Fine Arts Requirement

Fall 2021

ENGL 20000-01-03
Introduction to Creative Writing
Austyn Wohlers
MW 11:00-12:15
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Unallocated
Section 03 - Freshmen

In The Art of Fiction, John Gardner writes that “Every true work of art must be judged primarily, though not exclusively, by its own laws. If it has no laws, or if its laws are incoherent, it fails - usually - on that basis.” Accordingly, this class will introduce students to the fundamentals of literary craft with an emphasis on creating their own rules - as Gardner puts it, weaving their own literary dreams. We will discuss the historically agreed-upon fundamentals of writing fiction, poetry, essays, and various hybrid forms, and then quickly familiarize ourselves with historical and contemporary aberrations from these rules. We will focus on developing our own styles, voices, rules, and logics, and learn to constructively discuss each other’s work not according to how a story, poem, or essay is “supposed” to look, but by how coherently it unfurls from its own premises. In an effort to introduce students to the rich literary world outside the canon, this course will take an international, experimental approach, reading much literature and criticism from writers in translation alongside Americans. Students will thus leave this course with an understanding of themselves as young artists in critics in dialogue not merely with their country but with the world; they will also leave with an understanding of their own artistic priorities, grace in interpreting their peers’ pieces, and a modest body of work. Writers we may read include Clarice Lispector, Kitasono Katsue, Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, Lucia Berlin, Amos Tutuola, Miyó Vestrini, Abe Kobo, Etel Adnan, Jean Genet, Roberto Tejada, Marie NDiaye, Anne Boyer, Henri Bosco, Vicente Huidobro, Dionne Brand, Amanda Berenguer, Tove Jansson, John Berger, Julio Cortázar, Will Alexander, and others.

 

ENGL 20000-04-06
Introduction to Creative Writing
Jillian Fantin
MW 3:30-4:45
Section 04 - Seniors
Section 05 - Unallocated
Section 06 - Freshmen

In a 1992 New York Times interview, renowned writer Susan Sontag gave her perspective on writing: “Literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old. What do we have from the past? Art and thought. That's what lasts. That's what continues to feed people and give them an idea of something better.” Through an exploration of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and theatre, Intro to Creative Writing will work to connect us with the salvation provided by this thousand-year enterprise as we delve into different creative literatures. Anti-racist pedagogy and an anti-hierarchical structure will guide the classroom, and we will all work together to survey the works of various writers, including global texts and authors in translation. By intentionally studying diverse authors, Intro to Creative Writing will assist each student in discovering their own personal creative voice and in expressing this voice through exercises in writing fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and theatre. By the end of the course, each student will emerge with a workshopped portfolio of their writing and a developed understanding of their personal creative process.

 

ENGL 20000-07-09
Introduction to Creative Writing
Phillip Spinella
TR 9:30-10:45
Section 07 - Seniors
Section 08 - Unallocated
Section 09 - Freshmen

In this class, we will read fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction from authors whose works exist all along the stylistic spectrum, and we will analyze the selected pieces with an eye towards the aesthetic and technical choices that together create compelling writing. What these works all have in common is both their author’s impeccable control of their craft and their ability to address issues fundamental to the way we interact with our world.  By discussing them together we will open a window into the numerous possibilities and approaches open to you as creative writers, which you will put into practice when you create your own pieces and workshop them with your classmates.

To give you a sense of what we will be reading over the course of the semester, selections will include at least some of the following: the ‘autofiction’ of Rachel Cusk; Julian Barnes’ Flaubert’s Parrot, a hybrid work of fiction/biography/literary criticism; Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, a work that exists somewhere in the spectrum between prose and poetry; Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings; short stories by Carme Maria Machado, George Saunders, and Rion Amalcar Scott; poetry by, among others, Derek Walcott, Kay Ryan, and Mark Strand; and creative non-fiction by Zadie Smith and David Foster Wallace. 

You can expect to leave this class with a portfolio of polished work, and, hopefully, the tools and desire to continue improving your own writing in the future.

 

ENGL 20001-01-03
Introduction to Fiction Writing
Naima Msechu
TR 5:05-6:20
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Unallocated
Section 03 - Freshmen 

The writer Marianne Moore praised poetry that portrays “imaginary gardens with real toads in them.” In this class we will explore these imaginary gardens - and their toads -  in works of fiction. By reading and analyzing speculative stories (stories from the realms of magical realism, fantasy, science fiction, and often somewhere in-between), we will investigate how their imaginary gardens relate to real-world themes like race, gender, sexuality, and class. Most importantly, we will learn to write our own multi-layered gardens (speculative or otherwise), growing our ability to develop elements like characters, dialogue, and setting, as well as branching out into different experimental forms.

