MFA Reading Series Events


Two readings by students in the English Department's Creative-Writing MFA Program.

The Sidewalk Cafe
94 Avenue A & Sixth Street

Friday, April 19, 5-7 PM

Michael Grove
Julianne Lavallee
Kia Mills
Elspeth Macdonald
Michael Atkinson
Desiree Rucker
Kaya Arnoux
Tina Barry
Chia-Lun Chang
Asja Parrish
Harry Ewan

Add this event (4/19) to your Google Calendar 

April 26, 5-7 PM

Daniel Owen
Wendi Williams
Lisa Rogal
Liz Dalton
Kyle De Ocera
Amyre Loomis
Evan Thomas
Pamela Arnett
Marita Downes
Shari Seraneau
Tiani Kennedy
Sarah Anne Wallen
Felice Belle

Add this event (4/26) to your Google Calendar

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN Sponsors Cell-phone Photo Contest

Downtown Brooklyn, the literary magazine of the English Department, is sponsoring a cellphone photo contest.

Four winning photos will appear in Issue 22 (September 2013).

We want “interesting” cell-phone photos. Artistic but not necessarily perfect. Be creative. Multiple submissions OK. Abstract OK. Rough edges OK. Filtered OK (think Instagram). Boring not OK.

Actually, now that we think about it, boring is OK, but we should clarify that your photos are not required to relate to lumberjacking.

Note: photos do NOT have to be Brooklyn-related.

YOU must be connected to LIU Brooklyn somehow: student, alumni, current or former faculty, administration, staff. Please say what your affiliation is when you e-mail us.

Send pics as attachments to

Deadline: April 12, 2013.

Tribute to Chinua Achebe

Tuesday April 23
Spector Lounge (H Building, 4th floor) 

The great Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe died this month at the age of 82.  (See his obituary.)  Many of us have read and taught his most famous novel, Things Fall Apart, in our literature classes.  Some of us have read his other works.  His influence on world literature, on other writers, and on millions of students was immense.  The English Department at LIU-Brooklyn would like to pay tribute to him with a reading of excerpts of his work. 

We invite and encourage faculty, students, and any others at LIU who are interested to participate in this reading.  If you would like to read aloud a short excerpt of Achebe’s work—either one of your own choosing, or one that can be selected for you—please contact Harriet Malinowitz at

Please pass this invitation on to students in your classes, and if possible, offer them extra credit to attend the event.  Also, please feel free to recommend to me a favorite passage from Achebe’s work that you would like to read or hear read.

Even if you don’t want to read aloud, please join us for this celebration of a brilliant author’s life.


Add to your Google Calendar. 

Voices of the Rainbow Reading Series: Les Murray

Les Murray

Wednesday, April 17, noon

Health Sciences Building, Room 121

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Voices of the Rainbow Reading Series: Raymond Luczak

Notice: This event with Raymond Luczak has been cancelled. There will be another presentation at the same time by Andriana Alefhi. See here for more information.

Raymond Luczak

Tuesday, April 16, 1:30PM

Humanities Building, Second Floor Lounge

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Voices of the Rainbow Reading Series: Wendy Lee & Joseph Lennon

Wendy Lee & Joseph Lennon

Tuesday, April 2, noon

Library Learning Center, Room 124

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Voices of the Rainbow Event: Danielle Mebert & Felice Belle

Voices of the Rainbow & the English Department invite you to our annual Adjunct/MFA Reading.

Danielle Mebert
Felice Belle

Wednesday, 27 March 2013, 2PM

Robert Spector Lounge, Humanities Building, 4th Floor

Contact Louis Parascandola or Lewis Warsh 718 488 1050.

Add to your Google Calendar. 

Gender Studies Event: Noura Hajjaj

Rethinking Stereotypes and Image-Making of Arab Women

a talk by 

Noura Hajjaj (Marist College)

Sponsored by the LIU Brooklyn Gender Studies Program.

