Creative Writing Courses

ENGL 80

Writing and Reading Fiction

An introductory workshop and reading course in fiction, designed to allow students to work in all fictive modes. Each week students will consider different aspects of writing, and the various elements integral to the genre. Seminar-sized classes meet for discussion and include individual conferences. Dist: ART

ENGL 81

Writing and Reading Creative Nonfiction

An introductory workshop and reading course in creative nonfiction— a hybrid genre of journalism, memoir, and fictional and poetic techniques, also known as the art of fact. Each week students will consider different aspects of writing, and the various elements integral to the genre. Seminar-sized classes meet for discussion and include individual conferences. Dist: ART

ENGL 82

Writing and Reading Poetry

An introductory workshop and reading course in poetry. Each week students will consider different aspects of writing, and the various elements integral to the genre. Seminar-sized classes meet for discussion, and include individual conferences. Dist: ART

ENGL 83

Intermediate Workshop in Fiction

Continued work in the writing of fiction. The class proceeds by means of group workshops, individual conferences with the instructor, and reading across the genre. Students will read with the eye of a writer to explore how a work is constructed and how the elements of craft come together to create a successful whole. The process of revision is emphasized.

Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit a 5-8 page writing sample along with their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). These materials should be submitted electronically to the instructor. Dist: ART. How to Apply to English 83, 84 or 85

 

ENGL 84

Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

Continued work in the writing of creative nonfiction, including literary journalism, investigative memoir, the lyric essay, and documentary. The class proceeds by means of group workshops, individual conferences with the instructor, and reading across the genre. Students will read with the eye of a writer to explore how a work is constructed and how the elements of craft come together to create a successful whole. The processes of research and revision are emphasized.

Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit a 5-8 page writing sample along with their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). These materials should be submitted electronically to the instructor. Dist: ART. How to Apply to English 83, 84 or 85

ENGL 85

Intermediate Workshop in Poetry

Continued work in the writing of poetry, focusing on the development of craft, image and voice. The class proceeds by means of group workshops on student writing, individual conferences with the instructor and reading across the genre. Students will read with the eye of a writer to explore how a work is constructed and how the elements of craft come together to create a successful whole. The process of revision is emphasized.

Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit a 5-8 page writing sample along with their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). These materials should be submitted electronically to the instructor. Dist: ARTHow to Apply to English 83, 84 or 85

 

ENGL 86

Senior Workshop in Creative Writing

An advanced workshop for seniors who wish to undertake a manuscript of fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry. Students must submit an 8-12 page writing sample to the instructor by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the term preceding the term in which they wish to enroll. These materials should be submitted electronically to the instructor.  Prerequisite: English 83, 84 or 85 depending on the genre of the workshop offered (English 86.01: Poetry; English 86.02: Fiction; English 86.03: Creative Nonfiction). Dist: ART.  Application

ENGL 87

Special Topics in Creative Writing

These courses are offered periodically, concentrating on particular issues in one or more of the fields of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.  Courses may require creative and critical papers and include workshops.  Enrollment is limited to 18. Dist: ART. These courses carry Course Group III credit in the major.

ENGL 87.01

Raising the Dead

How can we practice "immersion journalism," as creative nonfiction is sometimes described, when writing about people and events of the past? In this creative nonfiction writing course, we'll immerse ourselves in the kind of research that will allow us to recreate moments and moods for which we couldn't be present. We'll become witnesses at a remove; and, through careful attention to our own roles in the construction of our stories, participant-observers, as well. We'll learn how to use archives; make creative use of documents and artifacts; engage with scholarly historical writing as a source for creative writing; and interrogate our assumptions about research and representation, all in the service of character-driven narratives as vivid, nuanced, and dramatic as writing based on contemporary fieldwork. This course is an attempt to raise the dead, to resurrect truths from dormant facts, to find stories of the present within the past. You'll write two short nonfiction stories, of a person and a place, based on secondary sources, and one long narrative based on original research. The texts we'll be reading, by Lauren Redniss, John D'Agata, Svetlana Alexievitch, Joe Sacco, Maggie Nelson, and Michael Lesy, among others, varies radically in form and medium, as may your own experimental nonfictions. Dist: ART. Course Group III.

