Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2004

English 104.001
Creative Writing Workshop
Professor Barbara Henning
Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:30 to 2:45 pm

In this writing workshop, students will read, study, and write poetry and short stories. During the first half of each workshop, we will discuss examples of poems and stories. Then I will provide a specific assignment for the following workshop. The main text for the remaining class time will be student writing; we will workshop each poem and story, helping each other improve each others' drafts. The emphasis will be on form and structure, especially learning to be particular with writing, rather than general, including images and detail in both stories and poems. A midterm and final portfolio will include revised poems and stories, as well as a review of learning and a self-evaluation. There will be a packet of assignments and Xeroxed fiction. Recommended text: The Handbook of Poetic Forms.

English 104.002: Creative Writing workshop
Professor Lewis Warsh
Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

The goal of the workshop is to expand our ideas of "what is a poem" and what is "a work of fiction." Are poetry and fiction exclusive or related genres? Weekly assignments will question preconceived notions of form, content and gender, with emphasis on the best ways to transcribing thought processes and experiences into writing. Work by Marguerite Duras, Ted Berrigan, Frank O'Hara, William Carlos Williams, Lydia Davis, Lyn Hejinian, Elizabeth Bishop and Andre Breton and others will be discussed in class, and used as models, but much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing our own writing. A final portfolio of work will be required.

English 126: News Writing (cross-listed as JOU 119)
Professor Michael Bush (Journalism Department)
Section 1: Mondays & Wednesday, 6:00 to 7:50 pm
Section 2: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 to 4:50 pm

English 129: British Literature II
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:30 to 2:45 pm

Love is at once arguably the noblest human affect and one of the most complex social, emotional, and spiritual phenomena. What happens when this intangible bundle of emotions called love is put into printed words? Beside empirically asking "what can literature teach us about love (or hate)?" this course will explore the poetics, the philosophy, and (yes) the politics of love and romance in British literary texts from 1850 to the present. Specifically, we will analyze the gendering of discourses about love, sex, and marriage and ask ourselves how social norms for expressing affection are reinforced or, alternatively, subverted by literary artists. The assigned texts draw on poetry, drama, and fiction by male and female writers including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Oscar Wilde, Rebecca West, Graham Greene, Iris Murdoch, Ian McEwan, and others. Alongside the primary texts, we will consider the work of theorists on love such as Martin Bergmann and Denis the Rougemont; we will also consider the historical aspects of our theme.

English 150: African-American Literature
Professor Carol Allen
Mondays & Wednesdays, 3:00 to 4:15 pm

This is a survey that covers African American Literature from the eighteenth century to the present. We will concentrate on three vital and prolific periods (each period forms a unit): nineteenth century abolitionist doctrines and slave narratives; poems and narratives from the Harlem Renaissance (roughly 1919-1936); and contemporary (post-War) texts that include novels, plays, rhetoric, and poetry. Writers to be studied are Douglass, Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Brooks, Ellison, Walker, Morrison, and more. In addition to literary texts, readings also include critical and historical essays that will provide background and contextual information that make the actual fiction/testimonies more meaningful.

English 159: Literature of the U.S. II
Professor Leah Dilworth
Tuesdays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

This course will explore American literature from the Civil War to the present through the theme “The Country and the City.” We will examine the historical circumstances of migrations and urban expansion from the Civil War to the present and the ways writers have responded to and informed the nation’s understandings of these developments. In the literature we read, we will examine imaginings of the primitive and the cosmopolitan as well as representations of regional and urban life. Readings will be drawn from the literatures of the “local color” movement of the late nineteenth century, the Harlem Renaissance, and contemporary writers.

