Graduate Courses, Spring 2009

English 502: Writers on Writing
Professor Lewis Warsh
Mondays 6:20 - 8:30 pm

The course will offer readings and discussions with prominent fiction writers and poets. The writers will meet with us weekly during the course of the semester. The purpose of the course is to give students a chance to interact with and question a diverse range of visiting guest writers about their processes and techniques in an effort to expand and further develop the student's own writing. As with all of our process courses, the goal is to learn--in this case, first-hand--from other writers and their writings in order to better inform our sense of what it means to be a poet or fiction writer in 2009.

In addition to reading at least one book by each visiting writer, the students are required to submit a reading journal at the end of the semester and to complete all the writing assignments. These assignments will evolve from the ideas and techniques of the visiting writers and from our class discussions. On days when there are no visitors we will read and discuss our own work.

The Visiting Writers for this semester are Bernadette Mayer, Paul Beatty, Bill Berkson, Lynne Tillman, Kristin Prevallet, Renee Gladman, Anselm Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Patricia Spears Jones and Linh Dinh.

The schedule is as follows:

Jan 26 no visitor
Feb 2 Bernadette Mayer, The State Poetry Forest
Feb 9 Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle
Feb 17 Bill Berkson, Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently
Feb 23 no visitor
March 2 Lynne Tillman, American Genius
March 9 Kristin Prevallet; I, Afterlife: Essay In Mourning Time
March 16 Spring Break
March 23 Renee Gladman, Newcomer Can’t Swim
March 30 Anselm Berrigan, Zero Star Hotel
April 6 Gloria Frym, Solution Simulacra
April 13 no visitor
April 20 Patricia Spears Jones, Femme du Monde
April 27 Linh Dinh, American Tatts
May 4 no visitor

Bios of the Visiting Writers

Bernadette Mayer is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including Midwinter Day,Studying HungerMemoryA Bernadette Mayer ReaderProper NameScarlet Tanager and Another Smashed Pinecone. A new book of poems, The Poetry State Forest, is forthcoming from New Directions. She has co-edited the journals 0-9 and United Artists. She was the director of The Poetry Project in New York from 1980-84.

Paul Beatty is the author of three novels, The White Boy ShuffleTuff and Slumberland; and two books of poems, Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. In 1990 he was crowned the first ever Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Café and has performed on MTV and PBS (in the series The United States of Poetry). He is also the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor.

Bill Berkson, poet and art critic, long associated with the New York School of poets, is the author of sixteen books of poetry--including SerenadeBlue is the HeroOur Friends Will Pass Among You SilentlyFugue State, and Hymns of St. Bridget (in collaboration with Frank O'Hara)--and two volumes of art cricitism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism and Sudden Addresses. He is a contributing editor for Art and America and was Paul Mellon Fellow for 2006 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1984. His Selected Poems is forthcoming in 2009.

Lynne Tillman is a novelist, short story writer and cultural critic. She is the author of five novels--Haunted HousesMotion SicknessCast in DoubtNo Lease on Life, and American Genius; a book of stories,Absence Makes the Heart; and a book of essays, The Broad Picture. She was a 2006 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is currently Professor/Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English at SUNY Albany.

Kristin Prevallet is a poet and essayist. Her books include PerturbationMy Sister: A Study of Max Ernst's Hundred Headless WomanScratch SidesShadow Evidence Intelligence, and I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning. She is the editor of A Helen Adam Reader: Selected Poems and Collages and Music, published by The National Poetry Foundation, and is founder and former editor of the journal Apex of the M. She has taught at Bard College, the New School, Naropa University, and currently at St. John's University in Queens.

Renee Gladman, born in Atlanta, Ga. in 1971, is a poet, fiction writer and the editor of Leroy Works, a book publishing project devoted to innovative writing. Her own books include ArlemNot Right Now,JuiceThe Activist, and most recently Newcomer Can't Swim. She is Assistant Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University.
Anselm Berrigan is a poet and teacher who was raised and lives in New York City's East Village. His recent publications include Have A Good One (Cy Press, 2008), Some Notes on My Programming(Edge, 2006) and Zero Star Hotel (Edge, 2002). To Hell with Sleep, a twenty-page poem written just after the birth of his daughter in late 2007 will be published in early 2009 by Letter Machine Editions. Berrigan was Artistic Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church from 2003-2007 and co-edited, with Alice Notley and Edmund Berrigan, The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (U. of California, 2005). He currently teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and at Bard College's summer MFA program.

