Creative Writing

MFA Course Descriptions

  • Note: for day & time information, please go to SeaNet and search for courses.
  • Visit catalogue.uncw.edu for catalogue course descriptions (choose current catalogue year from drop-down, then see link in left column for course descriptions).


Fall 2017

CRW 503-001: CREATIVE WRITING PEDAGOGY, BRENNER W
This course doubles as pedagogy seminar and the weekly staff meeting for new teaching assistants (GTA and DIS) teaching CRW 201. The course provides you with a wealth of materials and resources for your teaching career here at UNCW and beyond. Class meetings serve as a forum in which to share and address your ongoing teaching experiences, questions, successes, and challenges. Occasional guest speakers will include experienced TAs and professors. We will also read and discuss a range of articles about pedagogical theory and methods, with an eye toward developing your own teaching philosophy and methodology. You will write one personal essay at semester's end, reflecting on both your 201 experience and your ideas for future classes.

CRW 523-001: BOOKBUILDING, RAMOS M
For students interested in the basics, this course offers intensive hands-on training in book design and production using desktop publishing software in a Macintosh lab. Students develop skills through a progressively more complex series of design projects, culminating in a finished chapbook of their own work, in a small edition. Students should gain from this course basic software skills, a heightened design aesthetic, an understanding of how books are produced, manuscript to bookshelf, and an overview of small press publishing. The course meets for three hours a week, but students should allow ample additional time to complete assignments in the Publishing Lab outside of class hours.

CRW 524-001 (3), -004 (2), & -005 (1) Ecotone LITERARY MAGAZINE, PHILLIPS A L
[Permission of instructor required; write Anna Lena Phillips Bell for permission to register. All practicum members must register for section 524-001, with the exception of Ecotone editors, who should register for 524-003/004.] This is a practical course in the publication of Ecotone, the national literary magazine that seeks to reimagine place. The coursework consists of reading submissions and becoming part of an editorial team that will put out an issue of the magazine. Everyone will be responsible for reading a number of manuscripts each week, and for contributing to the ongoing business of the magazine in the realms of editorial, production, promotions, research, and some design. Ecotone staff members will fact-check work for the magazine, generate front matter, draft run order, proof the fall issue, and write for the Ecotone/Lookout Books blog. In addition, we will work to improve our understanding of the literary landscape and where Ecotone sits in it. Everyone will read and review at least one prior issue of Ecotone, and will subscribe to two print literary magazines and follow one online magazine, choosing one of these to review. In spring 2017, applications will be accepted for the position of poetry editor; students who have taken the practicum (or are enrolled in it in spring 2017) are eligible to apply. Required texts: Subscriptions to two literary magazines from approved list. Recommended texts: Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition; The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.

CRW 524-002 & -003: CHAUTAUQUA LITERARY JOURNAL (1-3 Credits), GERARD P
T 3:30-6:15 PM KE 2112
This course is designed to give students a practical magazine publishing experience. Students will read and respond to submissions, work on editing and fact-checking, tackle marketing/sales issues, search for possible cover art, and assist with design work to build the next issue of Chautauqua; in addition, each student will provide leadership for an undergraduate team and act as an editing mentor. All write posts for social media. Each team will present regular updates on their projects and work. Optional: Participation in  Chautauqua On the Air, a broadcast edition of the journal. Course may be repeated for credit.

CRW 525-001: BOOK PUBLISHING FROM ACQUISITION TO ON SALE
with visiting publishing professional Miriam Parker
[1-credit course to be offered October–November]
Associate Publisher of Ecco Books at HarperCollins, Miriam Parker, will lead students though a four-week practical course on the process a publisher follows to publish a book—from acquisition and editing to production, sales, marketing, and publicity. The course will benefit both writers and aspiring publishers. Together, we’ll explore the wide variety of roles that exist within a publishing house and discuss career opportunities. We’ll study the campaigns of a variety of books including Ecco’s The Nest. Students will participate in group and individual projects including researching book campaigns, writing flap copy, and designing an effective advertising campaign. The course will feature guests via Skype from every aspect of book publishing, from agents to editors to sales representatives.

