Spring 2015 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 010.601 Creative Writing: Poetry and Fiction Julia Bloch T 4:30-7:30
English 111.301 Wasting Time on the Internet Kenneth Goldsmith W 2:00-5:00
English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Karen Rile M 2:00-5:00
English 113.301 Poetry Workshop Bob Perelman M 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 116.401 Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco Van Cleve M 2:00-5:00
English 116.402 Screenwriting DeMarco Van Cleve T 1:30-4:30
English 116.403 Screenwriting Burkhardt T 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 120.401 The Translation of Poetry/The Poetry of Translation Taije Silverman TR 3:00-4:30
English 121.401 Writing for Children: Beauty and the Book (and the Blog) Lorene Cary T 1:30-4:30
English 121.601 Writing for Children Elizabeth LaBan W 4:30-7:30
English 122.301 Making Comics J.C. Cloutier, Rob Berry MW 2:00-3:30
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 135.402 Essay, Blog, Tweet: Nonfiction now! Lorene Cary R 1:30-4:30
English 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 145.302 Advanced Nonfiction Writing: Lise Funderburg W 2:00-5:00
English 145.601 Finding Voice: Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender Kathryn Watterson T 5:30-8:30
English 155.301 Documentary Writing Paul Hendrickson W 2:00-5:00
English 157.301 Introduction to Journalistic Writing Avery Rome T 1:30-4:30
English 158.301 Science and Technology Writing Workshop Peter Tarr W 2:00-5:00
English 160.301 Long-Form Journalistic Writing Dick Polman M 2:00-5:00
English 162.301 Political Commentary Writing Dick Polman W 2:00-5:00
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 412.640 The Archaeology of Fiction 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 010.601
Creative Writing: Poetry and Fiction
Bloch
T 4:30-7:30

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 111.301
Wasting Time on the Internet
Goldsmith
W 2:00-5:00

Live without dead time. — Situationist graffiti, Paris, May 1968

We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping. What if these activities — clicking, SMSing, status-updating, and random surfing — were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature? Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written? Using our laptops and a wifi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature. Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs. To bolster our practice, we'll explore the long history of the recuperation of boredom and time-wasting through critical texts about affect theory, ASMR, situationism and everyday life by thinkers such as Guy Debord, Mary Kelly Erving Goffman, Betty Friedan, Raymond Williams, John Cage, Georges Perec, Michel de Certeau, Henri Lefevbre, Trin Minh-ha, Stuart Hall, Sianne Ngai, Siegfried Kracauer and others. Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting is mandatory.

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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 113.301
Poetry Workshop
Perelman
M 2:00-5:00

This is a course for those wanting to explore ways of writing. We will use an assortment of approaches: in-class exercises, weekly writing assignments, wide-ranging readings of poetry, dream journals, collage of found/appropriated language, procedural experiments. The goal will be to make poetry a lively enterprise and to broaden your horizons of poetic possibility.

Permission of the instructor is required. Send a brief email stating why you wish to attend the workshop (writing samples not required) to perelman@english.upenn.edu

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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 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
DeMarco Van Cleve
T 1:30-4:30

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.

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English 116.403
Screenwriting
Burkhardt
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.

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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 120.401
The Translation of Poetry/The Poetry of Translation
Silverman
TR 3:00-4:30

“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 121.401
Writing for Children: Beauty and the Book (and the Blog)
Cary
T 1:30-4:30

We will read our favorite kids’ books, determine the kinds of books we love to read and write, and then write them, aiming at a clear voice appropriate to the story, and as much order or misrule as each writer’s kid-muse demands. For inspiration, we’ll visit the Maurice Sendak Collection at the Rosenbach Museum and Library and have a nostalgia wallow in the kids’ section at the library.

Then students write, fast-fast, drafts of stories to workshop, mull and revise. Yes, fun is required. For sure we'll critique, but first we'll try to outrun our interior grown-up! Workshopping happens first with student writer colleagues, and then with the real kids in schools, through our partner West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. Reading to children will give student writers a chance to hear where children laugh, see where they look scared, or notice when they begin to fidget. Returning with revisions will be a promise fulfilled, and an important marker in the literary life of everyone involved.

