Creative Writing

Undergraduate Creative Writing Program Office: 609 Kent; 212-854-3774
http://arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Dorothea Lasky, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; dsl2121@columbia.edu

Executive Committee on Undergraduate Creative Writing:

Prof. Anelise Chen, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; ac4132@columbia.edu
Prof. Timothy Donnelly, Poetry Division Chair, 415 Dodge; 212-854-4391; td28@columbia.edu
Prof. Margo Jefferson, Nonfiction, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; mlj4@columbia.edu
Prof. Heidi Julavits, Fiction, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; hj26@columbia.edu
Prof. Dorothea Lasky, Poetry, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; dsl2121@columbia.edu
Prof. Sam Lipsyte, Fiction, 609 Kent; 212-854-4391; sam.lipsyte@columbia.edu
Prof. Alan Ziegler, Fiction, 415 Dodge; 212-854-4391; az8@columbia.edu

The Creative Writing Program in The School of the Arts combines intensive writing workshops with seminars that study literature from a writer's perspective. Students develop and hone their literary technique in workshops. The seminars (which explore literary technique and history) broaden their sense of possibility by exposing them to various ways that language has been used to make art. Related courses are drawn from departments such as English, comparative literature and society, philosophy, history, and anthropology, among others.

Students consult with faculty advisers to determine the related courses that best inform their creative work. The creative writing major is by application only. For details, see the Creative Writing website: http://arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Professors

  • Margo L. Jefferson
  • Benjamin Marcus
  • Alan Ziegler

Associate Professors

  • Susan Bernofsky
  • Timothy Donnelly
  • Heidi Julavits
  • Dorothea Lasky
  • Victor LaValle
  • Sam Lipsyte
  • Deborah Paredez
  •  

Assistant Professors

  • Anelise Chen
  • Shane McCrae
  • Ben Metcalf
  • Lynn Xu

Adjunct Professors

  • Camille Bromley
  • Alexander Dimitrov
  • Joseph Fasano
  • Will Hunt
  • Crystal Hana Kim
  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee
  • Hilary Leichter
  • Daniel Magariel
  • Melody Nixon
  • Tracy O'Neill
  • Mark Rozzo
  • John Vincler
  • Rose Waldman
  • Christopher Wolfe
  • Samantha Zighelboim

Graduate Faculty Fellows

  • Ryan Avanzado
  • Synne Borgen
  • Jacob Carroll
  • Jessica Colley Clarke
  • Elly Graf
  • Molly McGhee
  • Mitchell Glazier
  • Kate Greene
  • Jared Jackson
  • Anastasios Karnazes
  • Margaret Meehan
  • Vivian Nixon
  • Margaret Richardson
  • Daniel Ryan
  • Adam Schwartzman
  • Gordon Slater
  • Robert Taylor Supplee
  • Brian Wiora
  • Alex Ulloa
  •  
  •  

Major in Creative Writing

The major in creative writing requires a minimum of 36 points: five workshops, four seminars, and three related courses.

Workshop Curriculum (15 points)

Students in the workshops produce original works of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, and submit them to their classmates and instructor for a close critical analysis. Workshop critiques (which include detailed written reports and thorough line-edits) assess the mechanics and merits of the writing pieces. Individual instructor conferences distill the critiques into a direct plan of action to improve the work. Student writers develop by practicing the craft under the diligent critical attention of their peers and instructor, which guides them toward new levels of creative endeavor.

Creative writing majors select 15 points within the division in the following courses. One workshop must be in a genre other than the primary focus. For instance, a fiction writer might take four fiction workshops and one poetry workshop.

Beginning Workshop
Designed for students who have little or no previous experience writing literary texts in a particular genre.
WRIT UN1100Beginning Fiction Workshop
WRIT UN1200Beginning Nonfiction Workshop
WRIT UN1300Beginning Poetry Workshop
Intermediate Workshop
Permission required. Admission by writing sample. Enrollment limited to 15. Course may be repeated in fulfillment of the major.
WRIT UN2100Intermediate Fiction Workshop
WRIT UN2200Intermediate Nonfiction Workshop
WRIT UN2300Intermediate Poetry Workshop
Advanced Workshop
Permission required. Admission by writing sample. Enrollment limited to 15. Course may be repeated in fulfillment of the major.
WRIT UN3100Advanced Fiction Workshop
WRIT UN3200Advanced Nonfiction Workshop
WRIT UN3300Advanced Poetry Workshop
Senior Creative Writing Workshop
Seniors who are creative writing majors are given priority. Enrollment limited to 12, by instructor's permission. The senior workshop offers students the opportunity to work exclusively with classmates who are at the same high level of accomplishment in the major. This course is only offered by graduate faculty professors.
WRIT UN3101Senior Fiction Workshop
WRIT UN3201Senior Nonfiction Workshop
WRIT UN3301Senior Poetry Workshop

