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.
This course will offer students the opportunity to workshop stories or sections of novels or novellas, receiving regular critiques from their peers and their professor. The workshop will be complemented by readings and discussions of contemporary short stories.
Creative Nonfiction/Hybrid Workshop
Truth and Lies: Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction
This workshop will discuss the use of personal material in both creative nonfiction and fiction. How do you remodel yourself to be coherent as a character for fiction, or make yourself “likeable and believable” as a character in nonfiction? In more journalistic nonfiction, how much should the reporter enter the picture and inflect the telling? Are there kinds of material, or kinds of voices, that work better in one genre or the other? We’ll consider some autobiographical fiction, as well as some nonfiction where the writer’s veracity has been challenged. Please note: this course counts as a workshop for either fiction or nonfiction.
This course is loosely divided into two parts. The first half is concerned with the fundamentals of writing for film with a focus on structure. We will examine various screenwriting paradigms and look at what works and why by analyzing existing screenplays and through script to screen comparisons. In the second half of the course, students will write and workshop an outline for a feature length screenplay as well as complete the first act (20-30p). We will also look at the evolution of the screenplay form, discuss style, and how to best write for the screen.
Special Topics in Craft: Readings in Contemporary American Poetry
This course will begin with a brief review of lyric poetry inherited from antiquity (ode, pastoral, erotic, elegy) and move quickly to readings of twentieth and twenty-first century poetry. In particular, we’ll look at how contemporary poems operate in the narrative mode, not in opposition to the lyric poem, but in conjunction with it. We will examine ways this lyric-narrative both master and subvert early and mid-century conventions, from modernism to New Criticism, and potentially activate political sensibilities relevant to our own time.
Teaching Creative Writing in Urban Schools
Cross-listed with 50:989:314:01
What does it mean to teach creative writing? Can you teach inspiration and craft? What model texts inspire our own work, our own voices? In this course, we will consider these questions as teachers of creative writing. Much of the course will be in-class facilitation of creative writing workshops with students in Camden city schools, though we will spend a considerable amount of time familiarizing ourselves with contemporary pedagogy, teaching methods, and curriculum development, as well as discussing the business of freelance creative writing instruction.
The thesis workshop is the final requirement for MFA graduation. It consists of a 3-credit workshop (56:200:650) and a 3-credit tutorial with a professor (56:200:651). This semester, Paul Lisicky’s section will be for the poets, writers of creative nonfiction, and writers of short fiction. Lisa Zeidner’s section will be for novelists as well as short story writers who have an interest in novel writing. The workshop will have segments on writing query letters, job searches, on-line media presence, submitting to magazines, and life after the MFA. Some of those sessions will be jointly taught for both sections.
The professor for your 3-credit tutorial can either be the same professor with whom you take the workshop, or a different one. Grodstein, Rosal, Lisicky, Zeidner and Barbarese are all available as second readers. Please make arrangements with the professor you prefer before signing up for the independent segment of the thesis.
Final Creative Thesis
Final creative project for the M.F.A. Credits may be taken concurrently with 56:200:650 in one semester or consecutively if more time is required for finishing thesis.
Summer Writers Conference 2016
The 31st Annual Summer Writers’ Conference will be held from Monday, June 27, through Thursday, July 7 (with time off for the 4th of July holidays!). A dozen nationally-known writers and editors will meet for an intensive program. Visitors include fiction writers Chinelo Okparanta and Daniel Torday, memoirist Robin Hemley, poet Lisa Sewell, and many others. The Conference may be taken for both graduate and undergraduate credit.
For further information about the Summer Writers’ Conference, contact Lisa Zeidner, firstname.lastname@example.org.