Courses for Fall 2008

English 010.301    Creative Writing: The Art of Narrative Non-Fiction Deborah Burnham    TR 1:30-3:00   

English 010.302    Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry    Lynn Levin    W 2:00-5:00   

English 010.303    Creative Writing: Fiction and Non-Fiction    Stephanie Reents    T 1:30-4:30   

English 111.301    Interventionist Writing: Writing Off the Page    Kenneth Goldsmith    R 1:30-4:30   

English 112.301    Fiction Writing Workshop    Max Apple    T 1:30-4:30   

English 112.302    Fiction Writing Workshop    Stephanie Reents    W 2:00-5:00   

English 113.301    Poetry Writing Workshop    Gregory Djanikian    T 1:30-4:30   

English 115.301    Advanced Fiction Writing    Karen Rile    M 2:00-5:00   

English 115.601    Advanced Fiction Writing    Kathryn Watterson    T 5:30-8:30   

English 116.401    Screenwriting    Kathleen DeMarco    T 1:30-4:30   

English 116.601    Screenwriting    Marc Lapadula    M 5:00-8:00

English 117.301    The Arts and Popular Culture    Anthony DeCurtis    R 1:30-4:30   

English 122.301    Grotesque Forms: Writing/Printing/Bookmaking    Erin Gautsche/Matt Neff    MW 2:00-5:00   

English 130.401    Advanced Screenwriting    Kathleen DeMarco    M 2:00-5:00   

English 130.402    Advanced Screenwriting    Andy Wolk    F 2:00-5:00   

English 135.301    Creative Non-Fiction Writing    Max Apple    R 1:30-4:30   

English 135.302    Creative Non-Fiction: Writing Your Travels    Marion Kant    M 2:00-5:00   

English 135.305    Creative Non-Fiction: Peer Tutoring    Valerie Ross    TR 10:30-12:00   

English 135.601    Creative Non-Fiction    Robert Strauss    M 5:00-8:00   

English 145.301    Advanced Non-Fiction Writing    Paul Hendrickson    T 1:30-4:30   

English 145.302    Advanced Non-Fiction Writing    Lise Funderburg    R 1:30-4:30   

English 156.301    Writing from Photographs    Paul Hendrickson    W 2:00-5:00   

English 157.301    Introduction to Journalistic Writing    Robert Strauss    M 2:00-5:00   

English 161.301    The Art of the Profile    Dick Polman    M 2:00-5:00   

English 162.301    The 2008 Presidential Election    Dick Polman    W 2:00-5:00   

English 412.640    Writing in the Moment: A Writing Workshop    Kathryn Watterson    R 5:30-8:10   

English 415.640    Convention and Innovation: Writing Short Fiction    Courtney Zoffness    T 5:30-8:10   


English 010.301    The Art of Narrative Non-fiction     Burnham   

In this course, we'll explore the possibilities of two genres: creative non-fiction and poetry. We'll begin with some exercises that will help us generate lots (and lots) of material, material that we'll then shape into personal essays and poems. We'll read, and re-read, essays and poems that will inspire, or annoy, or cajole us into writing our own pieces. You won't get topics assigned: rather, you'll be asked to find your own subjects from the exploratory writing. You may find yourself writing about basketball, coffee, keys, bad choices, speeding tickets, disappointment, red dresses, scars, repetition, hair, mosh pits or running twenty miles. We'll do a lot of collaborative work in class. At the end of the semester, you'll turn in a portfolio of at least fifteen pages of completed work, plus sketches and drafts. If you have questions, please feel free to write me:    

Time: TR 1:30-3:00   

English 010.302    Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry     Levin   

This workshop-style class is an introduction to the pleasures of the writing process. Students will benefit from in-depth readings and constructive critical support in a class that fosters a community of writers. We will spend half the semester writing poems, and the other half writing fiction. Some of each meeting will be devoted to reading poems or a short story by established authors, with the emphasis on reading as writers rather than scholars. Experimentation and revision will be encouraged. Class participation and attendance are vital. We will have some brief in-class writing exercises and a variety of take-home assignments designed to help students generate and shape work. Students will turn in a final portfolio of 15 or so pages, which will include both poetry and prose. We will also write some brief (up to one page) responses to work read and written in class.    