Thursday, March 28, 2013
12-1:15 PM
Library Learning Center, Room 115

Many Arab scholars have rightly scrutinized Western media and Hollywood cinema for negative portrayals of Arab women. Yet a great deal of stereotyping actually stems from the Arab region itself. Examining in particular the role of Arab soap operas—which constitute a very high proportion of Arab television time—guest speaker Noura Hajjaj will address the importance of critiquing images of female victimization and degradation in cultures where people rely heavily on television for entertainment.

Noura Hajjaj currently adjuncts in Arabic cultural studies and communication at Marist College, SUNY New Paltz, and Western Connecticut State University. Prior to her immigration to New York in 2003, she worked at schools affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon and with community services for Palestinian refugee camps
in Lebanese communities.

For more information, contact Harriet Malinowitz (English Department) at or 718 780-4032.

Writing Program Conversations: A Recommended Teaching Resource

Instructors working with the food theme in English 16 might find this video useful. Let us know in the comments.

Undergraduate Courses -- Summer 2013 & Fall 2013

Believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about what classes you want to take next semester!

English Majors — Before you register, please make an appointment to meet with Wayne Berninger to review your outstanding requirements. Then register as early as possible to keep courses from being canceled. Non-Majors — The writing and analytical skills gained in English courses are useful in a variety of professions. Any student may take these courses as general electives. A minor in English (four courses 100 or above) will satisfy the Distribution Requirement for any major. For more information, see Wayne Berninger. Also note —Honors electives taught by English Department faculty may be applied toward the English major in a variety of ways. Please see Wayne Berninger in the English Department before you register in order to confirm which requirement the course may satisfy. These courses may also be applied toward the English minor. 

Summer Session One 2013
May 20 — July 1

English 150 Studies in Ethnic Literatures
Contemporary African American Literature
Professor Carol Allen
Mondays & Wednesdays 2-4:50 PM

This course will satisfy the Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Any student may take ENG 140, 150, 170 or 180 a second time for credit.

This course looks at fictional and nonfictional texts written by African American writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will examine a sampling of works across genres from poetry to drama, the novel, short story, memoir and essay. Possible writers might be drawn from Colson Whitehead, Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, August Wilson, Suzanne Lori-Parks, James Baldwin, Patricia Williams, John Edgar Wideman, Adrienne Kennedy, Octavia Butler, Tracy K. Smith and/or others. Background and historical information will be provided in a short lecture given at the start of the course; thereafter, the class will be student-centered and will include a variety of assignments. Our focus will be on what happens to black language and culture as we transition to a “post-racial” society (of course this term will be scrutinized). Along the way, we will also encounter such concerns as what are the gendered differences, if any, in African American literature; what are the messages that contemporary artists wish to convey; how is vernacular expression relevant to products crafted by contemporary black artists; and what are the politics of writing for an audience that may be unfamiliar with the cultural currency in the text. Assignments will consist of in-class essays, position papers (or other informal writing), leading class discussion, and a final exam.

Fall 2013

English 126 News Writing (taught by Journalism faculty)
Section 1 / Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30-2:55 PM / Professor Jennifer Rauch
Section 2 / Tuesdays 6-8:50 PM / Professor Jennifer Rauch

This course will satisfy a Writing & Rhetoric elective requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Writing & Rhetoric requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Creative Writing concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Please note that this course is cross-listed with JOU 119. Students who wish this course to count toward the English major (or minor) should be sure to register for ENG 126 — not JOU 119. Contact the Journalism Department for information about the content of this course.

English 128 Early British LiteraturesMonsters, Hybrids, and Shape-shifters in Early British LiteraturesProfessor Sealy Gilles
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 PM

This course is required in the Literature concentration.  It can satisfy a Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.

In 1000 C.E. England was Europe’s western frontier, an unsettled island of competing fiefdoms and migratory peoples. By 1600 London was the western world’s largest city and Queen Elizabeth I ruled over a colonial power soon to become the British Empire. The early literature of this island nation reflects the multiple identities of the English people, but it is also troubled by an often violent history and by the specter of strange beings, both benign and monstrous. This semester our cast of aliens includes Beowulf, the swamp dwelling humanoid, an old hag who traps a young gallant, a giant Green Knight, and a trio of prophetic witches. As the supernatural intrudes into the lives of the characters and their communities, it challenges our notion of the human and impels us to interrogate the dynamics of class and ethnicity. As we explore these issues in works ranging from Beowulf to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, you will be asked to write frequently, participate actively, and read closely. You may expect that I will respect your ideas and respond quickly and fairly to your work.