Seminar Curriculum (12 points)

The creative writing seminars form the intellectual ballast of our program.  Our seminars offer a close examination of literary techniques such as plot, point of view, tone, and voice.  They seek to inform and inspire students by exposing them to a wide variety of approaches in their chosen genre.  Our curriculum, via these seminars, actively responds not only to historical literary concerns, but to contemporary ones as well.  Extensive readings are required, along with short critical papers and/or creative exercises.  By closely analyzing diverse works of literature and participating in roundtable discussions, writers build the resources necessary to produce their own accomplished creative work. 

Creative writing majors select 12 points within the division. Any 4 seminars will fulfill the requirement, no matter the student's chosen genre concentration.  Below is a sampling of our seminars.  The list of seminars currently being offered can be found in the "Courses" section. 

These seminars offer close examination of literary techniques such as plot, point of view, tone, suspense, and narrative voice. Extensive readings are required, along with creative exercises.
FICTION
WRIT UN3121Fiction Seminar: How To Build A Person
WRIT UN3117Fiction Seminar: The Here & Now
WRIT UN3122First Novels: How They Work
WRIT UN3120Fiction Seminar: The Craft Of Writing Dialogue
NONFICTION
WRIT UN3213Nonfiction Seminar: The Literary Reporter
WRIT UN3215Nonfiction Seminar: Learning to See: Writing The Visual
WRIT UN3216Nonfiction Seminar: Truths & Facts
WRIT UN3217Nonfiction Seminar: Science And Sensibility
POETRY
WRIT UN2311Poetry Seminar: Traditions in Poetry
WRIT UN3313Poetry Seminar: The Crisis of the I
WRIT UN3314Poetry Seminar: 21st Century American Poetry and Its Concerns
WRIT GU4310Poetry Seminar - Witness, Record, Document: Poetry & Testimony
CROSS GENRE
WRIT GU4011Cross Genre Seminar: Imagining Berlin
WRIT GU4012Cross Genre Seminar: Diva Voice, Diva Style, Diva Lyrics
WRIT UN3016Cross Genre Seminar: Walking
WRIT UN3013Cross-Genre Seminar: Process Writing & Writing Process

Related Courses (9 points)

Drawn from various departments, these courses provide concentrated intellectual and creative stimulation, as well as exposure to ideas that enrich students' artistic instincts. Courses may be different for each student writer. Students should consult with faculty advisers to determine the related courses that best inform their creative work.

Fiction Workshops

WRIT UN1100 Beginning Fiction Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

The beginning workshop in fiction is designed for students with little or no experience writing literary texts in fiction. Students are introduced to a range of technical and imaginative concerns through exercises and discussions, and they eventually produce their own writing for the critical analysis of the class. The focus of the course is on the rudiments of voice, character, setting, point of view, plot, and lyrical use of language.  Students will begin to develop the critical skills that will allow them to read like writers and understand, on a technical level, how accomplished creative writing is produced. Outside readings of a wide range of fiction supplement and inform the exercises and longer written projects.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN1100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1100 001/46809 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Molly McGhee 3 9/15
WRIT 1100 002/46810 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Margaret Meehan 3 12/15
WRIT 1100 003/46811 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Margaret Richardson 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 004/46812 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Daniel Ryan 3 13/15
WRIT 1100 005/13539 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Adam Schwartzman 3 9/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN1100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1100 001/12508 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Ryan Avanzado 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 002/12520 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Elly Graff 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 003/12521 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Jared Jackson 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 004/12522 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Alexander Ulloa 3 15/15

WRIT UN2100 Intermediate Fiction Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Intermediate workshops are for students with some experience with creative writing, and whose prior work merits admission to the class (as judged by the professor).  Intermediate workshops present a higher creative standard than beginning workshops, and increased expectations to produce finished work.  By the end of the semester, each student will have produced at least seventy pages of original fiction.  Students are additionally expected to write extensive critiques of the work of their peers.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN2100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2100 001/46813 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Heidi Julavits 3 12/15
WRIT 2100 002/46814 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Crystal Kim 3 8/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN2100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2100 001/12532 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
212a Lewisohn Hall
Heidi Julavits 3 0/15
WRIT 2100 002/12534 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Crystal Kim 3 0/15