Time: W 2:00-5:00   

English 010.303    Creative Writing: Fiction and Non-fiction     Reents   

This course--which is an introduction to creative nonfiction and fiction writing --will emphasize close reading along with writing.

Most writers are avid readers, and while they may devour books like any reader who wants to escape to an imaginary world or learn something new, they also read as writers, paying close attention to the choices another writer has made to produce certain effects. In this class, you will be encouraged to bring together your emotional side (How does this make me feel?) with your analytical side (What formal choices has the writer made that could explain the way I'm feeling?). You'll develop a vocabulary for talking about these formal choices--or what is often called "craft" in the writing world.

Of course, all of the reading you do is designed to strengthen your own writing, and over the course of the semester, you'll write often. Weekly writing assignment and in-class exercises will give you lots of chances to experiment and discover the stories that you're dying to tell and the ideas that you want to dig into. Since we'll be reading contemporary fiction and nonfiction, we'll also investigate the connections between the two genres, discussing such issues as the role of narrative techniques in nonfiction and the use of research in fiction. For most of the semester, we'll divide our time between discussing published work (in light of a particular aspect of craft), workshopping your assignments, and completing in-class writing exercises. You'll (hopefully) come away from this class having learned that writing stories and essays is extremely hard, but also joyful, invigorating, and addictive.    

Time: T 1:30-4:30   

English 111.301        Interventionist Writing: Writing Off the Page    Goldsmith   

This class functions on one very simple premise: you will be required to write anywhere except for on the page. By studying the theory and practices of situationism, graffiti, and culture jamming, we will explore ways of detourning traditional methods of writing into an act imbued with alternative modes of social, political and aesthetic value: language as a medium and method of disruption and displacement; language as a way of upending normative modes of discourse and reception; language that insists on social interaction. You may intervene subtly or grossly, loudly or silently; your work may be visible or invisible, obviously blatant or subtly imperceptible. You may write between the cracks of sidewalks, on the leaves of trees, beneath puddles of water, or across the internet; you may shout from the rooftops of buildings or set up a short-range radio station to broadcast locally; you may jam frequencies, plant internet memes, or alter Wikipedia entries. Anything goes, as long as it's not on paper. Permission of the instructor is required. Send a brief email stating why you wish to take the workshop. This class will be conducted completely electronically. Participants must attend class with a web-enabled laptop.    

Time: R 1:30-4:30   

English 112.301        Fiction Writing Workshop    Apple   

The class will be conducted as a seminar. Every student will write three stories during the semester; each story will be discussed by the group. The instructor will, from time to time, suggest works of fiction that he hopes will be illustrative and inspirational but there will be no required books. Attendance and participation are essential.

Students who have completed and taken pleasure in a fiction writing course need not submit writing samples. Others please submit brief samples to: Permit from the instructor is required.    

Time: T 1:30-4:30    

English 112.302        Fiction Writing Workshop    Reents   

This is a workshop for writers of fiction. You may write in whatever genre you please (i.e. literary realism, fantasy, fabulism, magical realism, science fiction, etc.) as long as your work is innovative and aims to do more than entertain its readers (though this, of course, is also important). During the semester, you'll present drafts of your fiction for the class to discuss, read a wide range of contemporary fiction as well as essays on craft by John Gardner, Francine Prose, and David Lodge. While we will keep our eye on the basics of fiction (i.e., significant detail, character and characterization, point of view, plot, structure, style and voice, setting, etc.) we will explore trickier topics such as unreliable narrators, epiphanies, narrative distance, and syntax and repetition as they seem relevant and compelling. In addition to offering us two stories (that you'll later revise for your portfolio), you'll also keep an informal reading journal and complete a number of shorter exercises that will hopefully push you in new directions. Please submit a brief sample of your work to    

Time: W 2:00-5:00   

English 113.301        Poetry Workshop    Djanikian   

A course for students who have had some experience writing poetry but who wish to improve the rhythm and expressiveness of their language, and who may want to see the things of this world in new relationships and, perhaps, with a broader vision. Students will be asked to write every week, and to discuss and respond to the works of classmates and established poets. A final portfolio of revised poems will be required at the end of the course. Students interested in taking the class should submit three poems to Gregory Djanikian via email at Permit from the instructor is required.    

