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Courses: Spring 2022

All CWL courses 4 credits unless noted otherwise. FLM courses 2-3 credits.

NB: Spring semester begins Monday, January 24, 2022. The first day of Saturday classes will be January 29. Spring Break is: Monday, March 14th through Sunday, March 20th. Last day of regularly scheduled classes is May 7, 2022. Last day of the semester is Wednesday, May 18.


Stony Brook Southampton: Chancellors Hall or Carriage House (Technology Center)
239 Montauk Highway; Southampton, New York 11963

CWL 510.S03 #56321  Forms of Fiction:  From Realism to Surrealism to Speculative: Developing Strangeness in Your Stories with Karen Bender
7 Alternate Saturdays, 11:00 - 4:50P, beginning January 29, In person (4 cr.)

In this course, which will involve both reading and writing, we'll look at ways authors create a feeling of "strangeness" in their stories, through characterization, imagery, situation and other techniques. We'll look at writers across the spectrum of realism to speculative fiction; we'll examine how realistic writers find the extraordinary in everyday life, and how speculative writers create believable extraordinary worlds.We'll be reading stories by writers including John Cheever,  Raymond Carver, Yoko Ogawa, Roberto Bolano, Franz Kafka, Shirley Jackson, Octavia Butler, Elena Ferrante, and Ursula LeGuin. We'll be using in-class generative exercises to help writers find their own particular strangeness, and workshopping their short stories.

7 Saturdays: 1/29; 2/12; 2/26; 3/12; 3/26; 4/9; 4/23


CWL 510.S02 #52332 Forms of Fiction: The Long Arc with Susan Scarf Merrell
Tuesdays, 2:20-5:10P, In person (4 cr.)

This class will look at your book-in-progress from beginning to end. A group of writers, each of whom is already embarked on a longer work, will come together as a team of crack investigators to examine structure, arc, and character, with an eye to creating whole and cohesive literary works.  Full first draft preferred but open to anyone with 100 pages and a view of the entire scope of the work (after discussion with instructor).


CWL 520.S01 #52399 Forms of Poetry: Structure and Movement with Molly Gaudry
Thursdays, 2:20 - 5:10P, In person (4 cr.)

In this poetry workshop, we will study poetic structures—two-part structures such as the emblem structure, which moves from sight to insight, and three-part structures, such as the descriptive-meditative structure, which moves from a description of a setting into a meditation and then returns to the setting but with a marked shift in the speaker’s attitude or mindset. As practice toward submitting poems to literary magazines, students will write and workshop sets of 3-5 poems and should plan to be workshopped twice during the semester. Required textbook: Adam Sol’s How a Poem Moves. Optional textbook: Structure & Surprise, edited by Michael Theune.


CWL 540.S01 #52419 Forms of Creative Nonfiction: Memoir with Lou Ann Walker
Mondays, 2:20-5:10P, ONLINE (4 cr.)

We could even retitle this course “Life: A Story.” In addition to reading new masters of the memoir form, you’ll be writing in order to discover themes in your life. We'll be touching on narrative subjects such as the reliability of memory, point of view, tackling the accuracy of dialogue, as well as how to portray other characters in your life—memoir is not just about the “I.” You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish during this semester. Our reading list will be finalized at the beginning of the class depending on what will be most useful to you as writers, but some of the works we’ll be considering include: The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom; Out of Egypt by André Aciman; Educated by Tara Westover; The Tender Ba r by J.R. Moehringer; The Color of Water by James McBride; Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez; Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey; When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanith; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah.


CWL 560.S01 #52397 Topics in Literature: Shakespeare with Paul Harding
Mondays, 5:20 - 8:10P, In person (4 cr.)

We will give close readings to 4 or 5 of William Shakespeare’s later plays. The plays will be considered in their historical and religious contexts, their place in the emergence of modern literary English, and most of all for their sheer artistry. Included will be, Measure for Measure , King Lear, Macbeth, and Hamlet. (If there is time, we may read another play, such as The Tempest or Antony & Cleopatra ). We will also look at excerpts from other period works such as William Tyndale’s English translations of the Bible, John Foxe’s Acts & Monuments , North’s translations of Plutarch’s Lives, and the Oxford English Dictionary (in which Shakespeare is the 2 nd most cited source, with 32,677 quotes total—an astounding 1,446 of them recording the first ever known use of a particular word.) 


CWL 560.S02 #56323 Topics in Literature for Writers: Exploring the YA Novel with Emma Walton Hamilton
Wednesdays, 2:20 - 5:10P,  ONLINE (4 cr.)