WRIT UN3100 Advanced Fiction Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Building on the work of the Intermediate Workshop, Advanced Workshops are reserved for the most accomplished creative writing students. A significant body of writing must be produced and revised.  Particular attention will be paid to the components of fiction: voice, perspective, characterization, and form.  Students will be expected to finish several short stories, executing a total artistic vision on a piece of writing. The critical focus of the class will include an examination of endings and formal wholeness, sustaining narrative arcs, compelling a reader's interest for the duration of the text, and generating a sense of urgency and drama in the work.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3100 001/46806 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
502 Northwest Corner
John Haskell 3 6/15
WRIT 3100 002/46807 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
613 Hamilton Hall
Hilary Leichter 3 10/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN3100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3100 001/12539 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
311 Fayerweather
Marie Lee 3 0/15
WRIT 3100 002/12541 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Samuel Lipsyte 3 0/15

WRIT UN3101 Senior Fiction Workshop. 4 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Seniors who are majors in creative writing are given priority for this course.  Enrollment is limited, and is by permission of the professor.  The senior workshop offers students the opportunity to work exclusively with classmates who are at the same high level of accomplishment in the major.  Students in the senior workshops will produce and revise a new and substantial body of work.  In-class critiques and conferences with the professor will be tailored to needs of each student.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3101 001/46767 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
224 Pupin Laboratories
Therese O'Neill 4 13/12
Spring 2020: WRIT UN3101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3101 001/12545 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
408 Hamilton Hall
Victor Lavalle 4 0/12

Fiction Seminars

WRIT UN2110 Fiction Seminar: Approaches to the Short Story. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

The modern short story has gone through many transformations, and the innovations of its practitioners have often pointed the way for prose fiction as a whole. The short story has been seized upon and refreshed by diverse cultures and aesthetic affiliations, so that perhaps the only stable definition of the form remains the famous one advanced by Poe, one of its early masters, as a work of fiction that can be read in one sitting. Still, common elements of the form have emerged over the last century and this course will study them, including Point of View, Plot, Character, Setting, and Theme. John Hawkes once famously called these last four elements the "enemies of the novel," and many short story writers have seen them as hindrances as well. Hawkes later recanted, though some writers would still agree with his earlier assessment, and this course will examine the successful strategies of great writers across the spectrum of short story practice, from traditional approaches to more radical solutions, keeping in mind how one period's revolution - Hemingway, for example - becomes a later era's mainstream or "common-sense" storytelling mode. By reading the work of major writers from a writer's perspective, we will examine the myriad techniques employed for what is finally a common goal: to make readers feel. Short writing exercises will help us explore the exhilarating subtleties of these elements and how the effects created by their manipulation or even outright absence power our most compelling fictions.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN2110
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2110 001/46921 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
412 Pupin Laboratories
Juliane Buntin 3 18/15

WRIT UN3115 Fiction Seminar: Make It Strange. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

Making the familiar strange, making the strange familiar: these are among the most dexterous, variously re-imagined, catholically deployed, and evergreen of literary techniques. From Roman Jakobson and the Russian Formalists, to postmodern appropriations of pop culture references, techniques of defamiliarization and the construction of the uncanny have helped literature succeed in altering the vision of habit, habit being that which Proust so aptly describes as a second nature which prevents us from knowing the first. In this course, we will examine precisely how writers have negotiated and presented the alien and the domestic, the extraordinary and the ordinary. Looking at texts that both intentionally and unintentionally unsettle the reader, the class will pay special attention to the pragmatics of writerly choices made at the levels of vocabulary, sentence structure, narrative structure, perspective, subject matter, and presentations of time. Students will have four creative and interrelated writing assignments, each one modeling techniques discussed in the preceding weeks.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3115
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3115 001/12553 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Therese O'Neill 3 17/15

WRIT UN3120 Fiction Seminar: The Craft Of Writing Dialogue. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Departmental approval NOT required.

