry underscores the fact that language itself is a translation. In addition to the creative work, assignments will include an oral presentation, informal response papers, and a short final essay.

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English 121.601
The Cat in the Sorting Hat: Writing for Young(er) Readers
Jensen
T 5:30-8:30

Maybe it was the tricky pigeon, or the boy wizard, or the girl on fire, but however it started, something big has happened with young people and books. While many other genres are lagging-- or disappearing altogether-- Kid Lit grows. Is it that more children are reading? Or that more adults are reading things ostensibly written for children? Are the stories better, or the times worse? Are readers looking for the adventure or love or fairy tales that seem so integral to children's books? What we do know for sure is that these books are important. They are also a pleasure to read. And write, even if the writing isn't easy. In this course, we will examine the genre for what makes it work. Students will read across time and sub-genre, from picture books to teen novels. They will develop their own projects: honing their voice, creating believable story, characters, and language, all directed at younger readers. We will discuss these pieces as a group in class. This course is based around lots of reading and writing, some lively debate, and livelier critique. If all little girls and boys are well behaved, there might even be a nice twist or two. If not, there will be wolves.

English 126.301
The Art of Editing
Bloch
W 2:00-5:00

This course takes a critical and practical approach to the art of editing poetry and prose. Is the editor simply a “failed writer,” as T. S. Eliot claimed, or can good editing bring clarity and integrity to the creative process? In addition to exploring theories and histories of the red pen, we will consider a few case studies of editorial interventions, such as Ezra Pound’s excisions and revisions of Eliot’s The Waste Land, Marianne Moore’s five-decade quest to revise a single poem, and the editor who was discovered to have invented Raymond Carver’s distinctive narrative style. We will then immerse ourselves in the technical aspects of editing, mastering such topics as the difference between developmental and line editing, the merits of MLA and Chicago style, proofreading in hard copy and digital environments, and when to wield an em dash. Students will learn how to edit their own work and the work of their peers in regular workshops, and will also be given the opportunity to edit material for Jacket2, the journal in poetry and poetics.

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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
Kephart
T 1:30-4:30

Maybe the best we can do is leave ourselves unprotected…” the poet-novelist Forrest Gander has written. “To approach each other and the world with as much vulnerability as we can possibly sustain.” In this creative nonfiction workshop, we will be thinking about what it means to tell our personal stories, and how that telling gets done. We’ll be reading writers contemplating the act of writing—Joan Didion, Natalia Ginzburg, Vivian Gornick, Terrence des Pres, Annie Dillard, Patricia Hampl. We’ll be reading writers writing their own lives—Michael Ondaatje, Lucy Grealy, Buzz Bissinger, Dorothy Allison, Rick Bragg, Caroline Knapp, Jean-Dominique Bauby—as well as writers reflecting on the lives of others. The point will be to get close to the bone of things. Students should be prepared to read, to reflect, to take photographs, to find stories inside music, and to write two key papers—a memoir and a narrative profile—as well as a number of small papers and in-class assignments.

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English 135.302
Creative Nonfiction Writing
Shaw
W 2:00-5:00

This course will focus on finding -- and honing -- the writer’s voice through non-fiction writing. Students will read pieces by masters of the memoir and essay, as well as classics of narrative journalism, and write their own examples. Students should be prepared to read and write often, as well as critique their work and that of others.

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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 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 145.302
Advanced Nonfiction Writing
Funderburg
R 1:30-4:30

Creative nonfiction essays, at best, celebrate curiosity, observation, prejudice, and other idiosyncrasies of the human condition. They use reportage and the literary techniques of fiction in the service of compelling real-life stories. In this workshop-style class you will write and revise four essays (1200-1500 words each).

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

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

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

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English 145.401
Writing in Concert: Learn
Cary
T 1:30-4:30

Student writers will begin a website and blog to find and document extraordinary learning in Philadelphia schools. This course challenges student writers to articulate, argue, meditate, and persuade in traditional and new media forms stories about children’s learning and the social mechanisms we create to teach them.

Beginning with writing about their own education, including in-school and out-of-school learning experiences, student writers first will determine what they want to discover about learning. Then they will find topics that let them explore it. A fascination with generational language learning, for instance, could lead to a woman I know, an Albanian-language counselor who translated for Albanian-born parents who came weekly to an evening seminar their children’s teacher created to teach them the week’s math homework—culminating in a phenomenal leap in the math scores of this group of children and the parents’ joy at being able, for the first time, to help their kids in American school.

Student writers’ inquiry may include a wide range of topics within academic, socio-emotional, physical, or cultural learning. It can focus on students, families, teachers, staff, administrators, volunteers; system-wide issues of funding; legislation; programs, initiatives; the careers of individuals or the learning of individual students or discreet groups. Student writers will learn about their area of focus from documents; from conversations; and from observation.

Student writing will write answer the need for future writers and hobbyists alike to master short-, medium-, and long forms. They will use essays, blogs, tweets, Q&As, and illustrate them, where needed. The point is to increase the clarity and care with which student writers observe, ask questions, analyze, organize, and tell what will certainly present as complicated stories. It is easy to write about learning that hasn’t happened. Like writing about illness, education-bashing has an easy vocabulary. But the long learning apprenticeship of our young distinguishes humans from other mammals, and our delight in it gives our lives meaning and hope. We’ll look for that meaning and document it in clear, insightful, sometime surprising, prose.