English 158 Early Literatures of the United States
American Landscapes
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Wednesdays 6:00-8:30 PM

This course is required in the Literature concentration.  It can satisfy a Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.

A reverence for nature is at the heart of American culture, as in these famous lyrics from the song “America the Beautiful,” written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893:

Oh beautiful for spacious skies, / For amber waves of grain, / For purple mountain majesties / Above the fruited plain! / America!  America! / God shed his grace on thee / And crown thy good with brotherhood / From sea to shining sea!

The song expresses a powerful association between the United States and the beauties of the natural world, all peacefully existing under the watchful and approving eyes of God.  In this course we will trace the development of this mythic idea from the first violent struggles between Native Americans and Europeans for occupancy of the New World and ownership of its breathtaking natural resources; through the American Revolution of the late 18th-century and the American Civil War of the mid-19th century, when Americans questioned their identity and their country’s destiny as never before; and onto the early 21st century, when our self-confidence as a nation has been further shaken by terrorism, natural disaster, and economic uncertainty.  Texts will include Mary Rowlandson's captivity narrative; poetry by Anne Bradstreet, Phyllis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson; The Declaration of Independence; Frederick Douglass' Narrative; short fiction by Herman Melville; and Henry David Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods.  We will also study mid-19th-century American landscape painting, sample the writings of Central Park's designer Frederick Law Olmsted, and take a tour of the park itself.  The course is writing intensive.

English 164 Explorations in Creative Writing
A Writers Studio: From East to West, Haiku to Hip Hop—Zen, Wabi-Sabi, Habuin, and Real NYC Stories
Professor John High
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3-4:15 PM

This course is required in the Creative Writing concentration.  It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Creative Writing requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Any student may take this course a second time for credit.

•       Do you ever write songs, lyrics, or stories? Are you interested in haiku poetry?
•       Do you remember the fables and poems you wrote as a child?
•       Do you secretly write in a journal or diary?
•       Have you never written a poem but wanted to find a way into your meditative voice?

This course is for anyone who has ever wanted to express themselves creatively or wants to develop their imaginative voice.

In the course we’ll play with writing techniques of the East and study their influence & possibilities for our own writing in NYC. So what is the relationship between traditions, between haiku and hip hop, for instance—between innovation, and a writer’s unique story or poetic, history, background and culture? If our own voices grow out of the past and from traditions firmly rooted in the power of language, in this class our goal will be to open ourselves to an aesthetics ranging from the meditative spirit of Zen and Wabi-sabi to the contemporary tempo of artistic sounds and music emerging from the streets of the city. How is perfection (or beauty) only mastered in the imperfection of form? How does the chaos of a story find structure in the harmony of imbalance? How has the poetry of haiku, and the experimental and communal collaborations of Haikai and Hokku so profoundly impacted the narrative structure of Haibun and the communites of drummers, singers, and poets around the world?

If haibun is often described as narratives of epiphany, wabi-sabi concentrates on daily life. As with hip hop and rap and the street stories of New York, both forms have manifested more as expressions of urban life and travel dialogues in American usage. We’ll play with these condensed forms of syntax and sensory impressions, experiment with writing in the present tense, and focus language on tone and setting in our weekly workshops.

The course will include workshops, film, artwork and informal talks and will conclude with a chapbook and manifesto of your own work for the semester.

English 165 Poetry Workshop
Poetry & Meditation—From Silence to Expression
Professor John High
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 8:30 PM

This course will satisfy a Creative Writing elective requirement in the Creative Writing concentration.  It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Creative Writing requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. English majors concentrating in Creative Writing may take this course a second time for credit.

