How do artists make art? How do we evaluate it? In this course, students of all levels get to experience firsthand the particular challenges and rewards of art making through practical engagement with five fields — creative writing, visual art, theater, dance, and music — under the guidance of professionals.
Creative Writing Courses
In this seminar we will study moments of change at seven crucial stages in the life cycle (childhood, adolescence, courtship and marriage, work, maturity and death) in order to discover the conflicts and contradictions, the emotional truth, and the possibilities that such moments hold for us. Our medium will be the short story.
This seminar will study the history and nature of myths—traditional as well as urban myths—particularly in regard to the way that myths, legends, and superstitions reflect the concerns and fears of all cultures. We will examine the ways in which each genre differs, and the means by which communities, seized with conviction for generations, disseminate and fortify them. The collective unconscious is often manifested in metaphor, particularly in literature and film, and the legitimate anxieties, fears (and guilt) that it reflects will be the subject of our study.
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.
Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 10-15 page sample, with commentary, 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.
Poems are weird, wild, ancient machines from the future. Form is but one way to harness their power, another tool to add in your kit. In this space, together, we'll be formalist, inventors, rule-breakers, and dreamers in the name of poems. Be prepared for a generous amount generative work journaling, discussion, presentation and journaling, some poet-led workshopping in the later part of the semester. All the gorgeous restriction and possible chaos of form awaits us. Let's write. (Content Warning: Some of the work read in this course addresses violence that is at times sexual, colonial, racial, or gendered in nature.)
We will read published literary short stories by contemporary Latinx writers and explore the vast range of Latinx experience in the United States as well as the vast range of fictional techniques employed by these writers. In discussing these published works, we will analyze how the formal elements of story—structure, plot, character, point of view, etc.—function in these pieces, so that students can apply these principles of craft to their own work. Students will write two complete short stories, which will be discussed in a traditional workshop format, and then submit a revision of one of those stories.
Vast differences in power, income and social status divide our society, and these differences are explored deeply in literary non-fiction. In this course students will read masterpieces of non-fiction writing about social inequality and will examine to what extent it is possible for authors to know the struggles of their subjects, and to create empathy for them. Students also will sharpen their own skills at writing non-fiction in both first- and third-person styles: the personal essay, participatory reportage, immersion journalism, reconstructed narrative non-fiction and reflective autobiography.
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 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.
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, including season arcs, and complete most or all of the pilot episode by end of semester.
In this course, led by critically acclaimed comedy writer Albert Samuels, students will participate in the in-process television pitch used by Samuels' cutting-edge improvisation group, Baby Wants Candy, including finalizing concept and script and developing a strong pitch. By the end of the semester, BWC will have a finished pitch package the group will present to Netflix, Amazon, Comedy Central and other networks/outlets. Students will develop their own original television concepts both in teams and individually, and also create shorter material - e.g., desk bits for late night shows, online content, etc.