Each creative writing course at Notre Dame is unique to the professor teaching the course. As such, there are no generic descriptions for creative writing courses at the university. Instead, we offer a variety of teaching methods and approaches to the subject which students may choose from in order to best fit their specific goals. Below are examples of the courses offered.
Graduate Fiction Workshop
This course is a chance for students in the graduate creative writing program to come together as writers/readers with the goal of helping each other develop as authors. Emphasis will be on writing as a contemporary art form rather than on polishing prose for particular genres or markets. That is, emphasis will be placed on articulating an aesthetic and personal vision through the writing of fiction more so than on the craft of fiction and the well-crafted cuckoo clock the word implies even as we acknowledge that no art takes place in a vacuum, that the personal operates within the constraints of audience and economy, be it the economy of the multinational publishing conglomerate, the not-for-profit poetry press, or the personal journal. It is hoped that students will articulate through their critiques of their classmate’s work, through the application of literature and theory read in other classes, but especially through the fiction they write in this class, an awareness of the contemporary moment as expressed through writing, a reason for doing whatever they are doing in their own fiction, and a practical way to bring the two together.
Requirements: three short fictions or novel excerpts for class discussion; critiques of fiction presented in class; critiques of outside reading (a little less than a novel a week); presentation of one of the novels from our reading list; attendance to readings by visiting writers; regular class attendance and participation, of course.
Graduate Poetry Workshop
Our goal in this class is to lock in on our vision for our own writing and help others to lock in on theirs. We will do this by reading widely and diversely and thinking about the aesthetic, occult and political powers of poetry in our contemporary and pre-contemporary publishing universes. We will read across cultures and languages with an open and receptive ear, eye, heart and brain, ready to be changed by poetry. We will think about poetry as a medium among media and we will test our ideas by encountering texts and artworks that we do not normally think of as poetry at all.
Graduate Translation Workshop
Perhaps the most famous definition of poetry in American literature is Robert Frost's quip that poetry is that which is "lost in translation." Translation, it appears, is both central and marginal in the way we think about literature in this country. Through translation seemingly stable texts and notions of authorship become volatile. That is in large part why translation has at times been a source of anxiety in American literature, and at times a source of inspiration. In this class we will explore this volatile zone of translation by translating literary texts (prose, poetry, drama etc), reading theoretical texts, and by bringing our experiences as writers and readers, artists and scholars to the topic. Although it would be helpful, fluency in a foreign language is not required. Translation Studies is in the middle of an exciting moment - conventional ways of viewing translation are being questioned and US literature is becoming increasingly interested in foreign literatures - and this class will participate in this moment.
Practicum: Teaching Creative Writing
In this course we'll work collaboratively to think through the practical, theoretical, institutional, interpersonal, political, and, oh yes, artistic implications of teaching creative writing at various types of academic institutions as well as in community settings.