This workshop will function as a Writers Studio in which we meet each other face to face in our poems and stories and meditate on the meaning of our own lives and writing. We will focus on the way autobiography and dreams overlap in writing, for instance, and how the past can be voiced and the present moment realized on the page. We will study our diaries and notebooks as a place to expand and open up the territory of our own imagination, as much of our writing is based on memories and dreams, fears and aspirations. We’ll look at writers who explore the world of wisdom and calm mind, and who often blur the borders between poetry, dream and life story. There will be weekly creative writing exercises, and group discussions, as well as commentary on the writing and meditation process and how to make it come alive not only in our writing but in our daily activities. With one another we’ll read and help each other learn how to revise our poems. We’ll also give presentations and performances of the work as we go along. The course offers relaxed, though thorough and individualized investigation of the participants' poetry in relation to craft, theme and content of writing, and through the lens of a quiet, open and meditative mind. Our writing project will include working with identity, secrets, observations, aspirations, fears, overheard conversations and random fragments of language. The goal of the course includes completing a chapbook (a kind of creative, little book that includes photographs, drawings, etc.) of your new poems. You will also have the opportunity to explore and write about the larger community of NYC with the attendance of a literary reading, a visit to a meditation center, and a field trip to one of our great parks or museums.

English 169 Nonwestern or Postcolonial Literature
The Caribbean
Professor Maria McGarrity
Thursdays 6-8:30 PM

This course is required in the Literature concentration.  It can satisfy a Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.

This course will examine the issues of language, identity, and diaspora of the Caribbean. In The Repeating Island, the Cuban theorist, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, called this island chain a “meta-archipelago” because the sea and land borders that might seem initially to separate these isles in fact link them beyond the boundaries of the nation-language-island. This class will focus on the literatures of such nations as Haiti, Cuba, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, and the Dominican Republic. We will study the work of Nobel Prize-winning St. Lucian, Derek Walcott as well as such writers as Danny Laferrière (whose most recent work charts the aftermath of Haiti’s recent earthquake), Jean Rhys, Maryse Condé, Reinaldo Arenas, Alejo Carpentier, Jamaica Kincaid, and Junot Díaz. Our reading of short stories, poetry, longer fiction, and film will take us from the height if European imperialism in the 19th century through the 20th century struggle for decolonization.

Evaluation: Attendance/Participation/Preparation 25%, Paper 25%, Mid-term Exam 25%, Final Exam 25%.

Required Texts: Arenas, Mona and Other Tales; Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Condé, Winward Heights; Díaz, This is How You Lose Her; Laferrière, The World Was Shaking All Around Me; Kincaid, A Small Place; Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Walcott, “The Schooner Flight” and selections from Omeros.

English 173 Writing in the Community
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Mondays 6-8:30 pm

This course will satisfy a Writing & Rhetoric elective requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Writing & Rhetoric requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Creative Writing concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. English majors concentrating in Writing & Rhetoric may take this course a second time for credit.

Writing in the Community is a writing workshop in which students study the rhetoric and writing of community-based and other advocacy organizations. Topics vary from semester to semester and may include rhetorical analysis of community-based texts and strategies for the production of writing from flyers and pamphlets to oral histories, grant proposals, and essays.

Through course readings, library research, and fieldwork, students learn about community histories, issues, and channels of communication. Partnerships with local community organizations provide “real world” experience for students to engage in a range of activities that may include tutoring, interviewing, writing, editing, and multimodal composing. The course culminates in the production of a collection of digital essays for and about a specific community.

To see an example of a digital book created by students at Penn State Berks, scan the QR code, or visit

Readings tentatively include Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloane’s Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America; Harvey Wang’s New York; Paul Kutsche’s Field Ethnography; and excerpts from Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson’s The Oral History Reader. The emphasis of the class, however, is on your writing, which will be discussed at least twice in workshop during the semester.

English 202 Literature of the Sea
Professor Jonathan Haynes
Mondays & Wednesdays 3-4:15 PM

This course will satisfy the Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.