Gloria Frym is a poet and fiction writer. Her most recent books of poetry are The Lost Sappho Poems(Effing Press, 2007) and Solution Simulacra (United Artists Books, 2006). A previous collection of poems,Homeless at Home (Creative Arts Book Company), won an American Book Award in 2002. She is also the author of two critically acclaimed collections of short stories--Distance No Object (City Lights Books), and How I Learned (Coffee House Press)--as well as several other volumes of poetry, including By Ear(Sun & Moon Press); Back to Forth (The Figures); Impossible Affection (Christopher's Books); and a book of interviews, Second Stories: Conversations with Women Artists (Chronicle Books). She is a recipient of two Fund for Poetry Awards, the Walter & Elise Haas Creative Work Fund Grant, the San Francisco State University Poetry Center Book Award, and several California Arts Council grants to teach poetry writing to jail inmates. From 1987 to 2002, she was core faculty in the Poetics Program at New College of California in San Francisco. She is Associate Professor in the MFA and BA Writing & Literature Programs at California College of the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Patricia Spears Jones is a poet, playwright, cultural commentator. She is author of two poetry collections,Femme du Monde and The Weather That Kills; and two chapbooks, Repuestas! and Mythologizing Always. She edited the literary magazine, W.B., co-edited Ordinary Women: New York City Women Poets, and serves as contributing editor to Bomb and Heliotrope. Mabou Mines commissioned "The Brooklyn Song" for Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting, and the play Mother,which premiered at La Mama ETC. She has taught at the Parsons School of Design and Sarah Lawrence. She served on poetry and literary panels at the 9th National Black Writers Conference, Medgar Evers College, and the 16th Gwendolyn Brooks Conference at Chicago State University.

Linh Dinh was born in Vietnam in 1963 and came to the US in 1975. He is the author of two collections of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004); four books of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006) and Jam Alerts (2007); with a novel,Love Like Hate, scheduled to be released in 2009 by Seven Stories Press. . Linh Dinh is also the editor of the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and Three Vietnamese Poets(2001); and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker: The Poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). His poems and stories have been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read his works all over the US, London, Cambridge, Paris, Berlin and Reykjavik. He has also published widely in Vietnamese.

English 520: Creative Non-Fiction Writing Workshop
The Art of the Real
Visiting Professor: Jaime Manrique
Thursdays, 4:10 -6:00 pm

Nonfiction differs from fiction in that the overriding aim of the nonfiction writer is to unearth the truth, using observation and deduction as two of his main tools. The nonfiction writer seeks to create a piece of writing that can be as compelling, as poetic, and as beautifully shaped as the best fiction--in other words, to create a work of art. Nonfiction goes beyond journalism (although it can use many of its techniques) in that it is at its best when it is most personal, when the reader senses the writer standing behind every sentence she writes.

Students will write memoirs, profiles, and literary or political personal essays. We will also devote part of each workshop to the discussion of a classic essay. Particular emphasis will be placed on revision. Required text: The Art of the Personal Essay, edited and with an introduction by Phillip Lopate. Enrollment limited to 12 students.

Jaime Manrique was born in Colombia. His first book of poems, Los adoradores de la luna, received his country's National Book Award. In Spanish, he also wrote a volume of stories, and a collection of film reviews. He has written four novels in English: Our Lives Are the RiversTwilight at the EquatorLatin Moon in Manhattan, and Colombian Gold-- translated to many languages. Manrique is the author of the volumes of poems My Night with Federico García LorcaTarzan, My Body, Christopher Columbus;Sor Juana's Love Poems, co-translated with Joan Larkin; and the memoir Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me. His reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewSalon,Washington Post Book WorldBOMB, and many other publications. Among his honors are grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He has worked as an associate professor in the M.F.A. program in writing at Columbia University from 2002 to the present. He's a member of the Board of Trustees of PEN American Center, and he chairs the Open Book Committee.

English 523: Fiction Writing Workshop
Writing Through the Eyes of Another
Professor Lewis Warsh
Wednesdays, 4:10 -6:00 pm

How can we imagine characters who are the opposite genders as ourselves? Although Gustav Flaubert often exclaimed "Je suis Madame Bovary," how close did he really come to getting into the head and heart of a woman? The workshop will focus on how we write about what we don't know--not only from the point of view of gender, but class and ethnic backgrounds as well. Every week I will pose questions and assign writing exercises and readings that explode (and explore) the limitations of the self as subject matter. We will look at texts by Marguerite Duras, Roberto Bolaño, W.G. Sebald, Lydia Davis, Clarice Lispector and Jack Kerouac among others. The assignments will point towards the possible variousness of characters and the multiple points of view that can appear in a work of fiction. Much of the class time will be spent reading our work as well as discussing our ongoing projects as fiction writers.

