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 2018

CRW 503-001: CREATIVE WRITING PEDAGOGY, CROWE M
This seminar provides training in the method and practice of teaching creative writing in a university or college setting, and it functions as the weekly staff meeting for those serving as new teaching assistants (GTA and DIS) in CRW 201.
Together we’ll read and discuss pedagogical texts, evaluate creative writing textbooks and methodologies, and consider a wide range of “problems in teaching.” (Can creative writing be taught? Should it be graded? By what method? How best can we handle conflict in the classroom or respond to sensitive material in student writing?) We’ll engage together in a thoroughgoing examination of the conventional workshop model and locate or imagine alternative strategies for serving diverse learning/writing communities. Each student-teacher will keep a journal and write a number of short, informal responses throughout the semester, which will culminate in a polished Teaching Philosophy suitable for inclusion in a professional dossier.

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: ECOTONE LITERARY MAGAZINE, PHILLIPS BELL A L
[Permission of instructor required. Please write Anna Lena Phillips Bell for permission to register.] CRW524-001 (three credits) 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 is responsible for reading a number of manuscripts per week, and for contributing to the ongoing business of the magazine in the realms of editorial, production, marketing, research, and some design. In addition, we will cultivate an understanding of where Ecotone sits in the landscape of literary magazines. Everyone will read and review at least one prior issue of Ecotone, and will subscribe to two print magazines and follow one online, choosing one of these to review. Reviews may be published on the Ecotone/Lookout Books blog. In spring 2019, applications will be accepted for two section-editor positions for the magazine; these positions are open to students who have taken, or are currently enrolled in, the Ecotone practicum. Required texts: Subscriptions to two literary magazines from approved list; Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. Recommended text: The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. Current Ecotone editors should register for 524-003/004; all others register for 524-001. MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.

CRW 524-002: CHAUTAUQUA LITERARY MAGAZINE, GERARD J
[Permission of Instructor Required] This course is designed to give students a practical magazine publishing experience. Students will read and respond to submissions, work on a developmental editing projects, assist and participate in design process, and act as team leaders, mentoring undergraduate students. In addition to the work required to build the next issue of Chautauqua, students will have the opportunity to work on marketing and sales projects. Students work in teams – with each group presenting regular updates on their projects and work.
Course may be repeated for credit. Variable credit (1 to 3 hours) possible for graduate students.

CRW 530-001: SCREENWRITING, MONAHAN D
This course is designed to introduce advanced writing students to the basic elements of screenwriting format, technique and narrative style. Students will structure a plot outline and write and revise the first act of a feature film script. All students will complete a series of exercises designed to develop various skills (character, structure, format, transitions, scenes, dialogue, etc.) and aid in the development of their script.

CRW 540-001: WRITERS’ WEEK FALL 2018, SMITH E
This one-credit intensive course was designed to complement Writers’ Week. This year Writers’ Week will feature writers from Ecotone and this class will have an emphasis on writing from place, including some writing exercises focused on place.  But 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 542-001: GRADUATE POETRY WORKSHOP, WHITE M
The backbone of this workshop will consist of peer review of new student poems in a supportive, challenging atmosphere. We’ll definitely make room for experimental poetry and/or prose sequences as well as standalone pieces. For our reading list, we will draw inspiration and writing prompts from innovative work by poets and writers such as Tracy K. Smith, Layli Long Soldier, and/or Maggie Nelson. Grades will be based 75% on a final portfolio of about 10 pages of revised poetry and/or poetic prose; and 25% on critiques, discussions, and other work.

CRW 542-002: GRADUATE POETRY WORKSHOP, JESSICA JACOBS & NICKOLE BROWN
Coming Back to Your Senses: Writing with Awareness

With so much of our lives spent in the disembodied world online, this poetry intensive will focus on reconnecting you to your senses, encouraging greater awareness of yourself and your environment, and strengthening your poems by helping them sing with the texture of the well-observed world. Through a combination of close-readings of writers both old and new, generative exercises, and traditional workshops, this course will help writers refresh their senses and descriptive powers through a deep practice of awareness and an unflinching dedication to scrubbing away one’s preconceived notions of a thing in order to see it anew.

CRW 543-001: FORMS OF POETRY, COX M
The Poetic Line. A survey of the poetic line, focusing on free verse prosody against a background of traditional metrical prosody and aesthetics.  We will read a variety of poets, new and old. Designed to help writers sharpen their sense of historical development and critical terminology, the course will aid students in preparing for the MFA examination.  Format:  seminar, formal experimentation, critical reading and discussion, presentations. 

CRW 544-001: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP, BRENNER W
This is a semi-traditional workshop in which your work is our primary text. Students will each hand in two pieces of fiction (short story, chapter, flash, other) for discussion and at least one conference with instructor. “Semi-traditional” because we may vary our weekly discussion formats based on your feedback about what works best for you. I.e. discussion of how we discuss will be an ongoing discussion. As for the work, I am especially interested in discovering potential, what’s almost but not quite on the page, and in those moments in any piece of writing that feel most radioactive, unforgettable. We will read published contemporary fiction distributed in class and may watch an occasional film. Goals are to provide feedback, mentoring, and support for individual students and their projects, illuminate issues of craft for everyone, and remind us how much we love writing.

CRW 544-002: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP, LEE R
Strong emphasis on character, event, narrative strategy, image and theme (or maybe, more accurately, series of ideas flowing under the work, giving story momentum and direction.) We will also read some craft essays, and the novel The Secret History, by Donna Tartt.

CRW 547-001: FORMS OF FICTION—READING THE WHITING AWARD, DE GRAMONT
Perhaps the most prestigious award an emerging author can receive, the Whiting Award has been granted to writers at the beginning of their career since 1985. This makes it a great lens into contemporary literature, and the kind of innovation that can make a young writer stand out. In this class we will read novels and short story collections by winners, and discuss narrative aspects such as voice, structure, tense and point of view, in addition to identifying the aspects that makes the work worthy of the recognition. As well as discussing the texts we will perform in-class writing exercises related to that week’s reading.

CRW 550-001: WORKSHOP IN CREATIVE NONFICTION, DASGUPTA S
The focus of this workshop is Place in Writing. We will read essays by authors including Peggy Shumaker, Manil Suri, Mohsin Hamid, and Jeff P. Jones; generate new work through short in-class writing exercises, and workshop two essays from each student. These two essays can be in any format (all forms, genres, sub-genres welcome) but their focus must be on Place. Stellar attendance and enthusiastic participation will be expected from all students in every class. Students are also expected to meet the instructor for at least one conference during the semester.

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

CRW 580-001: FOOD WRITING, SIEGEL R
What do we talk about when we talk about food—and cooking, and eating, and feeding others? This course will sample a range of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry exploring that vast and complicated subject. Possibilities include Ruth Reichl, M.F.K. Fischer, Anthony Bourdain, and David Foster Wallace. There will be one major creative project and possibly other short assignments, but the emphasis will be on fast-paced, rigorous reading and discussion.
     

MFA Course Descriptions Archive