Creative Writing Courses

Beginning with Fall Term 2018, creative writing courses will carry the course code of CRWT, instead of ENGL, and will have a new numbering sequence. All creative writing courses taken prior to Fall Term 2018, will carry the ENGL course code on student transcripts and in Banner Student.

CRWT 10 (formerly 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

CRWT 11 (formerly 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

CRWT 12 (formerly 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

CRWT 20 (formerly 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 CRWT 20, 21, or 22 (formerly English 83, 84 or 85)

 

CRWT 21 (formerly 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 CRWT 20, 21, or 22 (formerly English 83, 84 or 85)

CRWT 22 (formerly 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 CRWT 20, 21, or 22 (formerly English 83, 84 or 85)

 

CRWT 60 (formerly ENGL 86.02)

Senior Workshop in Creative Writing: Fiction

An advanced workshop for seniors who wish to undertake a manuscript of fiction. 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: CWRT 20 (formerly ENGL 83) or permission of the instructor. Dist: ART.  Application

CRWT 61 (formerly ENGL 86.03)

Senior Workshop in Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction

An advanced workshop for seniors who wish to undertake a manuscript of creative nonfiction. 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: CWRT 21 (formerly ENGL 84) or permission of the instructor. Dist: ART.  Application

CRWT 62 (formerly ENGL 86.01)

Senior Workshop in Creative Writing: Poetry

An advanced workshop for seniors who wish to undertake a manuscript of 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: CWRT 22 (formerly ENGL 85) or permission of the instructor. Dist: ART.  Application

CRWT 40 (formerly 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.

CRWT 40.01 (formerly 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.

CRWT 40.02 (formerly 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.

CRWT 40.03 (formerly 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.

CRWT 40.04 (formerly 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.

CRWT 40.05 (formerly 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.

CRWT 40.06 (formerly ENGL 87.05)

Uses of Fact: True Source Material in Prose, Poetry, and Film

This class will examine how a diverse group of artists work with factual material. One sometimes hears this sensible phrase: “You aren’t entitled to your own facts!” But the truth is artists do frequently work with their own facts, and we’ll look at what certain writers (Anna Deavere Smith, Eudora Welty, Joseph Brodsky), poets (Pedro Pietri, Elizabeth Robinson, Van Jordan) and filmmakers (Sarah Polley, Charles Burnett, and Earl Morris) do with true source material that interests, compels, repulses, and, above all, inspires them. Weekly writing exercises and workshops will help you develop our own ideas inspired by the works under discussion. The course will culminate in a final project where students will share own new work. Dist: ART. Course Group III.

CRWT 40.08

Dystopian Visions: Exploring the Fiction of Catastrophe and Apocalypse

What do dystopian fictions say about our world, our place in it, and the future before us? Are they merely reactions to damaging contemporary trends or richly imaginative, fully realized conceptions of what is to come? Via intensive reading, discussion of work in the genre in combination with contemporary essays, newspaper accounts, film and documentary, we will consider the power of fiction to shape and draw attention to the dilemmas that face humankind in the 21st century and beyond. We will touch upon and reference those earlier works that have shaped the genre, such as We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and 1984 by George Orwell, but our primary focus will be on those fictions of the last forty years that ring prophetically and frighteningly true vis-à-vis events in our current world. We’ll be reading a wide variety of authors, which may include, Harlan Ellison, Philip K. Dick, Cormac McCarthy, J.G. Ballard, John Wyndham, Richard Matheson, and Anthony Burgess. Students will write two short stories that extend a particular author’s dystopian vision, and a longer fiction originating from their own imaginings. Dist: ART. Course Group III.

CRWT 40.09/COLT 31.02/FRIT 37.08

Obsessive Affinities: Contemporary French & American Poetry

This deeply experiential course examines the rich history of transatlantic desire, negotiated over the love of poetry. The United States has always figured heavily in the collective French imaginary ever since the American Revolution, for instance in the works of Tocqueville and Chateaubriand. American literature, however, gains particular prominence toward the mid-twentieth century with the transatlantic travels of Simone de Beauvoir, André Breton, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Philippe Sollers among authors, to the point that French writers began wondering how one can even be French in the first place. The course explores this crisis in national identity through a series of important poetic Franco-American friendships and collaborations: Edmond Jabès and Rosmarie Waldrop; Emmanuel Hocquard and Michael Palmer; Serge Pey and Allen Ginsberg; the Fondation Royaumont; the poetry collective double change; among others. Dist.: LIT; WCult: W. Course Group III.

CRWT 41.01 (formerly 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.

CRWT 89 (formerly ENGL 89)

Creative Writing Project

A tutorial course to be designed by the student with the assistance of a faculty advisor. This course is intended for the purpose of producing a manuscript of fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry during the student's senior year. Prerequisite: normally reserved for seniors who have completed at least two workshops in the designated genre of their project. Dist: ART.

Students should submit their completed application along with a writing sample to the Department Administrator and the Creative Writing Director by Friday, October 25, 2019 if they intend to do an independent project during the winter or spring terms of the 2019-20 academic year. The writing sample should speak to the writing strengths of the applicant and to the potential of the proposed project.