Skip Navigation
Search

MFA in Creative Writing & Literature

Courses: Spring 2017

Graduate Courses in Southampton | Graduate Courses in Manhattan | Undergraduate Courses at Stony Brook

GRADUATE COURSES IN SOUTHAMPTON

CWL 510.S01 Forms of Fiction: Short Story, Jessica Soffer

Mondays 2:20-5:10 pm (Class #49216) CH 202 This course will focus on writing and reading short fiction with the goal of producing one sound and polished short story by the semester's end. Each class will be divided into two parts: craft (analysis of published works, prompts, and discussion with a particular focus on literary techniques) and workshop. There will be particular emphasis on revision.

 

CWL 520.S01 Forms of Poetry: Chance Trance and Poetry Revision, Terese Svoboda

Tuesdays 4:20-7:10 pm and one Sunday, March 19 (Class #50928) CH 202 In this workshop, we are reading widely and wildly, including one novel and a book of plays: Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, Neil de la Flor, Seaton/Snodgrass/de la Flor's Facial Geometry, Terrence Hayes's Lighthead, DA Powell's Chronic, Mac Wellman's The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, Tusiata Avia's Fale Aitu | Spirit House, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs's TwERK, Hoa Nguyen's Violet Energy Ingots, Caroline Knox's To Drink Boiled Snow, and Maggie Nelson's Jane: A Murder.

 

CWL 540.S01 Forms of Nonfiction: Lyric, Personal, Familiar & Memoir: The Ways of the Essay, Lou Ann Walker Tuesdays 1:20-4:10 pm (Class #49542) CH 202 This course will be a Whitman's Sampler of approaches to writing the truth. As each of us perceives it. We'll explore humorous essays: David or Amy Sedaris anyone? The Familiar Essay--Anne Fadiman and David Rakoff come to mind. The Personal Essay? Plenty of those to go around. The Lyric Essay--Lilting, and, yes, beautiful. To round things out, we'll also be looking at how the memoir is metamorphosing with Maggie Nelson and Roz Chast as examples of soul-searching and soulful. Unique.

 

CWL 550.S01 Forms of Professional Writing
or CWL 565 Special Topics in Writing: Writing to Sell It (If You Can), Neal Gabler

Mondays 5:20-8:10 pm (Class #70261) CH 202 A workshop from a seasoned pro in writing anything that pays—reviews and film criticism, political essays and cultural commentary, books and blogging, with regular practice and a lot of reading in the mix. Students will learn just about everything that a working writer needs to know—from finding an agent to coming up with ideas to pitching those ideas to editors to setting a price to working with editors to selling yourself. In other words, soup to nuts, your likely diet if you get into this profession.

 

CWL 560.S01 Forms of Literature: Experimental Literature, Susan Scarf Merrell

Wednesdays, 3:30-6:20 pm (Class #50525) CH 202 Not for the faint of reading heart. We will tackle a selection of the original "experimenters," including Melville's Moby Dick, Woolf's The Waves, and Borges' Labyrinths, looking at the way word, sentence, paragraphing and chapter choices are used in these masterworks. Students must read or reread Moby Dick before the first class, with Melville's writing choices in mind. Written work will include annotations on craft as well as short fiction. This is a course for students eager to bring deeper understanding to their own desires to experiment with form. 

 

CWL 570.S01 Advanced Writing Workshop: Kaylie Jones

Thursdays 5:20-8:10 pm (Class #70262) CH 202 The focus is on work in progress and the development of an existing manuscript, be it a memoir or a novel, or a collection of interconnected essays/stories. The fundamental issue in all book-length works is narrative momentum. What makes this happen? Our primary focus will be on point of view and on profluence — the story building tension that keeps the reader reading and wanting to turn the pages. The workshop is open to students who are pursuing a book-length project and who want to be exposed to the work of others in varying genres. It is strongly recommended for students preparing for the thesis.

 

CWL 580.S01 Practicum in Arts Admin, Christian McLean

Wednesdays 2:00-3:20 pm & TBA (Class #49220) While you're sending agent queries, you'll have to eat. This course teaches important skills in arts/event management. It provides knowledge in marketing, design and software that will boost your resume and increase your workplace skill set. We'll examine work/volunteer opportunities in local arts organizations and students will design an MFA event from the ground up. Permission of instructor and completion of at least 6 program credits required.

 

CWL 581.S01 Practicum in Teaching Writing, Julie Sheehan

Thursdays, 10:30-1:20 pm (Class #70263) CH 202 and on MAIN CAMPUS (February and early March) This course, offered in combination with undergraduate sections of CWL 202, Intro to Creative Writing, held on main campus, 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

Wednesdays 11:00A-1:50 pm (Class #49218) CH 202 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.

