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Department of

English

Course Descriptions for Emphasis in Creative Writing

ENGL 365W Playwriting
ENGL 375 Introduction to Creative Writing

ENGL 376 Topics in Creative Writing Workshop
ENGL 376 Screenwriting and Literature
ENGL 381 Intermediate Poetry Writing
ENGL 382 Intermediate Fiction Writing

ENGL 383 Intermediate Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 391 Advanced Poetry Writing
ENGL 392 Advanced Fiction Writing
ENGL 393 Advanced Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 494 Writing Autobiography

ENGL 365W Playwriting This course will focus on reading plays, writing scenes, and creating a work in playwriting format through writing and acting exercises that elicit scenes. A final project is the writing of an original one-act play.

ENGL 375 Introduction to Creative Writing A workshop on imaginative writing, with examples drawn from literature.

ENGL 376 Topics in Creative Writing Workshop discussion and analysis of student poetry, fiction, or drama (including screen-writing). Prerequisite: English 375 or consent of instructor.

ENGL 376 Screenwriting and Literature This class will focus on a variety of literary genres as models for effective storytelling. Films, short stories, novels, and plays will all be used in this course, albeit the emphasis will be on how the writers approach the craft of storytelling, not how these works contribute to the development of literary history or the history of ideas. Students will learn how to use structure, foreshadowing, plot, sub-plot, dialogue, character development, dramatic conflict, and many other techniques to create a compelling story that holds the viewers interest.

ENGL 381 Intermediate Poetry Writing In the Advanced Creative Writing Poetry course, students will generate new work while helping to engender in one another new ideas about writing.  As there is a profound relationship between reading poetry and writing it, we will read, discuss, and even recite the work of several poets whose example might lead us to a further honing of our craft. We will read each other's work, giving and receiving the kind of feedback that binds any community of poets.  We will also make use of writing exercises that keep our ears open and our fingers moving.  Each student will have at least three poems work-shopped.  In each workshop, we will read and discuss students’ poems in order to examine the relationships between the poet's intentions and ideas and the phrases and images used to embody them.  Students will also write two personal essays discussing their poetics and a review of a volume of poetry. As we explore the genre in the United States, students will learn the meanings and uses of poetic terms, as well as the work of major American poets.  Each student will have an opportunity to lead class in a discussion of each volume.  Students are expected to attend class having read all required material and prepared to discuss individual responses to the readings.

ENGL 382 Intermediate Fiction Writing This course intensifies the explorations begun in introductory creative writing and emphasizes structural aspects of the short story. We will read many published short stories and essays on the craft of writing, and we’ll write numerous short assignments, as well as two longer stories and a revision. We will talk about issues of craft in-depth, and we’ll explore those same issues in each other’s writing in large- and small-group workshops.

ENGL 383 Intermediate Nonfiction Writing In this Intermediate Nonfiction Writing course, students will generate works of creative nonfiction, ranging from the memoir to the personal essay to nonfiction feature writing. We will explore the genre of narrative nonfiction—that is, nonfiction subjects written with fictional techniques. We will approach this course with the understanding that good writing is the culmination of serious thinking, heartfelt conviction, diligent work and a commitment to rewriting, reshaping, rethinking. Our understanding will further be that learning to write seriously, originally and creatively—which must be the goal of every student enrolled in this course—is an instruction in process. To that end, students will read landmark works of nonfiction from writers like Baldwin, Didion, McPhee, Mailer, Capote, Wolfe, Talese, Dillard and others to explore the ways in which the genre has developed and changed, and to consider how the best nonfiction writing goes beyond factual reporting to access truths about the human experience. Students will be expected to generate original writing each week, to read and critique the work of their classmates, to read and discuss exemplary works of the genre, to workshop (read aloud) their work and to consider the artful pairing of factual experience with creative writing.

