2024 semester courses

2024 Summer Courses

Workshop In Poetry Writing | ENGL 509

Discussions center on students' poems. Selected readings are assigned to focus on the technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (BROWN) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Book List: 

To 2040: Poems, by Jorie Graham, Copper Canyon (2023)

Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays by Jane Hirshfield, Harper Perennial (1998)

Contemporary Amerikan Poetry: Poems, by John Murillo, Four Way Books (2016)

Constellation Route: Poems, by Matthew Olzmann, Alice James Books (2022)

The Craft of Poetry | ENGL 507

Through close analysis of the poems of various modern and contemporary masters, we will consider the implications of verse as an imitation of voice, and consider how the poet’s voice is shaped by choices made in terms of imagery, themes, form and technique. (CLARK) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

This intensive craft course will focus on the micro and macro creation, evolution, and development of a chapbook length manuscript of poetry. Each week, students will discuss and dissect various poetry chapbooks. This class will have a strong focus on developing organizing principles for poetry collections, taking risks, emphasis on line breaks, examining form, chasing your obsessions, revision, and trusting your creative imagination and instincts. The culmination of this course will include formatting your chapbook using InDesign software and a preface to your work. I am in talks with publishers about the possibility of printing your chapbooks for personal use. If so, there may be an additional cost for printing.

Book List:

    • Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems
    • Tunsiya/Amrikiya by Leila Chatti
    • Connotary by Ae Hee Lee 
    • After by Fatimah Asghar
    • between every bird, our bones by emet ezell
    • What Are We Not For by Tommye Blount

Workshop in Fiction Writing | ENGL 510 A and B

Discussions center on students' fiction. Selected readings are assigned to focus on technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (A: PRICE, B: QUATRO) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

PRICE: Fiction workshop will focus on two rounds of discussion of students' fiction (workshop students should come with at least one story they're prepared to submit). Craft/style lessons will follow from workshops and selected readings, including the class text: the 2023 Best American Short Stories.

Book List (PRICE): 2023 Best American Short Stories edited by Min Jin Lee, ISBN10: 0063275902, ISBN13: 978-0063275904

Book List (QUATRO): Book list to come! 

 

Forms of Fiction | ENGL 598 A and B

Due to popular demand, there are two sections of ENGL 598. They meet at the same time and use the same syllabus.

Eternity in an Hour: The Short Novel- From Anna Karenina and Middlemarch to A Little Life and Infinite Jest, the kinds of novels that Henry James called "large, loose baggy monsters" enjoy a clear and secure place in the literary imagination. Less secure, and less clear, is the place and purpose of the short novel. In this class, our whole syllabus adds up to fewer pages than any one of the books named above, yet our readings will be no less epic. These micro-masterpieces cover decades and lifetimes, loves and losses, cultural histories and impossible encounters, classical realism and bold formal experiments, and much more besides. We will accept William Blake's invitation to "see a World in a Grain of Sand... And Eternity in an hour", purge ourselves of the presumption that length is strictly correlative to depth of meaning or breadth of story, and discover just how much can be done with just how little. All coursework will be creative. (A: CHAPMAN, B: TAYLOR) (Credit, full course, can be repeated).

Note: Be sure to get the specified editions of the Rulfo and Crawford novels. For the others, it does not matter which edition you get.

Books: 

  • 1) Train Dreams by Denis Johnson - ISBN10: 9781250007650, ISBN13: 978-1250007650
    2) Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid - ISBN10: 0374527350, ISBN13: 978-0374527358
    3) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark - ISBN-10 ‏ :0061711292ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0061711299
    4) Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0811226697 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0811226691
    5) Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, translated by Douglas Weatherford with an introduction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez  ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 080216093X  ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0802160935
    6) Log of the SS the Mrs Unguentine by Stanley G. Crawford -- this is a rare book, currently out of print and expensive to buy used. We are getting advance digital copies of a forthcoming reissue, by special arrangement with the publisher. Your professor will send this to you. 

