Graduate Courses -- Spring 2015
It's time to register for Spring 2015!

These descriptions are provided by the instructors teaching the courses.

For more information, write to them directly.

ENG 502 Writers on Writing (Course ID# 4664)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Tuesdays 6:30-9

This course is open ONLY to students in the Creative Writing MFA Program.

The course will offer readings and discussions with prominent fiction writers and poets. 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 students' 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 2015.

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 Renee Gladman, Eugene Lin, Anne Waldman, Ben Lerner, Tyrone Williams, Wang Ping, Bill Berkson and Barbara Henning.

RENEE GLADMAN is the author of six works of prose, most recently a trilogy of short novels,  Event Factory, The Ravickians  and Ana Patova Crosses A Bridge. (Dorothy, 2010, 2011, 2013).) Her work occupies the interstices of fiction and poetry, and pushes toward cities, architecture, and the confusion of the everyday. Since 2005, she has edited and published Leon Works, a press for experimental prose and other thought projects. A new novel, Morelia, and a collection of essay-fictions, Calamities, are forthcoming in 2015. A 2014-15 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, she lives in Providence, RI.

EUGENE LIM is the author of the novels Fog & Car (2008, Ellipsis Press) and The Strangers (2013, Black Square Editions). His writing has appeared in Fence, The Denver Quarterly, Jacket2, EXPLORINGfictions, The Brooklyn Rail and elsewhere. He is founder and editor of Ellipsis Press.

ANNE WALDMAN is a poet, performer, professor, editor, curator and co-founder with Allen Ginsberg of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University where she has worked for 37 years. Author of more than 40 publications of poetry, her most recent books include Manatee/Humanity (Penguin Poets 2009), The Iovis Trilogy (Coffee House Press 2011),  Soldatesque/Soldiering (Blaze [Vox] 2012) and the forthcoming  Gossamurmur  (Penguin Poets 2013). She has worked extensively with musician Ambrose Bye and their most recent CD is The Milk of Universal Kindness  (Fast Speaking Music 2011). She is a recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award for Poetry and currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

BEN LERNER is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006), and Mean Free Path (2010), all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, a Howard Foundation Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House, 2011) won The Believer Book Award and was named a best book of the year by The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, and The New Statesman, among other publications. His second novel, 10:04, will be published by Faber/FSG this fall. He lives and teaches in Brooklyn. 

TYRONE WILLIAMS  teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of five books of poetry, c.c. (Krupskaya Books, 2002), On Spec (Omnidawn Publishing, 2008), The Hero Project of the Century (The Backwaters Press, 2009), Adventures of Pi (Dos Madres Press, 2011) and Howell (Atelos Books, 2011). He is also the author of several chapbooks, including a prose eulogy, Pink Tie (Hooke Press, 2011). His website is at

WANG PING was born in China and came to the USA in 1985. Her publications include American Visa (short stories, 1994), Foreign Devil (novel, 1996), Of Flesh and Spirit (poetry, 1998), The Magic Whip (poetry, 2003), The Last Communist Virgin (stories, 2007), All Roads to Joy: Memories along the Yangtze (forthcoming 2012), all from Coffee House. New Generation: Poetry from China Today (1999), an anthology she edited and co-translated, was published by Hanging Loose. Flash Cards: Poems by Yu Jian, co-translation with Ron Padgett, was published in 2010 from Zephyr. Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (2000, University of Minnesota Press) won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in the Humanities. A paperback edition was published by Random House in 2002. The Last Communist Virgin won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award and Asian American Studies Award. She is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council of the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Lannan Foundation, and the McKnight Artist Fellowship. She is the founder and director of the Kinship of Rivers project, a five-year project that builds a sense of kinship among the people who live along the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers through exchanging gifts of art, poetry, stories, music, dance and food.

BILL BERKSON was born and grew up in New York and has lived in Northern California since the early 1970s. He is Professor Emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught art history and literature from 1984 to 2008.  His most recent books include: Portrait and Dream: New & Selected PoemsBILL, a words-and-images collaboration with Colter Jacobsen; Lady Air; Snippets; Not an Exit, with drawings by Léonie Guyer; and Repeat After Me, with watercolors by John Zurier; a new collection of his art writings, For the Ordinary Artist; and Parties du corps, a selection of his poetry in French translation. He is working on a set of memoirs entitled Since When. A new book of poems, Expect Delays, was published by Coffee House Press in 2014.

BARBARA HENNING  is the author of three novels and nine books of poetry, her most recent collections of poetry and prose, A Swift Passage (Quale Press 2013) and Cities and Memory (Chax Press 2010). Born in Detroit, she has lived in New York City since 1983,As a long-time yoga practitioner, she brings this knowledge and discipline to her writing and her teaching at Naropa University, and Long Island University in Brooklyn, where she is professor emerita.

ENG 523 Fiction Writing Workshop (Course ID# 4771)
The Narrative Voice
Professor Jessica Hagedorn
Wednesdays 4-6:30

This course is open ONLY to students in the Creative Writing MFA Program.

What do we mean by a distinct narrative voice? How do we create characters that are memorable, complex, and not necessarily likeable? How do we develop an ear for the music and poetry of ordinary speech? In this workshop, we will examine the artistry, narrative strategies and craft elements of a wide range of writers working in different genres. Participants will compose their own stories, which will be discussed in class and revised over the semester.

