2016-2017 Course Descriptions
2016-17 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Fiction: "Are You Talking to Me? The Art of Voice-Driven Fiction"
Faculty: Anthony Martinez & Cassie Title
Before human beings could read or write, they had to tell stories out loud. To this day, all of the best fiction preserves this core characteristic: a story has to sound good when it is told. In this course, students will write first and foremost about things they care about, delivered in a voice uniquely their own. We will craft our fiction by discovering new writers, exploring different fictional forms (linked stories, flash fiction, found fiction, the list goes on...), studying the building blocks of fiction (voice, character, point of view, etc.), and experimenting lyrically. Between writing exercises, prompts, and freewrites, students will spend ample time doing the first thing any writer must do: writing. Students will read stories by established authors as well as the work of their peers. Above all, the focus of this course will be: to create fiction that can captivate an audience, compelling them to read more. By the end of the course, students will have created individual portfolios of fiction writing that can be used for college applications or publication submissions.
Multi-Genre: "Make it New...or Funny, At Least"
Faculty: Sarah Burnette & Oscar Mancinas
This course will look at fiction and poetry, like the Joker looked at Batman, and ask why so serious? That’s not to say we won’t be serious about our craft, but what we’ll be crafting is humorous multi-genre work made from, inspired by and, above all, subverting the texts we encounter in everyday life: anything from craigslist housing posts to one-star Yelp reviews to deodorant instructions to even mysterious notes scrawled on bathroom walls. And we will also discuss how what is found/funny can at the same time be beautiful, profound and necessary. As we explore the ways in which genres resist simple categorization, our writers, too, will resist being categorized and will learn to write and rewrite the world around them.
Non-Fiction: "Our Truths Become Our Stories"
Faculty: Lindsay Haber & Alex Ebel
In this course, we’ll explore the boundaries of truth telling: what separates non-fiction from fiction? If something from the past is being retold, is there any way to accurately capture it without bias? What liberties can an author take when writing about something real? Is there a creative boundary that shouldn’t be crossed when writing the “truth” or can creative experimentation help an audience connect with a story more? How can something as sacred as identity be expressed on the page? This course will explore these questions and many more. In addition, we will discuss truth telling through the lens of Young Adult Literature.
We’ll read a variety of non-fiction and fiction texts that demonstrate the different ways in which we all tell our stories. Through weekly writing prompts, and, ultimately, the creation of our own personal essays, narratives, and memoirs, we will write our unique truths and celebrate them together.
Poetry: Seeing is Believing: Capturing Images, Curating Poems
Faculty: Angela Siew & Breauna Roach
The image is a fundamental element in any art. Good metaphors are good because of the images they use--and when any good poem is experienced, the images are what stick in the minds of the readers. In this class, students will explore how to not only capture what they see in front of them in words, but also how to convey images that come from the furthest depths of their imagination. Through exercises in sound and movement, we will track how poetry is informed by our senses and how we can fine-tune the process of choosing what of our absorbed experiences shows up on the page.
Each student will benefit from intense focus on workshopping their poems. Additionally, our class will use classical and contemporary poetry and visual art to guide our explorations, helping us to create ekphrastic poems that reshape the metaphors we are all most familiar with.