BACK TO TOP

 

GRADUATE COURSES IN MANHATTAN

Stony Brook Manhattan - New location TBA

CWL 500.S60 Intro to Graduate Writing, Robert Reeves & Carla Caglioti

Mondays, 5:20-8:10 pm (Class #50524) 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 Manhattan "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 520.S60 Forms of Poetry: Questions of Travel, Julie Sheehan

Thursdays 5:20-8:10 pm (Class #51512) From Brazil to Mars, from Bronzeville to Heaven, this course is both a poetry-writing workshop and an exploration of setting and journey as poetic tropes in both contemporary practitioners and their antecedents. We will read eclectically: William Shakespeare, Solmaz Sharif, Elizabeth Bishop, Nate Marshall. You will be encouraged to journey in your own work through prompts in the spirit of that week's featured reading. With luck, we'll have a visitor or two, by semester's end, a clutch of new poems.

 

CWL 530.S60 (Class #52080): Forms of Scriptwriting: The Advance Party Screenwriting Class, Lenny Crooks

Mondays, 5:15-7:45 pm, 3 cr., with permission of the director. The Advance Party challenges all you know about screenwriting as you progress from a blank page to a short form screenplay. We start with a character - each student creates a single character and learns how to describe his or her character in an authentic way. If the class size is 10 then there will emerge 10 characters and you will choose which of these characters will interact with your own. We then focus on the natural story as an essential element in this organic approach to screenwriting. As we progress each of your stories will evolve, not out of traditional plot driven characterization, but out of the characters' actions and reactions to situations created by you. The Original Advance Party was based upon a challenge to selected first time filmmakers by Lars Von Trier. He charged his collaborators Lone Sherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen to create six characters which were given to the filmmakers around which to create feature scripts. You will be given the original character descriptions as a guide to bringing your own character to life. Andrea Arnold's Cannes Jury prizewinning film Red Road (2006) was created in this way. We will screen and discuss Red Road in our second class.

 

CWL 535.S60 Writing in Multiple Genres: Writing Everything, Roger Rosenblatt

Seven Saturdays, 10:30 am - 4:50 pm (Class #70260) Dates: 2/4, 2/18, 3/4, 3/25, 4/8, 4/22, 5/6

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.

 

CWL 565.S60 Special Topics in Writing: The Comic Element, Dan Menaker

Wednesdays, 5:20-8:10 pm (Class #49614) All great writing, except maybe Jonathan Edwards' sermons and Das Kapital, contains comic elements. The purpose of this course is to study the techniques involved in humorous writing; examine their use in the fiction (and nonfiction) of some great writers (Dickens, Austen, Heller, Ellison, Swift, etc.) and by such modern humorists as Fran Liebowitz, Steve Martin, and Nora Ephron; and, most important, practice them in work done for the class. Each session will consist of the viewing of and discussion about a brief monologue by a professional comedian, an examination of a classical text for its humorous elements, and, most important, discussion of work--humor pieces, narratives, essays--done by students for the class. There will also be in-class exercises in the use of comic devices such as "call-back" references, cliche disruption, list-making, structural surprises, dialogue, and so on. The ultimate aim of the course will be to improve students' ability to integrate the comic element into their creative work as a whole.   And also — as is surely not credible from reading this almost desiccated course description — have a little fun.  You'll see. 

 

CWL 570.S60 Advanced Writing Workshop: Susan Minot

Tuesdays, 5:20-8:10 pm (Class #70590) The focus in this class will be on editing student work in progress. Edits, both early and final, whether in nonfiction, a short story, or part of a novel manuscript, are crucial for focusing style, momentum and theme. With both close line editing and overall reworking, we will focus on work in early drafts as well as late. For students who have material that once felt compelling, but seems to have lost its vitality, this class will give you an overview on whether there's still life within. For students at the end of a manuscript, the class will focus on the value of the small but crucial last edit.

BACK TO TOP

 

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES - ALL HELD ON STONY BROOK WEST CAMPUS

CWL190 Introduction to Contemporary Literature

S01 Tues/Thur, 2:30-3:50 pm (Class #70098), William Ste. Marie HUM 3017
Topic: Lineage of Literature

Literature, however odd or experimental, does not exist in a vacuum. In this class we will explore modern literature's roots in history and society. (History and Literature? It's like two classes for the price of one!) We will travel backwards in time from current day cyber social-network world to the good-old-nuclear-family days of the 1950s in search of lineage and inspiration!
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 minor.