Most of us can think of the book that changed our lives--the one that turned our world upside down, showed us we weren’t alone, made us a reader. For many of us, that book was one we read as a teenager. Young adulthood is a unique and transitional stage of development, distinguished by physical, intellectual, and emotional changes. It is a time of tension, of questions, of defining oneself in relationship to the world around us. By addressing these issues head on, YA--Young Adult--literature is uniquely valuable and relevant to the lives of its readers. YA is also the fastest growing sector of the publishing industry.

Since the mid-1990s, Young Adult literature has come of age. No longer limited to “problem novels” and teen romances, today’s YA is innovative, gritty, and boundary-pushing. This course presents an overview of YA as a meaningful and respected genre within the publishing industry, and in the library, educational and book-selling community. The focus is on the craft elements, criteria, and objectives of the form. Topics covered include basic history, current events, techniques for reaching young readers, and industry standards. Coursework includes readings, presentations, and writing assignments, as well as feedback on fellow students’ written material.


CWL 580.S01 #52368 Practicum in Arts Administration with Christian McLean
Wednesday, 11:00A-12:30P, In person (1-4 cr.)

This course teaches important skills in arts/event management. It provides education in marketing, design and software that will boost your résumé and increase your workplace skill set. We’ll examine work/volunteer opportunities in local arts organizations and you will design an MFA event from the ground up. Learn the basics in Photoshop, Mailmerge, Google Docs/Sheets, Constant Contact, plus Facebook and Twitter ads. 

Completion of at least 6 program credits or permission of instructor required.


CWL 581.S01 #53266 Practicum in Teaching Writing with Molly Gaudry
Thursdays, 10:30A - 1:20P, In person. (3 cr.) 

In this practicum, you will prepare to teach introductory multi-genre creative writing courses and introductory genre-specific courses. You will learn about best practices for teaching prep, such as outcomes-centered course design and essential syllabus items; tried and true teaching methods, such as lecturing for student learning and leading effective discussions; as well as best practices for creating a welcoming environment for diverse student populations, classroom behavior management, and student assessments and grading. Expect to travel to Stony Brook's main campus to perform at least two teaching observations during the semester. Teaching portfolios—which will be workshopped, (a) so you receive peer feedback and (b) to practice various workshop models—must include your cover letter, cv, teaching philosophy, and two syllabi—one for CWL 202 and one for a 300-level CWL genre-specific course. Required textbooks for the semester: Linda B. Nilson’s Teaching At Its Best (4 th Edition) and Poets On Teaching, edited by Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Required reading for our first day of class: Jason Brennan’s Good Work If You Can Get It: How to Succeed in Academia. 

Completion of at least 6 program credits or permission of instructor required.


CWL 582.S01 #52366 Practicum in Publishing & Editing with Lou Ann Walker + Scott Sullivan  
Tuesdays 11:00A - 1:50P, In person (1-4 cr.)

Under the guidance of editors and advisors, students will be exposed to the hands-on process of editing and publishing TSR: The Southampton Review. Yes, the P& E Practicum is designed to give you experience in editing a literary and arts review. But here’s the secret: This practicum also provides an excellent means for you to build your skills as a writer. For example, as you read submissions in Submittable, you’ll be seeing what works and doesn’t work in cover letters. You’ll be examining successful structures in fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry. You’ll be acquiring editing diagnostic tools. And you’ll be drilling down to what works line by line throughout a creative piece. We’ll discuss word choices, juxtapositions, imagery, symbolism, all that good stuff.


Stony Brook Manhattan
535 8th Avenue between 36 & 37th Streets, 5th floor


CWL 535.S60 #52400 Writing in Multiple Genres: Writing Everything with Roger Rosenblatt
7 Alternate Saturdays, beginning 1/29. 11:00 - 4:50P In person (4 cr.)

This course is a workshop in the writing of a personal essay, a short story, a one-act play, and a poem. Students will produce one of each genre, study the connections among them, and learn how the elements of each may be useful to the others.

7 Saturdays: 1/29; 2/12; 2/26; 3/12; 3/26; 4/9; 4/23


CWL 535.S61 #53981 Writing in Multiple Genres: On Humor Writing with Patty Marx
Tuesdays, 5:20 - 8:10P In person (4 cr.)

  • “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. The crux of our time, though, will be devoted to writing.  Students are expected to complete weekly writing assignments (approximately 3 pages). Additionally, there will be in-class assignments geared to strategies for crafting... Surprise (the kind that results in a laugh as opposed to, say, a heart attack or divorce). Toward this end, we will study the use of Irony, irreverence, hyperbole, misdirection, subtext, wordplay, formulas such as the rule of three and paraprosdokians (look it up), and repetition, and repetition.  