English 169: Buddhism and Asian Literature
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Wednesdays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

Here the divine meets the earthly: the course will trace two lines of development and explore the impact of the former on the latter. The first line of development is that of Buddhism, which arose out of the spiritual ferment of Vedic India during the centuries after 700 BC, and, as it spread across Asia, diverged into different schools and took on new identities. (To create a larger historical context, other relevant belief systems will be introduced by watching videos or reading excerpts.) The second line of development is the part of Asian literature developed under the influence of Buddhism. Some of these literary texts (novels, essays, and poetry) are imbued with pious Buddhist sentiments and faith, while others are ambivalent and probing. Most of the texts are translations from texts originally written for Chinese or Japanese readers, yet a few were composed in English by western authors for the western audience. The parallel reading of Buddhist texts and literature is intended to shed light on the constructive nature of literature, each as a unique inflection of prevalent ideologies and the cultural milieu of the time.

Texts include The World of the Buddha (Stryk), Essays in Zen Buddhism (Suzuki), Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu), Literature of Asia (Barnstone), Laughing Lost in the Mountain (Barnstone, et. al.), A Dream of Red Mansions (Tsao and Kao), and The Woman in the Dunes (Kobo).
90% of the course grade is decided by the holistic quality of the final portfolio composed of five reading journal entries, two in-class essays, a paper of 3-4 pages developed from one of the in-class essays, and a longer 8-9 page research paper.

English 173: Writing in the Community: The "Our Legacies" Project
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Meeting times to be arranged with instructor.

This course brings together nonfiction writing, oral histories, and urban education in a community project in Brooklyn. Students will learn how to conduct oral histories and archival research as part of a semester-long project at P.S. 295, The Studio School of Arts and Culture; and M.S. 827, New Voices. The course will involve site-specific fieldwork and writing about architecture, education, and family histories. Students will have an opportunity to work in a unique collaboration among parents, teachers, and middle school and elementary school-age children. Together we will conduct a study of the crisscrossing paths of immigrants, then and now. Oral histories with the diverse school population will form the basis of one legacy we will be tracing; and using archival records, we will try as well to reconstruct the lives of families a hundred years ago. In addition, we will tell the stories of the two schools presently occupying the building and of the one-year-old school library.

The various forms of research conducted will provide material for photo-essays (and other documentation) representing the four interweaving strands of the school's legacies: the 100-year-old building, the two present schools, the library, and the families a hundred years ago and today. At a culminating exhibit at the school in June 2004, "Our Legacies: Who We Are, Where We're From," will display students' photo-essays and celebrate the completion of the project with a public reception. Course texts will include Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloane's Crossing the BoulevardThe Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson; and Harvey Wang's New York.

English 190: Senior Seminar
Professor Maria McGarrity
Mondays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25 pages) on a topic of their choosing. Students will use a range of research resources and write a formal proposal, a first draft, and a final draft of the paper. Students will also read and critique each other's work. Required reading will include essays on research methods and writing as well as Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, with selected critical essays and source materials.

Required texts: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Gibaldi, ed. 6th Edition; Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid, Understanding Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents, Mistron.

Grades: Class Participation-15%; Presentation-15%; Research Paper-70%.

English 233: Arthurian Literature from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-first Century
Professor Sealy Gilles
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:00 to 4:15 pm

Arthurian Literature is an exploration of the literature of King Arthur and his court from the early Celtic Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. As we study the enduring story of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, we shall also investigate the historical origins of the Arthur legend, the chivalric tradition and its impact on gender and class relationships then and now, and the role of fantasy and magic in a story, which has endured for over a thousand years. Issues of legitimacy and the use of public power also resonate in this literature and some of our explorations will touch on the use of the Camelot myth in the Kennedy administration and the incarnations of Camelot on stage and screen. Texts include medieval stories such as Tristan and Iseult and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, extracts from Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King, and modern versions, both satiric (Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court) and feminist (Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon).

Graduate Courses, Spring 2004

English 520
Non-Fiction Writing Workshop

Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Wednesdays, 6:10 to 8:00 pm

This course will focus on writing the personal essay. The first few weeks will be devoted to reading personal essays by established authors and analyzing their form, their style, the rhetorical strategies they employ, and their use of language. Then we will move on to a workshop format in which students' essays are read and discussed in detail. Each student will be expected to produce two developed 10-15 page personal essays (or one longer piece) by the end of the term. Readings will include works by Philip Lopate, George Orwell, Mary McCarthy, James Baldwin, Vivian Gornick, Patricia Williams, Adrienne Rich, Virginia Woolf, Edward Said, Ellen Willis, Gayle Pemberton, Richard Rodriguez, and others.

