Course Descriptions

English 90: Fiction Writing

English 90 explores the basic elements of fiction writing, including narrative, scene, character, and dialogue, as well as the habits necessary to grow as a writer.  Students will read a wide variety of short stories alongside essays on writing craft in order to develop a language for talking about how fiction works.  Frequent writing exercises, often inspired by the readings, will underscore specific craft problems and perhaps generate longer stories.  In the second half of the quarter, students will complete a short story (8-20 pages) and offer it to the class for critique in a workshop setting.  Prerequisite: PWR 1.


English 91: Creative Nonfiction

English 91 introduces the groundbreaking genre of creative nonfiction, focusing on the many and fluid forms of the essay. Students will work together to figure out what essays they want to write, how they want to write them, and how you can call upon the elements of craft–voice, scene, description, structure–in order to achieve this. Students will examine works from across time and nationality for their craft and technique, and then experiment with their own writing exercises. The course is workshop-oriented, meaning that students will read and respond to each other’s longer nonfiction projects.  Prerequisite: PWR 1.


English 92: Reading and Writing Poetry

In this introductory course, students will write and read widely, exploring various aspects of poetic craft, including imagery, metaphor, line, stanza, music, rhythm, diction, and tone.  Students will also examine a number of poetic traditions, including the sonnet, the villanelle, and poetry of witness.  Through peer critique, students respond closely to the work of fellow writers in a supportive workshop.  Writers at all levels of experience and comfort with poetry are welcome.  Prerequisite: PWR 1.


English 146: Development of the Short Story:  Continuity and Innovation

The dual concept of continuity and innovation. Exploration of the short story forms’s ongoing evolution as diverse writers address love, death, desire, violence, and empathy.  Texts include Maupassant, Babel, Chopin, D. H. Lawrence, Woolf, and Flannery O’Connor.


English 160: Poetry and Poetics

Introduction to the reading of poetry, with emphasis on theories of poetics and their places in history.  Topics include meter and scansion, history of forms (sonnet, elegy, ode), modes of address, classical antecedents, painting and poetry, romanticism and modernism, politics, contemporary poetics.


English 190: Intermediate Fiction Writing

English 190 is an intermediate course in the craft and art of fiction writing.  Course will reexamine the base elements of fiction: narration, description, and dialogue, and shift focus to reading advanced works of short fiction, presenting reports about the craft of fiction, doing in-class writing exercises, and commenting upon each others’ creative work.  Students will submit a short (2-5 page) and a longer (8-20 page) story to be workshopped and revised.  May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.


English 190G: The Graphic Novel

This interdisciplinary course is designed to examine the evolution, subject matter, form, and future of the graphic novel genre. The focus will be on how artists create stories and characters in this genre, rather than how to interpret and contextualize such works.  The central project of the course will be the collaborative creation of a graphic novel with a team of writers, illustrators, and designers. May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite:  English 90 or 91.  Special application required.


English 190F: Fiction Into Film

Students will spend the first half of the course adapting fictional stories into short screenplays.  They will also study ‘sequencing’ as a screenwriting tool by studying films and their screenplays.  Students will read and comment on each other’s work.  In the second half of the course, each student will write a fifteen-page screenplay (complete or partial), and submit it to the class for a workshop critique.  Priority is given to seniors and Film Studies majors. May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.


English 190T: Special Topics in Intermediate Fiction

Focus on a particular topic or process.  Work includes aspects of reading short stories and novels, writing at least 30-50 pages of fiction, and responding to peers’ work in workshop.  May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite: English 90 or 91. Topics can be found HERE.


English 190V: Reading For Writers — Stein Visiting Writer

Content is subject to the desires of the Stein Visiting Writer.  May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite: English 90 or 91. More information HERE.


English 191: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

In this course, students will write four short (3-4 page) personal essays, along with a wide variety of exercises designed to help students write out of their comfort zones, overcome writer’s block, free up the unconscious mind,  and develop sophistication of style.  Students will share their work and feedback in a supportive workshop setting, and will read personal essays written by some of the finest contemporary practitioners of the genre.  May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite: English 90 or 91,


English 191T: Special Topics in Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

Focus is on forms of the essay. Students will study works from across time and nationality for their craft and technique.  Students experiment with writing exercises, read, and respond to each other’s longer nonfiction projects. May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite:  English 90 or 91. View topics HERE.


English 192: Intermediate Poetry Writing

In English 192, students will examine a diverse range of contemporary poetry collections. They will write and revise several of their own short poems, as well as one longer poetic sequence. At the end of the quarter, students will develop and present a longer creative project to the workshop. Prerequisite: English 92.


English 192T: Topics in Intermediate Poetry Writing

Focus on a particular topic or process of poetry writing. How to recognize a poem’s internal structure; how to seek models for work. Students submit portfolio for group critique. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: English 92. View topics HERE.

English 192V: The Occasions of Poetry

Content and procedures to be determined by Mohr Visiting Poet.  May be taken twice for credit.  Prerequisite: English 92. More information HERE.


English 290: Advanced Fiction Writing

English 290 is an advanced course on the craft and art of fiction writing.  In this course, students will continue to receive instruction on how to read short stories as writers, studying and emulating craft points, but their own writing will be the main focus.  Accordingly, students will primarily follow the workshop model wherein students bring their own story to class for group discussion, and thereby develop the skills to constructively critique and workshop one another’s work.  Prerequisite:  Manuscript, consent of instructor, and a 190-level fiction workshop.


English 291: Advanced Creative Nonfiction

Continuation of 191. Workshop. The application of advanced storytelling techniques to fact-based personal narratives, emphasizing organic writing, discovering audience, and publication. Guest lecturers, collaborative writing, and publication of the final project in print, audio, or web formats. Prerequisite: English 191.


English 292: Advanced Poetry Writing

English 292 is a continuation of intermediate poetry writing.  Students will write a number of short poems along with one long poem, and offer these works to the class for a workshop-style critique.  The focus of this course is on generating and discussing student poems and seeking published models for the work. Prerequisite: English 192.