MFA Course Descriptions

*Note: for day & time information, please go to SeaNet and search for courses.
Click here for the 2015-16 graduate catalogue course descriptions.


Fall 2016

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, SMITH E
For students interested in the basics, this course offers 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, and an understanding of how books are produced, manuscript to bookshelf. The course meets for three hours a week, but students should allow 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 (3), -003 (1): CHAUTAUQUA LITERARY MAGAZINE, GERARD P
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, act as an editing mentor. And 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 540-001: WRITERS’ WEEK FALL 2016, CHAI M
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 542-001: GRADUATE WORKSHOP IN POETRY, 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 542-002: 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:GRADUATE WORKSHOP IN FICTION, LEE R
This will be a course in narrative strategy.  Students will begin semester by reading the classic The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner, as well as shorter essays on storytelling craft.  We will also read the last cycle of Best American Stories (2015) in an effort to analyze as many approaches to narrative as possible.  In addition, the class will function as a traditional workshop, with special attention to character and theme in fiction.

CRW 544-002:GRADUATE WORKSHOP IN FICTION, DE GRAMONT M
In this class, students will work on craft through close reading of each other’s fiction in a workshop format. Students will write two new and original pieces for workshop and revise one of these pieces substantially. Reading assignments will be based on issues that arise during workshops.

CRW 544-003 (1):FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP WITH VISITING WRITER JILL MCCORKLE (dates TBD)

CRW 546-001: WORKSHOP LONG FORM NARRATIVE I, EDGERTON C
First semester of two-semester course and goal is to have draft of fiction or nonfiction book by end of second semester. Timelines and due pages will be designed on an individual basis, but expect something in the line of 20 – 30 pages a month. Among potential class and individual activities--in addition to workshopping chapters and scenes: 1) discussing your book’s plot, scenes, characters, and theme, 2) discussions of literary theory, 3) discussion of technique in fiction and nonfiction, 4) discussions of readings (from among other books, Paris Review Interviews, Mystery and Manners, Civilization and Its Discontents), 5) dramatic reading of scenes.

CRW 547-001: FORMS OF FICTION, SIEGEL R
One of the most powerful elements in fiction is the image—the word-picture that directly transmits what the writer sees. It is physical and yet also highly emotional, steeped in character perception and therefore deeply psychological. Perhaps more than any other aspect of fiction, it gives us the jolt of reality and makes us believe…This course will explore the role of imagery, and by extension all sensory experience, in the short story and the novel. We will read and discuss a selection of image-based fictions. There will be a final creative project and a public reading.

CRW 550-001 WORKSHOP CREATIVE NONFICTION, CHAI M
In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to explore the rich possibilities of creative nonfiction in multiple forms. Students will receive feedback on their original works of creative nonfiction in a traditional workshop format. We will also discuss and analyze works by established writers of literary journalism, memoir, personal essays, lyric essays and other works to look at technique, aesthetics, and narrative choices. In addition to writing exercises and critique letters and their original pieces for workshop, students will work on revision.

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 Lookout Books (www.lookout.org). The practical course functions primarily as an internship at a boutique literary 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: WRITING HISTORY, GERARD P
As writers, we mine the public past for events and stories that illuminate the present with the backstory of our culture, politics, conflicts, social and ethical mores, and material achievements. Our history shows us who we are, how we got here, what we value, and how we have struggled for a communal identity. Assignments will include reading and responding to writing based on history. We’ll explore the aesthetics and ethics of using history as the basis for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Students will also conduct original historical research and write creative work in their chosen genre based on what they discover

CRW 580-002: THE WRITING LIFE, GESSNER D
This class will focus on all aspects of the writing life.  What does it mean to live a life of writing and reading books?  How do we navigate such an unconventional life?
The course will be broken down into two halves. The first will focus on the spiritual aspects of the writing life, as well as work habits, and the second on more practical aspects. But while we will end on a practical note we will keep our focus on the larger picture, and the philosophical aspects of choosing to be a writer in today’s world. Throughout the term we will be visited by other writers who will discuss their own writing lives.

 

Spring 2016


CRW 524-001 (3), -003 (2), and -004 (1) Ecotone LITERARY MAGAZINE, PHILLIPS A L
[Permission of instructor required. Please write Anna Lena Phillips Bell for permission to register.] 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 per week, and for contributing to the ongoing practical 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 literary landscape. 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. We will also write for the Ecotone/Lookout Books blog. In spring 2016, applications will be accepted for the positions of managing editor, fiction editor, and nonfiction editor. 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. Current Ecotone editors register for 524-003/004; for all others, the course is three credits. MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.

CRW 524-002 (3) and CRW 524-005 (1) Chautauqua LITERARY MAGAZINE, GERARD P
This course is designed to give students a practical magazine publishing experience. Students will read and respond to submissions, work on developmental and copy-editing and fact-checking, and lead an editorial a team for a specific section. 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, as well as social media. We will work in teams – with each group presenting regular updates on their projects and work. Course may be repeated for credit.

CRW 525-001: WORKING AS AN EDITOR (SPECIAL TOPICS IN PUBLISHING), PHILLIPS A L
This course provides an introduction to, and hands-on experience in, working as an editor—a skill and vocation useful on the job market as well as in improving one’s own writing. We will consider acquisitions and developmental editing, line editing, fact checking, and copyediting, practicing each of these and discussing the unique skills it requires. Our focus will be on the editing of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry for magazine and book publishers; if the opportunity permits, we will work together over the course of the semester to edit a book-length manuscript. Topics will include proposal development, narrative, argument, and voice, as well as editing for style, substantive editing at the line level, the nuances of copyediting, and editorial communication. For each stage of editing, we will also explore career possibilities and job opportunities. We will practice creating and maintaining collegial relationships throughout the editing process, and work to gain an understanding of how each phase of editing fits within the process overall. Students will be evaluated via individual and group editing projects. Course texts will include The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, and Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition.