Time: T 1:30-4:30   

English 115.301        Advanced Fiction Writing    Rile   

English 115 a workshop for advanced writers who have already completed at least one semester of English 112 or its equivalent. Participants should be familiar with technical topics in fiction writing, such as point of view and narrative distance.

In this class you will have at least two opportunities to present a story or novel excerpt to the workshop. You are also encouraged to present revisions of your work. We will do some exercises designed to illuminate technical, ethical, and aesthetic issues in fiction, but the emphasis throughout the semester will be workshopping student-initiated projects. Admission to this class requires an instructor permit. Send a sample of your fiction directly to me at    

Time: M 2:00-5:00   

English 115.601        Advanced Fiction Writing    Watterson   

This workshop will explore the elements of fiction, from the focus on details to reveal the larger world of the story, to character development, dialogue, point of view, style and voice. We will mine a deeper understanding of the craft by reading short stories and excerpts from a wide range of writers. In addition to in-class writing, students will be asked to maintain writing journals, participate in workshop discussions and peer review, and write and revise work on a weekly basis.    

Time: T 5:30-8:30   

English 116.401        Screenwriting    DeMarco   

This is a workshop-style course for those who have thought they had a terrific idea for a movie but didn't know where to begin. The class will focus on learning the basic tenets of classical dramatic structure and how this (ideally) will serve as the backbone for the screenplay of the aforementioned terrific idea. Each student should, by the end of the semester, have at least thirty pages of a screenplay completed. Classic and not-so-classic screenplays will be required reading for every class, and students will also become acquainted with how the business of selling and producing one's screenplay actually happens. Students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email briefly describing their interest in the course to kathydemarco@writing.upenn.eduPermit from the instructor is required.    

Time: T 1:30-4:30   

English 116.601        Screenwriting    Lapadula   

This course will look at the screenplay as both a literary text and a blue print for production. Several classic screenplay texts will be critically analyzed (REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, PSYCHO, etc.) Students will then embark on writing their own scripts. We will intensively focus on: character enhancement, creating "believable" cinematic dialogue, plot development and story structure, conflict, pacing, dramatic foreshadowing, the element of surprise, text and subtext and visual story-telling. Class attendance is mandatory. Students will submit their works-in-progress to the workshop for discussion.    

Time: M 5:00-8:00   

English 117.301        The Arts and Popular Culture    DeCurtis   

"Writing About the Arts" is a workshop-oriented course that will concentrate on all aspects of writing about artistic endeavor, including criticism, reviews, profiles, interviews and essays. For the purposes of this class, the arts will be interpreted broadly, and students will be able -- and, in fact, encouraged -- to write about both the fine arts and popular culture. Students will be doing a great deal of writing throughout the course, but the main focus will be a 3000-word feature story about an artist or arts organization in Philadelphia (or another location approved by the instructor) that will involve extensive reporting, interviews and research. Potential subjects can range from a local band to a museum, from a theater group to a novelist -- all of which students have written about in previous classes.

Class meetings will include detailed discussions of the students' own writing, as well as that of the instructor and other writers whose work appears in magazines, newspapers and journals. A considerable effort will be made to have the course be as professionally focused and "real time" as possible, so current stories in the media will frequently be the subject of class discussion and critique. A number of writers, critics, journalists, editors and other media types will visit the class to share their work and experiences with the students, and to participate in the discussions. It should be emphasized that, in discussing the work of fellow students, courtesy and respect will be as much required as candor.

Those interested in taking the course should email as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose to Anthony DeCurtis at . Applicants can also mail their work directly to the instructor at: 875 West End Avenue, Apt 10G, New York, NY 10025. Also include your name, undergraduate class, and the telephone number where you can be reached. Permit from the instructor is required.    