Melville begins Moby Dick with a meditation on the mysterious attraction that draws us to the water. The experience of the sea and seafaring has been essential in the histories of both Britain and the United States, and it is an essential theme in their literatures. Sublime beauty, mystery, terror, and adventure are all associated with the sea, and the decks of ships are like stages (this is another of Melville’s perceptions) where social, psychological, and moral dramas are played out with singular intensity. Melville and Joseph Conrad are at the center of this course, surrounded by a host of other brilliant writers including Olaudah Equiano, Robert Louis Stevenson, Elizabeth Bishop, and Patrick O’Brian. We will learn about the lives of sailors on war ships, pirate ships, slave ships, whalers, and merchantmen, and consider the experience of those who just mess about in boats, listen to crashing waves, or have the urge to throw themselves into salt water.

English Club Organizational Meeting

We recently held our first English Major Orientation. Thank you to those of you who were able to attend. We had a very nice time hanging out and getting to know you guys a little better.

One of the purposes of the orientation was to find out from students what kinds of events they think would help to build camaraderie between English majors.  One was to have an event for liberal-arts students to get together and share their creative work -- whether writing or visual art or something else. Since then, we have been calling it “show and tell” (but that name’s not set in stone). At any rate, we’re going to go ahead and move on the idea and have such an event this semester!

Another idea that came upwas to revive the English Club. If we can get at least fifteen students to join, we can be recognized as an official student club by Student Activities, and we’ll get some funding, which can go toward events, such as the abovementioned “show and tell” event, or field trips to attend poetry readings or theatrical performances, or career-oriented events such as visits to talk with potential employers of English majors.

An English Club would need to elect people to serve as officers, so in addition to the networking opportunities to be gained from English-Club membership, some of you could also gain some leadership and administrative experience, which would look great on your résumés.

We’re having an organizational meeting on Wednesday, March 6, at 3pm, in the Spector Lounge, here in the English Department. The purpose of this meeting is to set up the English Club and plan the first “show and tell” event, which we’d like to schedule for some time in April.

At 4PM that same day, Career Services is holding an event that should be of great interest to English majors. It’s a panel discussion about career opportunities in the book-publishing industry. We strongly encourage you to attend this event, which is why we’ve scheduled our own meeting for right beforehand, so we can go together from one to the other. No time like the present to start acting like a Club!  Read more about the panel discussion here.

Please let us know if you can attend the organizational meeting at 3pm on March 6.

If you can’t make the meeting time but ARE interested in helping to reform and in joining the English Club, let us know that, too!

Graduate Courses: Summer & Fall 2013

504 Traditions and Lineages (ID# 2388)
Professor Barbara Henning
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6-8:30 PM

MFA students only

This class will be a writing workshop and reading seminar.   We will be doing a close reading of six books (fiction and poetry) from 20th-to-21st Century writers, examining how their work fits within or transforms the poetics of previous movements/traditions (such as the American Transcendentalists, Surrealism, the Harlem Renaissance, Oulipo, Cubism, Negritude, Magic Realism, Projective Verse, Language Writing, the Beat Generation and Investigative Poetry).   With each book, we’ll also be reading short excerpts from earlier works.  The goal of the class is to introduce you to some new writers, some new ways of writing, and to perhaps become more aware of the roots of your own practice.  I will set up a website and list you as a member. Every week I will post pdfs of other articles you might be interested in reading; you can download them from the group site.

Generally, our schedule will work as follows: On Thursdays we will discuss the new books and handouts. On Tuesdays we will hold a writing workshop.  The assignment for the workshop will relate to the readings.  Your writing must be new material that you are writing for the course.  When the readings are assigned, you must also write a two to three page informal journal like response to the book (and handouts) and be prepared to share it with the class.  At the end of the semester (6 weeks!), you will submit a 4-5 page informal consideration of the class and how you might now consider your own writing practice in light of the works you read during the semester.

The books we will be reading will be as follows: Aime Cesaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land; Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities; oberto Bolano, By Night in Chile; Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary; Juliana Spahr, This Connection of Everyone With Lungs; Allen Ginsberg, Howl.

