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.

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