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Spring 2022 Workshop Themes

Scroll down for Spring “Read Like a Writer” courses and sections of CWL 202. If you’ve taken CWL 202, you can enroll in any of the 3-credit, 300-level creative writing workshops below.




CWL 300.S01 #53905 - HFA+, WRTD
Forms of Creative Nonfiction: That Which Haunts Us, with Sarah Azzara
TU/TH 9:45-11:05AM
As writers, do we find our subjects, or do our subjects find us? Through readings, exercises, and writing assignments in memoir, personal essay, familiar essay and journalistic writing, this course will allow us to indulge in our obsessions. From moments in our personal lives to events and phenomena in the outside world, we’ll dive deep into that which haunts us to discover the most effective ways of bringing those obsessions, be they strange, silly, scary, or sobering, onto the page and into the mind of the reader.

CWL 300.S02 #52356 - HFA+, WRTD
Fragment and Flash in Creative Nonfiction, with Molly Gaudry
TU 4:45-7:35PM
In this writing workshop, we will read and write creative nonfictions that gather strength and power from the accumulation of their fragments and flashes. We will discuss the differences between fragments and flashes that present as deliberately broken narratives, collages, montages, mosaics, vignettes, or very short chapters, and we will study the art of juxtaposition in particular, which includes a close study of the silences and withholdings represented by the white space that divides fragments and flashes. Required texts include E. Briskin’s Orange, Heather Christle’s The Crying Book, Lily Hoang’s A Bestiary, Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House, and Shailja Patel’s Migritude. Students will write and workshop either a 10-15 page essay in fragments or a 10-15 page collection of flash nonfictions (that, of course, may indeed be fragmented).

CWL 300.S03 #53906 - HFA+, WRTD
Celebrating Joy in Times of Suffering , with Ariana McLean
TU/TH  11:30AM-12:50PM
There are plenty of narratives that focus on suffering. And, we each have our own stories of suffering and trauma. But, what if we were to rewrite these narratives, centering stories in joy, delight, celebration? We will not be ignoring the very real traumas, systemic racism, oppression, and suffering being experienced – instead we will embark on a creative practice in which we seek out delight, wonder, and inspiration. How will our writing change? How will our stories manifest through this lens? Afterall, joy is an act of resistance. This course has largely been inspired by Ross Gay’s Book of Delights and Valarie June’s Tedx Talk: “Why we need to celebrate Black Joy.” Taking Ross Gay’s lead, we will be writing short and quick drafts regularly. In doing so, we will take notice of the patterns, themes and concerns that come up, and from there we will draft creative essays. And, not just regular old personal essays. We will experiment and push ourselves to try new forms, structures, and craft techniques; all while examining how other writers push the bounds of the genre and celebrate their joy.  




CWL 305.S01 #52357 SBC: HFA+, WRTD 
Linked short stories , with Megan McAndrew
TU/TH 3:00-4:20PM
A bridge between the short story and the novel, linked short story collections have become increasingly popular with publishers.  Through close readings of Daniyal Mueenuddin, Mona Awad, Denis Johnson, Ingo Schultze Anthony Marra, Jennifer Egan and others, we'll figure out - and try to deploy in our own work - the organizing principles of this genre's most successful practitioners.  Highly recommended for BFA students.

CWL 305.S02 #52358 -  HFA+, WRTD
How and Why: Workshopping Short Fiction, with Marissa Levien
TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM
So you wrote a short story, now what? In this class, we will read and critique one another's works of short fiction with an eye towards learning what makes a short story truly effective. Short fiction can be about anything, can come in many forms, in many genres. The best workshops are accepting of all types of work, because the most constructive analysis of a story lies not in what the story is, but how it is written, and why a certain piece of writing connects with a reader. Once you figure out the how and the why of a story, you have the building blocks you need to make it something truly engrossing. 

CWL 305.S03 #52359 - HFA+, WRTD
Forms of Fiction:The Rules of the World, with Allison DePoali
M 4:25-7:15PM
What is worldbuilding? How is it used? How do we set up rules within our stories and stick to them? What does that even mean? In this course, we will explore the art of worldbuilding by examining its common use in science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian literature. We will define the elements unique to each genre and navigate the do’s and don’ts of crafting a world. Students will ultimately produce fiction of their own with careful consideration given to the way their world operates.

CWL 305.S04 #52360 - HFA+, WRTD
Forms of Fiction: Stories from the Bottom Shelf, with Genevieve Sly Crane
M/W 2:40-4PM
Is this a workshop? Yes! Will we write a great deal? Double yes! (We will workshop twice, in fact.) In addition, we’ll read a variety of short stories that, for whatever reason, didn’t get the credit they so desperately deserved. Reading will include the bygone “grown up fiction” of Roald Dahl, in addition to underappreciated stories by Ursula LeGuin, Langston Hughes, and Steven Millhauser. We will also examine stories by lesser known writers who deserve a second look. Please note that this is exclusively a short fiction workshop. No excerpts of longer works, please!