Our class will act as a team of editors, then, to submit stories—-and illustrations by authors and/or kids—-on the upcoming website, SafeKidsStories.org

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English 121.601
Writing for Children
LaBan
W 4:30-7:30

This course will focus on writing for children, while keeping in mind the fact that people of all ages read the stories written for younger people. We will read and discuss selected works each week, ranging from picture books to young adult novels. Along the way students will meet Skippyjon Jones, Auggie Pullman, and Ponyboy Curtis, among other memorable characters. In addition, there will be weekly writing assignments and in-class exercises, culminating in one larger work each student will focus on for the second half of the semester. We will study the elements of what makes a good story, how to create vivid characters and bring them to life, building fictional worlds, the writing process itself, the importance of revising, and a practical guide to getting published. We will talk about trends in children’s literature from vampires and wizards to reality-based fiction. A portion of each class will also be dedicated to workshop time to share and critique each other’s work. Advanced fiction writing experience is not required, but students must be willing to stretch their writing skills, take risks, and be open to sharing their work with the rest of the class.

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English 122.301
Making Comics
JC Cloutier/Rob Berry
MW 2:00-3:30

This course will expose students to the unique language of visual storytelling popularly referred to as “comics” or “graphic novels.” In essence, it will be a creative writing workshop in the inexhaustible art of making comics aimed at beginners and enthusiasts alike. Students will be exposed to a brief history of how this art has developed and to some of its many forms and genres. Through practical homework and lab assignments they will develop an understanding of how text and sequential images create a different kind of reading experience and storytelling. Over the course of the semester, students will work together by taking on a variety of roles in the making of comics, read groundbreaking comics theory and criticism, analyze now-classic and experimental comics, adapt a variety of prose & verse genres into comics, and ultimately create a long-form collaborative “graphic novel.”

Although this is not intended as a course in drawing, all students will be expected to explore storytelling through the combination of words and cartoons (yes, stick figures are fine!). Working in this method creates a unique and hands-on understanding of the creative process in comics. In-class reviews and group critiques will give students direct insight into how certain choices of composition affect the storytelling process. During the first half of the semester, the course will rigorously combine theory and practice, navigating through a slew of different genres (e.g. poem, short story, novel, journalism, film) and how these can be transmogrified into comics form. The second half will be dedicated to the production of a longer comic project.

For comics theory, we will read selections from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics; for practice, we will use Jessica Abel & Matt Madden’s Drawing Words & Writing Pictures. Additional readings will be made available through Canvas. Assignments will include participation & attendance, THREE (3) short response papers, SIX (6) short comics homework assignments, and the creation of a final, 20-page collaborative comic.

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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 135.402
Essay, Blog, Tweet: Nonfiction now!
Cary
R 1:30-4:30

This class is designed to advance students’ writing practice, discipline, and workshop and critiquing skills. Student writers will create non-fiction narrative in several forms: blogs, memoir, interviews, Q&As, essays. We will play with promotion, video, and social marketing, even grant proposals, advertisements, public service announcements, queries, and photo captions—all the forms that writers actually use throughout careers of deep reflection followed by hustle-and-pitch.

The class will act as an editorial group for SafeKidsStories.org, a site to be launched in the fall of 2015. The idea is to depict safety with the specificity and drama that we usually reserve for conflict. Your writing will explore Big Questions about the social, emotional, relational and physical structures that affect our children and youth; your research, interviews, reporting, and experience will discover and share solutions.

If we do the job right, we will shine a light on people in our midst creating structures of safety for kids in an era of fear. If we make it fun to read, look at, and listen to, too, then, like a few historic college courses that participate substantively in their communities, we’ll be on our way to stealth culture change.

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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
W 2:00-5:00

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 145.601
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 155.301
Documentary Writing
Hendrickson
W 2:00-5:00

This offering in advanced nonfiction writing will function as a workshop, with a select group of students. It's a course that will honor the spirit and tradition of "documentary" writing. The word "documentary" has meant many things over time. Here, it means a kind of nose-close observation and reportage. It means a level of being with one's subject matter in a way that other creative writing courses don't allow because of their format and structure. In English 155, a student writer at Penn will dare to "hang" with his topic--a girl's high-school basketball team; a medical intern in a HUP emergency room; a cleaning lady doing the graveyard shift in a classroom building; a food-truck operator crowding the noontime avenues; a client-patient in the Ronald McDonald House near campus; a parish priest making his solitary and dreary and yet redemptive rounds of the sick and the dying in the hospital--for the entire term.

Yes, the whole term. And at term's end, each writer in the course will have produced one extended prose work: a documentary piece of high creative caliber. This is our goal and inspiration. The piece will be 30 to 35 pages long.