 

Workshop in Nonfiction Writing | ENGL 512

Discussions center on students' nonfiction. Selected readings are assigned to focus on technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (ADRIAN) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

In this workshop, we will examine and experiment with the elements of creative nonfiction. By closely reading a range of nonfiction—including memoir, personal essays, theory, narrative history and reporting—we’ll determine how best to tell the stories we need to tell. Are you the protagonist of your memoir, or is someone else? How should your personal essay incorporate research or reporting? When is your lived experience enough to make a compelling argument? In sharing our own works-in-progress, we will take a craft-based approach to critique. We will analyze structure, narrative, form, voice, perspective, setting, and style, and discuss how each piece might become the sharpest, most original version of itself. Reading assignments will include selections from The Best American Essays 2023, as well as work by Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Hannah Arendt, Alexander Chee, Ariel Levy, W.E.B. DuBois, Leslie Jamison, Zadie Smith, and Kiese Laymon. 
Book list: The Best American Essays 2023, edited by Vivian Gornick, ISBN10: 0063288842, ISBN13: 978-0063288843

Forms of Nonfiction | ENGL 518

Through the close study of nonfiction writing including essays, researched work, and memoir, this course examines the way nonfiction writing works with a special emphasis on form and technique. (SUBRAMANIAN) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Leaps and Boundaries: Forms of Nonfiction 

This creative nonfiction class will explore the ways that we can tell true stories by probing the concept of boundaries and borders. The divisions we’ll explore will be literal and metaphorical. Blurred lines between genres. Militarized lines between nations. Transitions gradual and sudden. Distinctions between states of being—healthy and ill, alive and dead—as well the distinctions of our own identities. What does it mean to cross a boundary? When does a physical crossing mirror internal experiences and how can words capture the moment when something shifted? Whether a quiet moment of clarity or a cataclysmic rupture, something changed. There was a before. And an after.

This class will help recognize how to focus writing on these pivot points by exploring a wide range of texts, from classic to contemporary including Hiroshima by John Hersey,  Bluets by Maggie Nelson, and The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú. What forms work? And, more importantly, why. We’ll probe form, voice, perspective, structure and other elements of craft in this seminar class, our collective knowledge deepening our understanding of readings. Longer assignments coupled with regular, short writing exercises are designed to encourage creativity, helping you wade into zones of discomfort and discovery, emerging with tools that allow you to deepen your writing skills. They will also help you connect what you’re learning in the classroom to the world around you as you push your own boundaries, perhaps redefining them. You’ll emerge from this class with a fresh perspective on how creative nonfiction can help you leap over into whatever comes next.

Books:

·      Bluets by Maggie Nelson, ISBN10: 1933517409, ISBN13: 978-1933517407

·      Hiroshima by John Hersey, ISBN10: 0679721037, ISBN13: 978-0679721031

·      The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú, ISBN10: 0735217734, ISBN13: 978-0735217737

·      Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey, ISBN10: 161620642X, ISBN13: 978-1616206420

 

Craft and Practice

Craft and Practice is a credit-earning course available during the summer sessions. A one-credit colloquium exploring practical aspects of the writing life as well as the publishing industry, students will attend readings of creative work as well as craft lectures by current faculty and talks with publishing professionals such as agents, editors, and working writers. The School of Letters will offer a variety of events during the summer session, including but not limited to the Wednesday Reading Series. 

Craft & Practice intends to meet the two most common requests from SSL students: More professional development opportunities and faster progress toward degree completion. To receive credit for Craft and Practice, students must attend at least seven events and write up brief summaries of each to be turned into the Director at the end of the summer session. These assignments will be made available at the beginning of the semester and will focus on how students will apply what they learned in their own writing practice. 

Over three summers, C&P earns each student the credit-equivalent of a literature seminar, which means that as long as a student takes one online course or independent study at any point during your time at SSL, they will finish their coursework by the end of their third summer and be ready to embark on their thesis. Of course, there is always the option of adding more online/IS work to further hasten progress, or the option of enrolling for only one class per summer for those students who want to slow down. If a student has already completed 18 credits and intends to finish their coursework during the current summer, or if they plan to enroll in only one summer class, then C&P is optional. Otherwise, it is required for all students. 

SUMMER 2023 Courses

Workshop in Poetry Writing | ENGL 509

Discussions center on students' poems. Selected readings are assigned to focus on the technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (FRANCIS) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

The Craft of Poetry | ENGL 507

Through close analysis of the poems of various modern and contemporary masters, we will consider the implications of verse as an imitation of voice, and consider how the poet’s voice is shaped by choices made in terms of imagery, themes, form and technique.

Writing in the Age of Loneliness: Eco-Literature & the Writer’s Task We are now in the throes of a sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. Some call it the Anthropocene, but biologist E.O. Wilson said it may be called by scientists and poets alike the Eremozoic, meaning “The Age of Loneliness.” If we take the worries of climate change and habitat destruction seriously—and in this lonely age potentially bereft of our fellow creatures—how can we help but feel an incapacitating sense of hopelessness that threatens to render things like literature and poems utterly useless? In this intensive, we’ll strive together to find ways past this potentially debilitating hurdle. We’ll ask questions that instead of silencing ourselves will urge us on: What is our responsibility as writers to this epoch? Can the average working person with limited access to nature make any difference? How might we depict the suffering of non-human but sentient beings? How can one write about plants and animals without producing work that is sentimental, overly personified, flat-lined with facts, or, worse, rendered incapable of communicating from its own rage or sorrow? What impact can we make with our words? We’ll study poems, lyric essays, and fiction that have their own solutions to these pitfalls and will try our hands at writing through this darkness with awareness, control, and yes, even hope.  