Whether texting, chatting, conversing, speechifying, recounting, confiding, gossiping, tweeting, praying, interviewing, exhorting, pitching, scheming, lecturing, nagging or begging, humans love to talk, and readers love narratives that contain dialogue.  Good dialogue makes characters and scenes feel real and alive.  Great dialogue reveals characters' fears, desires and quirks, forwards the narrative's plot and dramatic tension, and often contains subtext.  In this course, we'll read different kinds of novels and stories -- from noir to horror to sci-fi to realistice drama to comic romp -- that implement various types of dialogue effectively, and we'll study how to do it.  We'll read essays by masters that explain techniques for writing great dialogue, and we'll practice writing different styles of dialogue ourselves.  Coursework will consist of reading, in-class exercises, and two short creative assignments.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3120
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3120 001/46808 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Daniel Magariel 3 16/15

WRIT UN3123 An Earnest Look At Irony. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

In this seminar, we will examine works by several accomplished writers of fiction, and a few crackerjack poets, in order to determine what, precisely, we mean when we talk about irony on the page and what, precisely, we mean when we talk about earnestness. How are these very different effects (and affects) achieved? What are their benefits to the student author? What pitfalls, perceived or otherwise, attend the allure of each? What is the relationship of humor to earnestness, and of seriousness to irony? Is the absence of irony really the same thing as earnestness? Does the absence of earnestness somehow necessitate irony? With an eye toward technique, we will attempt to answer these and further questions by time spent among the words of those who fall along, though often refuse to stay put on, the earnest-ironic continuum. Students will be expected to write three stories or essays throughout the semester, exploring for themselves this treacherous but eminently skiable slope. With readings from Robert Frost, Stevie Smith, Charles Baudelaire, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), James Joyce, Raymond Carver, James Baldwin, Vladimir Nabokov, Joan Didion, Donald Barthelme, George Saunders, Virginia Woolf, Zadie Smith, Gertrude Stein, Jamaica Kincaid, Jame Agee, Isak Dinsen, David Foster Wallace, Clarice Lispector, and Paul West.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3123
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3123 001/12561 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
707 Hamilton Hall
Ben Metcalf 3 17/15

WRIT UN3126 Animal Tales. 3 points.

"We polish an animal mirror to look for ourselves." -Donna Haraway


In the last several decades, Animal Studies has emerged as a robust interdisciplinary field that once again seeks to engage with “the question of the animal,” as Derrida puts it. In this course, we will look at works of cultural production that explore the myriad relationships between human and nonhuman animals. We will read stories that dissolve the barrier between the domestic and the wild. We will read stories about human-animal hybrids. We will read stories from an animal’s-eye-view, imagining the world as an animal might: as a worm digging through the dirt toward an imagined utopia, as an elephant seeking vengeance against poachers, as a cultivated monkey exhausted by the cruelty of human society.


As the popular post-humanist scholar Donna Haraway puts it: We polish an animal mirror to look at ourselves. What can animals teach us about ourselves, and more importantly, what can animals teach us about how to survive our own nature? In the midst of this sixth extinction, animals are disappearing at a rapid rate due to human activity. Will it still be possible to cohabit peacefully, ecologically, with one another? By imagining the private lives of animals and writing stories from their perspective, can we still intervene and cultivate the necessary cross-species connections that will carry us into a more just and entwined future?

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3126
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3126 001/16882 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
606 Lewisohn Hall
Anelise Chen 3 16/15

WRIT UN3127 Time Moves Both Ways. 3 points.

What is time travel, really? We can use a machine or walk through a secret door. Take a pill or fall asleep and wake up in the future. But when we talk about magic machines and slipstreams and Rip Van Winkle, we are also talking about memory, chronology, and narrative. In this seminar, we will approach time travel as a way of understanding "the Fourth Dimension" in fiction. Readings will range from the speculative to the strange, to the realism of timelines, flashbacks, and shifts in perspective. Coursework will include short, bi-weekly writing assignments, a completed short story, and a time inflected adaptation. 

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3127
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3127 001/16886 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Hilary Leichter 3 16/15

Nonfiction Workshops

WRIT UN1200 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

The beginning workshop in nonfiction is designed for students with little or no experience in writing literary nonfiction. Students are introduced to a range of technical and imaginative concerns through exercises and discussions, and they eventually submit their own writing for the critical analysis of the class. Outside readings supplement and inform the exercises and longer written projects.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN1200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1200 001/46800 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Synne Borgen 3 13/15
WRIT 1200 002/46801 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Gordon Slater 3 12/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN1200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1200 001/12514 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Jacob Carroll 3 15/15
WRIT 1200 002/12518 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
315 Hamilton Hall
Jessica Colley Clarke 3 13/15
WRIT 1200 003/12513 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Vivian Nixon 3 15/15

WRIT UN2200 Intermediate Nonfiction Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

