Creative Writing Courses

Creative Writing

Introduction to Art Making

LCA 101 · Spring 2020

C01 · Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructors: Boris Fishman · Daniel Heyman · Ruth Ochs · Shariffa Ali · Stacy Wolf · Olivier Tarpaga · Tess James

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.

The American Dream: Visions and Subversions in American Literature

FRS 176 · Spring 2020

S01 · Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Joyce Carol Oates

“The American Dream: Visions and Subversions” will explore, primarily in American literature, themes of individual and cultural identity from 19th century texts (by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin) through 20th century texts (by Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor) and 21st century fiction (by Jhumpa Lahiri, Lorrie Moore, Junot Diaz, Ha Jin among others).

Introductory Fiction

CWR 204 · Spring 2020

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Aleksandar Hemon · Daphne Kalotay · A.M. Homes · Kirstin Valdez Quade · Mark Doten · Yiyun Li

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 2020

C01 - Jhumpa Lahiri · Wednesdays, 9:00-10:50 AM

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 and will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and pratice of literary translation.

Creative Nonfiction

JRN 240 / CWR 240 · Spring 2020

S01 · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: John McPhee

This is a course in factual writing and what has become known as literary non-fiction, emphasizing writing and including several reading assignments from the work of John McPhee and others. Enrollment is limited to 16 second-year students, by application only.

Advanced Poetry

CWR 302 · Spring 2020

Multiple sections offered

Instructors: Monica Youn · Tracy K. Smith

Advanced practice in the original composition of poetry for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings.

Advanced Fiction

CWR 304 · Spring 2020

C01 - A.M. Homes · Wednesdays, 9:00-10:50 AM

Instructors: A.M. Homes

Advanced practice in the original composition of fiction for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings.

Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting

THR 305 / CWR 309 · Spring 2020

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Nathan Davis

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 2020

C01 - Jhumpa Lahiri · Wednesdays, 9:00-10:50 AM

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 and 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 2020

C01 - James Richardson · Mondays, 1:30-4:20 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.

Oral History: The Art of Listening and Translation

CWR 318 · Spring 2020

C01 - Nyssa Chow · Mondays, 1:30-3:50 PM

Instructors: Nyssa Chow

How do we craft narrative from the material of another person's life? We will look at the oral history interview as an act of spontaneous literature - one that contains both the individual story, and the larger history.

Words as Objects

VIS 321 / CWR 321 · Spring 2020

C01 - Joe Scanlan · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Joe Scanlan

This course will explore ways that language can take on material properties and how objects can have syntax and be “read.” Through studio assignments, readings, and discussions, students will investigate the idea of language as a tangible material that can be sliced, bent, inserted, reproduced, embedded, and scattered.

Screenwriting I: Short Screenwriting for Filmmakers

CWR 347 / VIS 340 · Spring 2020

C01 · Wednesdays, 1:30-3:50 PM

Instructors: Moon Molson

This course will introduce students to the foundational principles and techniques of screenwriting, taking into account the practical considerations of film production.  Questions of thematic cohesiveness, plot construction, logical cause and effect, character behavior, dialogue, genre consistency and pace will be explored as students gain confidence in the form by completing a number of short screenplays. The course will illustrate and analyze the power of visual storytelling to communicate a story to an audience, and will guide students to create texts that serve as "blueprints" for emotionally powerful and immersive visual experiences. 

Introduction to Screenwriting: Writing for a Global Audience

CWR 349 / VIS 349 · Spring 2020

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 Fiction: Imitating Italians

CWR 352 / ITA 352 · Spring 2020

C01 · Tuesdays, 2:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Jhumpa Lahiri

A reading-based advanced fiction workshop designed to introduce students to the practice of imitation as a point of creative departure. Reading the works of a series of twentieth-century Italian masters — Ginzburg, Lampedeusa, Levi, Morante, among others — we will analyze a range of techniques and styles and focus our discussion on themes of linguistic crossing and hybrid identity. All readings will be in translation from the recently published Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories edited by Jhumpa Lahiri. Italian concentrators and certificate students will read the stories and produce all written work in Italian.

Advanced Screenwriting: Writing for Television

CWR 405 / VIS 405 · Spring 2020

C01 · Thursdays, 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.

Theatrical Writing Studio

THR 406 / CWR 406 / ENG 250 / MTD 406 · Spring 2020

S01 - Robert Sandberg/Tamsen Wolff · Fridays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Robert N. Sandberg · Tamsen Wolff

A workshop course designed to support advanced student theater and music theater writers in exploring possible performance of their writing. Students will investigate their writing with a focus on collaboration, performance and production. Individualized creative assignments will be suggested for each student. Students will be introduced to methodologies for producing new works and for theatrical collaboration, and will discuss the writer's point of view in the rehearsal room, physical staging, working with performers and character development, and exploring visual storytelling.

Baby Wants Candy: Creating Comedy for Television

ATL 494 / VIS 494 / CWR 494 / THR 494 · Spring 2020

C01 · Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Instructors: Al Samuels · Zach Zimmerman

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 in groups and individually and also create shorter material - e.g., desk bits for late night shows, online content, etc.