ENGL 87.02

Literary Geniuses: The Short Fiction of 21st-Century MacArthur Foundation Fellows

This course will explore short stories written by recent winners of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, known as the “genius awards.” Given annually to individuals in any field who are citizens or residents of the U.S., these grants recognize “exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work” and constitute “an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.” In recent years, writers of short fiction have figured prominently among fellowship recipients, their work reflecting a range of stylistic innovation and a dynamic approach to cultural and social concerns. Through intensive reading and discussion we will examine the stories of MacArthur fellows Lydia Davis (2003), Edward P. Jones (2004), George Saunders (2006), Deborah Eisenberg (2009), Yiyun Li (2010), Junot Diaz (2012) and Karen Russell (2013). Students will write two short analytical essays using secondary sources, as well as a longer piece of original fiction that draws on their own imaginative vision and addresses a contemporary social issue of personal concern. We will use a workshop format for all written assignments. Dist: ART; Course Group III.

Engl 87.03

Remains, Ruin, Repair and Rapture: Trends in Urban Contemporary Poetry from Detroit to Krakow

In the center of Detroit, Michigan sits the completely enclosed, far smaller city of Hamtramck, with its own mayor, police department, fire department and history of generations of Polish immigrants. Two urban centers connected by borders and across borders by rich poetries that place pressure upon  stereotypes of the “urban.” 

In this course, we will consider essays, poetry and interviews that dare interrogate and upturn common assumptions around the demographics and expectations of urban centers and the arts and letters that rise from them. We will write critical as well as creative responses to the readings.We will resist “outside” definitions and privilege the self-defining texts of the authors we study who are writing from their experiences within these sites of growth and failings, allegiances and loss, flight and fury. Readings will include work by: Jacek Dehnel, Francine Harris, Jamaal May, Matthew Olzmann, and Adam Zagajewski among others. Dist: ART. Course Group III.

ENGL 87.04

Imaginary Countries

This course introduces the techniques used in speculative fiction—literary novels and stories using either science fiction, magical realism, or myth, or a mix of these, so the author can reinvent a country’s history, the country itself—even the world. We will read for technique, and discuss the effects these fictions achieve with their structures and the narrative and aesthetic strategies deployed. Students will write and workshop two stories. Readings may include: Virginia Woolf's Orlando, Andrew Sean Greer’s “Darkness”, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Chris Adrian’s “Every Night For A Thousand Years”, Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, Yiyun Li’s “Immortality”, Jan Morris’ Hav, Toni Morrison’s Sula, and Carmen Machado’s “The Husband Stitch.” Dist: ART. Course Group III.

ENGL 87.06

Writing for Television

This workshop course introduces students to the art and craft of writing for television. We’re living in the midst of the (second) Golden Age of Television. More and more Americans are turning away from the traditional movie theater experience and embracing long form, character driven, small screen stories. In the film world, directors are king, but in television, the writers reign. It is their vision that gets put on the screen. Throughout the course, each student will workshop and develop a thirty minute pilot script and Show Bible, as well as read and analyze contemporary pilot scripts to see what exactly makes a pilot successful. Dist: ART. Course Group III.

ENGL 87.10

Engaging Hybridity: Race, Gender, Genre

In this course, from the graphic novel written by poets to the narrative collage to the imagined tweets of Anne Sexton, all of the contemporary readings and visual materials dare take on social, political and cultural engagement with this anxious moment in history. The stakes are high. We will consider the diverse and provocative creative work of Mat Johnson (Incognegro), Maggie Nelson (Bluets), Sebastian Matthews (Beginner’s Guide to A Head On Collision), Claudia Rankine (Citizen), Tyehimba Jess (Olio), Kwame Dawes (Duppy Conqueror), A. Van Jordan (The Cineaste) and Dee Matthews (Simulacra), among others, to explore hybrid genres (such as the prose poem) and other sites of artistic production met through intersection, exchange, conflict, inhabitance, resistance, and cultural address. These writers and artists may work as well in more than one distinct genre and or take on hybridity of forms and approaches within a particular genre. We will respond to the readings (and visual material) by creating our own. Further, this class will encourage topical discussion and readings will include author interviews, commentaries, and critical analyses of their process and production, as we ask what kind of parameters, if any, art, particularly literature, truly requires? Are they porous enough? Is there a skein where a wall is necessary? What role does identity play in the choice to cross such borders? Dist: ART. Course Group III.

ENGL 89

Creative Writing Project

A tutorial course to be designed by the student with the assistance of a faculty supervisor. This course is intended for the purpose of producing a manuscript of fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry. Prerequisite: normally reserved for seniors who have completed at least two workshops in the designated genre for this project. Dist: none