Creative Writing Courses

Courses

All Creative Writing courses require an application or departmental permission to enroll. You may only apply to one course per semester.

Review the guidelines for virtual creative writing workshops »

Poetry in the Political & Sexual Revolution of the 1960s & 70s

FRS 102 · Spring 2021

FRS 102 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Alex Dimitrov

What does artistic production look like during a time of cultural unrest? How did America’s poets help shape the political landscape of the American 60s and 70s, two decades that saw the rise of the Black Panthers, “Flower Power,” psychedelia, and Vietnam War protests? Through reading poetry, studying films like Easy Rider, and engaging with the music of the times (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors) we will think about art’s ability to move the cultural needle and not merely reflect the times but pose important questions about race, gender, class, sexuality, and identity at large.

Introductory Fiction

CWR 204 · Spring 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Alaa Al Aswany · Aleksandar Hemon · Daphne Kalotay · A.M. Homes · Idra Novey

The curriculum allows the student to develop writing skills, provides an introduction to the possibilities of contemporary literature and offers a perspective on the place of literature among the liberal arts. Criticism by practicing writers and talented peers encourages the student's growth as both creator and reader of literature.

Literary Translation

CWR 206 / TRA 206 / COM 215 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:20 PM

Instructors: Jhumpa Lahiri

Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 20-25 page sample of the author's work. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. Weekly readings will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and practice of literary translation.

Yaass Queen: Gay Men, Straight Women, and the Literature, Art, and Film of Hagdom

CWR 207 / THR 207 / GSS 220 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:20 PM

Instructors: Hilton Als

Modern queer writers have long written about the rich and complicated relationship straight cis women have had with queer men. And yet, outside of queer literary circles, little attention has been paid to how these relationships challenge or replicate traditional family structures, and form a community outside of the status quo. We will examine the stories male writers constructed and analyze women writers who held a mirror up to those straight and queer men who were drawn to lesbian culture. By examining photography and painting, we will further look at the artist's relationship to and identification with queerness, or straight female power.

Advanced Poetry

CWR 302 · Spring 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Rowan Ricardo Phillips · Susan Wheeler

Advanced practice in the original composition of poetry for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. The curriculum allows the student to develop writing skills, provides an introduction to the possibilities of contemporary literature and offers perspective on the places of literature among the liberal arts.

Advanced Fiction

CWR 304 · Spring 2021

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Alaa Al Aswany · Aleksandar Hemon

Advanced practice in the original composition of fiction for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. The curriculum allows the student to develop writing skills, provides an introduction to the possibilities of contemporary literature and offers perspective on the place of literature among the liberal arts. Criticism by practicing writers and talented peers encourages the student's growth as both creator and reader of literature.

Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting

THR 305 / CWR 309 · Spring 2021

S01 · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Migdalia Cruz

A continuation of work begun in Introductory Playwriting, in this class, students will complete either one full-length play or two long one-acts (40-60 pages) to the end of gaining a firmer understanding of characterization, dialogue, structure, and the playwriting process. In addition to questions of craft, an emphasis will be placed on the formation of healthy creative habits and the sharpening of critical and analytical skills through reading and responding to work of both fellow students and contemporary playwrights of note.

Advanced Literary Translation

CWR 306 / COM 356 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:20 PM

Instructors: Jhumpa Lahiri

Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 20-25 page sample of the author's work. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. Weekly readings will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and practice of literary translation.

Life is Short, Art is Really Short

CWR 315 · Spring 2021

C01 - James Richardson · Tuesdays, 1:30-3:50 PM

Instructors: James Richardson

All literature is short — compared to our lives, anyway — but we'll be concentrating on poetry and prose at their very shortest. The reading will include proverbs, aphorisms, greguerias, one-line poems, riddles, jokes, fragments, haiku, epigrams and microlyrics. Imagism, contemporary shortists, prose poems, various longer works assembled from small pieces, and possibly even flash fiction. Students will take away from the thrift and edge of these literary microorganisms a new sense of what can be left out of your work and new ideas about how those nebulae of pre-draft in your notebooks might condense into stars and constellations.

Writing Near Art/Art Near Writing

VIS 323 / CWR 323 / ENG 232 / JRN 323 · Spring 2021

C01 · Fridays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Rindon Johnson

What we'll be writing together won't quite be art criticism and it won't quite be traditional historical writing either, what we'll be writing together is something more akin to poetry, fiction, art criticism and theory fused into a multivalent mass. Keeping in mind that language can hold many things inside of itself, we'll use somatic and idiosyncratic techniques as a lens, reading a range of poets, theorists, critics, writers and artists who are all thinking with art while writing about bodies, subjectivity, landscape, and the inimitable forms that emerge from the studio.

Introduction to Screenwriting: Writing for a Global Audience

CWR 349 / VIS 349 · Spring 2021

C01 · Wednesdays, 1:30-3:50 PM

Instructors: Christina Lazaridi

How can screenwriters prepare for the evolving challenges of our global media world? What types of content, as well as form, will emerging technologies make possible? Do fields like neuroscience help us understand the universal principals behind screenwriting and do tech advances that alter the distance between audience and creator, man and machine, also influence content of our stories?

Advanced Screenwriting: Writing for Television

CWR 405 / VIS 405 · Spring 2021

C01 · Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Susanna Styron

This advanced screenwriting workshop will introduce students to the fundamental elements of developing and writing a TV series in the current “golden age of television.” Students will watch television pilots, read pilot episodes, and engage in in-depth discussion about story, series engine, character, structure, tone and season arcs. Each student will formulate and pitch an original series idea, and complete the first draft of the pilot episode and season arcs by end of semester.

Revision Workshop

THR 409 / CWR 409 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Nathan Davis

This course will explore, through theory and (especially) practice, the rewriting/revising of plays, screenplays and teleplays. Students will begin the semester with a written piece of dramatic material that they wish to develop further. Through discussion, writing exercises, group feedback, and the study of existing scripts, each student will devise a revision process that is appropriate for their material and emerge with a new draft.

How to Write a Song

ATL 496 / CWR 496 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Bridget Kearney · Paul Muldoon

Taught by Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive) and Paul Muldoon (Rogue Oliphant) with class visits from guest singer/songwriters and music critics, this course is an introduction to the art of writing words for music, an art at the core of our literary tradition from the Beowulf poet through Lord Byron and Bessie Smith to Bob Dylan and the Notorious B.I.G. Composers, writers and performers will have the opportunity to work in small songwriting teams to respond to such emotionally charged themes as Gratitude, Loss, Protest, Desire, Joyousness, Remorse, and Defiance.