SUMMER 2013 WRITING STUDIES COURSE OFFERINGS
AREA I - WRITING AND CULTURE
ENG 675: Special Topics Writing Workshop – Personal Essay
In this course, we will read a wide selection of personal essays, focusing primarily on the short essay. We will explore various topics: food, travel, spirituality, and memory. Students will get to try their hands at different forms and techniques, including the lyric essay, the braided essay, oral narrative, and immersion journalism. In both student and published work, we will consider the complicated matters of memory, imagination, and questions of emotional and factual truth. We will also explore possible venues for publication, both in print and online, and how to approach the publication process. The course will consist of discussions of reading, writing prompts and exercises, and workshop. Counts as Area I or Area III.
AREA III - PROFESSIONAL WRITING
ENG 683: Editing Practicum - Hands-On Editing Workshop for Writers
“What you leave out is infinitely more than what you leave in.”—Ursula LeGuin, Steering the Craft
Ever wish you had an editor for your manuscript? What if you could be your own editor? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to apply two essential writing tools—concision and continuity—to enliven your prose.
Are you playing it safe, relying on simple declarative sentences? Do you avoid using dashes or colons because you aren’t sure how they work? Are you so worried about being “correct” that your prose feels less than authentic or true?
In this workshop, our aim will be to deepen your connection to your voice by examining the ways in which grammar and syntax serve story (or nonfiction prose). You’ll be editing your own work “live” and doing “hands-on” exercises. Above all, you will learn how to take risks and how to trust your own voice. You’ll learn how working at the sentence level can do wonders to help you reinvent stock characters, underdeveloped scenes, or lackluster prose. A deeper understanding of syntax can increase the power and clarity of your prose, and will ultimately empower you as a writer and build confidence in your writing.
Participants will receive handouts and instruction at each class meeting; we’ll use these as our guides as we proceed—with tender loving care, of course—to do a little dismantling. (Don’t worry—no red pencils required!) A magnificent edifice begins with a strong foundation.
Students are asked to bring work in progress to the first class.
FALL 2013 WRITING STUDIES COURSE OFFERINGS
ENG 550: The Practice of Writing
This course is designed as an Introduction to the Writing Studies Program, and it allows students to explore a variety of genres while they explore career options within the writing/publishing world. Students will literally "walk in the shoes" of different writers, playing the role of columnist, reporter, editor, poet, and fiction writer. At the end of the course, students will reflect on these different roles and begin brainstorming a possible thesis project in one area.
AREA I – WRITING & CULTURE
ENG 620: Special Topics Writing Workshop – Drag Me to Hell: Horror in Film and Literature
From the horrors of Hell in Dante's Inferno to the meta-narrative of Joss Whedon's and Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods, this course explores the production, reception, aesthetics, politics, and evolution of the horror genre in both fiction and literature. In this course we will explore the shifts in the genre's paradigm as landmark films and books are considered and contextualized. We will read the literary works and films against the historical, political, and industrial settings in which they were produced. The course will move in chronological order through the films, beginning with the classic films of the 1930s and 40s. We will next examine Cold War politics and how it influenced the genre, then the apathy of the Clinton '90s as reflected in such films as I Know What you Did Last Summer and Scream. We will conclude by considering the trauma of lost bodies in both Dante's Inferno and such post-9/11 films as Speilberg's War of the Worlds, George Romero's The Land of the Dead, and the 2006 remake of The Omen. The literary works of Dante, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Colson Whitehead, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, Brian DePalma, David Cronenberg, Joss Whedon, and Mary Harron, among others, will be studied.
AREA III – PROFESSIONAL WRITING
ENG 675: Special Topics Writing Workshop – Bodies in Crisis: Narratives of Illness, Medicine and Hope
Frida Kahlo, The Broken Column, 1944
In “Bodies in Crisis: Narratives of Illness, Medicine, and Hope,” we’ll explore how race, class, gender, and sexuality are depicted through the writing of caregivers, medical professionals, and patients in essays, memoirs, and fiction. We’ll particularly focus on how cultural difference affects access to and perceptions of medical care; how gender, race, and class impact access to care and perceptions of the female body; and how cancer and AIDS/HIV has affected care throughout the U.S. While reading accounts of illness, health, healing, death and dying, students will develop their own writing projects that explore a subject related to the class theme. You need not have suffered a major or traumatic illness (and I hope you haven’t!) to successfully develop a writing project. We may also visit local hospitals or nursing homes to do some experiential learning and writing with the residents there. Readings will include: The Faults in Our Stars, a young adult novel; Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse’s Life; a memoir; The Healing, a novel about an African American healer/midwife; The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, a collection of writings on illness, healing, and medical matters; and Stitches, a graphic memoir. While we read and write together, we’ll think of the language of health care and the theory behind the narratives we tell of health and wellness.
ENG 676: Writing for Publication
In this class, we will explore various avenues for publication. The course will be specifically tailored to students’ interests in terms of genre--fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, etc. We will consider trends in publishing, including self-publishing, micro-presses, online publishing, the state of the industry, the process of submitting work, and more. Each student will work to polish at least one piece of writing to a publishable draft, and both individually and as a class, we will find appropriate venues where students can submit.
PAST COURSE OFFERINGS