The intermediate workshop in nonfiction is designed for students with some experience in writing literary nonfiction. Intermediate workshops present a higher creative standard than beginning workshops and an expectation that students will produce finished work. Outside readings supplement and inform the exercises and longer written projects. By the end of the semester, students will have produced thirty to forty pages of original work in at least two traditions of literary nonfiction.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2200 001/46815 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
John Vincler 3 8/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2200 001/12535 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
616 Hamilton Hall
Will Hunt 3 1/15

WRIT UN3200 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Advanced Nonfiction Workshop is for students with significant narrative and/or critical experience. Students will produce original literary nonfiction for the workshop, with an added focus on developing a distinctive voice and approach.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3200 001/46924 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
301m Fayerweather
Will Hunt 3 15/15

WRIT UN3201 Senior Nonfiction Workshop. 4 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Senior Nonfiction Workshop

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3201
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3201 001/12562 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Camille Bromley 4 0/12

Nonfiction Seminars

WRIT UN2211 Nonfiction Seminar: Traditions in Nonfiction. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

The seminar provides exposure to the varieties of nonfiction with readings in its principal genres: reportage, criticism and commentary, biography and history, and memoir and the personal essay.  A highly plastic medium, nonfiction allows authors to portray real events and experiences through narrative, analysis, polemic or any combination thereof.  Free to invent everything but the facts, great practitioners of nonfiction are faithful to reality while writing with a voice and a vision distinctively their own.  To show how nonfiction is conceived and constructed, class discussions will emphasize the relationship of content to form and style, techniques for creating plot and character under the factual constraints imposed by nonfiction, the defining characteristics of each author's voice, the author's subjectivity and presence, the role of imagination and emotion, the uses of humor, and the importance of speculation and attitude.  Written assignments will be opportunities to experiment in several nonfiction genres and styles.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN2211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2211 001/46816 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
616 Hamilton Hall
Elianna Kan 3 13/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN2211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2211 001/16121 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
311 Fayerweather
Mark Rozzo 3 15/15

WRIT UN3210 Nonfiction Seminar: The Modern Arts Writer. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

We will examine the lineaments of critical writing. A critic blends the subjective and objective in complex ways. A critic must know the history of an artwork, its past, while placing it on the contemporary landscape and contemplating its future. A single essay will analyze, argue, describe, reflect, and interpret. And, since examining a work of art also means examining oneself, the task includes a willingness to probe one's own assumptions. The best critics are engaged in a conversation -- a dialogue, a debate -- with changing standards of taste, with their audience, with their own convictions and emotions. The best criticism is part of a larger cultural conversation. It spurs readers to ask questions rather than accept answers about art and society. We will read essays that consider six art forms: literature; film; music (classical, jazz and popular); theatre and performance; visual art; and dance. At the term's end, students will consider essays that examine cultural boundaries and divisions: the negotiations between popular and high art; the aesthetic of cruelty; the post-modern blurring of and between artist, critic and fan. The reading list will include such writers as Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Elizabeth Hardwick (literature); James Agee, Manny Farber, Zadie Smith (film); G.B. Shaw, Willa Cather, Ralph Ellison, Lester Bangs, Ellen Willis (music); Eric Bentley, Mary McCarthy, C.L.R. James (theatre); Leo Steinberg, Frank O'Hara, Ada Louise Huxtable, Maggie Nelson (visual art); Edwin Denby, Arlene Croce, Elizabeth Kendall, Mindy Aloff (dance); Susan Sontag, Anthony Heilbut, John Jeremiah Sullivan (cultural criticism).

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3210 001/46754 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Margo Jefferson 3 14/15

WRIT UN3219 Writing as Collecting. 3 points.

In Writing as Collecting we will examine how the concept of collecting provides a way to think through writing.  We will read writing based from art, archives, and other collections, from antiquity to the contemporary, from the commonplace to the rarified. We will consider how writers have written distinctively through a collecting impulse or about specific collections.  While our focus will be on works of nonfiction, we will also take forays into fiction, poetry, visual art, and the cinematic essay. Students will present on specific objects or collections, and two classes will take place in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (located on the 6th floor of Butler Library): the first as an introduction and orientation to the collections with a discussion of how research can feed creative writing, and, the second, for an in-class exercise in writing creatively about an specific object or collection (a book, manuscript, archival box, etc.).  Students will be encouraged to write about their own collections and to use the many public (or private) collections found throughout the city of New York.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3219
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3219 001/12567 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
John Vincler 3 17/15

WRIT UN3221 Auto-Writing the Self. 3 points.

