Courses: Spring 2014



CWL 510.S01 Forms of Fiction: The Novel, Ursula Hegi. Wednesdays 3:50-6:40 (Class Nbr: #47198) We'll explore the connections that arise in the process of writing and revising a novel. We'll work with character and plot development, voice, point of view, dialogue that distinguishes between characters, significant details, authenticity, and risk.

CWL 520.S01 Forms of Poetry: Poetry as Style, Star Black. Mondays 5:20-8:10 (Class Nbr: #55522) The study of great poems and contemporary poems is a key to evolving your own unique style as a writer in whatever genre you chose. Poetry requires and inspires an extensive vocabulary, scrutinizes the construction of creative sentences, and invites the invention of new or altered forms that may be applied to prose and drama. Many writers including Paul Auster and Denis Johnson began as poets. The poems of Patti Smith and John Lennon are widely acknowledged. Because poetry is language heightened by compression, it readily reveals the essential elements of style, and it influences all the arts.

CWL 540.S01 Forms of Nonfiction: Memoir, Lou Ann Walker. Thursdays 5:20-8:10 (Class Nbr: #47597) Students will focus on telling their own stories, using a variety of techniques gleaned from masters of the form. We'll discuss the handling of secrets, the nature of the memoir versus the personal essay, the infusion of fiction into memoir, and the nature of privacy.

CWL 560.S01 Forms of Literature: Children’s Literature, Emma Walton Hamilton. Wednesdays 9:50-12:40 (Class Nbr: #48997)  A workshop in writing for kids, from picture books and early reader chapter books to middle grade and YA novels. We'll spend a couple of weeks on each genre. Students who wish to continue with children’s literature will have an opportunity to study a genre in greater depth during the summer session. Available by Skype.

CWL 565.S01 Special Topics in Writing: The Comic Voice, Andrew Botsford & Team. Tuesdays 5:20-8:10 (Class Nbr: #47199)  Reading and writing funny. This course is an examination of humor, with discussion of its many faces and what makes people laugh at them by guest commentators Roger Rosenblatt, Patricia Marx, Dan Menaker, Robert Reeves, and a number of other esteemed senses of humor. Additional readings include David Rakoff, Frank McCourt, Meghan Daum, Sloan Crosley, David Sedaris, Tina Fey.

CWL 580.S01 Practicum in Arts Admin, Christian McLean. Days and Times TBA (Class Nbr: #47204) The essentials of arts administration, to include assisting in the coordination of reading and lecture series, planning and administering conferences, or other writing and arts administration activities. Permission of instructor and completion of at least 6 program credits required.

CWL 581.S01 Practicum in Teaching Writing, Julie Sheehan. Wednesdays, 12:50-3:40 (Class Nbr: #47451) This course provides hands-on experience and instruction in the basics of writing pedagogy, including designing writing assignments, sequencing assignments, motivating writing, writing skill development and evaluating writing. Students will also be given a preliminary overview of the major theories driving composition pedagogy. Permission of instructor and completion of at least 6 program credits required. 

CWL 582.S01 Practicum in Publishing & Editing, Lou Ann Walker/Susan Scarf Merrell. Tues, 12:50-3:40 (Class Nbr: #47201)  Under the guidance of the faculty advisor, students will be exposed to the hands-on process of editing and publishing The Southampton Review. Permission of instructor and completion of at least 6 program credits required.

- All Southampton classes are held in Chancellors Hall

Thesis - CWL 599.V01
Must have thesis planning form on file and approval of thesis advisor to register.   



Stony Brook Manhattan
101-113 East 27th St. (midway between Park Avenue South and Lexington), 3rd Floor

CWL 500.S01 Intro to Graduate Writing, Robert Reeves & Carla Caglioti. Mon, 5:20-8:10. (Class Nbr: 48996) Please note: CWL 500 is a required course that should be taken in the first year. A seminar that introduces students to one another, the faculty, the program in Writing and Literature, and to issues in contemporary writing. Offered in conjunction with the “Writers Speak” lecture series. Students will attend the regular series of readings sponsored by the Writing program and meet at weekly intervals under the direction of a faculty advisor to discuss and write about topics raised in the lecture series, as well as issues generated from seminar discussions and assigned readings.

CWL 510.S60 Forms of Fiction: Short Story, Susan Minot, Tuesdays, 5:30-8:20 (Class Nbr: 55521)  As our 2013 Nobel Laureate Alice Munro recently said, the short story is “an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.” Focus in this workshop will be on the building blocks of the short story: style, structure and content.  In class discussions of student fiction, we will focus on refinement of that style, on varieties of structure, with an eye to finding the subject best suited to each writer.  Strong editorial feedback will assist the students in both practicing editing on their fellow students, as well as learning the value of doing draft after draft in order to strengthen and focus the material of his or her concern. Mastery of one’s craft is our goal.  