Prerequisite: WRT 102
DEC: B
SBC: HUM
3 credits

 

CWL 202 Introduction to Creative Writing

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 readings by others. Required for the minor.

Prerequisite: None

DEC:  D
SBC:  ARTS
3 credits

 

CWL 202.S01 Mon/Wed, 8:30-9:50 am (Class #70099), Jacqueline Henry SOCBEHAV SCI N115
Topic: Fear as Muse

What do you fear? For many of us, the blank page is scary enough, let alone digging deep and writing about what scares us. But Fear can inform our writing, adding complexity to character, layering plot lines and strengthening our connection to our readers. In this beginning creative writing course, we'll use a series of writing prompts—including a bag of phobias (arachnophobia, anyone?)— to both overcome creative anxiety and create sensory works of art in several genres, including poetry, fiction, the personal essay/memoir and the play. By the end of the semester, you'll have a portfolio of short creative works and a new way of looking at your fears.

CWL 202.S02 Mon/Fri, 1:00-2:20 pm (Class #70100), Christian McLean  HUM 2045

This course is designed to demystify the illusion of creative writing. It will give you the tools to write tight fiction, poetry and plays. Great works from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Frank O'Hara will guide you as we dig into plot, form and dialogue to craft a portfolio of new creative work.

CWL 202.S03 Tues/Thur, 8:30-9:50 am (Class #70101), Nicole Hebdon HUM 3014

A creative writing workshop in the genres fiction, poetry and nonfiction, with a section dedicated to rewriting tactics. The class will introduce students to the basic tools and terminology of creative writing as well as enhance their writing through practice. Participants will focus on either one theme/character/setting, writing about it in each genre, so they have a fully-formed character or setting by the class's end. Participants will also read contemporary work, preform their own pieces for the class, workshop in multiple genres and assemble a professionally formatted portfolio. 

CWL 202.S04 Tues/Thur, 10:00-11:20 am (Class #70102), Nicole Hebdon SOCBEHAV SCI N118

A creative writing workshop in the genres fiction, poetry and nonfiction, with a section dedicated to rewriting tactics. The class will introduce students to the basic tools and terminology of creative writing as well as enhance their writing through practice. Participants will focus on either one theme/character/setting, writing about it in each genre, so they have a fully-formed character or setting by the class's end. Participants will also read contemporary work, perform their own pieces for the class, workshop in multiple genres and assemble a professionally formatted portfolio.

CWL 202.S05 Tues/Thur, 11:30 am - 12:50 pm (Class #70103), Caroline DeLuca SOCBEHAV SCI N118
Topic: Finding the Pulse

What transforms a collection of words into a living creature that grips you in its claws until the end? In this course, we'll use discussion of assigned readings and student work as a portal to exploring the elements that give breath to compelling writing. We will analyze a diverse selection of contemporary voices in fiction, theatre, and poetry; and use writing prompts to help you discover your own writing voice and how you can create vital, high-stakes writing on the themes and topics that matter to you. We will apply a radically playful approach to the creative process, including collaboration and revision. By the end of the course, you will have had a chance to receive peer and instructor feedback on several pieces, and will have produced a final portfolio of creative work.

CWL 202.S06 Tues/Thur, 1:00-2:20 pm (Class #70104), Afua Ansong SOCBEHAV SCI N118

A buffet of creative writing genres: we'll begin with poetry, get distracted by the short story and then finally become sentimental with the personal essay. I'm a great believer in diversity and so we'll read and watch a plethora of literature from around the world.

CWL 202.S07 Tues/Thur, 2:30-3:50 pm (Class #70105), Lindsay Camp  SOCBEHAV SCI N104
Topic: Desire + Process = Art

How does our approach to writing shape the work itself? Do writers need an intention before they begin to draft? Or can a voice be found in its making?  On the continuum of Poetry, Fiction, and Personal Essay, this course explores the relationship between the writing process and its product—the elusive manuscript. We'll run the gamut of drafting techniques, craft devices, and old hat tricks through writing prompts and a few laughs.

CWL 202.S08 Mon/Wed/Fri, 10:00-10:53 am (Class #70106), Sophie Rubenstein SOCBEHAV SCI N115
Topic: Trying on Voices

In this course, students will closely read various authors with the goal of deconstructing the elements of writing that lend to that author's unique voice. After coming to a collective understanding of how each author is accomplishing his or her work, students will be challenged to write their own original piece, mirroring the style of the selected author. We will be studying James Tate, J.D. Salinger, David Foster Wallace, Jennifer Egan, Jorge Luis Borges and Haruki Murakami in addition to several others. This course will include a workshop as well as a final class project in the form of an anthology of student work.