Also excerpts will be provided from: Walt Whitman, Jean Paul Sartre, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, James Joyce, Gabriel Marquez, William Shakespeare, Jayne Cortez, Toni Cade Bambera, Raymond Queneau, and others.  (Some of these will be required and others are provided for your own inquiry.)

Please send me an email as soon as you register for the course so I can begin to set up the website. Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the course.  My email address is:


579 Seminar in Special Studies (ID# 2389)
Edgar Allan Poe
: His Literature, Life, and Legacy
Professor Louis Parascandola

Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00-8:15 PM

Edgar Allan Poe is now established as one of the major figures in American literature. Most students early on in their education read his grotesque horror stories such as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Yet Poe was more than just a master of the macabre. He is often credited as the father of the detective story as well as pioneering science fiction In addition, he was a noted poet and literary theorist. Yet perhaps even more than his own work, accounts (often inaccurate) of Poe’s tortured life have fueled readers’ imaginations. As a result, Poe’s life and works have spurred many American as well as foreign writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. This course will examine Poe’s writings, explore the mysteries of his own life, and discuss the various adaptations of his work. We will consider possible reasons for his enduring popularity. We will make a required class visit on a Saturday to the Poe Cottage in the Bronx, where he penned such classics as “The Bells” and “Annabel Lee.” 

In addition to English majors, this course is open to MFA and Education majors. It will be possible if you wish to write a creative piece or a lesson plan instead of doing a research paper.

Fall 2013

503 Theory of Writing (ID# 5632)

Theories of Voice andTime—A Contemplative Practice Toward the Book
Professor John High
Thursdays 6:30-9 

MFA students only 

Where do our literary theories come from, and how do they affect the ways, consciously or unconsciously, we approach our own creative work? While the conventions of popular culture imitate and mimic the past, art constantly reinvents itself and simultaneously builds upon the literatures that inform who we are and become as writers. We have choices. Our goal in this course will be to make the unfamiliar familiar, to uncover the sources and theories of our own art by making the past real and practical for the books we are writing in the 21st Century. We will do close readings of primal poetries and narratives and examine the crossroads as well as connections between oral and written theories of language and the so-called primitive and postmodern origins of naming and linguistic construction. We will explore the use of visions and spells, chants and repetitions, chance operations and automatic writing, meditation and dreams, and the use of verbal invention in ancient to contemporary texts from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Near East, Oceania, and the Americas. The ancient meets the post-postmodern, and our effort will be to welcome them both in the continuous practice of language as change.
A survey of writers and movements will include those from the Kato Indian to the Bushman and Navajo, the Tibetan and Aztec, the Eskimo and Egyptian up to those of the great Modernist inventors: Symbolists and Cubists, Dadaists and Surrealists, Futurists, Formalists, and Fabulists, to those of the Spanish Duende and Japanese Wabi Sabi and American Objectivists. From there we will move into the Harlem Renaissance inspired Negritude movement to European Absurdism, to Oulipo, and the Russian Oberiu, to The New Black Arts avant-gardists to The Beats and Language Poets, to the Metarealists, Polystylists and Conceptualists. But we won’t stop there. What is your theory of writing?

520 Nonfiction Writing Workshop (ID# 6601)
Professor Harriet Malinowitz

Tuesdays 4-6:30

This course is an intensive workshop devoted to writing creative nonfiction—or “literary”
essays. There will be three cycles, each focusing on a particular theme or sub-genre of creative nonfiction. Each cycle will start with reading and discussion of work by established authors, looking in particular at their form, their style, the rhetorical strategies they employ, their use of language, and the ways they interrogate the self and society via a subjective lens. Each cycle will then consist of writing workshops in which students’ essays are read and discussed in detail. The workshops constitute the core of the course. The main goal of the workshop critique is to help the writer move effectively toward revision. However, an ancillary goal is for each class member to develop, through these workshop discussions—as well as through our discussion of assigned published readings—a deepened understanding of, and facility with, creative nonfiction genres and techniques. The authors we will read include Vivian Gornick, Patricia Williams, Gayle Pemberton, George Orwell, Eric Liu, Jamake Highwater, Rachel Corrie, Atul Gawande, Joel Kostman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Lauren Slater, James Baldwin, Lillian Smith, Richard Rodriguez, Natalia Ginzburg, Adrienne Rich, Cheryl Strayed, and Phillip Lopate.

