ENGL-494 Senior Seminar: Craft Studies

Instructor: Prof. M. McMorris

Meeting Times: F 2PM – 4:30PM

Location: Reynolds 130

Section Description:

“It’s appropriate to pause and say that the writer is one who, embarking upon a task, does not know what to do?” ( Fiction writer Donald Barthelme, “Not Knowing.”) The field of Craft Studies is succinctly described by the scholar who named it as “engaged theorizing” about creative writing. But what does it mean to attach the theory-word studies to the imaginative act of writing? To describe a course as a seminar as well as a writing workshop? At once seminar and workshop, this course will explore the intersection of at least three strands of creative writing—poetry, fiction, and nonfiction—as they converge in the study of craft. We will examine theories of writing as formulated by practicing writers in multiple genres–poets, essayists, fiction writers, theorists, cultural critics, teachers of writing—all of them people who work hard making things and apparently can’t stop thinking about their craft. And we will write. Over the course of the semester, students should expect to write constantly–short exercises and experiments, as well as a substantial workshop project in a genre of their own choice. No formal prerequisites, but the seminar is designed for English majors and Creative Writing minors, as well as other experienced writers who have taken at least one course concentrating on genres and/or practices of creative writing. Readings include Dillard, The Writing Life; O’Brien, The Things They Carried; Orwell, Why I Write; and writing by participants in the seminar. 11 seats are reserved for Creative Writing Minors Seniors.