Some people tend to think of the "documentary" genre (whether on film or in words) as work devoid of emotion--just the facts ma'am. But in truth, emotion and deep sensitivity are prerequisites for any lasting documentary work. The nature of documentary, true documentary, implies moral and social scrutiny; means detailed fact-based reporting, depends on personal response to that factuality. This course will draw on specific literary and journalistic interests of the instructor that go back about 30 years.

The core reading models will be James Agee and George Orwell--Specifically, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Agee and The Road to Wigan Pier by Orwell. Separately, across oceans, in 1936, in the belly of the Depression, these two incomparably gifted journalist/authors--one an American, one an Englishman--entered some damaged lower-class lives and proceeded to produce literary classics of the form. Agee went to Hale County, Alabama, to live with sharecroppers. Orwell traveled to the industrial grit of north England to observe coal miners.

Under the instructor's guidance, the students will choose within the first three weeks. Choosing the subject is crucial. Access will have to be gained, cooperation assured. Within five weeks, rough drafts will begin to be produced--scenes, sketches, captured moments--and these will then be brought in to be read aloud to the group. This will be a way of finding the piece's eventual form as well as making sure all participants are working at a level of continual intensity. The final product will be due at the 13th or 14th week of the term. Throughout the term we will constantly be consulting the various documentary reading models, even as we are concentrating on our own work.

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 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
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
Science and Technology Writing Workshop
Tarr
W 2:00-5:00

Millions of American adults are science-illiterate. An annual survey published by the National Science Foundation reveals that more than 50% of Americans over age 18 don’t understand what antibiotics are; don’t understand evolution; don’t know what a laser is. There is much confusion about science as reported in the press. What foods should we eat? Are GMOs dangerous? Does the discovery of new risk genes for autism or schizophrenia hold any near-term significance for patients and their families? What does your online data trail reveal about you? This workshop is intended for students interested in using popular science writing to broaden public understanding of who scientists are and what they do. If the public does not understand how to judge scientific claims, then it cannot intelligently participate in debates about major policy questions such as our response to climate change or whether limits should be placed on genetic engineering. This is a writing workshop, and the plan is for each student to produce 3-4 polished pieces of writing (2-3 of 500-750 words and 1 of 1500-2000 words) about scientists and scientific subject matter, based on a range of techniques that all science writers (indeed all journalists) must master. The skills we focus on are: quickly researching a topic; preparing a list of potential interviewees; performing interviews; finding “the story”; and writing and rewriting story drafts. The object is to show improvement between first and subsequent drafts, with help from others in the workshop, who will provide periodic short critiques.

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English 160.301
Long-Form Journalism
Polman
M 2:00-5:00

This course in long-form journalism, English 160, required of all jouralistic writing minors, will focus on the most revolutionary period in contemporary journalism--the 1960s, when writers such as Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Gay Talese, Anthony Lukas, Norman Mailer, and Thomas B. Morgan vastly expanded the possibilities of non-fiction. Dubbed "the new journalism," its practitioners adapted certain aspects of the novel (scenes, dialogue, structure) in order to better tell true-life stories. Students in this course will read extensively, to understand how these breakthrough writers have profoundly influenced the long-form journalism of today and will be asked to write a long-form journalistic piece, using many elements of the form.

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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. And the course will also focus heavily on the early jockeying in both political parties for the 2016 presidential nominations.

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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 412.640
The Archaelogy of Fiction
Watterson
R 5:30-8:10

This writing workshop is an archeological dig for the layers of experience, thought, sensation, and fantasy buried in your own imagination that inspire the creation of your stories. In this seminar, you will have the opportunity to excavate stories you want to tell by using the tools of writing and dreaming, improvisation, visualization, and mindfulness. Every week, you’ll do writing exercises to spark new connections. You will also explore the elements of literary fiction that invite readers to step into the interior dreams that can be seen, tasted, felt, and experienced through the sense details that take us there. We will mine a deeper understanding of the art and craft of writing, including choices about structure, plot, character-development, dialogue, point of view, style and voice, by reading short stories by a wide range of authors, including Alice Munro, John Edgar Wideman, Annie Proulx, Charles Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Jumpa Lahiri, and Langston Hughes. From them, you can learn a great deal about your own work by paying attention to theirs and applying the lessons you learn. This will be a semester of sharing, listening, reading, thinking, watching your own mind and writing, writing, writing. The workshop will include in-class exercises; take-home exercises; daily free-writing, close-readings, an in-depth study of three works by one author; oral presentations; class participation, and critique workshops in which you will read your work aloud and receive feedback designed to help you approach revision as an art.

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