Each student will write three short (3-5 page) pieces—one for each cycle—and revise and
expand one of them (your choice of which) in a final longer piece of 10-20 pages. A draft of
each of the three shorter pieces will be presented in the workshop for in-depth critique.

523 Fiction Writing Workshop (ID# 4082)
The Narrative Voice
Professor Jessica Hagedorn

Wednesdays 4-6:30

MFA students only. Registration limited.

We will explore various narrative strategies and ways of creating characters that are credible and complex. What do we mean by a distinct narrative voice? Why are setting and mood important? Be prepared for weekly writing and rewriting assignments; you will be asked to present excerpts from your work for class discussion. The reading list will include works by Colm Toibin, Roberto Bolaño, Julio Cortazar, Angela Carter, Aleksandar Hemon, Yiyun Li, Junot Diaz, Zadie Smith and other delectable surprises.

524 Poetry Writing Workshop (ID# 5429)
Writing for Everyone and No One: The Desk Drawer, the Notebook, and the Street
Professor Matvei Yankelevich (Visiting Writer)
Wednesdays 6:30-9

MFA students only

Our working group will commune with poetry at its outer limits as it approaches music, drawing, and cypher, taking cues from the gestural language of the outsider. We'll practice writing that sentences itself to infamy, obscurity, untranslatability; writing that is a performance on the page and notation for performance; writing that tests the boundaries of the printed word; and writing that leaves the page entirely to exist—ephemerally or physically—in the world outside the book.
We will examine writers in isolation (political, cultural, linguistic), writers who wrote “for the desk drawer,” or in the margins of culture, language, or sanity, and those who sought to break with the strictures of literature, of print, and even of the alphabet itself: Aase Berg, Hakim Bey, William Blake, Ivan Blatny, Bob Brown, Guy Debord, Christian Hawkey, Alexei Kruchenykh, Mina Loy, Daniil Kharms, Stéphane Mallarmé, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Osip Mandelstam, Henri Michaux, Gabriel Pomerand, Boris Poplavsky, Laura Riding, Lev Rubinstein, Gertrude Stein, Georg Trakl, Alexander Vvedensky. Because much of our reading focusses on foreign writers, we'll touch upon the transformations that occur through translation and "mis-translation" and the ways in which translation permeates our writerly practice.

Through our own practice and in discussions of the readings, we will try to answer some hard questions about the nature of writing, its relation to the medium and technology of language, and to the cultural constraint of Literature. Can a private language exist? Where does it intersect with the universal language of our utopian desires? What are the systems and technologies that administer or dictate writing? How does one write from outside the prevailing culture, against the grain?

Matvei Yankelevich is the author of the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists Books) and the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), and several chapbooks. He is the translator of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook/Ardis). He is one of the founding editors of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he curates the Eastern European Poets Series. He has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa), Hunter College, and Colorado College, and is a member of the Writing Faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

642 Computers and Composition (ID # 6597)
Professor Thomas Peele

Mondays 6:30-9

In this course, we’ll be investigating composition in the digital age. Students can use this course to help them think about and refine their own digital practices; all students seeking advanced degrees in the arts and humanities will find this course useful in helping them think through the impacts of the digital revolution on their fields of study.

If composition has historically been the production of text-based essays, what could it be now that students are writing more than ever, and writing for more varied audiences and purposes? What are the relationships between writing texts, status updates, and tweets on the one hand, and writing expository, explanatory, and longer creative work on the other hand? How can we make use of mobile platforms such as phones and tablets in our teaching so that they support student learning and increase student motivation? How can we take advantage of the interconnectivity that the Web allows? What parts of the teaching of literacy can we move to online spaces? How can we scale our models of instruction?