Suggested outside reading will direct students to the masters: Anton Chekhov, Raymond Carver, Lydia Davis, John Cheever, Amy Hempel, Denis Johnson, J.D. Salinger and Katherine Mansfield among others.  But mostly the concentration will be on student work.

CWL 530.S60/TAF 651 Scriptwriting: Playwriting, Leslie Ayvazian. Mon, 11:00A-2:00P (Class Nbr: #47200) Students write, discuss and receive feedback on writing exercises, original scenes, and short or full-length plays. Advanced students may development material for performance. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

CWL 540.S60 Forms of Creative Nonfiction:  The Memoir and Its Parts, Roger Rosenblatt.  Eight Saturdays, 11:00A - 5:00P (with break for lunch): 2/8, 2/22, 3/8, 3/29, 4/5, 4/26, 5/3, 5/17 (Class Nbr: #48150) This course proceeds from the premise that good memoirs are made up of certain components: description, knowledge, emotion, thought, fantasy, and memory. The writing of each of these elements requires skills that can be looked at individually, one at a time. That's what we will do here. Students will produce pieces that describe someone or some thing; relate knowledge (historical, scientific, et al.); convey an emotion; express a thought or idea; tell a fantasy or dream; and offer a memory. Six pieces in all. After that, we will try to determine how the pieces fit into the memoir you are working on, or propose to work on. Underlying all this is the proposition that your memoir is not about you. Not just you. Rather, it is about the world you observe, understand, feel, think about, imagine and remember.  Put these parts together in the right order and proportions, and you should create a worthwhile book.


CWL 565.S60 Special Topics in Writing: Humor Writing, Patty Marx. Wed 5:20-8:10 (Class Nbr: #47704) 

“Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.”   James Thurber

“Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.”  Sid Caesar

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”  Mel Brooks

 “...An amateur thinks it's really funny if you dress a man up as an old lady, put him in a wheelchair, and give the wheelchair a push that sends it spinning down a slope towards a stone wall. For a pro, it's got to be a real old lady.”  Groucho Marx

 “What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.”  Steve Martin

“You know, crankiness is the essence of all comedy.”   Jerry Seinfeld

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” E.B. White

“Patty Marx is the best teacher in the Creative Writing Program”   Patricia Marx

One of the above quotations is false.  Find out which one in this humor-writing workshop, where you will read, listen to, and watch comedic samples from well-known and lesser-known humorists, and complete weekly writing assignments. Students already working on projects are welcome to develop them. 

- All Manhattan classes are held at 101-113 East 27 Street, 3 floor





CWL 202-D Introduction to Creative Writing: Wednesdays, 5:20P - 8:10P (Class Nbr: #53080)

Creative writing workshop in multiple genres, from fiction to poetry to scriptwriting, intended to introduce students to the basic tools and terminology of the fine art of creative writing. Participants also read contemporary works, give a public reading, and attend Writers Speak, the Wednesday reading series. This course, offered on the Southampton campus, is required for the minor in creative writing. Prerequisite: None

The free SBU shuttle runs regularly to and from the Student Activities Center at SBU to Chancellors Hall on Southampton campus. Visit for the schedule.




CWL 202-D (ARTS) Introduction to Creative Writing: Tues/Thur, 10-11:20 (Class Nbr# 55623)

Creative writing workshop in multiple genres, from fiction to poetry to scriptwriting, intended to introduce students to the basic tools and terminology of the fine art of creative writing. Participants also read contemporary works, give a public reading, and attend a reading series. This course, offered on both Southampton and main campus, is required for the minor in creative writing.Prerequisite: None

CWL190-B       Introduction to Contemporary Literature: Tue/Thur, 11:30-12:50 (Class Nbr# 55678)

Seminar surveying recent works in a genre or topic, to introduce students to poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction or a combination of selections focusing on a particular theme. Participants will develop skills of interpretation and analysis through reading and writing about contemporary literature.  Required for the minorPrerequisite: Completion of DEC A

CWL 305-G      Forms of Fiction Mon/Wed/Fri, 10-10:53 (Class Nbr# 55679)

Study of the genre through readings, discussion and regular submission of original work. Course explores methods for expressing the human condition made available through fiction, with examples from the tradition that illustrate point of view, character development, dialogue, plot, setting, theme, motif, and other elements. Areas of study include Short Story, Novella, The Popular Novel, Graphic Novels and Writing Funny.

Prerequisite: CWL 202-D