(BROWN) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Workshop in Fiction Writing | ENGL 510

Discussions center on students' fiction. Selected readings are assigned to focus on technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (CHAPMAN) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Forms of Fiction | ENGL 598

How does fiction "work"? This course attempts to answer that question with close study of stories, novellas, and novels with a special emphasis on issues of form and technique.

The Short Story Short fiction is an endlessly rewarding form that offers an author the chance to portray a human life in anywhere from 2 to 30 pages. It is, to some extent, a perfectable form, and for this reason there's a unique, pure pleasure in the production of a short story that works. Because of its constraints and compression, the short story also serves as an especially rich site of general study—a firm grounding in the craft of the story provides valuable lessons in plot, scene, point of view, and more for writers to use when they scale up to the novel. Furthermore, short stories offer a key path for new writers to establish themselves in the literary world, build community with the literary journals where they publish, and attract agent interest. In this class, we will read a selection of old and new short fiction classics carefully, anatomizing them to figure what makes a narrative urgent—how do great authors produce material that demands to be read? The essential and eternal question for all forms of writing and writers being: how can I make a reader keep reading?

(PRICE) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Workshop in Nonfiction Writing | ENGL 512

Discussions center on students' nonfiction. Selected readings are assigned to focus on technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (SUBRAMANIAN) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Forms of Nonfiction | ENGL 518

Through the close study of nonfiction writing including essays, researched work, and memoir, this course examines the way nonfiction writing works with a special emphasis on form and technique.

Finding Your Narrator, Framing Your Story  In her landmark study of personal narrative, The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick argues that “Every work of literature has a situation and a story. The situation is the context or circumstances, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer: the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say.” In this nonfiction literature seminar we will read a variety of essays and memoirs with an eye toward seeing how each writer has developed a story out of their situation. What is the relationship between style and subject-matter? How do we decide what to keep and what to cut? Is there freedom in limitation, such as narrowing the time-frame, leaving lacunae, and imposing formal constraints? Must the “I” of personal narrative correspond precisely to the “I” of the author, or can we allow for unreliability, persona, character development, and other elements of creativity more readily associated with fiction or the lyric poem?

(TAYLOR) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)

Craft and Practice

This semester the School of Letters is introducing an additional credit-earning course available during the summer sessions. A one-credit colloquium exploring practical aspects of the writing life as well as the publishing industry, students will attend readings of creative work as well as craft lectures by current faculty and talks with publishing professionals such as agents, editors, and working writers. The School of Letters will offer a variety of events during the summer session, including but not limited to the Wednesday Reading Series. 

Craft & Practice intends to meet the two most common requests from SSL students: More professional development opportunities and faster progress toward degree completion. To receive credit for Craft and Practice, students must attend at least seven events and write up brief summaries of each to be turned into the Director at the end of the summer session. These assignments will be made available at the beginning of the semester and will focus on how students will apply what they learned in their own writing practice. 

Over three summers, C&P earns each student the credit-equivalent of a literature seminar, which means that as long as a student takes one online course or independent study at any point during your time at SSL, they will finish their coursework by the end of their third summer and be ready to embark on their thesis. Of course, there is always the option of adding more online/IS work to further hasten progress, or the option of enrolling for only one class per summer for those students who want to slow down. If a student has already completed 18 credits and intends to finish their coursework in Summer 2023, or if they plan to enroll in only one summer class, then C&P is optional. Otherwise, it is required for all students. 

SPRING 2023

HYBRID AND EXPERIMENTAL LITERATURES | ENGL 587

Hybrid and Experimental Literatures focuses on narrative modes that foreground formal innovation and/or blur or erase distinctions between traditional genre boundaries such as prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction, image and text, author and reader, etc. Students read creative works that possess these qualities, as well as critical writing that frames, theorizes, and interrogates the aesthetic, philosophical, and cultural conditions in which said work was produced and to which it responds. Assignments are largely creative though students are invited to produce their own theoretical models as well as their own hybrid or experimental works of art. (CASTILLO)(Credit, full course.)

FALL 2022

Workshop in Fiction | ENGL 510

Discussions center on students' fiction. Selected readings are assigned to focus on technical problems of craftsmanship and style. (KIRBY) (Credit, full course, can be repeated)