"I am beginning to realize that taking the self out of our essays is a form of repression," writes Kate Zambreno in Heroines, "there is nothing objective about the experience of confronting and engaging with literature." From autobiography to autofiction, and autoethnography to autotheory, the subjective self in literature has become a literary obsession, feminist device, and cultural touchstone in the US this decade, bringing with it cultural cachet and new publishing categories in commercial and academic venues. But the auto's literary roots extend back through 16th century France to 10th century Japan to 4th century Numidia, and beyond—and they radiate outward to encompass trans poetics, Black Studies, psychology, and ethnography.


In this course we'll confront directly the subjective self in a range of U.S. and international literary and theory works. We'll review the audacity of self-assertion from Montaigne's 16th-century efforts to Roland Barthes' postmodern innovation in Roland Barthes, and the politics of auto from Christina Crosby's self-imaging in A Body, Undone to Audre Lorde's subversion of discourses of "theory" in Zami. We'll seek to ask: What does the grappling with the self indicate about a society's political, cultural, and literary concerns? Is our present-day obsession with personal narrative individualist self-indulgence, or an historical mode of inquiry with subversive power? We'll conduct a sustained inquiry into the auto's aesthetic, political, and rhetorical forms, while allowing ourselves to be moved creatively by the transgressions of genre conventions and philosophical discourses that auto-work precipitates.  


The course will be conducted seminar style and we'll consider our guiding questions through classroom discussion and writing exercises based on close readings as well as selections from interviews, criticism, and response articles. Based on an understanding of the form developed over the course of the seminar, participants will be asked to produce creative responses to course readings, which we will workshop in the second half of the semester. The final project will be an extended meditation on the auto through creative, critical, or hybrid critical-creative entry points.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3221
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3221 001/34882 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Melody Nixon 3 15/15

Poetry Workshops

WRIT UN1300 Beginning Poetry Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

The beginning poetry workshop is designed for students who have a serious interest in poetry writing but who lack a significant background in the rudiments of the craft and/or have had little or no previous poetry workshop experience. Students will be assigned weekly writing exercises emphasizing such aspects of verse composition as the poetic line, the image, rhyme and other sound devices, verse forms, repetition, tone, irony, and others. Students will also read an extensive variety of exemplary work in verse, submit brief critical analyses of poems, and critique each other's original work.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN1300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1300 001/46802 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
301m Fayerweather
Todd Glazier 3 12/15
WRIT 1300 002/46803 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
602 Northwest Corner
Brian Wiora 3 13/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN1300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1300 001/12528 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Katherine Greene 3 15/15
WRIT 1300 002/12530 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Anastasios Karnazes 3 16/15

WRIT UN2300 Intermediate Poetry Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Intermediate poetry workshops are for students with some prior instruction in the rudiments of poetry writing and prior poetry workshop experience. Intermediate poetry workshops pose greater challenges to students and maintain higher critical standards than beginning workshops. Students will be instructed in more complex aspects of the craft, including the poetic persona, the prose poem, the collage, open-field composition, and others. They will also be assigned more challenging verse forms such as the villanelle and also non-European verse forms such as the pantoum. They will read extensively, submit brief critical analyses, and put their instruction into regular practice by composing original work that will be critiqued by their peers. By the end of the semester each student will have assembled a substantial portfolio of finished work.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN2300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2300 001/46804 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
313 Pupin Laboratories
Alexander Dimitrov 3 15/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN2300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2300 001/12536 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
607 Hamilton Hall
Dorothea Lasky 3 0/15

WRIT UN3300 Advanced Poetry Workshop. 3 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

This poetry workshop is reserved for accomplished poetry writers and maintains the highest level of creative and critical expectations. Students will be encouraged to develop their strengths and to cultivate a distinctive poetic vision and voice but must also demonstrate a willingness to broaden their range and experiment with new forms and notions of the poem. A portfolio of poetry will be written and revised with the critical input of the instructor and the workshop.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3300 001/46766 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Shane McCrae 3 12/15

WRIT UN3301 Senior Poetry Workshop. 4 points.

Prerequisites: The department's permission required through writing sample. Please go to 609 Kent for submission schedule and registration guidelines or see http://www.arts.columbia.edu/writing/undergraduate.