Time: R 1:30-4:30   

English 122.301        Grotesque Forms: Writing/Printing/Bookmaking    Gautsche/Neff   

An introduction to letterpress printing and bookmaking and writing for the artist book, focusing on the history of the artist book, competence in letterpress technique, print composition and design skills, and alternative book binding. Course readings will focus on the work Johanna Drucker and Jerome Rothenberg, and the examination of multi-media works. Field trips to local artist book collections will supplement course reading, projects, and the final project. The entire class will be taught, and practiced, through the lens of "the grotesque" in art and literature. As a final project, each student will make their own limited-edition artist book that considers the course theme of the "grotesque" through writing, image, printing and binding. Students who wish to take the course should send a brief description of their interest in it, and any relevant background experience they might have, to Erin Gautsche at    

Time: MW 2:00-5:00   

English 130.401        Advanced Screenwriting    DeMarco   

This is a workshop-style course for students who have completed a screenwriting class, or have a draft of a screenplay they wish to improve. Classes will consist of discussing student's work, as well as discussing relevant themes of the movie business and examining classic films and why they work as well as they do.

Classic and not-so-classic screenplays will be required reading for every class in addition to some potentially useful texts like What Makes Sammy Run? Students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email. Please send a writing sample (in screenplay form), a brief description of your interest in the course and your goals for your screenplay, and any relevant background or experience. Applications should be sent to    

Time: M 2:00-5:00   

English 130.402        Advanced Screenwriting    Wolk   

The Creative Writing Program in the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW) a nd the Cinema Studies Program are co-sponsoring a Fall 2007 advanced screenwriting workshop to be taught by screenwriter/director ANDY WOLK. Students will develop a screenplay in the course which will focus on the nuts-and-bolts of structure, plot, character and dialogue and how a story is told visually. This course offered as part of the Avnet Advanced Screenwriting Project.

Wolk has written screenplays for every studio, and teleplays and pilots for every network including HBO'S Emmy-winning FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON. He received the Writer's Guild Award for NATICA JACKSON starring Michelle Pfeiffer and was nominated for the Award for the movies CRIMINAL JUSTICE and DELIBERATE INTENT, each of which he also directed along with episodes of many shows including THE SOPRANOS, WITHOUT A TRACE and THE PRACTICE. He has served as a Creative Advisor and Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute's Screenwriting Labs.

Wolk lives and works in Los Angeles. He will make at least three extended visits to Penn. Students must be available for meetings on Thursday evening, all day Friday, and Saturday morning during these three periods which are tentatively set for:

September 4-6
October 16-18
November 20-22

When Mr. Wolk is not at Penn, the class will meet Fridays with his teaching assistant and will confer with Mr. Wolk by phone/conference call. Mr. Wolk will also work individually with each student by email and phone.

Students will be admitted to this course by permission of the instructor. Applications should be sent to Mingo Reynolds at:

The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, March 24. Students will be notified of their status by April 4. Applications should include: a short note describing your interest and relevant experience (coursework and otherwise) and a brief (8 pages max.) sample of your writing. Those with resumes can send one also, but it is not required.

This is the sixth in a series of advanced screenwriting courses offered by eminent working screenwriters through a collaboration of Cinema Studies and Creative Writing. Generous funding for this project has been provided by Jon Avnet (C'71).    

Time: F 2:00-5:00   

English 135.301        Creative Non-fiction Writing    Apple   

Each student will write three essays and the class will offer criticism and appreciation of each. There will be some discussion of and instruction in the form, but the course will be based on the student writing. Attendance and participation required. .    

Time: R 1:30-4:30   

English 135.302        Creative Non-fiction Writing    Kant   

In this course students will learn to observe and record what they see when they travel. They will explore a popular form of writing and practice it in their own daily activities. The familiar will become strange and new as they return home, walk through the campus, visit Center City or explore an ethnic community in order to write accounts of what they see. They will, in the process, learn about themselves but without that preoccupation with the self alone that marks much student writing. They will see themselves in the mirror of "the other". The course will explore famous works by travelers who visited the USA as a means to see the familiar through foreign eyes, such works as Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" (1835), Charles Dickens' "On America and the Americans" (ed. Michael Slater), G.K. Chesterton's "What I Saw in America" (1922). Jonathan Raban's "Old Glory: An American Voyage" (1981) and the expatriate who returns like Bill Bryson's "I am a Stranger here myself: Notes on returning to America after twenty years" (1999).    