 

ENGL 20001-04-06
Introduction to Fiction Writing
Xavier Navarro Aquino
MW 12:30-1:45
Section 04 - Seniors
Section 05 - Unallocated
Section 06 - Freshmen 

This class will take students on an exploration of writing fiction through a multicultural lens. Students will use world literatures, writings of the diaspora, folk tales, and works in translation as models for finding authorial voice and creating their own individual works. With these readings guiding our path, we will begin by examining individual tools such as narrative voice, point-of-view, setting, and character. We will then put these pieces together, delving into writing different forms of fiction ranging from flash fiction to the novel. Taking cues from the global literature community, students will develop an understanding of the choices and techniques they can employ to write the types of work they aspire to create.  
 

ENGL 20001-07-09
Introduction to Fiction Writing
Dionne Bremyer
MW 9:30-10:45
Section 07 - Seniors
Section 08 - Unallocated
Section 09 - Freshmen 

Introduction to Fiction Writing is a course designed to familiarize students to literary fiction and the craft in writing short stories. We will work through the model of the traditional workshop and find ways to challenge the conventional. What I mean by this is looking at how the standard method of reading and critiquing succeeds, and ways it may fail an individual aesthetic. By reading work from a diverse and varied list of writers, we will feed on art as a way to understand the mechanization of a particular story and/or aesthetic. Students will be expected to participate in robust conversations, lead discussion framing exercises, and analyze both work from their peers via the workshop method while also studying the ways classic and/or contemporary writers succeed in telling a story. As a result of taking this course, students will be able to (1) explain how narrative fiction may inform cross-cultural understandings in order to arrive toward greater empathy, while undertaking the limitations of conventional craft, (2) demonstrate the translation of a particular idea or premise and execute it through the form of fiction, and (3) identify when a story is effective in achieving the goals it imposes through an individualized read.

 

ENGL 20002-04-06
Introduction to Poetry Writing
Johannes Goransson
TR 2:00-3:15
Section 04 - Seniors
Section 05 - Unallocated
Section 06 - Freshmen

This class is an introduction to reading and writing poetry. We are going to write poetry, think about poetry and talk about poetry from a number of different perspectives. We’re going to read modern, contemporary and not-so-contemporary poetry, as well as works that move across genres (prose poetry, poetic film, music videos), media (print, photography, the Internet, the desert of the real), and languages and cultures. From reading, writing and discussing poetry, students will develop their own approaches to this art form. 

 

ENGL 20008-01-03
Introduction to Creative Nonfiction 
Sara Marcus
MW 12:30=1:45
Section 01 - Seniors
Section 02 - Unallocated
Section 03 - Freshmen 

Writing creative nonfiction helps us tell meaningful stories about the world to one another. It allows us to respond to what we perceive and experience in the world, crafting our impressions into art. In this course, we will read and write in several genres of nonfiction, including personal essay, cultural criticism, literary journalism, object biography, and researched lyric essay. The class combines seminar-style discussion, frequent writing assignments, and regular opportunities to workshop one another's writing. Students can expect to read 50–125 pages a week and to write 20–30 pages of original work over the course of the semester, in addition to written responses to classmates' workshop submissions. Most of the writing assignments will require some reporting or research; there will also be one required revision. Readings may include works by Hanif Abdurraqib, Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, Eula Biss, Ashon Crawley, Joan Didion, Melissa Febos, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Kiese Laymon, Greil Marcus, Eileen Myles, Maggie Nelson, Jia Tolentino, Justin Torres, E.B. White, Ellen Willis, and Virginia Woolf.

 

ENGL 30851
Poetry Writing
Joyelle McSweeney
MW 9:30-10:45

This is a course for students who are ready to immerse themselves in the strange contagious waters of poetry. We'll read across regions, languages, communities and time periods to connect to poetry's aesthetic, formal, and political urgencies and possibilities, and we'll write an array of poems of our own. Expect to write individual lyrics as well as prose poems, letters, verse plays, sound poems, collages, remixes, performance pieces, and verse plays, and to poke around in the traditional and digital media by which poems have been shared. I'll expect you to write in- and out- of class poems, work collaboratively on group projects and translations, present, perform, participate, offer kind supportive feedback on peer work., and propose and execute a final project of your own devising. Attendance is mandatory.