Seniors who are majors in creative writing are given priority for this course. Enrollment is limited, and is by permission of the professor. The senior workshop offers students the opportunity to work exclusively with classmates who are at the same high level of accomplishment in the major. Students in the senior workshops will produce and revise a new and substantial body of work. In-class critiques and conferences with the professor will be tailored to needs of each student.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3301
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3301 001/12563 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Lynn Xu 4 0/12

Poetry Seminars

WRIT UN2311 Poetry Seminar: Traditions in Poetry. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

The avenues of poetic tradition open to today’s poets are more numerous, more invigorating, and perhaps even more baffling than ever before. The routes we chose for our writing lead to destinations of our own making, and we take them at our own risk—necessarily so, as the pursuit of poetry asks each of us to light a pilgrim’s candle and follow it into the moors and lowlands, through wastes and prairies, crossing waters as we go. Go after the marshlights, the will-o-wisps who call to you in a voice you’ve longed for your whole life. These routes have been forged by those who came before you, but for that reason, none of them can hope to keep you on it entirely. You must take your steps away, brick by brick, heading confidently into the hinterland of your own distinct achievement.

,

For the purpose of this class, we will walk these roads together, examining the works of classic and contemporary exemplars of the craft. By companioning poets from a large spread of time, we will be able to more diversely immerse ourselves in what a poetic “tradition” truly means. We will read works by Edmund Spencer, Dante, and Goethe, the Romantics—especially Keats—Dickinson, who is mother to us all, Modernists, and the great sweep of contemporary poetry that is too vast to individuate.

,

While it is the imperative of this class to equip you with the knowledge necessary to advance in the field of poetry, this task shall be done in a Columbian manner. Consider this class an initiation, of sorts, into the vocabulary which distinguishes the writers who work under our flag, each of us bound by this language that must be passed on, and therefore changed, to you who inherit it. As I have learned the words, I have changed them, and I give them now to you so that you may pave your own way into your own ways, inspired with the first breath that brought you here, which may excite and—hopefully—frighten you. You must be troubled. This is essential.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN2311
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2311 001/13537 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Robert Supplee 3 9/15

WRIT UN3315 Poetry Seminar: Poetic Meter And Form. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

This course will investigate the uses of rhythmic order and disorder in English-language poetry, with a particular emphasis on 'formal' elements in 'free' verse. Through a close analysis of poems, we'll examine the possibilities of qualitative meter, and students will write original creative work within (and in response to) various formal traditions. Analytical texts and poetic manifestos will accompany our reading of exemplary poems. Each week, we'll study interesting examples of metrical writing, and I'll ask you to write in reponse to those examples. Our topics will include stress meter, syllable-stress meter, double and triple meter, rising and falling rhythms, promotion, demotion, inversion, elision, and foot scansion. Our study will include a greate range of pre-modern and modern writers, from Keats to W.D. Snodgrass, Shakespeare to Denise Levertov, Blake to James Dickey, Whitman to Louise Gluck etc. As writers, we'll always be thinking about how the formal choices of a poem are appropriate or inappropriate for the poem's content. We'll also read prose by poets describing their metrical craft.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3315
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3315 001/12568 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Joseph Fasano 3 14/15

WRIT UN3316 West to East: The San Francisco Renaissance and the New York School in American Poetry. 3 points.

This course examines two central movements in post World War II American poetry, The San Francisco Renaissance and The New York School, and uncovers their aesthetic impacts on language and cultural production, as well as the relationship to "the city" as a defining agent in the poetic imagination.......

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3316
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3316 001/16364 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
415 Schapiro Cepser
Alexander Dimitrov 3 15/15

Cross Genre Seminars

WRIT UN3011 Translation Seminar. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Students do not need to demonstrate bilingual ability to take this course. Department approval NOT needed.
Corequisites: This course is open to undergraduate & graduate students.

This course will explore broad-ranging questions pertaining to the historical, cultural, and political significance of translation while analyzing the various challenges confronted by the art's foremost practitioners.  We will read and discuss texts by writers and theorists such as Benjamin, Derrida, Borges, Steiner, Dryden, Nabokov, Schleiermacher, Goethe, Spivak, Jakobson, and Venuti.  As readers and practitioners of translation, we will train our ears to detect the visibility of invisibility of the translator's craft; through short writing experiments, we will discover how to identify and capture the nuances that traverse literary styles, historical periods and cultures.  The course will culminate in a final project that may either be a critical analysis or an original translation accompanied by a translator's note of introduction.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3011 001/46923 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Bonnie Chau 3 4/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3011 001/12531 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
610 Lewisohn Hall
Rose Waldman 3 14/15

WRIT UN3014 Cross Genre Seminar: Structure and Style. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

This seminar explores fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama as related disciplines.  While each genre has its particular opportunities and demands, all can utilize such devices as narrative, dialogue, imagery, and description (scenes, objects, and thought processes).  Through a wide variety of readings and writing exercises, we will examine and explore approaches to language, ways of telling a story (linear and nonlinear), and how pieces are constructed. Some student work will be briefly workshopped.