CWL 305.S05 #52364 -  HFA+, WRTD
Forms of Fiction: Cultivating Voice, with Robert Lopez
TH 4:45-7:35PM
There is no one way to write compelling fiction, just as there are no formulas or tricks to help a young writer to do so.  We will learn how to read as writers, which is the most critical aspect of this endeavor.  We will learn how to recognize lazy or bad writing, clichés, etc, in each other’s work and in our own. We will discuss all aspects of fiction writing.  Where do stories come from?  How do we put ourselves in what we write, that unique stamp only you can provide?  Gordon Lish says you have to risk everything on the page.  What does he mean by that?  Are we telling our story from the best point of view?  Tense?  How do we end a piece?  All of these elements will be examined within the workshop.  

CWL 305.S06 #56509 -  HFA+, WRTD
Forms of Fiction: The Art of the Scare, with Sarah Azzara
M 4:25-7:15PM
How, as authors, can we put words on a page that raise the hair on our necks? In this course, we'll analyze works of classic fear fiction from Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Joyce Carol Oates, and the wonderfully weird Edgar Allen Poe as well as contemporary literary works from Sara Gran, Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones, and Tananarive Due. We'll learn techniques for building a sense of unease and how to elevate that discomfort into stories that are hard to put down and harder to forget. Students will create and workshop two stories over the semester. This course is designed to help students learn how to tap into one of our most primal human emotions, delivering visceral  experiences and, often, fierce messages to the reader.  



CWL 310.S01 #52361     HFA+, WRTD
Fifteen Ways of Illuminating our World Through Words, With Miranda Beeson
T/TH 9:45-11:05AM
15 weeks. 15 fantastical poetic forms in depth. 15 approaches to the page. 15 ways of seeing. 15 ways of reading. 15 ways of listening. 15 ways of thinking. 15 ways of illuminating our world through words. We will read, write & workshop—in more than 15 ways.

CWL 310.S02 #52352   HFA+, WRTD
Prose Poetry and Borrowed Form, with Sean Cassidy
TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM
If you take a piece of prose fiction or creative nonfiction and cut it into lines and stanzas, most people would call the resulting work a poem. But if you take a poem out of verse and write it as a block of prose, the result is often still poetry. Why is that? Why does prose poetry get to exist, and what makes it different from a similar form, like flash fiction? This class will explore that question through weekly reading discussions, writing prompts, and small-group and large-group workshops. Youwill spend the semester exploring poetry written in prose and in other borrowed forms (you may, for example, write a poem in the form of a shopping list, or a news bulletin). Throughout, we will engage with questions about what makes a piece a poem, especially when it is not written in a traditionally poetic form.Course readings will come predominantly from the book Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present edited by DavidLehman. Graded coursework includes participation in class discussions and workshops, 2 submitted reading responses, 2 drafts of 3 submitted poems, amid-semester reflection, and a final portfolio.

CWL 310.S03 #53907 HFA+, WRTD
Forms of Poetry, The Image {in/as} Poetry , with LB Thompson
TH 4:45-7:35PM
Students will engage in three kinds of activities in this study of the genre of poetry: 1. generative in-class writing designed to cultivate particular techniques 2. close-readings of assigned contemporary poems, and 3. the constructive discussion of original student poems in progress. In our class sessions, we will work in a respectful, creative  atmosphere that is “playful and serious at the same time,” which John Dewey reminds us, is not only possible but also “defines the ideal mental condition.” Themes and strategies we will explore include: observation, inquiry, rhetorical shape, received poetic forms, negative space, error, time, the body, mapping, and more.




CWL 325 American Lit #55761 - STAS, WRTD
Forms of Science Writing: Quantum Fiction, with Felix Grygorcewicz
TU/TH 9:45-11:05AM
Do coincidences mean anything? Can the future effect the past? Is this entire reality an illusion you invented so you could pretend to be a character in it? In this course we will examine these questions and others like them by looking at how theories of Quantum Mechanics have shaped fiction over the past century, and apply this melding of science and fiction to our own writing .




As of Fall 2020, Creative Writing students interested in screenwriting should enroll in FLM 215 Scriptwriting or TVW 220 Advanced TV Writing (see below) as they continue to be offered in lieu of CWL 315. To get permission to enroll and to count these FLM/TVW writing workshops toward the creative writing major or minor, contact Liz McRae ( ).

FLM 215.01  SCRIPTWRITING #53516   - HFA+
The Art of the Screenplay, with Will Chandler
W 4:25-7:15PM
All great screenplays share a compelling, well-told story. In this course, students will analyze films and read contemporary screenplays, deconstructing them to learn why they work so well. Students will leave understanding the construction of story, the value of juxtaposing scenes, the power of the visual image, the importance of underlying theme, the need for conflict and the development of compelling, layered characters and their dialogue. Students will be guided through the process of developing their own stories and will leave with a screenplay outline, a three-act story arc and a completed first act of their own script. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the theme changes. Prerequisite: FLM 101 or CWL 202 with permission  