Time: M 2:00-5:00   

English 135.304        Creative Non-fiction Writing: Peer Tutoring    Ross   

This course is intended for capable writers who possess the maturity and temperament to work successfully as peer tutors at Penn. The course emphasizes the development of tutors' own writing through the process of collaborative peer-criticism, individual conferences, and intensive sessions on writing, from mechanics to style. The class meets twice weekly; tutors also work two hours weekly in the Writing Center or elsewhere, and confer regularly in small groups or one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Tutors are required to write five short papers, eight one-page peer reviews, and two responses to readings. Additionally, students keep a journal and give two class presentations. CWIC-affiliated course. .    

Time: TR 10:30-12:00   

English 135.601        Creative Non-fiction Writing    Strauss   

Do you feel you have a fresh perspective on life's goings-on? Did you look at a building today and wonder what's going on inside? Is there an event, a person, an idea that you think has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, under-appreciated? If so, come and investigate with me. We will spend the semester doing our best to write out of that paper bag that is made up of our curiosity, our observations and our prejudices. The best creative non-fiction explains, but it also makes us run to learn more about the subject. We will have a special emphasis on humor, perhaps the most difficult type of writing to pull off. We'll look at different definitions and styles of humor, from Woody Allen's to Mark Twain's to, with good fortune, your own. We will be reading some of the best magazine and newspaper writing of the last century, and hopefully be writing some stuff like it as well. We will talk about essays, arts reviews, general features and even sportswriting. Students will be required to write at least two pieces of magazine length (2000 words or so) and several shorter pieces. The longer pieces will be presented to the class for workshop criticism.    

Time: M 5:00-8:00   

English 145.301        Advanced Non-fiction Writing    Hendrickson   

This is an intensive course in creative nonfiction--both the reading and practice of it. It's seeking to look at fact as literature. Think of it as the art of fact: using reportage and some of the literary techniques of fiction in the service of compelling, true, real-life stories--sometimes your own story. The core goal is to get a circle of student writers writing, and have them willing to share the work aloud in class. Implicit in this is the willingness to suffer some gentle slings of criticism. We will be examining models of nonfiction from present and past word masters: Annie Dillard, E.B. White, Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Michael Herr, Tim O'Brien, John Hersey, James Agee, George Orwell, Thomas Lynch. Ever heard this last name? Lynch is a Michigan undertaker. He writes like a dream. Good writing is where you find it; sometimes it will be about the art of taking folks under.

We will attempt different forms of creative nonfiction, starting with the personal essay or family memoir. Then we'll move on to something deeply reported and/or researched--something that's essentially outside oneself. For this piece it's likely a student will travel into the nearby world and observe something: or interview someone (or several someones). The piece--and these are always to be thought of as "pieces," not as "papers"--could be a profile of a local personality or athlete. It could be an extended scene, say, of a jazz club, or of a hospital emergency room, or of a homeless shelter, or of the Reading Terminal Market. The student will have the primary say in what he or she wishes to tackle. But the instructor will approve the story idea and will monitor and help guide its development. Although not a direct aim of the workshop, it's slimly possible someone will emerge with a piece of nonfiction that any professional magazine or newspaper editor in his or her right mind would be proud to publish. This has happened in previous workshops.

Those interested in taking the course should submit as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose (paper copies only, no electronic submissions will be accepted) to Paul Hendrickson, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 234 (please slide work under the door if no one is in the office). Also include your name, last four digits of SS#, undergraduate class, e-mail address and telephone number where you can be reached. Permit from the instructor is required.   

Time: T 1:30-4:30   

English 145.302        Advanced Non-fiction Writing    Funderburg   

Creative nonfiction essays, at best, celebrate curiosity, observation, prejudice, and other idiosyncrasies of the human condition. They use reportage and the literary techniques of fiction in the service of compelling real-life stories. In this workshop-style class you will write and revise four essays (1200-1500 words each).

Aside from some general guidance, the subject matter of your work is deliciously open and up to you. I am, however, available to help shape and steer and urge you away from the overly solipsistic. Take advantage of the city that surrounds you; the questions and answers you've stumbled across; the way life has surprised you, held you captive, or set you free. Subjects can range from the Reading Terminal at lunchtime, an open mike night, a Howard Johnson's counter on a rainy afternoon, a contentious dorm meeting, the bird outside your window, or a visit home.

