Graduate Courses -- Summer & Fall 2015

Winter is almost over! It's time to climb out of the doldrums and register for Summer and Fall classes!

These descriptions are provided by the instructors teaching the courses.

For more information, write to them directly.


ENG 528 Seminar in Creative Writing (Course ID# 2338)
The Prose Poem or Poetic Prose: Writing Fiction or Poetry
Professor Barbara Henning
Mondays & Wednesdays 6:00-8:55 PM

"Which of us, in his ambitious moments, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without rhyme and without rhythm, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of the psyche, the prickings of consciousness?" -- Baudelaire (Paris Spleen).

The prose poem is a border genre between fiction and poetry that seems particularly suited to speaking a consciousness, the consciousness that the reader and writer encounter line by line, paragraph by paragraph, a natural prose lyricism composed from ordinary thought and speech. A paragraph can also be seen as a block, a visual space, a different type of border. Besides introducing you to the prose poem, this course is also designed to survey some of the theories and poems from movements in modern and contemporary off-center poetry, such as imagism, surrealism, objectivism, the New York School, Language writing, Oulipo, etc. You will write prose poems (or flash fictions) in prose that interact with the ideas and theories put forth in the lectures and readings. If you are a poet, working with sentences and paragraphs might change your idea about what a poem is, revealing new possible rhythms, forms, approaches and possibilities with genre sliding. If you are a fiction writer, working with the prose poem may help you work on style and inventive structures for writing.  If you have questions about the course, contact Barbara at

BARBARA HENNING is the author of three novels and eight books of poetry.  Her most recent books are Cities & Memory (2010);  Thirty Miles from Rosebud (2009); My Autobiography (2007); and Looking Up Harryette Mullen (2011).  A Day Like Today is forthcoming from Negative Capability Press. Born in Detroit, she has lived in New York City since 1983. Besides teaching for LIU, she also teaches for Naropa University.


ENG 579 Seminar in Special Studies (Course ID# 2339)
The Slave Narrative & Neo-Slave Narrative Fiction
Professor Louis Parascandola
Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00-8:55 PM

This course will examine classic slave narratives: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. We will also read excerpts from the narratives of Olaudah Equiano and William and Ellen Craft. Our focus will be how these works are both public and personal documents as well as a blend of autobiography and fiction. In addition, we will look at several neo-slave narratives (contemporary fictional reworkings based on the original slave narratives including Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Octavia Butler’s Kindred. We will also watch sections of several films based on these works and examine some historical/critical writings treating the readings.

Requirements: One short take-home essay (3-4 pages), one-in class essay and quizzes. One longer project (8 pages). Students may write a traditional research paper on one or more of the narratives/fictions or write their own creative piece or lesson plan based on the readings.

FALL 2015

ENG 503 Theory of Writing (Course ID# 6062)
Remembering the Present
Professor Lewis Warsh
Mondays 6:30-9 PM

Writing theory is an all-encompassing endeavor. It must take into account both the past and the present while pointing instructively towards the future. Many great 20th-Century theorists were fiction writers and poets themselves--their theoretical work derived from their practice as creative writers. One goal of this course is to develop and articulate our own sense of what we want to do as writers and what we expect as readers. We will use the ideas expressed in these essays to inspire and inform our own work.

Another goal is to create a dialogue between ourselves and these authors. Ezra Pound's notable quote (I'm paraphrasing): "Don't take advice from anyone who hasn't written a great work" is something to keep in mind.  What gives anyone the right to theorize? One of the ongoing threads in this class will be an attempt to understand the place of theory in our work as writers, beginning with the inescapable question: “Is it necessary?”

Among the authors we will read are Henry James, Charles Baudelaire, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, Laura Riding, Gertrude Stein, Roland Barthes, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Walter Benjamin, M.M. Bakhtin, Tzvetan Todorov, Maurice Blanchot, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Charles Olson, Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Lyn Hejinian, among others.