CRW 525-002: PUBLISHING: MAGAZINE RESEARCH
with visiting author and editor John Jeremiah Sullivan
[1-credit course to be offered Thursdays in September]
This class will involve an exploration of research-based writing in all its forms. We will look at classic pieces of non-fiction (also some fiction and poetry) that involved heavy research. We will consider archives, libraries, interview techniques, and the new frontier of electronic databases. Students currently working on their own research projects will have a chance to present their work and get feedback toward pitching to magazines and publishers. John Jeremiah Sullivan is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the southern editor of The Paris Review. He writes for GQ, Harper’s Magazine, and Oxford American, and is the author of Blood Horses. Sullivan lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

CRW 542-001: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, CROWE M
This course combines investigation of the political/personal dichotomy in American poetry with a workshop of student poems. We’ll read a diverse group of modern and contemporary poets and consider whether their work falls into one or the other “camp” or straddles the line productively/provocatively or perhaps avoids/rejects classification altogether. We’ll also read essays by poets who address, more or less directly, questions like, “What is the poet’s obligation to history, to the current social and political landscape, to the future?” and “What kind of poetry has the greatest potential impact on readers, on the world?” Students will explore their own personal and political and formal aims in workshop, in class discussions, and in short reflective prose writing assignments. Finally, each student will produce a portfolio of polished poems and a manifesto in which s/he tries to answer some of the course’s central questions, making a particular argument about how poetry matters.

CRW 540-001: WRITERS’ WEEK FALL 2017
This one-credit intensive course was designed to complement Writers’ Week. Most of the work will be practical and focused on preparation for the week, which will consist of workshop sessions, panels, readings, and an individual manuscript conference with one of the seven visiting writers who will be in residence. BFA students will conference with MFA program students or alumni. Students will meet to familiarize themselves with the work of our visiting writers and to learn the ins and outs of organizing the week. As a group, we are responsible for keeping the week itself running smoothly. Class members will participate in the many facets of the week, from introducing the writers at readings to driving them around town. Students are expected to attend a total of 10 event-hours over the course of the symposium.

CRW 542-002: BOOK LENGTH POETRY, WHITE M.
In this year-long poetry workshop, we’ll focus on the collection, in anticipation of your MFA thesis. We’ll begin in the fall with a study of several collections by contemporary poets such as Eduardo C. Corral, Tracy K. Smith, and Solmaz Sharif. We’ll consider the differences between what some call the “project book” vs. the “mixed tape.” Meanwhile, you’ll be generating and workshopping individual poems that fit your chosen theme or mode. In the spring, we will workshop your collections (25 to 50 pp.), and work together as peer editors to help fulfill your vision. Note: as this is a year-long class, students should plan to enroll in both the fall and the spring semesters.

CRW 542-003: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, COX M
Though it is essentially a craft-oriented workshop wherein poets will critique and encourage each other's work, there will also be time to discussions of practical criticism. Each week a student will choose, disseminate and introduce an essay on craft.  There may be complementary common reading. Student products will include a portfolio of eight finished poems, plus revision drafts. The journal will consist of:  a) weekly reflections and responses to readings; b) process exercises; and c) extensive exploration into a personally relevant craft concept of your choosing. 

CRW 544-001: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP (3 credit hours), GERARD P
M 3:30-6:15 PM KE 1005
We’ll use The Story Behind the Story (Peter Turchi & Andrea Barrett, editors) and some short essays about writing fiction to set the stage for a workshop in fiction of all kinds, traditional and more experimental, short forms and excerpts from longer forms. Part of the aim of the class is for each writer to discover his or her aesthetic, and one of the outcomes of the course should be for each writer to have concisely articulated that aesthetic. So we will examine the manuscripts for all the usual concerns—structure, character, dramatic movement, narrative intelligence, etc., and also for how it exemplifies an artistic vision for what fiction can and ought to do.

