Manhattan Courses: Spring 2014

Held at the Manhattan Facility: 101-113 East 27th St.
(midway between Park Avenue South and Lexington), 3rd Floor
Courses held in conjunction with Manhattan Writers Speak on the same themes.

For more information on any classes, please email:



CWL 500.S01 Intro to Graduate Writing, Robert Reeves & Carla Caglioti

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.

Please note: CWL 500 is a required course that should be taken in the first year. 

Mon, 5:20-8:10. (Class #:48996)

jonesCWL 510.S60 Forms of Fiction: Short Story, Susan Minot

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.

Tuesdays, 5:30-8:20 (Class Nbr: 55521)

lou ann walker

CWL 565.S60 Special Topics in Writing: Humor Writing, Patty Marx

“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. 

Wed 5:20-8:10 (Class Nbr: #47704)


rosenblattCWL 540.S60 Forms of Creative Nonfiction: The Memoir and Its Parts, Roger Rosenblatt 

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.

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)

ayvazianCWL 530.S60/TAF 651 Scriptwriting: Playwriting, Leslie Ayvazian

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.

Mon, 11:00A-2:00P (Class Nbr: #47200)