ENG 509 Sociolinguistics & the Teaching of Writing (Course ID# 6063)
Professor Donald McCrary
Thursdays 6:30-9 PM

Due to under-enrollment, this course ywas converted to tutorial format (one-on-one with Professor McCrary).

This course examines the social foundation of language and the linguistic foundation of social life. More specifically, the course explores how language and society intersect to construct and, in many ways, control both individual and group identity. The relationship between language and society has relevance to the teaching of writing in that both teachers and students possess socially constructed knowledge of language that undergirds their understanding of writing competence. The course explores how sociolinguistic constructions such as class, race, gender, academic discourse, and education might impact upon writing performance. The course analyzes sociolinguistic theory and practice, including the works of L.S. Vygotsky, Victor Villanueva, Geneva Smitherman, and Susanne Romaine.

ENG 519 Editing
Professor John Killoran

Due to under-enrollment, this course was converted to tutorial format (one-on-one with Professor Killoran).

ENG 524 Poetry Writing Workshop (Course ID# 5069)
Parallel Worlds: Zen & the Poetics of Quantum (Where Are You in Time?)
Professor John High
Tuesdays 6:30-9 PM

Due to under-enrollment, this course was cancelled.

Looking back at the past & future in the present moment through multiple lenses, we might ask: How do things change while always remaining the same? In this workshop we will study how the New Physics and Eastern thought converge and for us, as writers, offer new possibilities in creating an innovative aesthetics of the 21st Century. How to write that which mirrors from the past & future—which was never really the past or future—but rather a gateway & portal into our actual existence(s) in the books we are writing. What if the imagination of our worlds is intimately interconnected with every text we have ever written and every moment of time we've experienced, while revolving in a series of reflecting mirrors? A block to creativity can arise from limitations of perception, including that of seeing language as separate from being, the poem as separate from humanity, the imagination as separate from daily life & time. In preparation for our workshops we will practice writing into the now; we will contemplate readings ranging from the Taoist & Chan masters dating back to the Tang Dynasty to contemporary thinkers in quantum physics. We will dialogue with writers, both “dead & alive,” at play in these vast openings of the literary field and ranging from the works of Emily Dickinson to Jorge Luis Borges, from Sun Ra to Nina Iskrenko. Our workshops will include an effort to vanish the borders between poetry & prose, designations between past, present & future, and roads between imaginary lives & fictional (what is real?) autobiographies. Parallel words/worlds: which ones can we access in order to open up completely to the writing that is quietly & persistently requesting our attention & knocking on the door of the Book.

ENG 526 Writing for Media I: The Story (Course ID# 5424)
Professor Gerard D. Brown III (Media Arts Department)
Thursdays 6-8:50 PM

For information about this course, contact the Media Arts Department.

ENG 529 Topics in Creative Writing (Course ID# 6064)
Life & Story: A Cross-Genre Seminar
Professor Sigrid Nunez (Visiting Writer)
Tuesdays 4-6:30 PM

Most writers, especially in their early work, draw from personal experience. In this seminar, we will explore what happens when you use material from life as a source for stories and questions such as: How do writers transform lived experience into prose? How do a writer’s memories become a work of fiction? What is the difference between the self who narrates an event from the past and the self who actually lived through it? What is the process involved in making a real person into a fictional character? How is it possible for a work to be autobiographical and anti-autobiographical at the same time, or for confessional writing to avoid narcissistic self-absorption?

Among the writers whose work we will read are Jamaica Kincaid, Joe Brainard, Alison Bechdel, NoViolet Bulawayo, J. M. Coetzee, Marjane Satrapi, William Maxwell, Tobias Wolff, Lydia Davis, and Phil Klay. Written assignments will allow students to turn their own experiences into stories that might be fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid narratives that include elements of both genres.