 

ENGL 30853
Fiction Writing 
Steve Tomasula
TR 5:05-6:20

“If you don’t use your imagination,” author Ronald Sukenick once said, “someone else will use it for you.” All a person has to do to see how many people are trying to use our imaginations for (or against) us is look around. We live in a sea of narratives created by advertising (New and Improved!); politics (Fake News); churches (Adam and Eve); science (Survival of the Fittest); the music and entertainment industries and thousands of other entities and individuals (your friends, your family). This is a class in creating your own narratives. It is designed for those who have gone beyond the introductory courses and want to explore language as an art form to do what narrative has always done: using narrative to explore what you think, and to give a sense of something meaningful that we can believe in at our time and in our place. Unlike nonfiction, fictional narratives usually raise more questions than answers; unlike other kinds of writing, how a work of literature is written is as important as what’s said. But the course could also be called ‘having fun with story,’ as narratives in a variety of forms and shapes will be used to inform the work done in class, and students are invited to write narratives in ways that are surprising, or grow out of other forms, as well as polished, or more traditional. While all aspects of a narrative must work together, the course is organized in such a way as to highlight some of these aspects separately, e.g., perspective, form, narrative time. Throughout the emphasis will be on language, the medium of our art. Students will be asked to write “short-form” narratives (less than 5 ds pages); two “major” narratives (about 15 ds pages each); and several short, daily assignments.

 

ENGL 40850
Advanced Fiction Writing 
Steve Tomasula
TR 2:00-3:15 

This is a course in writing fiction for students who have moved beyond the introductory level, and are looking for a way to come into their own as authors. The course focuses on the development of individual student-authors, and so asks them to develop an awareness of contemporary fiction and exemplify, through their own writing, their place in this literary landscape. Just as it is difficult to be a musician without seeing other live musicians play, or a visual artist without looking at the art, ideas, and methods of other working artists, so it is difficult to be an author without reading as authors read, and interacting in the conversation of other, living practitioners. As such, students are asked to identify a literary “conversation” or tradition, or family of works that their own writing extends and/or takes part in; they are asked to think of fiction in terms of the forms they use and how this form will contribute to the aesthetic experience and ideas they are striving to convey.  No one style or type of fiction is advocated over another; in fact, students are encouraged to find their own voice, perspective, and subject matter, and to develop a form suited to their work.  However, students will be expected to write fiction that demonstrates awareness of the difference between writing as an art form and formula entertainment. The goal of the course is for each student to emerge with a manuscript at the level of a beginning author writing as a literary artist.
 

ENGL 40852
Advanced Fiction Writing II
Steve Tomasula
TR 2:00-3:15

This course is intended for students who have already taken an Advanced Fiction Writing and who are seriously interested in writing fiction.

This is a course in writing fiction for students who have moved beyond the introductory level, and are looking for a way to come into their own as authors. The course focuses on the development of individual student-authors, and so asks them to develop an awareness of contemporary fiction and exemplify, through their own writing, their place in this literary landscape. Just as it is difficult to be a musician without seeing other live musicians play, or a visual artist without looking at the art, ideas, and methods of other working artists, so it is difficult to be an author without reading as authors read, and interacting in the conversation of other, living practitioners. As such, students are asked to identify a literary “conversation” or tradition, or family of works that their own writing extends and/or takes part in; they are asked to think of fiction in terms of the forms they use and how this form will contribute to the aesthetic experience and ideas they are striving to convey.  No one style or type of fiction is advocated over another; in fact, students are encouraged to find their own voice, perspective, and subject matter, and to develop a form suited to their work.  However, students will be expected to write fiction that demonstrates awareness of the difference between writing as an art form and formula entertainment. The goal of the course is for each student to emerge with a manuscript at the level of a beginning author writing as a literary artist.

 

ENGL 40855
Advanced Fiction Writing III
Steve Tomasula
TR 2:00-3:15

This course is intended for students who have already taken an Advanced Fiction Writing and who are seriously interested in writing fiction.

This is a course in writing fiction for students who have moved beyond the introductory level, and are looking for a way to come into their own as authors. The course focuses on the development of individual student-authors, and so asks them to develop an awareness of contemporary fiction and exemplify, through their own writing, their place in this literary landscape. Just as it is difficult to be a musician without seeing other live musicians play, or a visual artist without looking at the art, ideas, and methods of other working artists, so it is difficult to be an author without reading as authors read, and interacting in the conversation of other, living practitioners. As such, students are asked to identify a literary “conversation” or tradition, or family of works that their own writing extends and/or takes part in; they are asked to think of fiction in terms of the forms they use and how this form will contribute to the aesthetic experience and ideas they are striving to convey.  No one style or type of fiction is advocated over another; in fact, students are encouraged to find their own voice, perspective, and subject matter, and to develop a form suited to their work.  However, students will be expected to write fiction that demonstrates awareness of the difference between writing as an art form and formula entertainment. The goal of the course is for each student to emerge with a manuscript at the level of a beginning author writing as a literary artist.