In assignments, class exercises and discussions of the readings, we will address technical issues such as narrative/thematic tension, transition, character development, dialogue, point of view, characterization, imagery, metaphor, as well as the skills of interviewing, structure, tone, style, and personal voice. We will use your (and occasionally my) work as the bases for discussion. Since I am a full-time freelance writer, you will also be subjected to my wit and wisdom about the publishing world.

The core aim here is to get a group of student writers writing, and to have you stretch beyond what you know by grappling with the revision process and sharing work with the class. Class participation is vital and expected. Email a sample of your work to Permit from the instructor is required.    

Time: R 1:30-4:30   

English 156.301        Writing from Photographs    Hendrickson   

A creative writing course built entirely around the use of photographs, and the crafting of compelling nonfiction narratives from them. The essential concept will be to employ photographs as storytelling vehicles. So we will be using curling, drugstore-printed Kodak shots from our own family albums. We will be using searing and famous images from history books. We will be taking things from yesterday's newspaper. We will even be using pictures that were just made by the workshop participants outside the campus gates with a disposable camera from CVS or with their own sophisticated digital Nikon. In all of this, there will be one overriding aim: to achieve memorable, full-bodied stories. To locate the strange, evocative, storytelling universes that are sealed inside the four rectangular walls of a photograph. They are always there, if you know how to look. It's about the quality of your noticing, the intensity of your seeing.

Writers as diverse as the poet Mark Strand and the novelist Don DeLillo and the memoirist Wright Morris have long recognized the power of a photograph to launch a story. In this course we are going to employ memory and imagination to launch our stories, but most of all we are going to make use of fact-everything that can be found out, gleaned, uncovered, dug up, stumbled upon. Because first and last, this is nonfiction, this is the art of reported fact. So a lot of this class will go forward using the tools and techniques of journalism: good, old-fashioned reporting and research, legwork. And turning that reporting into writing gold. A photograph represents time stopped in a box. It is a kind of freeze-frame of eternity. It is stopped motion, in which the clock has seemed to hold its breath. Often, the stories inside of photographs turn out to be at surprising odds with what we otherwise thought, felt, imagined.

Say, for instance, that you hunger to enter the photographic heart of this youthful, handsome, dark-haired man-who is your father-as he leans now against the gleaming bumper of a 1951 Pontiac. It was three decades before you were born. The moment is long buried and forgotten in your collective family's past-and yet in another way, it is right here before you, on this photosensitive surface. Whether the figure in the photograph is alive or deceased, you are now going to try with all of your writing and reporting might to "walk back in." Almost literally. You are going to achieve a story about this moment, with a beginning, middle, and end.

"Every great photograph has a secret," a noted critic once said. An essayist for Time magazine once wrote: "All great photographs have lives of their own. But sometimes they can be false as dreams." Candidates for the course are asked to submit as soon as possible one or two samples of their best creative nonfiction prose to Paul Hendrickson, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 234 (please slide work under the door if no one is in the office). Paper copies only, no electronic submissions. Be sure to include name, phone number, email address, the last four digits of your social security number. Permit from the instructor is required.    

Time: W 2:00-5:00   

English 157.301        Introduction to Journalistic Writing    Strauss   

As a career journalist, I tell people who ask that my job is like going to school and getting paid for it. Journalists survive on the desire to have a "Jeopardy!" knowledge of life, a little bit about virtually everything. Your curiosity is the only pre-requisite for the class, which is designed to help you learn how to gather those "Jeopardy!" answers and express them in stories. The cliché is that journalism is the first draft of history and, while with most clichés, there is some truth in it, a better definition may be that it is the quickest draft of potential history. I won't promise to make you Hunter Thompson or Thomas Friedman or Maureen Dowd or even the best writer on 34th Street in a semester, but I do promise you that you will have plenty of opportunities to report, write and opine over the weeks we are together. Best to take this course with an open mind, a desire and willingness to see things from all angles. Email me if you need more description at    