SIGRID NUNEZ is the acclaimed author of several works of fiction and nonfiction, including Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag, Salvation City, The Last of Her Kind, For Rouenna, and A Feather on the Breath of God. Her prizes and honors include the Whiting Writer’s Award, four Pushcart Prizes, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation Writing Fellowship and the Rome Prize in Literature.

ENG 625 Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Course ID# 6408)
Walt Whitman & Emily Dickinson
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Tuesdays 4-6:30 PM

An in-depth study of the two major American poets of the 19th century and their ongoing impact on American literature.  Using Emerson’s prophetic essay “The Poet” as a theoretical touchstone, we’ll cover major works by Whitman, including the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass and Preface, the Calamus poems, Civil War poems, and Democratic Vistas.  During the second half of the semester we’ll read most of Dickinson’s lyrics and a selection of her letters.  Throughout we’ll trace Whitman’s and Dickinson’s influence on modern poets such as Hart Crane, Marianne Moore, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Allen Ginsberg.  Students will write short personal essays, research papers, and creative responses to Whitman and Dickinson.  They will also be required to memorize and recite passages and poems by both authors.

ENG 636 Seminar in Literary Periods & Movements (Course ID# 6533)
Dreamtigers & Beyond: Contemporary Latin American Writers Who Shook The World
Professor Jessica Hagedorn
Wednesdays 4-6:30 PM

Open to MA and MFA students.

What does it mean to be a writer’s writer? Why does literature matter? Sometimes a book comes along that is so daring, expansive and luminous that its impact and influence are powerful and immediate, felt by writers, readers, and anxious tyrants around the world. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic One Hundred Years Of Solitude is one such book. More recently and to a somewhat lesser degree, one could argue that Eduardo Galeano’s Memory Of Fire trilogy and Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives and 2666 have had a similar impact on how we read and think about literature. In this seminar, we will do close readings of the translated novels, short stories, and non-fiction works of a select group of innovative and influential contemporary Latin American writers:  Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia), Julio Cortazar (Argentina), Manuel Puig (Argentina), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay), and Roberto Bolaño (Chile). The “dirty wars” and military coups of the 1970s, various social and literary movements (e.g. “Magical Realism” & “Infrarealism”) will provide plenty of fodder for investigation, analysis and lively discussion. MFA writers will use these close readings to learn more about the immense possibilities of their craft. Assignments will include presentations, response papers, and creative pieces inspired by the bold and visionary writers we are reading. A film screening and guest speakers will be incorporated into the syllabus.

ENG 646 Individual & Small Group Writing Instruction (Course ID# 4594)
Professor Patricia Stephens
Mondays 4-6:30 PM

This course introduces tutors to theories and practices of tutoring writing (one-to-one, online, and small groups), with an emphasis on the specific needs of writers who use the LIU Brooklyn Writing Center. This course is a practicum, which means that students will learn relevant theories and techniques for tutoring writing and reading as well as how to implement these theories and techniques within the context of actual tutoring sessions. In class, we will model and practice many of the techniques you will be asked to use in your various types of tutoring sessions (face-to-face sessions, online written responses, telephone tutoring, and small groups). Throughout the course, we will share tutoring experiences, for the purposes of increasing our understanding of what makes for effective tutoring in a variety of situations.  By the end of the semester, students will be able to more effectively implement a range of tutoring strategies, including:
  • assessing, diagnosing and responding to student writing;
  • developing strategies to teach planning, drafting, organizing, revising, proofreading, and editing;
  • actively supporting students in critical thinking and concept formation;
  • working on specific grammatical issues;
  • guiding students with effective reading comprehension and recall techniques;
  • responding to ESL concerns;
  • becoming aware of interpersonal dynamics and appropriate boundary-setting;
  • becoming aware of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences as they affect reading, writing, and the tutoring session;
  • knowing how to integrate tutoring work with other resources on campus by becoming familiar with the curriculum and pedagogy of the LIU Brooklyn Writing Program and interdisciplinary writing concerns (through WAC) on campus. 

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