English 010.302 Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction Sam Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 010.303 Poetry and Nonfiction Cristin Aptowicz R 1:30-4:30
English 010.601 Fiction and Poetry Lynn Levin T 5:30-8:30
English 111.301 Poetry and Poetics: The Ecology of Poetry Marcella Durand R 1:30-4:30
English 111.401 Experimental Writing Charles Bernstein M 2:00-5:00
English 112.301 Fiction Writing Workshop Karen Rile M 2:00-5:00
English 114.401 Playwriting Seth Bauer M 2:00-5:00
English 115.301 Advanced Fiction Writing Max Apple T 1:30-4:30
English 116.401 Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco M 2:00-5:00
English 116.402 Screenwriting Carl Haber T 4:30-7:30
English 117.301 The Arts and Popular Culture Anthony DeCurtis R 1:30-4:30
English 118.301 Advanced Poetry Workshop Gregory Djanikian T 1:30-4:30
English 121.301 Writing for Children Elizabeth Van Doren M 2:00-5:00
English 123.301 Advanced Writing for Children Elizabeth Van Doren R 1:30-4:30
English 130.401 Advanced Screenwriting Kathleen DeMarco W 2:00-5:00
English 135.301 Creative Nonfiction Writing Lorene Cary R 1:30-4:30
English 135.302 Creative Nonfiction Writing Beth Kephart T 1:30-4:30
English 135.303 Creative Nonfiction Writing Meredith Broussard W 2:00-5:00
English 135.401 Peer Tutoring Valerie Ross TR 10:30-12:00
English 135.601 Creative Nonfiction: Finding Voice Kathryn Watterson T 5:30-8:30
English 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing Paul Hendrickson T 1:30-4:30
English 155.301 Documentary Writing Paul Hendrickson W 2:00-5:00
English 158.301 Global Journalism: Writing Across Cultures Peter Tarr T 1:30-4:30
English 160.301 Long-Form Journalistic Writing Dick Polman W 2:00-5:00
English 161.301 The Art of the Profile Dick Polman M 2:00-5:00
English 170.301 Advanced Writing Projects in Art and Popular Culture Anthony DeCurtis F 2:00-5:00
English 435.640 Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop Kathryn Watterson W 5:30-8:10
Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry
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.
Creative Writing: Writing the Personal Essay, Writing Fiction
In this workshop-style class we'll focus on the personal essay for the first half of the semester and then move on to fiction. In addition to writing and critiquing essays and stories, we'll read and discuss a wide range of work from both established masters and emerging young writers. Several of the authors we read will make guest appearances (in-person and via video) to discuss their work and answer student questions.
Creative Writing: Poetry and Nonfiction
In this workshop-style class, we'll explore the relationships between fact and writing, in both traditional and non-traditional poetic and non-fiction forms. Students will watch videos, listen to audio and read works which explore truth as the author sees. The class will discuss the pieces -- who is the writer representing, to whom are they speaking, what are facts are they highlighting, what facts are they choosing to leave out, etc... -- in an effort to understand better how to best present their own writing. The class will be expected to write poetry and short non-fiction inspired by the works we will be examining in class, with class participation and attendance being especially vital. Students in the class should expect to generate a high volume of writing, with focused revisions expected for selected works. Students will turn in a final portfolio, which will include both poetry and non-fiction, and will be expected to present work out loud as a part of the grade as well.
This workshop, which understands creative writing as a serious pleasure, will devote half the semester to short stories and half to poems. You'll write a poem or (very) short story each week inspired by assigned readings by published authors, and present your work to the class for rigorous and supportive mutual critique. This workshop assumes that there are no best schools of writing, only individual works finding their best form according to their own internal logic. You'll also discuss the reading, do in-class writing experiments, and attend readings by established authors.
Poetry and Poetics: The Ecology of Poetry
In this course, we will delve into the emerging discipline of ecopoetics. While it has a catchy title, what ecopoetics actually is remains elusive. We will experiment with writing in forms associated with nature poetry such as the pastoral, while inventing new ones based on our own observations of the “world about.” Reading includes selections from Black Nature Poetry and The Ecolanguage Reader, as well as a range of poetry that will expand and illuminate the potentials of ecopoetics.