English 523: Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor Barbara Henning
Tuesdays, 6:10 to 8:00 PM

In this workshop we will explore different approaches for writing short fiction, especially examining narrative voice and how point of view affects the development of character, plot, and the relationship with the reader. While most of the workshop will be spent on developing craft through critiquing student writing, a portion of each week will also be devoted to discussing published short stories and essays on the poetics of fiction. The anthology for the course will be Ann Charters' The Story and Its Writer.

English 525: Playwriting Workshop
Katt Lissard
Mondays, 4:10 to 6:00 pm

This course will be divided into three parts. We'll begin with an introduction to the history and basics of dramatic writing, starting with Aristotle's Poetics and assessing sections of two different texts and approaches to writing for the theatre: The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lejos Egri and David Ball's Backwards and Forwards. The second phase of the workshop will focus on scene and character development, through a series of written exercises and assignments, as each student begins drafting a one-act play. The final section of the course will be devoted to workshopping each student's play-in-progress. Ongoing discussion of playwriting craft, theory, and form will be directly related to the individual needs of participating student playwrights and the work each student is developing. Along with the texts mentioned above, we'll be reading several plays and using Keith Johnstone's Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre as an ongoing resource.

Katt Lissard's most recent play, Water: An Illustrated Journal, was created through a Mabou Mines Resident Artist Award. Her work has been seen at a variety of venues, including: Dixon Place, HERE, NYU's Experimental Theatre Wing, the ArcLight, St. Mark's in the Bowery, BACA Downtown and the Circle Rep. Lab. She teaches in the Interdisciplinary Masters Program at Goddard College and at SUNY's Empire State College in Manhattan. Grants include: Art Matter, Inc., the Lotta Crabtree Theatrical Fund, Money for Women, the Colgate South Africa Fund, and the Heidtke Foundation. She's an Affiliate Artist of New Georges Theatre Company, a member of the former Circle Rep. Lab., an Auditor for NYSCA's Theatre Program, and a MacDowell Colony Fellow.

English 529: Seminar in Creative Writing: Visiting Writers Series

(Students register for 529 and attend three successive sections, each one credit).

English 529 did not hold this semester, but the Provost has agreed to bring the visiting writers to campus for three one-day workshops on experimental poetry writing. Everyone is welcome to take these workshops. You can take one or two or all three. If you attend all three and you would like, you can receive one free credit. The workshops will be held on Saturdays from 10-12 and from 1-4 pm. The experience will involve reading, writing, listening, and responding to poetry. All are welcome, including those who are experienced poets, as well as beginners. There will be a cap at 25, so please register in advance.

If you are interested in attending these workshops, contact Barbara Henning.

The tentative dates for the workshops are as follows:

Anne Waldman, Saturday, 3/27
Maureen Owen, Saturday, 4/10
David Henderson, Saturday, 4/24.

Section One: All Ten Directions-Experiments of Attention
Anne Waldman
Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
1/23 to 2/20

We will be working with experiments of attention involving documentation, dream, cross genre, collaboration and performance, as well as with our political consciousness of the present moment and how to translate this into writing. Weekly writing and reading assignments.

(Anne Waldman is the author of over thirty books of poetry including Fast Speaking WomanKill or CureIOVIS, and Marriage: A Sentence. A book of her essays, Vow to Poetry, appeared in 2001. She is the editor of numerous anthologies, including The Beat BookDisembodied Poetics, and The Angel Hair Anthology, which she co-edited with Lewis Warsh. She is co-founder, with Allen Ginsberg, of the Jack Kerouac School of Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, CO.)