In this course we’ll address both the theory and practice of computers and writing. So that we can think more deeply about changes in the ways that text is produced, distributed, and received, and how these changes have affected learning and knowledge, we will read specialized and popular literature. Here are some possible titles: The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr; Now You See It, by Cathy Davidson; Cognitive Surplus, by Clay Shirky; The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki; Remix, by Lawrence Lessig

We will also be learning or improving our practice with digital applications. Instead of simply moving textual production online, we’ll try to rethink the relationships between information, writing, and distribution.

Please note that in order to complete the course work you’ll need to open accounts at a few Web sites (such as Google) that offer online learning applications. The other digital applications that we will learn will depend on the hardware and software that is available to us, but here are some possibilities: Blackboard, iMovie and iBooks, Jing, Photobooth, Dropbox, Digital Readers, .Mobile Apps.

Scan this QR code to go to the preliminary course site and to ask questions or leave comments. Computer expertise is NOT a prerequisite.

646 Individual and Small Group Writing Instruction (ID# 4842)
Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Thursdays 4-6:30

This course is designed to introduce tutors and teachers to the theories and practices of tutoring writing (one-on-one, small groups, and online), with an emphasis on the specific needs of writers who use the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Center. Practical concerns about tutoring will be addressed: structuring sessions and setting goals; assessing, diagnosing and responding to student writing; developing strategies to teach planning, drafting, organizing, revising, proofreading and editing; working on specific grammatical issues; helping students with reading comprehension; responding to ESL concerns; learning to conduct distance tutoring and lead small group workshops; noticing interpersonal dynamics and maintaining boundaries; and building awareness of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences. Participants will also become familiar with the curriculum and pedagogy of the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Program and, through WAC, of interdisciplinary writing concerns on campus. Classes will be conducted as seminars/ workshops so that all students have the opportunity to participate in class presentations, mock tutorials, etc. Pending administrative approval, this will be a blended course (i.e., some meetings will take place online).

All students are required to tutor for o ne hour per week during the semester and attend biweekly staff development meetings at the Writing Center. There will also be weekly Blackboard discussions, several observations of experienced Writing Center tutors, and two short (circa 5 pages) papers.

579 Seminar in Special Studies (ID# 6600)
Virginia Woolf & Modernism
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Mondays 4-6:30


Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is one of the most challenging and significant writers of the twentieth century.  The main purpose of this course is to trace the development of her work throughout her career and to enjoy the rare opportunity of studying her work at length and in depth.  Special attention will be paid to the process by which Woolf became a modernist.  In addition, we will sample some of the work of her contemporaries as well as later critical responses to her work.  In so doing we will gain an appreciation for the broader movements of modern art and feminism of which she is a defining figure.  We will read Woolf’s major fiction, including The Voyage Out, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves; non-fiction, including A Room of One’s Own; memoir, including “A Sketch of the Past”; selected short stories and essays; and excerpts from the diaries.  Works by contemporaries will include Sigmund Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia,” director Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel.  The course will include a field trip to the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, which houses the world’s largest collection of Woolf’s papers and first editions of her work.  Because Woolf was strongly influenced by the cutting-edge visual art of her day, we will also make a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art to look at modern painting.  Students will write a series of short essays and research papers as well as a creative response to Woolf.

624B Themes in American Drama (ID# 6599)
Professor Carol Allen
Tuesdays 6:30-9

This course will be divided into three parts: a short unit of no more than three weeks on the origins of American Drama including the shaping influence of Shakespeare, minstrelsy, and the theater industry; another short unit on the revolutionary innovations coming out of the early twentieth century; and a third extended cycle on contemporary drama from the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Primary texts will be supplemented with critical works. Expect to critique such dramatists as William Wells Brown, Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill, Marita Bonner, Clifford Odets, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Ed Bullins, Amiri Baraka, David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Adrienne Kennedy, Richard Foreman, August Wilson, Lynne Nottage and/or Suzan-Lori Parks. We’ll be looking at form as closely as content while thinking about what constitutes a “play,” a “stage,” an “audience.” What are the limits of performance? Be advised that this is a broad field. So, our class will not be exhaustive but will provide the basis for further specialized study.
Assignments will include a short paper, presentation that requires research, and longer project in the form of a research paper or creative response with metatext.