Creative Writing

MFA Course Descriptions

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Fall 2020

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 524-002 (2) and -003 (3) Ecotone LITERARY MAGAZINE, PHILLIPS BELL A L
[Permission of instructor required. Please write Anna Lena Phillips Bell for permission to register.]
CRW 524-003 (three credits): Ecotone practicum. This is a practical course in the publication of Ecotone, the award-winning national literary magazine of place. The coursework consists of reading submissions and working as part of an editorial team to help bring out an issue of the magazine. Each practicum member is responsible for reading and commenting on a number of manuscripts each week. Ecotone staff members will also fact-check work for upcoming issues, draft run order, write front-matter copy, and proofread. Other work may include promotion planning and implementation as well as event planning. We will set aside time at least once during the semester to think about the process of sending out work to literary magazines. In addition, we will read widely, both to cultivate an understanding of Ecotone’s aesthetic and where it sits in the literary landscape, and to find new voices the magazine might publish. Practicum members will read and review one past issue of Ecotone, and will subscribe to two print literary magazines and follow one online, choosing one to review. 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. MFA students may repeat for credit without limit, space permitting.
In 2020–2021, CRW524-003 will be offered in fall but not in spring. In spring 2021, applications will be accepted for the positions of poetry editor and nonfiction editor. Students interested in applying must have taken the three-credit practicum course.
CRW 524-002: Ecotone practicum for section editors. Ecotone’s section editors manage digital and print submissions for a given genre—reading manuscripts, assigning work to readers, reviewing readers’ comments, recommending work for discussion by the team, leading discussions of work, and ensuring that submission responses are sent. Section editors also solicit work from new writers; work closely with the editor to learn the craft of drafting editorial correspondence and marking edits; contribute ideas for special features and issue themes; and help draft and implement promotion plans for the magazine. Required texts: Subscriptions to two literary magazines from approved list; Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. MFA students may repeat for credit without limit. CRW524-002 is offered each semester. In spring 2021, applications will be accepted for the positions of poetry editor and nonfiction editor. Students interested in applying must have taken the three-credit practicum course.

CRW 524-004 (1), -005 (2), and -006 (3): Chautauqua LITERARY MAGAZINE, GERARD J
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 540-001: WRITERS’ WEEK SYMPOSIUM, SMITH E
This one-credit intensive course is designed to complement the department’s annual Writers’ Week. In celebration of Lookout Books’ tenth anniversary and Ecotone magazine’s fifteenth, this year’s symposium will highlight the art of publishing, featuring publishers, editors, and authors of national distinction, including UNCW alumni who have gone on to found or lead vital publishing initiatives. Much of the work will be practical and will focus on organizing, publicizing, and realizing a week of events consisting of readings, presentations, panels, and possibly a book fair. During class meetings, we’ll familiarize ourselves with the work of our visitors, as well discuss the art and ethics of festival planning and literary stewardship. As a group, we will be responsible for keeping the week itself running smoothly. Class members will participate in everything from introducing speakers at events to driving them around town. Each student in the class will also benefit from an individual manuscript conference with one of the visiting writers, editors, or agents who will be in residence. Students are expected to attend a total of 10 event-hours over the course of the symposium.

CRW 542-001: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, COX M
Though it is essentially a craft-oriented workshop wherein poets will critique and encourage each other's work, I am also planning to make room for a number of in-class revision exercises or presentations.  I will tailor these exercises in process and revision to the group’s needs. I will provide individualized reading lists.  Student products will include a portfolio of eight finished poems, plus revision drafts. The journal will consist of:  a) responses to reading assignments in modern and contemporary poetry and poetics, including an anthology of twelve contemporary women poets; b) weekly reflections; and c) extensive exploration of a craft concept of your choice.

CRW 542-002: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, MÖRLING M
Jorge Luis Borges once said: "poetry is expressed in words, but words are not the substance of poetry…The substance of poetry-if I may use a metaphor-is emotion." In this poetry workshop we will focus on the ever-evolving process of our writing and address the emotional nature of our poems. How do we write a poem that deeply engages the reader? We will also discuss different ways of analyzing a poem and how to listen with an open mind and heart to a critique of your own work. In addition, we will focus on the process of revision and discuss the many approaches and ways to revise a poem. Is it possible for instance, to approach a revision the way one would a translation? How do you transform a poem without destroying its urgency and original spirit? How do you arrive at a poem in its ultimate and inevitable form? Everyone is required to submit a raw and freshly written poem every, or every other week. The aim of this class is also for us to learn to become comfortable bringing in poems that are still rough without making excuses for them.