Section Two: Working Papers--Writing Under the Influence
Maureen Owen
Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
2/27 to 4/3

To be inspired is to be influenced by. When developing a body of work of one's own, it is essential to create out of the inspiration of one's predecessors. The focus of this class will be to write under the influence of the poetics of four such studied writers: Lorine Niedecker (Wisconsin), Frederico Garcia Lorca (Spain), Anne-Marie Albiach (France), and Vladimir Mayakovsky (Russia). The poets included come from divergent politics and geographies and work in styles substantially different from one another. We will take an investigative look at each poet's biography with specific attention to "place" and the politics of the time as a starting point to understanding the work. The students will consider how they can expand their own work by experimenting with the particulars of the poet being discussed. The students will then focus on their own writing as inspired by our discoveries.

Section Three: Poetry Workshop
David Henderson
Thursdays, 6:10 to 8:00 pm
4/10 to 5/1

The important thing is wanting to achieve, to succeed in making a serious connection with someone else, a quality, a philosophy, an institution, an object, or ones' self--a goal. My definition of poetry is broad and I believe in the right of the individual to persist in and extend and preserve their own mystery even within the criticism of others, including the almighty teacher. We will also look at prose and may work with prose as another form of poetry. We will look at other forms of poetry such as lyrics, raps, spoken work form (ats) or even simple lines in and of themselves. We will practice exercises and routines of the poet, and will often listen to each other's works in progress.

(Born in Harlem, David Henderson grew up in Harlem and the Bronx, lived in California for several years, and now resides in downtown Manhattan. He is the author of several books of poetry including De Mayor of HarlemNeo-California, and 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, a biography of Jimi Hendrix, and he is the writer, producer, and director of the audio documentary Bob Kaufman, Poet. His musical credits include the lyrics to Love In Outerspace, music by Sun Ra. He is winner of several poetry awards. His extensive tours have taken him to California, New York, and Europe at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall (Sing Out for Peace) to the Greek Theater (Berkley Jazz Festival) to Poesie/Napoli and The Schweppes Urban Mix Festival in Madrid. He has taught at the University of California, Berkley and San Diego, City College of New York and Naropa, and most recently, at the New School and the St. Mark's Poetry Project.)

English 620: Theories in Teaching of Writing
Professor Donald McCrary
Tuesdays, 6:10 to 8:00 pm

This course examines theories of rhetoric and composition, particularly as they relate to teaching students of writing. Exploring seminal ideas from the Sophists to the postmodernists, the course will investigate historical, political, and social considerations that undergird specific theories of rhetoric and composition, including the ideologies that influence both the production and performance of oral and written texts. Each theory discussed will be connected to the problem of helping students write more effectively inside and outside the classroom; for example, we will discuss the efficacy of social epistemic rhetoric, service learning, and other "post process" theories in the writing classroom, in particular for other-literate students who might resent or reject academic discourse. Texts for the course may include the following: Patricia Bizzell, "Hybrid Academic Discourses: What, Why, How?"; Thomas Kent, Post-Process Theory: Beyond the Writing Process Paradigm; Ira Shor,Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change; Erika Lindemann, A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers; Lester Faigley, Fragments of Rationality: Postmodernity & the Subject of Composition; and Keith Gilyard, Race, Rhetoric, and Composition.

English 624: American Nature Writing from Walden Pond to the East River
Professor Michael Bennett
Mondays, 6:10 to 8:00 pm

Ecocriticism, which might loosely be defined as the study of the mutually constructing relationship between culture and the environment, has recently developed from a sparsely populated area of study into a busy intersection of cultural analysis, literary criticism, and environmental studies. We will stand at this intersection to see what we can learn about the relationship between ecology and American culture by studying the history and theory of nature writing in the United States. Beginning with 19th-century essays by famous (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau) and not-so-famous (William Bartram, Susan Fenimore Cooper) American authors, we will then venture into 20th century American nature writing (including works by Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, Annie Dillard, Aldo Leopold, and Barry Lopez). We will also read essays about these writers in The Ecocriticism Reader. After surveying the terrain of European-American nature writing, we will turn to the inhabitants of cultural landscapes that have been largely ignored by mainstream ecocriticism, focusing on urban environments and writing by people of color. Among the authors we will read are Frederick Douglass, Audre Lorde, and Leslie Marmon Silko, accompanied by many of the essays collected in The Nature of Cities. The ultimate goal of the course is that we both appreciate the insights and challenge the limitations of American nature writing and ecocriticism.