In class we will work together on skill-building in the beginning, comparing progress and offering help in the middle of the term, then workshopping essays in the final third.

Portfolios will include students’ best writing, about 10-12 pages of it. In it’s first year, this course is learning, too, and we will determine as the course progresses how much student writing is appropriate to publish on our website. In this first iteration, “English 145: Learn” will launch the site and begin to determine its ambition, including the ability of university writers to create work not just to submit for a grade, but to participate in its time and place.

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English 145.601
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 157.301
Introduction to Journalistic Writing
Rome
T 1:30-4:30

Journalism has been called the first rough draft of history, because it attempts to answer a basic everyday question, What's happening? Dealing with facts, the journalist tells us stories about our world -- the actions of government and politicians, crime, law enforcement and courts, as well as the way we live, the texture of communities, science, health, business, entertainment and sports, cooking, leisure. Pretty much anything that is true is fair game, if it's new or a new take on the old. Even the definition of "new" is mutable. In essence, journalism grabs reality and holds it intact, saying “I was there and this is what it was like.”

This introductory course will explore the techniques that make a good story, from the selection of topic, to the kind of reporting required, to the ways to recreate the vitality, importance and even humor of what you’ve seen. Expect to write a lot and learn to see writing as a process that rewards nimble thinking and trying again.

The class loosely divides into a study of a story's basic elements – fact gathering, ledes, structure, kickers, interviewing, quotes, description – an analysis of the different journalistic forms and a series of assignments designed to use those tools and stretch the way you “see.”

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English 158.301
Global Journalism: Writing Across Cultures
Tarr
W 2:00-5:00

How should we approach writing -- knowing -- about people and things that are foreign to us? It’s a question that historians, anthropologists, and sociologists ask routinely, but that most practicing journalists typically have not been trained to consider. In mainstream American journalism, international postings have long been awarded as plums to reporters who have scored major successes on domestic beats. This practice is consonant with an old journalistic shibboleth that any good reporter should be able to tell any story, anywhere, with no prior preparation or study. This course is grounded in a diametrically opposed notion: that intelligent reporting about the foreign is predicated upon self-awareness of one’s own cultural particularity and an active interest in the perspective and voice of “the other.” Students in the course will have an opportunity to write in a variety of modes -- factual reportage, op-ed, review, analysis -- about people and places that take them beyond their own immediate experience. The intent is to use reporting to enlarge the area of personal experience, thus enabling students to become more conscious of, and to move beyond, cultural assumptions, presuppositions, and prejudices. The instructor, who began a decade of international reporting as a cultural stranger among the peoples he wrote about, will draw on this formative experience in leading workshop members through their initial encounters as writers with the problem of knowing the other.

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English 160.301
Long-Form Journalism
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@sas.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
Political Commentary Writing
Polman
W 2:00-5:00

National politics in the digital era is waged 24/7 on the stump, on TV, online, on Twitter and other social media outposts, and Americans struggle to make sense of the incessant noise. Political commentary writers have an even greater burden. Seemingly by the minute, they are tasked with making quick smart judgments, and communicating those judgments in clear language. English 162 focuses entirely on the daunting art of political commentary writing - and on the challenges that commentary writers face in the era of the blogosphere and Twittersphere. Students will track the news as it unfolds week by week, and, most importantly, write commentary pieces about the news on an online blog created for this course. At a time when Americans are more awash in opinions than ever before, the aim is to master the craft of writing clear, responsible, incisive, substantive, and entertaining point-of-view journalism - and backing it with factual research. The ultimate goal is to successfully develop an “earned voice,” attained via effective writing, effective reporting, and, above all, effective thinking. In addition, prominent guest speakers will discuss their special expertise.

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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 162.301
The 2014 Congressional Primaries
Polman
W 2:00-5:00

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

This workshop, which understands creative writing as a serious pleasure, will devote half the semester to short stories and half to poems. You'll write a poem or (very) short story each week inspired by assigned readings by published authors, and present your work to the class for rigorous and supportive mutual critique. This workshop assumes that there are no best schools of writing, only individual works finding their best form according to their own internal logic. You'll also discuss the reading, do in-class writing experiments, and attend readings by established authors.

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English 410.641
Storytelling in Fiction and Nonfiction
Watterson
R 5:30-8:10

This workshop will focus on how to tell a good story—whether fiction or creative nonfiction. Students will identify stories they want to write, learn how to research subjects and settings, and tap into imagination to make a short story or personal essay come to life. We will explore the differences and requirements of both genres. In-class writing exercises and visualizations will jump start or enhance works-in-progress. Students will explore the importance of detail, humor, perspective, character, dialogue, and place in both fiction and nonfiction, while at the same time examining the substance of the story within a larger context. We will read selections from a range of versatile authors, including Jumpa Lahiri, Kaye Gibbons, Richard Wright, Audre Lorde, Alfred Kazin, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, John Edgar Wideman and Anne Lamott. Students will be asked to maintain daily writing journals, participate in and lead workshop discussions, contribute to peer review, and write and revise stories on a weekly basis.

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