Time: M 2:00-5:00   

English 161.301        The Art of the Profile    Polman   

One of the toughest challenges for any journalist is to master the art of profile-writing. In this new course, students will read and critique some of the classic profile articles of the past 40 years, and, most importantly, write profile articles of their own. Writing about people is often very rewarding, but rarely easy. In this course, students will debate the questions that have plagued and energized journalists for generations: How do you persuade somebody that he or she is a worthy topic for a profile? How do you ask sensitive questions? If the person is a celebrity, how do you avoid being manipulated into writing a "puff piece"? Do you tape the interviews or just take notes? How do you structure a profile in order to keep the reader's attention? Is it even possible to capture the essence of a person on the written page? Are you a friend to the profile subject - or a manipulator? A journalist at The New Yorker recently said that a writer's relationship with the profile subject is "a kind of love affair." On the other hand, a famous author once said that a profile writer is typically "gaining their trust and betraying without remorse." Which is closer to the truth? Students, in addition to writing their own profiles, will kick around these questions while reading some of the best contemporary profile writers, including Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, David Remnick, Mark Bowden, and Judy Bachrach. The instructor will also offer several of his own.    

Time: M 2:00-5:00   

English 162.301        The 2008 Presidential Election    Polman   

The 2008 election may well be the most consequential political event of our generation. In this new course, students with a passion for both writing and politics will have the unique opportunity to track the news as it unfolds week by week, to critique it in class, and, most importantly, to write about it in a variety of formats, ranging from "straight" news to informed opinion. Students can expect spirited class debate about the elusive nature of "objectivity," the often thin line between truth and rumor, the challenges of fact-checking a candidate's "spin," the challenges of writing responsibility in an era when even facts seem to be polarized, the challenges of analyzing primary results and writing about it effectively, the growing pressure on journalists to reveal their political beliefs, and much more. Some of the writing will happen in class; students will view excerpts from debates and Sunday shows, and file their reports "on deadline." Some of the class sessions will focus on the hottest news of the moment. And students will also have a chance, in class, to critique some of the nation's best political writers - reporters, feature writers, columnists, bloggers - as they too track the 2008 election season.    

Time: W 2:00-5:00   

English 412.640        Writing in the Moment: A Writing Workshop    Watterson   

As writers, whether aspiring or professional, we often struggle over how to tell our stories most effectively. We focus on techniques--leads, pacing, wording, point of view, action, dialogue and plot--because we want to inspire, if not compel, our readers to stay with us from beginning to end in this dream we're weaving with words. We search for language that that will allow the reader to visualize and experience all the nuances lurking in the details. We revise and polish. Yet more often than not, when a perfect line comes to us, when the shape of an entire novel appears, or when we hear fresh music and poetry and solutions to problems plaguing us, we say, "It sprang out of nowhere." It came "unbidden" as we emptied the garbage, shampooed our hair, walked by the river, danced across the room or settled into sleep. In this workshop, we will tap into that "nowhere" place, that deep inner wellspring of creativity that resides within us all. By using film, literature, meditation, guided visualization, music, and a mindful practice of breathing, we will work to be in the moment and to write out of that moment. Whether writers are composing short stories or personal essays, they will find fresh ways of looking at, seeing, and opening up to their characters and their subjects. Readings will include short stories, poetry and essays. Workshop sessions will include peer responses, in-class exercises and writing.    

Time: R 5:30-8:10   

English 415.640        Convention and Innovation: Writing Short Fiction    Zoffness   

What makes a story? Moreover, what makes a story *satisfying*? In this course, we'll dissect the craft of short works by inveterate authors Joyce, Cheever, Nabakov and Lorrie Moore, as well as formally unconventional fiction by writers such as John Barth, Tim O?Brien, Lydia Davis and Aimee Bender. The workshop-style seminar will explore the range of this multi-faceted, ever-evolving form, ultimately focusing exclusively on student work. You?ll consider questions like: What type of structure and point of view and narrative style best suits the story you wish to tell? Assignments include two original short stories, one extended revision, typed critiques of each workshopped story, and a brief presentation. You?ll also complete in-class writing exercises. Active participation is required and expected. Write the instructor if you have queries:    

Time: T 5:30-8:10