The following courses are open to students registered in the MFA Program. Some space may be available to English MA students by permission of Lauren Grodstein.
56:200:517:01 Th 6:00-8:40
Why is your fiction vital? What urgency underlies your desire to tell stories? And how do you work toward having that urgency come through? This class will accept the notion that the best fiction is unforgettable, powerful, and individual, whatever form it takes. We will use a combination of craft and intuition to produce bold work that could have been written by nobody else. We will read a published story weekly, for which you will be required to write occasional two page analytic papers, and we will workshop both short stories and novel excerpts (with a strong preference for opening chapters). You will be required to submit written notes to your classmates on their work.
56:200:519:01 M 6:00-8:40
In this class you will submit new work bi-weekly, complete in-class assignments and exercises, and contribute to peer critique of student poems. We will look at models of published poetry that demonstrate a variety of craft perspectives as guides for composition and revision.
56:200:528:01 T 6:00-8:40
We often overlook the fact that common sense is not common. As a result, our work may be riddled with dark patches of obscurity and unexamined cultural assumptions. In this workshop, we will consider strategies for identifying those areas where our thinking goes slack with the assumption that our readers must see the world in the same ways that we do. We will formulate strategies for fueling the engine of analysis and critique that will produce insights, and elevate our work—whether we are writing anything from memoir to social criticism—from the level of reportage. In this effort, we will consult discerning essayists like Emerson, Woolf, Baldwin, and Sontag, for example. We will discuss one such model at each meeting. Your work, however, will be our primary text.
Craft: Introduction to Publishing and Editing
56:200:531:01 Th 3:00-5:40
Cross-listed with 50:989:390:02 Lisicky
It’s a cliché to say that publishing is in a time of transition–even your cat knows that! The more challenging task is to see what opportunities lie ahead for us in a time of disruption and disorientation. This class is more concerned with questions than with absolutes. What can we learn from the example of that new magazine, that new press, that crazy new editor? What’s next for us? We’ll think about these questions through the assembly of StoryQuarterly 50, which will involve reading slush and ranking the entries of the Sixth Annual Fiction Contest. You’ll also be responsible for at least two oral presentations and a paper.
Special Topics in Craft: A History of the Short Story
56:200:571:01 T 3:00-5:40
This class will give you a grounding in how the international short story has evolved from Edgar Allen Poe (the first person to really define the form) through the all-important Russians (Chekhov, Turgenev) right through to the present day. A focus on the evolution of the form, especially on the tension between realism and fantasy. We’ll also try to do some modeling based on the approaches and strengths of the writers we’re reading. Mostly intensive close reading, with some exercises in imitation.
Special Topics in Craft: Digital Storytelling
56:200:572:01 TTh 1:30-2:50
Cross-listed with 50:989:403:01; 56:606:610:01 and 50:080:223:01 Grodstein
This course, taught cooperatively with the Fine Arts department, allows students to work collaboratively with graphic artists to turn their written work into web-based texts, such as e-books, animated poetry collections, or digital shorts. Students will work together and independently in the Fine Arts computer lab to bring their imaginative work alive in various graphic forms.