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Spring 2019 Topics

Scroll down for “Read like a writer” and Intro course topics. If you’ve taken CWL 202, you can enroll in any of these 3-credit, 300-level poetry, fiction, scriptwriting and creative non-fiction workshops:



CWL 300.S02 #53650 Non-Fiction Doesn't Have to Be Boring! Neal Gabler               
Tuesday 4:00-6:50PM
Almost every creative writing student wants to be a novelist or a poet. You don't find many interested in non-fiction, presumably because they think it isn't really creative and because they think it is  boring. This course is designed to change that attitude by reading outstanding exemplars in non-fiction and by teaching students how to write exciting, page-turning non-fiction themselves, particularly personal essays, creative non-fiction and literary biography. On the principle that to be a great writer, one should read great writers and steal from them, class will largely be devoted to close readings and discussions of great works of non-fiction. Students will be graded on attendance, class participation, and their written work.


CWL 305.S01 #53651 The Writer’s Life: Longer Works in Fiction.  Nina Menchicchi
T/Th 1:00-2:20PM
Every writer houses a story we’re itching to tell. One that only we have the capacity to put on the page. In this course, we’ll tackle longer arcs and projects, work collaboratively with one another, develop a community of our own, and practice our workshopping skills. Whether you’re writing the next great American novel or the literary short story collection of your dreams, these projects will take us to new heights as writers, showing us what it means to dedicate ourselves to our characters and the stories they’re demanding that we tell for them.
CWL 305.S02 #53652 Writing Toward Submission. Christian McLean                     
Thurs 4:00-6:50PM
Beyond the traditional workshop where students discuss published stories and generate new ones, students in this class will also work up to submitting their story to a literary magazine. Throughout the semester, while writing and workshopping, we will build an awareness of the literary landscape by reading short stories from contemporary literary magazines and journals. Students will research additional magazines, choose one and submit to it by the end of the semester. We will only be writing short stories in this course. We will not work on novels or novellas. Please understand that before you enroll.
CWL 305.S03 #53653 TBA, Paul Harding                                                              
Monday 4:00-6:50PM
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. Course may be repeated as the topic changes.

CWL 305.S04 #53654 The Mystery. Marian Donahue                                                                
Mon/Fri 1:00-2:20PM
In this class we will be looking one of the most enduring and popular forms in fiction- the mystery. Using the mystery writing as a touchstone we will discuss how this genre establishes universal building blocks of fiction including character, dialogue, setting, and tone.

CWL 305.S05 #53668 TBA, Amy Hempel                                                              
Tuesday 4:00-6:50PM
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. Course may be repeated as the topic changes.


CWL 310.S01 #53655 Sense & Sensibility. Julie Sheehan                                           
Wed 4:00-6:50PM
Of all the sense-making tools a poem can power up, metaphor and juxtaposition are, respectively, the mightiest and most current. They separate poetry from prose, and the master from the dabbler. You can practice them forever, so inexhaustible are they. As Pablo Casals said, when asked why he still practiced the cello at the age of 93, “I feel like I’m getting somewhere.” Prepare to write a lot, not necessarily in search of perfection, but rather in a persistent progression toward increased mastery, to read each other’s work, and to look at examples from contemporary poetry. Over this semester, you’ll develop a sharper sense of your own urgencies and taste, which shape the uses to which metaphor and juxtaposition are put.
CWL 310.S02 # 53656 How Do I Love Thee (And Make It New)? Claudia Acevedo-Quinones      
T/Th 2:30-3:50PM
Love, we know, is a many splendored thing. It lifts us up where we belong. It means never having to say you’re sorry. It is a battlefield. Most importantly, it makes the world go ‘round,which is why it is the most exploited and examined feeling in poetry. As a writer in the world, it would be ridiculous not to write about the most important value in history. But, how do we write about it when the word “love” has lost its meaning? When there was already a Shakespeare and a Neruda? In this course, we will read, study, and write poetry through the lens of love. We will see how structure, themes, and figurative devices have been used and built upon throughout millennia to express the feeling, and try to figure out how we can keep writing about it in a new and fresh way with the help of poets long gone, those still living, and each other.