ENGL 391 Advanced Poetry Writing In addition to a classroom that investigates and hones craft, advanced poetry writing students develop themselves as women and men who think about literature and appreciate art.  To that end, students read poetry manifestos written by such canonical writers as Wordsworth, Eliot, Hughes, Rich, and Glück.  Students then write their own credos and manifestos in order to begin thinking about what they deem aesthetically valuable.  They also participate in “field work,” searching out recent issues of journals as different as The Southern Review and Fence, and scouring these magazines for poems they feel must exist and poems they had hoped did not, all the while familiarizing themselves with contemporary poetry.  And, in order to highlight oral tradition of the art, students memorize and recite poems in class throughout the semester.  Students become all the more aware of the relationship between writing well and reading broadly, the relationship between sharpening critical skills and polishing creative skills.  In the workshop, students analyzing poems for specific strategies, naming each as a tool that the poet uses to establish emotional depth, to make for musical pleasure, or even to incite humor.  Following thorough discussions, students write imitations modeled after giants including Wallace Stevens, John Berryman, Sylvia Plath, Frank O’Hara and Lucille Clifton and more recent contemporary poets, such as Oni Buchanan, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Beth Ann Fennelly, Kate Greenstreet, Terrance Hayes, Jay Hopler, and D.A. Powell.  In class and in several conferences throughout the semester, we discuss the ways students deploy these tools in their own work.  We also read and discuss four single volumes of contemporary poetry.  At the end of the course, students should be equipped with an understanding for work as traditional and narrative as that of Margaret Atwood and Andrew Hudgins, as avante garde and sophisticated as that of Claudia Rankine and Nick Flynn.  Our major intention is to approach students’ poems for their potential place in all that is vast and varied about American poetry.  Each student is required to meet the instructor for at least three one-on-one meetings about his or her work. As part of their participation grade, students are also expected to attend two public readings of contemporary literature during the semester.  Several course assignments are similar to those which students become accustomed at the intermediate level, with the exception of the short two to four page manifesto written at the beginning of the semester, the longer five to eight page manifesto written at the end of the semester, and the field work assignment.

ENGL 392 Advanced Fiction Writing This three-hour workshop meets weekly to discuss recently published, contemporary short fiction and students’ own stories. Students choose the short fiction for each week’s discussion from a master list of literary magazines provided by the instructor and lead discussion of the chosen story. Curiosity will be the cornerstone of this course in both reading and writing.  Students leap from writing only what they know (encouraged by most beginning and intermediate creative writing courses), to writing what they want to know. There are as many modes of research as there are stories to write, and curiosity is always the guide. Mid-way through the semester, students will give a brief presentation to the class on where their research has taken them—literally and figuratively. This course will require much reading, writing, and revision.

ENGL 393 Advanced Nonfiction Writing In this Advanced Nonfiction Writing course, students will generate works of creative nonfiction, ranging from the memoir to the personal essay to nonfiction feature writing. We will explore the genre of narrative nonfiction—that is, nonfiction subjects written with fictional techniques. We will approach this course with the understanding that good writing is the culmination of serious thinking, heartfelt conviction, diligent work and a commitment to rewriting, reshaping, rethinking. Our understanding will further be that learning to write seriously, originally and creatively—which must be the goal of every student enrolled in this course—is an instruction in process. To that end, students will read landmark works of nonfiction from writers like Baldwin, Didion, McPhee, Mailer, Capote, Wolfe, Talese, Dillard and others to explore the ways in which the genre has developed and changed, and to consider how the best nonfiction writing goes beyond factual reporting to access truths about the human experience. Students will be expected to generate original writing each week, to read and critique the work of their classmates, to read and discuss exemplary works of the genre, to workshop (read aloud) their work and to consider the artful pairing of factual experience with creative writing.

ENGL 494 Writing Autbiography The intent of the course is to help students write clear prose with a strong voice by having them confront, evoke, and analyze material that they know more about than anyone else. You will be asked to write, by then end of the semester, a 20-25 page essay on the nature of your upbringing. To build up to that, you will write short papers on your parents, neighborhood, values, cultural influences, life direction, etc. The course will be run as a workshop, with students reading their work aloud (if they so choose). Published autobiographical essays will be read and discussed as we go.

Emphasis Requirements

Requirements for English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing


English majors complete 12 units of upper division creative writing courses. Basic requirements are:

  • One course of:

ENGL 375 Introduction to Creative Writing

  • Two courses in a specified genre including:

ENGL 381 Intermediate Poetry Writing

ENGL 391 Advanced Poetry Writing

or

ENGL 382 Intermediate Fiction Writing

ENGL 392 Advanced Fiction Writing

OR

ENGL 383 Intermediate Nonfiction Writing

ENGL 393 Advanced Nonfiction Writing

(*Enrollment in intermediate creative writing courses is by consent of the instructor with preference for students who have completed ENGL 375 and students who have completed at least one English Department literature course covering poetry or fiction, respectively. Intermediate courses are the prerequisites for the advanced courses.)

  • One “crossover” course in a genre other than the student’s specified genre in any of the following:

ENGL 376 Topics In Creative Writing: Screenwriting (*Enrollment by consent of the instructor)

ENGL 381 Intermediate Poetry Writing

ENGL 382 Intermediate Fiction Writing

ENGL 383 Intermediate Nonfiction Writing

ENGL 494 Writing Autobiography

ENGL 494/THEA 365W Playwriting