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3014
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3014 001/46805 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Alan Ziegler 3 12/15
Spring 2020: WRIT UN3014
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3014 001/16226 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Daniel Magariel 3 17/15

WRIT UN3016 Cross Genre Seminar: Walking. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

As Walter Benjamin notes in The Arcades Project: "Basic to flanerie, among other things, is the idea that the fruits of idleness are more precious than the fruits of labor.  The flaneur, as is well known, makes 'studies'."  This course will encourage you to make "studies" -- poems, essays, stories, or multimedia pieces -- based on your walks.  We will read depictions of walking from multiple disciplines, including philosophy, poetry, history, religion, visual art, and urban planning.  Occasionally we will walk together.  An important point of the course is to develop mobile forms of writing.  How can writing emerge from, and document, a walk's encounters, observations, and reflections?  What advantages does mobility bring to our work?  Each week you will write a short piece (1-3 pages) that engages your walks while responding to close readings of the assigned material. 

Fall 2019: WRIT UN3016
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3016 001/46818 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
John Cotner 3 16/15

WRIT UN3017 Incarcerated Yet Inspired: Exploring Criminal Justice Through Creative Writing. 3 points.

Welcome to the Incarcerated Yet Inspired, a cross-genre, creative writing seminar. Over the course of this semester, we will conduct a close reading of literary works that are based on the lives of individuals who have been ostracized, incarcerated, and isolated from their communities. While some of the writers we will  study have been personally affected by the criminal justice system, others have drawn upon their research, observations, and experiences working in prisons to tell a compelling story. Through our weekly analysis and discussion, we will explore the thematic elements and artistic choices each writer employs in their work. We will also challenge our existing thoughts about prisons as an institution and develop a better understanding of how the prism of art and justice can be valuable to you as writers.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3017
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3017 001/25039 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Christopher Wolfe 3 15/15

WRIT UN3018 Inhabiting Form: Writing the Body. 3 points.

The body is our most immediate encounter with the world, the vessel through which we experience our entire lives: pleasure, pain, beauty, horror, limitation, freedom, fragility and empowerment. In this course, we will pursue critical and creative inquiries into invocations and manifestations of the body in multiple genres of literature and in several capacities. We will look at how writers make space for—or take up space with—bodies in their work.


The etymology of the word “text” is from the Latin textus, meaning “tissue.” Along these lines, we will consider the text itself as a body. Discussions around body politics, race, gender, ability, illness, death, metamorphosis, monstrosity and pleasure will be parallel to the consideration of how a text might function itself as a body in space and time. We will consider such questions as: What is the connective tissue of a story or a poem? What is the nervous system of a lyric essay? How is formal constraint similar to societal ideals about beauty and acceptability of certain bodies? How do words and language function at the cellular level to build the body of a text? How can we make room to honor, in our writing, bodies that have otherwise been marginalized?


We will also consider non-human bodies (animals & organisms) and embodiments of the supernatural (ghosts, gods & specters) in our inquiries. Students will process and explore these ideas in both creative and analytical writings throughout the semester, deepening their understanding of embodiment both on and off the page.

Spring 2020: WRIT UN3018
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3018 001/25040 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Samantha Zighelboim 3 14/15

WRIT GU4310 Poetry Seminar - Witness, Record, Document: Poetry & Testimony. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

This seminar takes up the terms witness, record, and document as nouns and verbs. What is poetry of witness? Documentary poetry? Poetry as (revisionist ) historical record? What labor and what ethical, political, and aesthetic considerations are required of poets who endeavor to witness, record, or document historical events or moments of trauma? How is this approach to poetry informed by or contributing to feminist theories, aesthetic innovation, and revisionist approaches to official histories? Course materials include: 1) essays that explore the poetics and politics of "poetry of witness" or "documentary poetry"; 2) a range of contemporary American Poetry that has been classified as or has productively challenged these categories; 3) and audio, video, and photographic projects on which poets have collaborated. Our encounters with this work will be guided by and grounded in conversations about ideas of "truth," "text," the power relations of "documentation," and issues of language and representation in poetry.  We will also critically examine the formal (rhyme, rhythm, diction, form, genre, point of view, imagery, etc.) and philosophical components and interventions of the work we study and create.

Fall 2019: WRIT GU4310
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 4310 001/46840 W 10:00am - 12:00pm
411 Dodge Building
Deborah Paredez 3 16/15