Texts: Bennett, Michael and David W. Teague, eds. The Nature of Cities: Ecocriticism and Urban Environments; Dixon, Terrill, ed. City Wilds; Douglass, Frederick, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Finch, Robert and John Elder, eds. The Norton Book of Nature Writing; Glotfelty, Cheryl and Harold Fromm, eds. The Ecocriticism Reader; Lorde, Audre, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name; and Silko, Leslie Marmon, Ceremony.

Requirements: Active participation in class discussions; weekly responses to the reading; a class presentation; a research paper.

English 636: Postcolonial Literature Theory
Professor Huma Ibrahim
Tuesdays, 4:10 to 6:00 pm

The class on postcolonial literature and theory will be an examination of the crucial years of the changes that took place on the imperialist map of Africa and Asia and the issues that related to this dynamic change!

These changes occurred because of nationalist movements that demanded the ouster of imperialist governments, mainly British and French, but also some Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. The people and the movements that represented them wanted autonomy and self-government in these geographical areas. In large part they were successful in this endeavor. However, with the new sorts of world economies, Africa and Asia continued to be, as Walter Rodney would say, "underdeveloped."

The literature and theory we are going to read roughly covers the last fifty years of the last century. This course will deal with theories that postcolonial scholars have fostered and developed in order to understand the whole experience of colonialism and its aftermath as well as the literature that engages with those problems.

We will read literature specifically from Africa, Western and Southern Africa in particular, as well as literature from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka and simultaneously look at the theory that engages with that literature as well as larger problems of the developing world. For the theory I will probably get one of a few postcolonial readers in existence and the literature will cover the geographic areas already mentioned.

English 646: Individual and Small Group Writing
Professor Patricia Stephens
Wednesdays, 4:10 to 6:00 pm


(Advanced undergraduate students may enroll with permission of instructor.)
In this class, students will examine the theory and practice of individual and small group writing instruction. We will examine a range of strategies for working with students one-on-one as we locate that work within its various theoretical and historical contexts. Our work will focus on the following: structuring sessions and establishing priorities; assessing, diagnosing, and responding to student writing; strategies for invention, planning, drafting, revising, proofreading, and editing; helping students with grammatical and mechanical concerns; helping students improve reading comprehension; working with ESL students; attending to interpersonal dynamics and cultural and ethnic differences; and tutoring online.

Students who enroll in this course will be required to tutor for one hour per week during the semester at the Writing Center and to audio and/or videotape one session with a student. The taped session will be transcribed and analyzed by the student for use in a self-study. Classes will be conducted as seminars/workshops so that all students have the opportunity to participate in class presentations, mock tutorials, etc. Each student will generate her/his own idea/s for a final written (and/or action) project based on topics of interest during the semester.
Possible texts: Lindemann, A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers; Meyer and Smith, The Practical Tutor; Bouquet, Noise from the Writing Center; Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar; and Murphy and Law, Landmark Essays on Writing Centers.

English 649: Graduate Seminar in the British Lyric
Professor Sealy Gilles
Thursdays, 6:10 to 8:00 pm

The British Lyric explores the history and theory of lyric poetry in the United Kingdom and Ireland from the Middle Ages to the present. Although medieval and early modern lyrics were often written to be sung, our studies will range far beyond those to include a wide range of non-narrative English poetry. We will begin with a working definition of the lyric as a poem that combines musical elements, such as rhythm and assonance, with visual imagery to create a distinctive emotional truth. Our class will study both the visual and aural forms of the amorphous genre, and the "truths" emerging from those formal constructs. Even as we work with theories of the lyric from Aristotle to the romantics to today's performance artists, we shall also pay particular attention to distinctive personal voices as they testify to political struggle, to experiences of loss, and to joy. Although the course is organized in a chronological fashion, each participant will have the opportunity to pursue an individual project centered on a particular poet, school of poetry, or lyric form. This is not a creative writing course, but we will be paying a great deal of attention to technique and performance.