CWL 202.S09 Mon/Wed/Fri, 11-11:53 am (Class #70229), Sophie Rubenstein HUMANITIES 2045
Topic: Trying on Voices

In this course, students will closely read various authors with the goal of deconstructing the elements of writing that lend to that author's unique voice. After coming to a collective understanding of how each author is accomplishing his or her work, students will be challenged to write their own original piece, mirroring the style of the selected author. We will be studying James Tate, J.D. Salinger, David Foster Wallace, Jennifer Egan, Jorge Luis Borges and Haruki Murakami in addition to several others. This course will include a workshop as well as a final class project in the form of an anthology of student work.

CWL 202.S10 Mon/Wed, 2:30-3:50 pm (Class #70230), Jordan Franklin SOCBEHAV SCI N106
Topic: The Devil's Tools

Poetry. Fiction. Nonfiction. As we explore the craft of creative writing and diverse writers across the genres, we will examine how each informs the other. In doing so, we will come out with a plethora of tools to create genre-bending creations.

BACK TO TOP

 

CWL 300 Forms of Creative Nonfiction

Study of the genre through readings, discussion and regular submission of original work. Course explores methods for expressing the human condition made available through creative nonfiction, with examples from the tradition and exploration of the nature of fact, memory, subjectivity and perspective. Areas of study include Personal Essay, Memoir, Blogs and Alternate Forms, the Journal, Historical Inquiry and Social Commentary. Course may be repeated as the topic changes.

Prerequisite: CWL 202

DEC:     G
SBC:     HFA+, WRTD
3 credits

S01 Mon/Wed, 2:30-3:50 pm (Class #70107), Howard Gunston SOCBEHAV SCI N103
Topic: The Queer and the Bold

Memoirs are written by the brave, and there's no shortage of bravery in the memoirs of the LGBTQ* community, so that's where we'll turn to for inspiration as we find our own voice.  This course offers a brief dip into the waters of historical, non-heteronormative stories before we plunge into the depths of gender identity and sexual orientation in the 21st century.  We will read from across ethnicities and cultures about what it's like to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual for cisgender and transgender memoirists.  And while we do this, we'll be writing our own stories.  We will hunt for our own truth, wrestle with our own insecurities, and discover the sheer bravery that our memoir demands of us.

S02 Tuesdays, 4:00-6:50 pm (Class #70108), Lindsay Camp, SOCBEHAV SCI N111
Topic:  The Collage Essay

If collage is as professor Gregory L. Ulmer believes, "the single most revolutionary formal innovation in artistic representation to occur in our century", how may the elements of collage be utilized by a writer? Can a personal essay be constructed like a visual mosaic or a film montage? In this course, we will forgo conventional principles of organization by juxtaposing researched, appropriated, and personal fragments of writing. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to our practice of writing essays, pairing written work with audio, visual art, and theatrical performance. With an emphasis on process and the element of chance, this dynamic course is designed to free up inhibitions and expand our creative palettes.

 

CWL 305 Forms of Fiction

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.

Prerequisite: CWL 202

DEC:  G
SBC:  HFA+, WRTD
3 credits

S01Tues/Thur, 1:00-2:20 pm (Class #70109), Lauren Harvey HUM 2045
Topic: The Short Story

Lorrie Moore says the "short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film." This class will focus on the short story as a form, with an emphasis on why authors choose this form over others. Special focus will be placed on developing character, movement in scene, and world-building. Through the study of literary greats and peer workshop, students will learn what stories they want to tell and how to tell them.

S02 Thursdays, 4:00-6:50P (Class #70110), Caitlin Mullen SOCBEHAV SCI N113
Topic: Telling and Retelling the Short Story

A work of art is always in dialogue with what came before it and this course is an opportunity for students to think about what it means to take part in a literary tradition, to define their voices and sensibilities through original work, and to explore how they can interact with their literary antecedents and use them as inspiration for their own stores. Our readings will include contemporary and classic short fiction as well as fairy tales, myths, folklore, Shakespeare, and more as we look at the many ways of telling and retelling stories.