CRW 543-001: FORMS OF POETRY, CROWE M
What does form do? If we think of poetic form as encompassing all those elements of craft that show control—the poet’s command over the visual and sonic unfolding of the poem—we might speculate that form conveys authority, that perhaps its primary purpose is to convince readers that the poem is carefully made and therefore has something wise or beautiful or otherwise useful to say. In this class, we’ll explore the notion that form—the careful, deliberate, artful crafting of a poem—is the primary means by which poets convince readers to pay the kind of fine attention necessary for poetry to do its full magic. (Of course, we might also argue that form is the magic!) We’ll read a diverse range of modern and contemporary poets, those writing in free-verse and received forms, as we investigate the relationship between what a poet says and how they say it, between voice and structure—and we’ll try out some fancy tricks of our own.

CRW 544-001: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP, SIEGEL R
A workshop focused on the reading and discussion of participants’ work. Equal emphasis will be placed on matters of craft and process.  MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.

CRW 544-002: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP (1CR), VISITING WRITER TONI JENSEN
4-week workshop: Friday 9/4, 9/11, 9/18 and 9/25 (1pm-3:45pm)

Instruction in writing fiction, with classroom critique of students’ work and work by professionals. Includes study of publishing markets. M.F.A. students may repeat for credit up to twenty-one hours.

CRW 545-001: FORMS OF CREATIVE NONFICTION, TBA
Craft-based instruction in specific formal issues in the tradition of nonfiction. Assignments will include original nonfiction, extensive reading, and may also include writing critiques, papers, exercises, etc. May be repeated once for credit.

CRW 546-001: WORKSHOP WRITING THE LONGFORM 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, LEE R
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: CREATIVE NONFICTION WORKSHOP, DASGUPTA S
The goal of this rigorous course will be to generate and workshop a wide variety of essays by using the anthology Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, edited by Debra Monroe (ISBN 9781524980092), as the guide. Students will attempt essay forms such as hermit crab, braided, lyric, flash, as well as others borrowed from literary traditions present outside American literature. Workshops will be held in small groups, and students will be expected to meet with the professor for individual conferences at least twice during the semester.

CRW 550-002: CREATIVE NONFICTION WORKSHOP, GERARD P
Instruction in writing essays, articles, and/or memoirs, with classroom critique of students’ work and work by professionals. Includes study of publishing markets. M.F.A. students may repeat for credit up to twenty-one hours.

CRW 560-001, 002: PUBLISHING PRACTICUM: LOOKOUT BOOKS, SMITH E
[Permission of instructor required.] A select group of graduate students supports the work of the department’s unique, award-winning publishing house, Lookout Books (lookout.org). This practical course functions primarily as a robust, hands-on internship at an independent press and provides real-world experience in everything from evaluating manuscripts to copyediting and fact checking, from designing interiors and pitching cover concepts to developing creative marketing and publicity plans in support of the imprint’s forthcoming titles. The Lookout experience will prove valuable and rewarding for students interested in furthering their understanding of literary publishing, whether they want to enter the industry and learn about it toward their own aspirations as authors. Former students have gone on to careers in publishing at HarperCollins, Graywolf, W. W. Norton, Hub City Press, Orion magazine, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. [MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.]

CRW 580-001: WRITING FROM PLACE IN THE AGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, GESSNER D
The goal of this class is to give you some tools with which to write about the natural world, to think about climate change, and to hopefully create art out of these tools.
In the workshop we will explore the role that writing about places can play in creating essays. This is particularly urgent in a time when nature is under siege, and in our reading we will explore climate change and its impact on our world. Through the use of exercise and prompts, and through our reading and studying tools like journaling and interviewing, we will learn how to create writing about place that is vivid and visceral, not dry and abstract. The first step in saving a place is often awareness of those places, and writers can be crucial in creating this awareness.

 

 

 

MFA Course Descriptions Archive