FLM 215.02  SCRIPTWRITING  #53520-  HFA+
TV Writing: Writing the Pilot, with Devon Lang
TH 11:30AM - 2:20PM
Do you have a story you are burning to tell? How about a human experience or a world you have never seen explored on screen quite the way you would like? Do you ever watch TV and think, “ This stereotype? This cliché? Again ? I could do so much better...”? In this course, you will write your very own original television pilot: the script that launches a series. Working from the ground up, you will begin by creating a series concept that has both a powerful emotional core and a story engine that can sustain one or multiple seasons. You will then create stories for the pilot episode, outline, and write scenes weekly, working toward your final: a finished pilot script! We will workshop our pages with peers in class and I will meet with you one-on-one three times over the semester to help guide you in your personal process. We will also read, watch and study comedy and drama pilots like Lovecraft Country, American Vandal, Squid Game, Euphoria, and Big Mouth to learn about act structure, story engine, character, and other key elements. Get ready to watch, read, analyze, let loose and WRITE! Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the theme changes. Prerequisite: FLM 101 or CWL 202 with permission.

FLM 215.03 Scriptwriting #53521 - HFA+
TV Writing, Writing the SPEC Script, Omani McDaniels
Fri 10:30AM-1:20PM
Students will have the opportunity to pick a show out of four provided options. Throughout this course they will learn how to write a SPEC script for an existing TV show. SPEC scripts are used in the industry to establish skill and proficiency with writing in a writer’s room. Students will learn to adapt to a writing style that isn’t necessarily their own, whilst providing an original storyline for a standalone episode that seamlessly fits into any season.  Each week students will read each other’s work and provide verbal and written feedback.  Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the theme changes. Prerequisite: FLM 101 or CWL 202 with permission.

TVW 220.S01 #55242 - HFA+
TV Writing: Intro to Late Night Sketch, and Joke writing with Ethan Berlin
F 11:45AM-2:35PM
This course covers the fundamentals of joke writing, late night comedy writing and sketch comedy writing in the style of SNL, Amber Ruffin, Full Frontal, and The Daily Show. Structured like a comedy writers' room, students learn to pitch jokes and sketches live in front of their peers. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the theme changes. Prerequisite: FLM 215  or advanced writing workshop with permission.



These are open to all comers. Expect creative writing assignments in response to lots of reading.

CWL 190  Intro to Contemporary Lit #52343 - HUM
B A D  B E H A V I O R! with Miranda Beeson
TU/TH 11:30AM-12:50PM
Prerequisite: WRT 102 DEC: B. SBC: HUM. 3 credits
We will examine homo sap b a d b e h a v i o r through the lens of contemporary literature. Also its antidote: empathy. A multi-genre romp through short stories, essays, manifestos, fables, novels, advice columns, flash fiction, poetry, plays, podcasts & more. We will read like writers and write like readers.
Authors to include Kiley Reid, Anna Deavere Smith, Cheryl Strayed, Paula Vogel, Allen Ginsburg, Dave Eggers, Dave Barry, Kaveh Akbar, Jill Lepore, Ralph Ellison, Robert Lopez, Carmen Maria Machado, Roxane Gay, Eula Biss, David Sedaris, Haruki Murakami, Ross Gay and more. 


CWL 335 American Lit #53908 - HFA+, USA
Innocents Abroad: The Lure of Expatriation , with Megan McAndrew
TU/TH 11:30AM-12:50PM
From Henry James and Edith Wharton to Patricia Highsmith and Diane Johnson, many American writers have had to go abroad to find their voice.  Through close readings of these authors, as well as Paul and Jane Bowles, James Baldwin and David Sedaris, we will examine the various ways in which cultural dislocation has enriched American literature.

CWL 340 World Lit #52394  - GLO, HFA+

Speculative Fiction Around the World, with Marissa Levien
T/TH 9:45-11:05AM
Why have variations of “Beauty and the Beast” endured for over two millennia? How do writers continue to make it new to speak to issues in their own time and culture? To begin to answer these questions, we’ll spend the first half of the semester studying Jerry Griswold’s The Meanings of ‘Beauty & the Beast’: A Handbook.   Students will  keep a journal detailing their understanding of critical interpretations of the tale (e.g., sociohistorical, psychological, feminist).  We’ll then survey several variants in Maria Tatar’s  Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World.  From this collection students will choose a version that speaks to their own individual interests, in order to spend the second half of the semester reimagining and retelling it for contemporary audiences. The final project will be a creative retelling that incorporates craft strategies from Benjamin Percy’s  Thrill Me: Essays on Fictionnd how do writers and artists make it new, to speak to issues in their own time and culture? 




CWL 202.S01 M/W 8:30-9:50AM  

CWL 202.S02 M/W 2:40-4PM 

CWL 202.S03 M/W/F 10:30-11:25AM  

CWL 202.S04 TU/TH 3-4:20PM  

CWL 202.S05 M/F 1:00-2:20PM

CWL 202.S06 TU/TH 11:30AM-12:50PM  

CWL 202.S07 TU/TH 8:00-9:20AM  

CWL 202.S09 TU/TH 9:45-11:05AM

CWL 202.S10 TU/TH  9:45-11:05AM

CWL 202.S11 TU/TH 11:30-12:50PM  

CWL202 .S12 TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM  

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, or an equivalent.