CWL 315.S01# 53657 Screenwriting. Jillian LaRussa                                       
Wed 4:00-6:50PM
The biggest secret to writing, the easiest way to approach a blank screen, the most accessible form of creating content is to write what you know. Not anymore. As Fictional Chef Auguste Gusteau informs Remy, “Anyone can cook.” The same can be said with writing. Through research, the study of persona writing, and highly specific, niche screenplays, we will find ways to write against the grain of our own inclinations. We will uncover voices unlike our own that feel just as comfortable.  And when the foreign becomes the familiar, we will truly see that just about everyone, too, can write.
For Film 101 alumni, contact Karen Offitzer for permission to enroll.
CWL 315.S03 #53659 Screenwriting. Perry Blackshear                                    
Thurs 4:00-6:50PM
An introduction to feature film screenwriting. In class, we will investigate what stories are, why they matter, and how to make them awesome. Through application and practice, by the end of class students will learn the basics of formatting, the invisible power of narrative representation, and the fundamentals of long-form dramatic structure. Students will work to develop their own vision for what kind of storyteller they want to be and apply this vision to the creation of a full-length feature screenplay.
For Film 101 alumni, contact Karen Offitzer for permission to enroll.


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

CWL 190  #53635 Intro to Contemporary Literature. Cornelius Eady                                   
T/Th 1:00-2:20PM
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.
Prerequisite: WRT 102
CWL 330  #56328 European Lit: Does Plot Matter? Gogol, Maupassant, Chekhov, Zweig. Megan McAndrew
T/Th 11:30AM-12:50PM
As we move from Naturalism to Modernism, writing turns more interior, shifting from linear plot and realist description to a more subjective landscape.  While these authors exemplify this trend, they each employ strategies that remain useful to us today.  All written assignments will be fiction.
CWL 335 # 53661 American Lit: Tentacles in All Genres: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction
Valerie San Filippo & Marissa Levien                                                                 
T/Th 10:00-11:20AM
“I can get prickly and combative if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonholes in all directions.” – Ursula K. Le Guin. What happens when we abandon reality in our fiction? Speculative Fiction can be incredibly literary, and deceptively hard to write. How do speculative fiction authors balance the creative imagination of their worlds with the nuance of complex character-driven narrative? In this class, we will read, we will write, and we will seek to answer that question.


CWL 202.S01  TBA, Max Parker                                                                     M/W 8:30-9:50AM
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.

CWL 202.S02  TBA, Jesi Halprin                                                                    M/W 8:30-9:50AM

CWL 202.S03  TBA, Rob Taylor                                                                      M/W/F 10:00-11:53AM

CWL 202.S04  TBA, Dorothy Hom                                                                  T/Th 2:30-3:50PM

CWL 202.S05  TBA, Stephanie Osmanski                                                      M/Fri 1:00-2:20PM

CWL 202.S06  TBA, Jennifer Anzaldi                                                             T/Th   11:30-12:50

CWL 202.S07  TBA, Molly Touger                                                                   T/Th 8:30-9:50AM


CWL 202.S08  Under the Hood, Lindsay Adkins                                           T/Th 8:30-9:50AM
CWL 202.S09  Under the Hood, Lindsay Adkins                                           T/Th 10:00-11:20AM
Do you know what’s under the hood of a car? An engine, a battery, that thing to check the oil, some other stuff. Maybe you don’t know all the details and specifics. But you know that it works, right? And you may even be able to drive a car, without knowing exactly how it is that a car drives. This semester, we’ll be getting under the hoods of drama, fiction, and poetry. We’ll examine the parts that make these genres go, baby, go! Our models will be the pieces you and your classmates write, with the occasional noted mechanic thrown in for good measure. We’ll also assess what tools are already on your mechanic’s belt—they are there, I promise! Is that a torque wrench?—and the knowledge you already have about the way these cars function. As we move from one type of car to another, we’ll also look at what parts are similar across genres, and which are different. By the end of the course, you should be able to get behind the wheels of these different vehicles—and also also explain what happens, under the hood, when you put the pedal to the metal!
CWL 202.S10  TBA, Carina Kohn                                                                    T/Th 10:00-11:20AM

CWL 202.S11  TBA, Valerie San Filippo                                                          T/Th 11:30-12:50PM

CWL 202 .S12 That Thing You Do: Finding Our Voices in a Crowd. Claudia Acevedo-Quinones      T/Th 1:00-2:20PM
In this course, we will try to understand why writers (and that includes YOU!) write what they write when they write it, taking cues from both influential and lesser-known poetry, fiction, and memoir. We will mine our own lives and acquire stylistic knowledge to shape our work, inform our workshops, and figure out how and what we do to add to the conversation.
3 credits