CRW 544-002: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP, LEE R
This workshop will focus on all the elements of fiction, with particular focus on the development of character.  There will be some published stories read at the start of the semester and ten in-class "experiments' in writing.  We'll spend the rest of the semester workshopping work produced by writers in the class.

CRW 544-0014 FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
with visiting author Jason Mott
[1-credit course to be offered 9/15, 9/22, 9/29 and 10/13] 
This will be a graduate fiction workshop that, in addition to the typical workshop experience, will include extensive discussion on writing philosophy, the business of writing, and The Writing Life. Students are expected to be very involved in class discussion and to both explore and talk about their own writing philosophy. Each student will turn in one 14-20 page piece of fiction to be workshopped by the class. The only other consideration for this class is that this class will exclude first-person writing. The workshop pieces MAY NOT be written in first person. The reason for this will be discussed on the first day of class. Interested students may also email me prior for clarification if necessary. 

CRW 545-001: FORMS OF CREATIVE NONFICTION, FURIA P
Historical survey of American creative nonfiction from colonial times to the present, including essays and such works as Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas , Ernest Hemingway’s, A Moveable Feast, and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

CRW 546-001: WORKSHOP, LONG FORM NARRATIVE, DE GRAMONT M
This is the first semester of a year-long class, ideally followed in the spring by CRW 548. Producing a book length manuscript is an endurance process; in addition to imagination you need determination, flexibility, and encouragement. This class will aim to be a place where all these things and more can be found. One-on-one support in the form of meetings and personalized reading lists will be provided. In class we will workshop chapters and scenes, as well as discuss your book’s plot, characters, theme, and structure. We will also perform in class exercises geared toward revision and rethinking, and working through whatever might stand in the way of your book’s completion.

CRW 547-001: FORMS OF FICTION
Craft-based instruction in specific formal issues in the tradition of fiction. Assignments will include original fiction, extensive reading, and may also include writing critiques, papers, exercise, etc. May be repeated once for credit (course may be taken multiple times for a maximum of 6 credit hours).

CRW 550-001: GRADUATE WORKSHOP IN CREATIVE WRITING, GESSNER D
The focus of this workshop is on putting pen to page, with the goal of generating new work. To this end the early classes will be dedicated to writing prompts, mini-workshops and discussions of the reading, with a focus on form and what we can take from the works we read. I will ask writers to keep track of their weekly output through recording either their hours or page production.

CRW 560-001, -002: PUBLISHING PRACTICUM: LOOKOUT BOOKS, SMITH E
[Prerequisite: CRW 523 and permission of instructor. Please write Emily Smith for permission to register for this course.] A select group of graduate students supports the work of award-winning literary imprint Lookout Books (www.lookout.org). The practical course functions primarily as an internship at a boutique press and provides hands-on experience in evaluating manuscripts, fact checking, copyediting, proofreading, designing book interiors and pitching cover concepts, developing publicity and marketing plans, managing social media accounts, writing grants, and producing promotional materials for the imprint. [MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.]

CRW 580-001: BORDER CROSSINGS: CONTEMPORARY TRAVEL WRITING, SIEGEL R
What is travel writing? How do we define it? Does travel have to be geographic, for example? Or can it be cultural or social-vertical, rather than horizontal? This course explores travel writing of the last thirty years, with particular interest in the way boundaries blur and aesthetic strategies multiply as the genre explodes outward in a globalizing world. Readings include fiction and nonfiction by Ben Lerner, Nell Freudenberger, Pico Iyer, Liao Yiwu, and others. One creative project.

CRW 580-002: A STUDY OF THE IMAGE IN POETRY, MÖRLING M
What is an image and how does it occur? Pound defined it as: “…an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.” Gogol said: “The function of the image is to express life itself, not ideas or arguments about life.” In this class we will study the image in poetry but also look at photography and film. We will write and workshop poems with the aim of exploring and developing our own innate sense of the image and its possibilities because as Pound concludes: “It is the presentation of such a ‘complex’ instantaneously which gives the sense of sudden liberation; that sense of freedom from time limits and space limits; that sense of sudden growth, which we experience in the presence of the greater works of art.”
  

 

MFA Course Descriptions Archive