Required Texts:

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Days Of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
The Lover by Marguerite Duras
White Girls by Hilton Als
Blasted by Sarah Kane
Hawthorn & Child by Keith Ridgway
The Romantic Dogs by Roberto Bolaño
2666 by Roberto Bolaño

ENG 524 Poetry Writing Workshop (Course ID# 4395)
Crossgenre to Transgressive
Professor John High
Wednesdays 6:30-9

This course is open ONLY to students in the Creative Writing MFA Program.

The ability of writers to imagine
what is not the self, to familiarize
the strange and mystify the familiar,
is the test of their power. —Toni Morrison

In Crossgenre to Transgressive we’ll explore violations of conventional forms in order to more intimately reveal & manifest the writing & art we most need to express. Context as text, form as emptiness. Is a poem that requires visuals less a poem (Blake / Apollinaire), a story or novel that requires poetry less a story (Howe / Phillips / Davis)? Is there such a thing as a poetic autobiography (Cha / lê / Kingston)? Can a narrative be told in epistolary exchange (Dostoevsky / Stoker)? Can letters be poems (Rilke / Mayer / Novey)? Can multimedia, hypertext, or comic book devices express a book (Spiegelman / Jackson / Lau)? Are parables, koans and fables viable as technique in the work of 21st century writers (Borges / Marquez / Matthiessen?)? Can past myths and fairy tales be retold (Carson / Coover)? Are works that transgress the border between prose and prose poetry acceptable (Toomer / Paz / Maso)? Are poems written as fictional news in the university recognizable as verse (Bolaño / Creeley)? Rupture is there to expose the cracks in imagination. On a weekly basis we’ll experiment with letters, postcard stories, pocket prose poems, mobile text flash fictions, short films written for paper, contemplative prayers, epistolary verse, episodes & fragments, re-imagined instruction manuals, fictional autobiographies, poetic & spiritual memoirs, & any other ‘form’ that transgresses & helps expand & realize the book you are writing. The goal will be to create a chapbook of new writings and a critical “artistic statement” that will be applicable to your thesis in whatever shape that eventually requests of each writer. 

ENG 527 Topics in Professional Writing: Writing and Style (Course ID# 5450)
Professor Michael Bokor
Mondays 4-6:30

This course was cancelled due to under-enrollment.

You may be familiar with the rhetorical concept of “style” and even have your own “style” of writing. A 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, this course explores the cultural, theoretical, and practical perspectives of “style” to help you understand fully the relationship between language, culture, and personality and how these forces converge to define and shape the writer’s projection of individuality (commonly perceived as “style.”

Some of the pertinent questions to consider include:

Is style “innocent” or is it the reflection of the personality, taste, and experience of the writer of the text or the culture of the writer’s society? Is it true that style is the writer in disguise?

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

What shapes style? Is it the writer’s purpose and attitude to the audience?

Through various assignments, you will interrogate the functions of style and learn the numerous ways in which writers adapt their expressions (texts) to their purposes. By the end of the semester, you should:
  • Develop a high degree of clarity, fluency, and appropriateness in your writing;
  • Learn how to appreciate style within the context of genre-specific discourses; and
  • Use knowledge on style to improve your own writing.
This course is particularly good for students seeking opportunities to improve their rhetorical skills for effective academic, creative, and professional writing.

ENG 620 Theories of Rhetoric & Teaching Writing (Class ID# 5905)
Professor Patricia Stephens
Thursdays 4-6:30

We will begin the semester by focusing on a few key questions:  How (and by whom) has rhetoric been defined over time?  How and why have these definitions changed and evolved?  How do we, in this class, define rhetoric?  What role does rhetoric play in the teaching of reading and writing?  In what ways is rhetoric useful, both as a tool and as a discipline of study?  Our readings in the beginning of the course – from the Sophists, Plato, Aristotle, and Quintillian to the feminist, medieval works of Christine de Pizan -- will lay the foundation for our examination of rhetorical trends from the 19th Century to the present.  Readings will include but not be limited to 19th Century rhetoricians like Blair, Campbell, Grimké, and Douglass as well as texts by contemporary and postmodern rhetoricians such as Burke, Toulmin, Foucault, Cixous, Gates, Anzaldua, and others.  Throughout, we will study influential teachers of Rhetoric and Writing, noting how rhetorical theories informed teaching practices at various universities, including (but not limited to) Harvard, Yale, Amherst, Wiley College (an historically Black college in Marshall, TX), and others.

ENG 636 Seminar in Literary Periods & Movements
Topic: Harlem Renaissance Fiction (Course ID# 5904)
Professor Louis Parascandola
Mondays 6:30-9

This course will examine the novels and short fiction of the leading as well as lesser writers of the Harlem Renaissance, arguably the greatest period in African American literature. We will read the novels Quicksand by Nella Larsen, Home to Harlem by Claude McKay, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Short stories by such authors as Jean Toomer, Jessie Fauset, Eric Walrond, Rudolph Fisher, Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes, Dorothy West, and Richard Bruce Nugent will also be discussed. We will contextualize the works by discussing essays by, among others, W.E.B. Dubois, Alain Locke, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright. Assignments will include one presentation in class, a couple of shorter essays, and one longer research paper. It is possible to substitute a lesson plan on one or two of the works or a creative piece influenced by the writings in the course.

ENG 700 Practicum: Teaching Composition (Course ID# 4203)
Professor Donald McCrary
Tuesdays 4-6:30

The course will prepare students to teach in the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Program. The course readings, discussions, exercises, and projects will serve to illuminate the theories and practices of teaching writing. The course will examine important teaching of writing  issues such as constructing course syllabi, creating integrated reading and writing assignments, promoting process writing, responding to student papers, using technology, managing student behavior, and contemplating the linguistic needs and abilities of a multicultural student population.

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