I promise that if you attend the class and complete the assignments your writing will become funnier. I cannot promise that you will become David Sedaris or Maria Semple because I believe such talent is inborn. In other words, I can’t teach you to have an original voice, but I can encourage its development. I also promise you that you will have fun....or else. 

  How could you not have fun in a class where we watch and critique the sketches of Monty Python, Nichols and May, Mr. Show, Mitchell & Webb, Key and Peele, French and Saunders, Derrick Comedy, Beyond the Fringe, Dave Chappelle, Bob and Ray, Mel Brooks, Amy Schumer, and SNL, to name just a few?

CWL 540.S61 #53982 Forms of Creative Nonfiction: Writing about Social Justice with Robert Lopez
Wednesday, 2:20 - 5:10P In person (4 cr.)

In this workshop we'll ask and address questions--how do we derive the authority, expertise, and the imagination to write about social issues while maintaining our allegiance to the creation and manifestation of art? How can we contribute to the vital conversations of the day? We'll read writers such as Garnette Cadogan, Claudia Rankine, Valeria Luiselli, Hanif Abdurraqib, Eula Biss, and others to see how they go about this vital endeavor. We will look within and without to create work that is both artistic and impactful, personally and globally.

CWL 540.S60 #56322 Forms of Creative Nonfiction: Be Obsessed with Matt Klam 
7 Alternate Fridays, beginning 1/28, 12 noon - 5:50 pm, ONLINE (4 cr.)

Mary McCarthy said, “We all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words, we are the hero of our own story.” 

In this workshop we'll examine structure in the way a carpenter might study a beautiful house. We'll look at half page essays and eyewitness accounts, longform journalism, chapters of books, comics, sections of plays, and whatever else inspires us. We’ll read Allison Bechdel, Kiese Laymon, Jo Ann Beard, Mary Gaitskill, and Tessa Hadley, as well as Baldwin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and many others. We’ll discuss writing that is confessional, disruptive, funny, intimate, and intense; we’ll read paragraphs made of lists, pages of pure dialogue, stories born of hard won observation, inheritance, experience, and psychological insight. We’ll workshop your stories in a helpful, constructive manner, and explore the motive behind your fixations, and why you’re hooked on this particular person, feeling, or memory. 


CWL 560.S60 #52395 Topics in Literature: The Short Story with Susan Minot
Mondays, 5:20 - 8:10 pm, ONLINE (4 cr.)

Alice Munro said the short story is “an important art.” Jorge Luis Borges commented, “I find that in a short story you get just as much complexity and you get it in a more pleasurable way as you get out of a long novel.” Focus in this seminar will be on the various modes of the short story as executed by its masters. Style, structure and content are handled differently by each artist and in class discussions, we will explore the varieties of storytelling and discover the many versions of the  greatness of this form, with attention to the short short, as well as to poetry. Students will write weekly assignments of the stories read, and submit imitative work once.  Reading will include: Anton Chekhov, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Raymond Carver, Karen Russell, Flannery O'Connor, Georges Saunders, Shirley Jackson, John Cheever, Samantha Hunt, Ernest Hemingway, Lorrie Moore, Jorge Luis Borges, Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, Franz Kafka, Amy Hempel, Samuel Beckett.


CWL 582.S60 #56324 Practicum in Publishing & Editing with Lou Ann Walker + Scott Sullivan  
Tuesdays 11:00A - 1:50P, In-person (1-4 credits)

Under the guidance of editors and advisors, students will be exposed to the hands-on process of editing and publishing TSR: The Southampton Review. Yes, the P& E Practicum is designed to give you experience in editing a literary and arts review. But here’s the secret: This practicum also provides an excellent means for you to build your skills as a writer. For example, as you read submissions in Submittable, you’ll be seeing what works and doesn’t work in cover letters. You’ll be examining successful structures in fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry. You’ll be acquiring editing diagnostic tools. And you’ll be drilling down to what works line by line throughout a creative piece. We’ll discuss word choices, juxtapositions, imagery, symbolism, all that good stuff.


Film & Television Writing Courses, Manhattan (in-person)


FLM 536.S60 (#56331) Forms of TV Writing: Short Form/Sketch Comedy with Ethan T. Berlin
 9 Wednesdays, 6:30-9:20 pm (2 cr.) 

Taught by a veteran comedy writer, this workshop covers the fundamentals of late night and sketch writing in the style of SNL, The Late Show, Full Frontal, and The Daily Show. Structured like a comedy writers' room, students learn to pitch jokes and sketches live in front of other writers. OPEN TO FLM AND CWL STUDENTS.  Prior approval is required.