This is a nontraditional "poetry immersion" workshop. The workshop will be useful for those
wanting to explore new possibilities for writing and art, whether or not they have a commitment to
writing poetry. The
workshop will be structured around a series of writing
experiments, intensive readings, art gallery visits, and the production of individual
chapbooks or web sites for each participant, and performance of participants' works. There will also
visits from visiting poets. The emphasis in the workshop will be on new and innovative
approaches to composition and form, including digital, sound, and performance, rather than on works
emphasizing narrative or story telling. Each week, participants will discuss the writing they have
done as well as the assigned reading. Permission of the instructor is required. Send a brief email
stating why you wish to attend the workshop (writing samples not required) to firstname.lastname@example.org
More information at http://writing.upenn.edu/ bernstein/syllabi/111-intro.html
This class is a workshop, which means that most of what you produce will be considered work-in-progress, and that your active participation is essential. Come prepared to roll up your sleeves and work!
Each week will bring a new technical topic and a writing prompt designed to illuminate it. You will write every week and present your writing to the workshop for group critique many times throughout the semester. Readings from selected contemporary short stories will be discussed over the class email list and, as necessary, during class. In addition toassigned writing prompts, each student writer will have at least one opportunity to present a complete, independently-conceived short story to the workshop for detailed critique.
The most important reading assignments will be the work submitted by your fellow students. In this course, the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your criticism is as crucial as the quality of the written work you produce.
Admission to this class is by instructor permit. Please email work samples to: email@example.com.
This course is designed as a hands-on workshop in the art and craft of dramatic writing. It involves the study of existing plays, the systematic exploration of such elements as story making, plot, structure, theme, character, dialogs, setting, etc.; and most importantly, the development of students' own plays through a series of written assignments and in-class exercises. Since a great deal of this work takes place in class -- through lectures, discussions, spontaneous writing exercises, and the reading of student work -- weekly attendance and active participation is crucial.
Advanced Fiction Writing
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 active class participation are essential. Please submit a brief writing sample to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.comPermit from the instructor is required.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Permit from the instructor is required.
The Arts and Popular Culture
"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 ADeCurtis@aol.com. 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.
Advanced Poetry Workshop
This workshop is designed for those of you who desire advanced study in poetry writing. The hope is that by semester's end, through revision, you will have a portfolio of poems which are for the most part consistent in voice, form, and/or thematic concern. Discussion and constructive peer responses to student work will be the primary focus of the course so your participation is essential. We'll read essays about writing, and individual collections by at least 6 contemporary poets. Students will also be asked to submit written responses of each other's poems, as well as on the assigned collections and essays. Please email me three sample poems at email@example.com
Writing for Children
This is a course for students who have always thought it would be easy, fun, interesting, or rewarding to write a children's book. In the class we will discover that it is anything but easy, definitely fun and interesting, and ultimately rewarding to do so. The class will be conducted as a seminar, using a wide variety of published children's books in all genres -- picture books, chapter books, young fiction, older fiction - as examples of successful and maybe not-so-successful books for young readers. We will discuss the major question of what makes a good book for children and the importance of creating compelling characters, a good plot, excellent pacing, a distinctive voice, and an appropriate theme with the goal of each student refining an existing project or beginning work on a new one. There will be at least one reading and one writing assignment each week. Exercises will include writing picture books for the very young as well as stories for older readers. No previous experience in writing for children is required but students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email that includes a brief description of their interest in the course and a writing sample of no more than five to ten pages. Please email applications to Mingo Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing for Children
This is a course for students who have completed either English 121 or at least one other creative writing class. We will focus on writing novels for children – from early chapter books to older teen fiction—and the importance of creating compelling characters, a good plot, excellent pacing, a distinctive voice, and an appropriate theme with the goal of each student refining an existing project or beginning work on a new one. There will be at least one reading and one writing assignment each week. Exercises will include studies in voice, point of view, plot development, humor, description, developing a fantasy world, writing historical fiction, and memoir. At the end of the semester each student will have completed a minimum of 60 pages of a novel for young readers. In addition, class work will include reading wide variety of published children’s fiction, from young chapter books to older teen novels, as examples of the genre. Students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email that includes a brief description of their interest in the course and a writing sample of no more than five to ten pages. Please email applications to Mingo Reynolds at email@example.com
DeMarco Van Cleve
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Nonfiction Writing
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.