S03 Mon/Wed, 8:30-9:50 (Class #70231), Melanie Sooter HUMANITIES 3014
Topic: Writing the Grotesque

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor (Yes, I'm going to reference her frequently in this class.) said, "Fiction should be both canny and uncanny. In a good deal of popular criticism, there is the notion operating that all fiction has to be about the Average Man, and has to depict average ordinary everyday life, ‘a slice of life.' But if life, in that sense, satisfied us, there would be no sense in producing literature at all."
Writing the grotesque is not only about tackling disturbing subjects; it is about the chance for redemption and why people choose to take that chance—or not. It's not just about disgust—it's about empathy too. This kind of writing is tricky and, let's be honest, sometimes depressing, but fiction explores the complexities of the human condition. We will read in this class to study the approaches other writers have taken with grotesque topics. Students will also respond to frequent in-class writing prompts, expand those prompts into longer pieces, and workshop their fiction in class. All this will help us generate and refine methods of tackling the dark and uncanny in our writing.

BACK TO TOP

 

CWL 310 Forms of Poetry

Study of the genre through readings, discussion and regular submission of original work. Course explores methods for expressing the human condition made available through poetry, with examples from the tradition of such tools as metaphor and image, sound, line, form, and juxtaposition. Course may be repeated as the topic changes.

Prerequisite: CWL 202

DEC: G
SBC: HFA+, WRTD
3 credits

S01 Tues/Thur, 2:30-3:50 pm (Class #70111), Tyler Penny  SOCBEHAV SCI N105
Topic: Sweet Meters to My Ears: Words, Sounds and Performance

Through workshop, class discussions, and multimedia renderings of poetry in performance, students will study and write their own blues poems, work songs, call and response poems, and other performance based poetic forms. They will weekly record and produce original sounds and music that will embody and enhance their words, in the hope of finding the perfect musical synesthesia to their poetry. Prosody, rhythm and rhyme, repetition, and other poetic tools of sound will be practiced in order for content and form to better reflect the musical compositions. By the end of the course, students will have a number of polished poems and edited soundtracks, which will be presented in a public performance.

S02 Mondays, 4:00-6:50 pm (Class #70112), Star Black SOCBEHAV SCI N109
Topic: Contemporary American Poetry

The study of poetry enhances all forms of creative writing from fiction to song writing. This class will concentrate on close readings of contemporary and recent American poems. Students will create their own original writing inspired by poems distributed in class that contain a variety of styles, forms and verbal energy.

 

CWL 315 Forms of Scriptwriting: Topic TBA

Tues/Thurs 11:30A-12:50P (Class #70113), AHC FREY 326

Study of the genre through readings, screenings, discussion and regular submission of original writing for film or theater. Course explores methods for expressing the human condition made available through these collaborative media. Course may be repeated as the topic changes.

Prerequisite: CWL 202

DEC:  G
SBC:  HFA+, WRTD
3 credits

 

CWL 335-K-S01 Topics in American Literature for Writers

Tues/Thur 1:00-2:20 pm (Class #70115), Megan McAndrew HARRIMAN HALL 111
Topic: The Immigrant Voice in Contemporary American Literature

This class will explore how the experience of immigration has shaped some of the most  thrilling American literature in recent years.  From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jhumpa Lahiri to Junot Diaz and Gary Shteyngart, we will examine the ways in which various authors have used "otherness" to their advantage, reflecting in the process on our own identity as writers in a multicultural society.

A seminar for writers concentrating on one area of American literature, to be announced in the course schedule. The course may examine a contemporary or historical trend in American literature, the rise of a specific genre, a social issue expressed in literature, an issue in literary theory, or any other exploration of American pluralism. The emphasis will be on scholarly analysis, but with engagement of student writers. Students may repeat this course as the topic changes.

Prerequisite: one D.E.C. B or HUM course

Advisory Prerequisite: CWL 190

DEC: K
SBC: HFA+, USA
3 credits

 

CWL 340-J: Topics in World Literature for Writers

Tues 4:00-6:50P, (Class #70117), Afua Ansong HUM 3017
Topic: A is for Africa and sometimes America  

In this class, we'll explore, investigate, and create texts that speak about African female subjectivity. We'll begin reading works by writers like Buchi Emecheta, Chenjarai Hove, Ama Ata Aidoo and then look at more contemporary works by writers like Chimamanda Adichie, Noviolet Bulawayo & Ladan Osman. If you're into African movies, you'll be excited to know we'll be watching a few as well as analyzing the meaning of returning "home" with An African City.

A literature course for writers concentrating on one area, to be announced in the course schedule, of non-Western culture. Topics could include a contemporary or historical trend, a social issue, or any other topic of expression that illuminates national, regional or cultural difference. The emphasis will be on scholarly analysis, but with engagement of student writers. Students may repeat this course as topic changes.

Prerequisite: one D.E.C. B or HUM course

Advisory Prerequisite: CWL 190

DEC: J
SBC: GLO, HFA+
3 credits