CRW 530-001: SCREENWRITING. HACKLER C
This course is an introduction to the art and craft of screenwriting. Students will develop an original story idea, create a plot outline, and write and revise the first act of a feature screenplay. The course will cover such topics as characterization, goal, conflict, and dramatic structure, and will include a series of exercises designed to help you develop and write motion picture scripts.

CRW 542-001: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, MORLING, M
In this poetry workshop we will focus on the process of writing, the different ways of analyzing a poem and on how to listen with an open mind to a critique of your own work. 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 form? Everyone is required to submit a raw and freshly written poem every week. The aim of this class is also for everyone to learn to become comfortable bringing in poems that are rough without making excuses for them.

CRW 542-003: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, with Visiting Writer Nikky Finney
Thursdays at 3:30
4/7,4/14,4/21 and 4/28/2016

CRW 544-001: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP: THE REVISION PROCESS, SIEGEL R
A workshop focused on the revision process. Participants will submit an early draft of a piece of fiction and a revision of that piece and will also do some short exercises exploring the revision process. In addition, they will choose a published piece of fiction to present to the class.MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.

CRW 544-002: FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP, DE GRAMONT M
In this class, students will work on craft through close reading of each other’s fiction in a workshop format. Students will write two new and original pieces for workshop and revise one of these pieces substantially. Reading assignments will be based on issues that arise during workshops.

CRW 545-001: FORMS OF CREATIVE NONFICTION, BRENNER W
This is a reading & discussion course (elective, not workshop), open to MFA students in all genres, in which we will explore narrative methods, decisions, effects, etc. in recently published creative nonfiction and some documentary films, thinking and talking about how we as writers might borrow various story-telling and narrative-constructing techniques in our own work.The focus is primarily on memoir, biography, and oral history, though many of the texts don’t fall easily into any category. Books will include Was This Man A Genius?  (Julie Hecht), Truth & Beauty: A Friendship (Ann Patchett), Autobiography of a Face (Lucy Grealy), Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Roz Chast), Working (Studs Terkel), and Edie: An American Girl (Jean Stein and George Plimpton). Films will include Moving Midway, Capturing the Friedmans, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and selections by director Errol Morris. Students will write one response essay at semester’s end, and an occasional short exercise using the course texts as models.

CRW 547-001: FORMS OF FICTION, LEE R
Click here for the 2015-16 graduate catalogue course descriptions.

CRW 548-002: WORKSHOP LONG FORM NARRATIVE II, EDGERTON C
Second semester of two semester course and goal is to have draft of fiction or nonfiction book by end of this semester. Timelines and due pages will be designed on an individual basis, but expect something in the line of 20 – 30 pages a month. Among potential class and individual activities--in addition to workshopping chapters and scenes: 1) discussing your book’s plot, scenes, characters, and theme, 2) discussions of literary theory, 3) discussion of technique in fiction and nonfiction, 4) discussions of readings (from among other books, Paris Review Interviews, Mystery and Manners, Civilization and Its Discontents), 5) dramatic reading of scenes.

CRW 550-001: WORKSHOP CREATIVE NONFICTION, GERARD
This workshop will focus on fact-based writing, including personal narrative, reportorial essay, and writing that combines both approaches. The primary text will be student manuscripts, which may be stand-alone short pieces or chapters from a long work. We will explore structure, tone, narrative stance, sequencing, and the art of both doing research and incorporating it artfully into the writing. We will look at exemplars of the genre, as well as craft essays on Brevity.com.

CRW 550-002: GRADUATE WORKSHOP IN NONFICTION: THE ESSAY, MEMOIR, THE BRAIDED ESSAY, GESSNER D
This is a creative writing workshop that will focus on gaining deeper knowledge and practice in writing in three forms of creative nonfiction: the personal essay, memoir, and the braided essay. We will dedicate a third of the term to each sub-genre, and, with luck, will each produce some work in each, feeling how the forms are both alike and different. We will also read examples of each. Our books for the term will be Philip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, Jo Anne Beard’s The Boys of MyYouth, and Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life.

CRW 550-003: CREATIVE NONFICTION WORKSHOP, with Visiting Writer Bill Roorbach
Thursdays at 3:30pm
2/11, 2/18, 2/25 and 3/3/2016

CRW 560-001,-002: PUBLISHING PRACTICUM: LOOKOUT BOOKS, SMITH E
[Prerequisite: CRW 523 and permission of instructor.Please write Emily Louise Smithfor permission to register for this course.] 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 boutique literary press and provides hands-on experience in evaluating manuscripts, copyediting, proofreading, designing book interiors and pitching cover concepts, pitching publicity and marketing, social media management, grant writing, and the production of promotional materials for the imprint. [MFA students may repeat for credit without limit.]

CRW 580-001: WRITING THE OUTSIDER, CHAI M
In this multi-genre class, we will examine how writers have centered experiences that are often pushed to the margins of the mainstream. While examining the forms, literary aesthetics, and craft of various novels, short stories, poems, films, and works of creative nonfiction, we will also explore the larger theme of “writing the outsider.” What does it mean to feel like an outsider, whether because of race, socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, identity (ethnic/national/regional), historical marginalization, or other factors? How does one write to express a truth that may not always be recognized by one’s peers while creating empathy in the reader? How does one center this material to allow the reader access to this perspective? Students will also have opportunities to respond with their own short, creative pieces to experiment with form and genre and to generate ideas for new works.

 

MFA Course Descriptions Archive

 


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