Creative Nonfiction Writing
We’ll be asking questions throughout this section of Creative Nonfiction, and we’ll be writing and reading our way toward answers: What do we owe our writing, and what does it owe us? What is the role of imagination in memoir? How is the persona of our nonfiction different from the person we know ourselves to be, and how different should it be? How important is it, really, to distinguish between story and situation? We’ll be provoked and inspired by the work of such authors as Patricia Hampl, Lia Purpura, Joan Didion, Julian Barnes, Natalie Goldberg, Grace Paley, William Fiennes, Michael Ondaatje, Vivian Gornick, and Terrence Des Pres. We’ll workshop essays, memoir, and profile.
Creative Nonfiction Writing
For many writers, inspiration comes from everyday life. In Philadelphia, we are fortunate enough to have an unparalleled bounty of inspiration around us-from our eccentric local celebrities to our world-class researchers to our rich history (zoos, ice cream and America all originated here). Students in this nonfiction writing workshop will create stories inspired by the people, the landscape, the ideas and the institutions of Philadelphia. We will discuss the ways that notable writers like Joan Didion, Calvin Trillin, Janet Malcolm and Joseph Mitchell turned everyday life into engaging narratives. As in all creative writing classes, the focus will be on creating, revising, and becoming your own best editor.
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.
Creative Nonfiction: Finding Voice--Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender
Our voices as writers take shape in the complex ground of our inner landscapes, seeded by our lives as children, our family dynamics and myths, and our cultural, psycho/social connections. In this writing workshop, we will explore the impact of “identity”—primarily race, class and gender—as it informs the way we convey our experiences and personal truths to the world. Students will read a variety of authors to gain insight into various ways writers build narratives to make sense out of the conflicting histories and memories that influence the progression of their lives. Students will conduct interviews, do research, writing exercises and visualizations to generate ideas, and to develop and revise personal essays, articles and opinion pieces.
Advanced Nonfiction Writing
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 email by attachment as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose to Paul Hendrickson at email@example.com. Also include your name, last four digits of SS#, undergraduate class, and telephone number where you can be reached. Permit is required by the instructor.
This offering in advanced nonfiction writing will function as a workshop, with a select group of students. It's a course that will honor the spirit and tradition of "documentary" writing. The word "documentary" has meant many things over time. Here, it means a kind of nose-close observation and reportage. It means a level of being with one's subject matter in a way that other creative writing courses don't allow because of their format and structure. In English 155, a student writer at Penn will dare to "hang" with his topic--a girl's high-school basketball team; a medical intern in a HUP emergency room; a cleaning lady doing the graveyard shift in a classroom building; a food-truck operator crowding the noontime avenues; a client-patient in the Ronald McDonald House near campus; a parish priest making his solitary and dreary and yet redemptive rounds of the sick and the dying in the hospital--for the entire term.
Yes, the whole term. And at term's end, each writer in the course will have produced one extended prose work: a documentary piece of high creative caliber. This is our goal and inspiration. The piece will be 30 to 35 pages long.
Some people tend to think of the "documentary" genre (whether on film or in words) as work devoid of emotion--just the facts ma'am. But in truth, emotion and deep sensitivity are prerequisites for any lasting documentary work. The nature of documentary, true documentary, implies moral and social scrutiny; means detailed fact-based reporting, depends on personal response to that factuality. This course will draw on specific literary and journalistic interests of the instructor that go back about 30 years.
The core reading models will be James Agee and George Orwell--Specifically, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Agee and The Road to Wigan Pier by Orwell. Separately, across oceans, in 1936, in the belly of the Depression, these two incomparably gifted journalist/authors--one an American, one an Englishman--entered some damaged lower-class lives and proceeded to produce literary classics of the form. Agee went to Hale County, Alabama, to live with sharecroppers. Orwell traveled to the industrial grit of north England to observe coal miners.