English 524: Poetry Writing Workshop
Professor John High
Thursdays, 6:10 -8:30 pm
Coming Back To The Line
As Place in Poetry

Poetry has always served as a place for expression that cannot be uttered in prose, in stories or essays, and in the 20th Century it became refuge for the mapping of language outside of film and other visual mediums as well. The unsayable as home to poetry: the line, that essential music of the poem, is often (as with its cousin in prose, the sentence) neglected in the larger discussions of the meaning and underlying technique or structure of poetry. Yet from Homer, Sappho, and Li Po through Shakespeare and Yeats up to contemporary masters of poetic expression, the line itself exposes the poem's inner mechanics and elusive mystery. Its sculpting allows the inclusiveness of vastly differing voices, traditions, lineages, and movements. In mapping the geography and music of the line, we will road trip together and make linguistic discoveries of time, meaning, and emotion. Without a heightened awareness of the line, our own poems suffer the delusion of endless repetitions and received language.

The focus of our workshop will be on the line then, which is not to say that our discussions will not include every aspect of craft. Rather, we will begin by looking closely at each line in every stanza and study how the line is or isn't facilitating the poem's entry into the larger context we are striving to reveal in our work. We'll look at other poets ranging from the ancient to the contemporary: Homer, Sappho, Shakespeare, Arthur Rimbaud, George Oppen, Louis Zukofsky, Emily Dickinson, Paul Celan, Wallace Stevens, H.D., Osip Mandelstam, Aimé Césaire, Edmond Jabes, C.D. Wright, Roberto Bolaño, Alice Notley, Akilah Oliver, Nina Iskrenko, Norma Cole, Renee Gladman, Ivan Zhdanov, Cole Swensen, Simon Pettet, Norma Cole, Will Alexander, Forest Gander, and Fanny Howe, among others.

In the book you are writing, what underlies the voice, time, being and place of the work? We'll begin here and discuss the act of writing poetry as one of risk-taking and investigation, of reinventing poetic language in our own discoveries as we let our poems become truly our own and something new in this act.

A final chapbook, consisting of all your new, edited poems, is due at the end of the semester. We will also schedule a party and reading of our work at The Bowery Poetry Club.

English 525: Playwriting Workshop II
Professor Jessica Hagedorn
Wednesdays, 6:10 -8:30 pm

In this workshop, we will continue to explore what it means to compose and revise scenes for the theatre, how to create characters who engage and surprise us, how to develop an ear for the poetry of ordinary speech and develop an appreciation for the power of silence. Expect in-class writing and visualization exercises, close readings and discussions of plays, monologues and excerpted scenes by major contemporary playwrights; expect to write a five-to-ten minute piece to be performed, using your fellow students as actors. Field trip to one Off-Broadway play, TBA. Registration limited.

English 527: Professional Writing Workshop
Professor Michael Bokor
Thursdays, 6:10 - 8:30 pm

This course is recommended to students looking for opportunities to improve their own styles to be able to function more effectively in academic, creative, and professional writing.

You may be familiar with the rhetorical concept of "style", and you may have your own "style" of writing. Such texts as a student's one-paragraph essay, a business letter, and a laboratory report have "style" just as does a novel by Dickens, a play by Shakespeare, or a poem by Milton. The writer cannot choose between using "style" and leaving it out of the discursive event. But what exactly is "style" and where does it come from? What is valued as "style"?

Focusing on the role of the English language in discursive practices in both the Western and non-Western world, this course explores the cultural, theoretical, and practical perspectives of style. It examines this concept and seeks to help students explore possibilities for understanding fully the relationship between language, culture, and personality and how these forces converge to define and shape the writer's style. The course is designed to help students examine the factors that determine an author's choice of style (manner--or the how) and how that choice affects the substance (matter--or the what), the audience, and the entire communicative event.

Some of the pertinent questions that will drive teaching and learning in this course include:

1) Is style "innocent" or is it the reflection of the personality, taste, and experience of the author of the text? Or is it the reflection of the culture of the writer's society? Is it true that style is the author or the author's society in disguise?

2) Does style exist on its own, independent of the author? Before the work, in the work, or outside it?

3) What shapes style? Is it the author's purpose and attitude to the audience?
Students will interrogate the functions of style and learn the numerous ways in which authors adapt their expressions (texts) to their purposes. They will also learn how to appreciate style within the context of genre-specific discourses and how to use that knowledge to improve their own style(s).