FLM 550.S60 (#52414) Teaching Practicum with Karen Offitzer 
Thurs, 2:20-5:10 PM (3 cr.)   

This is a weekly seminar in teaching at the University level, with special emphasis on teaching in the creative arts, specifically creative writing and filmmaking. Open to students in our Creative Writing, Film and TV Writing programs, this course plunges into the basics of pedagogy, exploring learning styles, discovering a teaching philosophy, designing syllabi for undergraduate courses, creating assignments and rubrics for grading assignments, and practicing these skills in a classroom setting. You’ll get hands-on experience and mentoring through visits to undergraduate classes and teaching opportunities, and will gain an understanding of what works best for helping undergraduate students learn. Particular focus will be on discussing issues that arise when teaching creative endeavors such as writing and filmmaking. OPEN TO FLM, TV AND CWL STUDENTS.


FLM 576.S60 (#54148) Film Workshop: Creative Producing with Annette Handley Chandler 
Every other Tuesday 2:20-5:10 (1 cr) 

Creative Producing - How does a Creative Producer take a script from concept to a draft that is ready to shoot? In this workshop you will deconstruct excellent screenplays to understand why they work, identify the problems of marginal screenplays and strategies to improve them, examine short stories and novels to discover the spine of the story. You will learn how to effectively work with writers — which questions to ask to get your writer on track — and how to develop a pitch, because all Creative Producers have to know how to pitch to potential financiers. Measurable requirements will be:  Writing coverage of screenplays – identifying their elements, breaking down a novel and a short story for film, writing a treatment, and developing the pitch. OPEN TO FLM AND CWL STUDENTS.  Prior approval is required.


FLM 652.S60 (#52417) Screenwriting III Script Revision with Lenny Crooks 
Thurs, 5:20-8:10  (3 cr.)

Script Revision course is for students who have completed a narrative feature film script and who are prepared to subject the script to a rigorous health check by their peers. Each class will be a forum for critique and discussion with a view to assisting the presenting writer to redraft with renewed confidence. Later classes will focus on selected sequences or passages from redrafted scripts. Open to Second and Thesis Year FLM, TV, CWL students with a completed screenplay or with permission of the instructor. Prior approval is required.


Virtual (Online)


CWL 500.S60  #52390 Introduction to Graduate Writing with Paul Harding + Carla Caglioti
Wednesdays, 5:10 - 8:20P--Online (4 cr.)

A seminar that introduces students to one another, the faculty, the program in Creative 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 lecture series, as well as issues generated from seminar discussions and assigned readings. Please note: CWL 500 is a requirement and we encourage you to take this course in your first year.


CWL 510.S60 #52420 Forms of Fiction with Dawnie Walton
Tuesdays, 5:10 - 8:20P--Online (4 cr.)

You’ve seen the memes and probably laughed: on the left, a perfectly-formed object; on the right, someone’s valiant but rough-hewn rendition of it. For fiction writers at every level, it’s an especially relatable analogy--it can seem impossible to capture, at least to our own satisfaction, the ideas and scenes that shimmer so gorgeously in our heads. With the understanding that perfection is never the goal, this workshop is dedicated to helping you break through frustrating blocks and get closer to rendering that compelling opening, that sparky dialogue, those nuanced, flesh-and-blood characters you’ve been dreaming about. We’ll spend a little time with passages from storytellers who’ve successfully wielded the trickiest tools of craft, but the bulk of our time will be dedicated to learning through workshop--not only ways to strengthen your own narratives, but also how to be generous, open, and helpful readers for each other. Over the semester each student will submit for workshop at least two pieces of fiction up to 25 pages each, along with questions or areas of concern they’d like their classmates to address during discussion; both short stories and novel excerpts are welcome, and so is any style and genre.

Dawnie Walton is the author of the novel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev that was named one of the most anticipated books of 2021 and received positive reviews in numerous outlets including The New York Times , The Washington Post , NPR Weekend Edition , Essence , The Oprah Magazine , and Publisher’s Weekly , among others.


CWL 510.S01 #52365 Forms of Fiction: Writing Fiction Readers Can’t Put Down with De’Shawn Winslow
Thursdays, 5:10 - 8:20P--Online

Sometimes we know what's working well in our short story or novel excerpt. Sometimes we're not so sure. In this workshop, you get to tell us what you want help with. Maybe it's world-building. Perhaps it's characterization. Whatever it is, with your guidance, our goal will be to help you get the piece to where you want it to be. 

Students will have the opportunity to workshop two pieces (up to 25 pages per submission), along with a handful of your burning questions or concerns. I welcome short stories and/or the first pages of a novel.