Under the instructor's guidance, the students will choose within the first three weeks. Choosing the subject is crucial. Access will have to be gained, cooperation assured. Within five weeks, rough drafts will begin to be produced--scenes, sketches, captured moments--and these will then be brought in to be read aloud to the group. This will be a way of finding the piece's eventual form as well as making sure all participants are working at a level of continual intensity. The final product will be due at the 13th or 14th week of the term. Throughout the term we will constantly be consulting the various documentary reading models, even as we are concentrating on our own work.
Those interested in taking the course should email by attachment as soon as possible one or two samples of their best prose to Paul Hendrickson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also include name, last four digits of SS#, undergraduate class, and telephone number where you can be reached. Permit is required by the instructor.
Global Journalism: Writing Across Cultures
How should we approach writing -- knowing -- about people and things that are foreign to us? It’s a question that historians, anthropologists, and sociologists ask routinely, but that most practicing journalists typically have not been trained to consider. In mainstream American journalism, international postings have long been awarded as plums to reporters who have scored major successes on domestic beats. This practice is consonant with an old journalistic shibboleth that any good reporter should be able to tell any story, anywhere, with no prior preparation or study. This course is grounded in a diametrically opposed notion: that intelligent reporting about the foreign is predicated upon self-awareness of one’s own cultural particularity and an active interest in the perspective and voice of “the other.” Students in the course will have an opportunity to write in a variety of modes -- factual reportage, op-ed, review, analysis -- about people and places that take them beyond their own immediate experience. The intent is to use reporting to enlarge the area of personal experience, thus enabling students to become more conscious of, and to move beyond, cultural assumptions, presuppositions, and prejudices. The instructor, who began a decade of international reporting as a cultural stranger among the peoples he wrote about, will draw on this formative experience in leading workshop members through their initial encounters as writers with the problem of knowing the other.
This course in long-form journalism, English 160, required of all jouralistic writing minors, will focus on the most revolutionary period in contemporary journalism--the 1960s, when writers such as Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Gay Talese, Anthony Lukas, Norman Mailer, and Thomas B. Morgan vastly expanded the possibilities of non-fiction. Dubbed "the new journalism," its practitioners adapted certain aspects of the novel (scenes, dialogue, structure) in order to better tell true-life stories. Students in this course will read extensively, to understand how these breakthrough writers have profoundly influenced the long-form journalism of today and will be asked to write a long-form journalistic piece, using many elements of the form.
The Art of the Profile
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.
Advanced Writing Projects in Art and Popular Culture
This advanced course in writing about the arts and popular culture is limited in enrollment (by permission of the instructor) and intended for students who wish to concentrate on specific aspects of their writing -- whether as critics, essayists or profile writers. Occasional meetings of the full group will concentrate on issues relevant to all aspects of arts-and-culture writing, while meetings with individual students will focus and help realize the larger individual projects that will constitute the course's main work. Readings for the course will be geared specifically to the interests of the students who have been selected, and will be drawn from work that is appearing at that time in journalistic publications, both in print (for example, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker) and online (Slate, Salon and sites of similar quality). Ideally, applicants will have already taken 117.301 with the instructor, but that is not a firm pre-requisite and other students should absolutely feel free to apply.Please send an email describing your interest to ADecurtis@aol.com
Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop
Whether you’re a new or experienced writer, this seminar will help you explore the elements that go into creating an effective memoir —the storytelling that creates for your readers events/people/places that have helped shape your inner life and sense of self. Memory is a dynamic force, and as we move and grow through our lives, our perspectives shift and change our relationships with the past. Through exercises and assignments, you will tap into your imagination and learn not only how to explore the mysteries that have helped to shape your own life and others' lives, but how to write vividly about them. We will focus on details, pace, and tone, as well as on research and revision and the ethics of how to write “truths” that may effect other people’s lives. We also will mine a deeper understanding of the art and craft by writing from a wide range of authors, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Kaye Gibbons, Jorge Luis Borges, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, James Baldwin, and Zora Neale Hurston. In addition to in-class writing, students are asked to a maintain a daily practice of free-writing; write reading responses (2-3 pages weekly) to assigned books, essays, and stories; participate in workshop discussions and peer review, and write and revise three stories or personal essays (4-5 pages) during the semester.