English 624: West Indian Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance
Professor Louis Parascandola
Mondays, 4:10 -6:00 pm

Anglophone (English-speaking) Caribbean immigrants played a vital, if often neglected, role during the Harlem Renaissance, an important literary and cultural movement between 1917-1935. There were, in fact, over 36,000 foreign born Blacks, mostly West Indians, in Harlem in 1920. These immigrants, despite often facing severe discrimination, had a significant effect on American culture and history. We will discuss Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, particularly examining essays (and poems) defining his role as a facilitator of the Harlem Renaissance/New Negro movements. We will also study fiction and poetry by Claude McKay, one of the seminal figures of the Harlem Renaissance, fiction by Nella Larsen (of West Indian ancestry), short stories by Eric Walrond, fiction/essays by J.A. Rogers and Amy Jacques Garvey (Marcus' second wife), and drama by Eulalie Spence, the only Harlem Renaissance woman playwright to set her work primarily in Harlem. Finally, we will discuss the views of leading African Americans--including W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Rudolph Fisher--on these pioneering immigrants. Readings will include McKay's novel Home to Harlem, Larsen's novel Quicksand, Rogers' mixed genre From "Superman" to Man, and selections from the anthology "Look for Me all Around You": Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance. Assignments include several short papers (2-3 pages), an oral presentation, and a longer (12-15 pages) term project.

English 643: Shakespeare
Professor Jonathan Haynes
Tuesdays, 6:10 -8:00 pm

This course will provide an overview of Shakespeare's dramatic career, looking for the coherence of his artistic vision as it unfolds through the forms of comedy, history play, tragedy, and romance, and setting him in his historical context. Themes of particular interest will include the figure of the stranger or outsider, the representation of politics, the gendered character of heroism, and the role of women. We will read The Comedy of ErrorsA Midsummer Night's DreamHenry IV Part IHenry VThe Merchant of Venice,OthelloKing LearAntony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest.

English 700: Practicum in the Teaching of Writing
Professor Donald McCrary
Thursdays, 4:10 -6:00 pm
This course prepares graduate English students to teach in the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Program by examining the theories and practices that guide the program, including social constructionism, process writing, portfolio assessment, and thematic course-design; and applying those theories and practices to the creation of a viable English 16 syllabus. In addition, the course will explore managing the classroom, creating/integrating reading and writing assignments, responding to student texts, teaching grammar, organizing/facilitating teacher-student conferences, and addressing the linguistic issues of a multicultural student population.

Possible texts for the course might include Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts by Anthony Petrosky and David Batholomae, The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing by Cheryl Glenn et al., and Portfolio Assessment in the Reading and Writing Classroom by Robert J. Tierney, Mark A. Carter, and Laura E. Desai.

English 707: Methods and Criticism
Professor Maria McGarrity
Tuesdays, 4:10 -6:00 pm

This Methods of Research and Criticism course, subtitled informally as "The Global Caribbean," will focus its keen critical eye on Derek Walcott's pan-Caribbean epic verse novel, Omeros. During the term, students will analyze the structure, rhyme, and organization of the work at the same time that students investigate the global cultural matrix that creates this work. Students will be individually assigned sections of the novel for close reading, to compile footnotes as appropriate, and obtain related cultural artifacts, but will also write a more comprehensive critical essay on the entire work of approximately 20 pages, using the theoretical lens of their choice. In a group, students will integrate their individual work for a presentation to the seminar of a critical edition for Walcott's masterpiece. We will pay special attention to theories of Gender/Sexuality, Postcolonialism, and New Historicism during the term. Please note, students will be evaluated individually but will be asked to work in a spirit of good citizenship as a member of a larger group.


Individual Presentation 15%
Individual Paper/Research materials 45%
Group Critical Edition/Presentation 30%
Participation 10%

LIU English Department Book Scholarship for Spring 2009

The English department gives out FIVE $100 award certificates for books every spring and fall semester. A student may win the award multiple times in different semesters. Apply now!


• The student must be registered for an upper-division course in English (numbered 100 and above) for Spring 2009. Majors and non-majors are welcome.

Pick up an application in the ENG Department today!

You will need to give the following information on the application:

Student name
Student ID
Email & phone contact
Your Major at LIU
List of all English courses you have taken at LIU Brooklyn

Then you must put your application in Wayne Berninger’s mail box, English Department, 4th Floor, Humanities Building.

The Book Scholarship program is generously funded by Barnes&Noble, through the Brooklyn Campus Bookstore.
English Department Holiday Party!

Thursday, December 11, 4:00 pm
(immediately following the faculty meeting from 3-4).

Please plan to bring something in one of the following categories:

*Main dish

*Finger foods (veggies and dip, chips and salsa, humus and pita, etc.)

*Beverages (soft drinks, beer, wine, cider)

*Desserts (NOT deserts!)

*Paper goods

Let Sealy Gilles know what you wish to bring. She & Karen Errar will manage the list.