Creative Writing

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

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Heidi Julavits, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; hj26@columbia.edu

Executive Committee on Undergraduate Creative Writing:
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 "Dottie" Lasky, Poetry, 609 Kent; 212-854-3774; dsl2121@columbia.edu
Prof. Sam Lipsyte, Fiction, (Chair), 415 Dodge; 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
  • Ben Metcalf
  • Deborah Paredez
  • Sam Lipsyte

Assistant Professors

  • Dorothea "Dottie" Lasky
  • Victor LaValle
  • Shane McCrae

Adjunct Professors

  • Christopher Bollen
  • Sarah Broom
  • Halle Butler
  • Anelise Chen
  • Diane Cook
  • Jon Cotner
  • Anaïs Duplan
  • Joseph Fasano
  • Hermione Hoby
  • Mitchell Jackson
  • Mark Rozzo
  • Lynn Strong
  • John Vincler
  • Kate Zambreno

Graduate Faculty Fellows

  • Philip Anderson
  • Claire Carusillo
  • Gabriela Garcia
  • Jarrod Harrison
  • Brian Huselton
  • Cyree Johnson
  • Laura Palmer
  • Heather Radke
  •  
  •  

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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN1100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1100 001/11908 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
963 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Tyler Curtis 3 9/15
WRIT 1100 002/28622 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Theresa Hottel 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 003/15984 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Maria Nicola Lo Sebastian 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 004/75749 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Sihan Tan 3 13/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN1100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1100 001/10141 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Philip Anderson 3 13/15
WRIT 1100 002/61276 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Claire Carusillo 3 16/15
WRIT 1100 003/11505 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Jarrod Harrison 3 15/15
WRIT 1100 004/70140 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Brian Huselton 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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN2100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2100 001/60528 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
308a Lewisohn Hall
Kathleen Alcott 3 14/15
WRIT 2100 002/20384 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Patricia Cottrell 3 17/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN2100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2100 001/26090 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
3 13/15
WRIT 2100 002/71422 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Heidi Julavits 3 14/15

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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN3100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3100 001/68456 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Marie Lee 3 13/15
WRIT 3100 002/17917 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Hilary Leichter 3 15/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN3100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3100 001/76682 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
3 6/15
WRIT 3100 002/17044 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Ben Metcalf 3 12/15

WRIT Q3101 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.

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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN2110
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2110 001/69349 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Hermione Buckland-Hoby 3 16/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN2110
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2110 001/17641 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Hermione Buckland-Hoby 3 15/15

WRIT UN3117 Fiction Seminar: The Here & Now. 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

In this course, we will read a wide variety of short fiction that concerns itself with the clarification and magnification of particular moments of being.  An emphasis will be placed on how these writers notice things that others might overlook-- the small, the peculiar, the unexpected-- and then how they transform these seemingly modest things with the force of their attention.  Our goal will be to proceed through these stories at the level of the sentence.  Why this quiet pulling back?  Much of our discussion will center on why a specific (and at times mysterious-seeming) choice has abeen made by an author.  But we will also from time to time broaden our focus to encompass larger philosophical concerns that are triggered by these questions of craft. We will talk about the science of attention, false and true lyricism, "the discipline of rightness" (as Wallace Stevens once described it) and why it is that feeling so often precedes form.  We will not spend very much time exploring the thematic concerns of these stories.  Nor will we speak in great detail about whether we find contained within them sympathetic or unsympathetic characters.  Instead, the aim of this class will be to analyze the formal elements of fiction with an eye towards refining our own prose styles and towards saying more clearly how it happened that a given text did or did not move us.

Fall 2018: WRIT UN3117
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3117 001/10431 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Lynn Strong 3 14/15

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 2018: WRIT UN3120
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3120 001/92746 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
411 Kent Hall
Mitchell Jackson 3 15/15

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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN1200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1200 001/61178 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Moeko Fujii 3 12/15
WRIT 1200 002/22728 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Trenton Pollard 3 11/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN1200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1200 001/75751 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Laura Palmer 3 10/15
WRIT 1200 002/74046 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Heather Radke 3 16/15

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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2200 001/61320 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
652 Schermerhorn Hall
John Vincler 3 11/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2200 001/68951 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Sarah Broom 3 10/15

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 2018: WRIT UN3200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3200 001/75341 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
253 Engineering Terrace
Kate Zambreno 3 7/15

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 2018: WRIT UN2211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2211 001/27034 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
501 International Affairs Bldg
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 2018: WRIT UN3210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3210 001/74275 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Margo Jefferson 3 15/15

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.

Fall 2018: WRIT UN3219
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3219 001/80796 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
502 Northwest Corner
John Vincler 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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN1300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1300 001/67873 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
606 Lewisohn Hall
Rashida Williams 3 18/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN1300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 1300 001/63498 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Gabriela Garcia 3 15/15
WRIT 1300 002/64097 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Cyre Johnson 3 15/15

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.

Spring 2018: WRIT UN2300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2300 001/70295 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Diana Delgado 3 13/15
Fall 2018: WRIT UN2300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 2300 001/64195 W 7:10pm - 9:00pm
407 Dodge Building
Anais Duplan 3 7/15

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 2018: WRIT UN3300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3300 001/74942 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Kent Hall
Shane McCrae 3 5/15

Poetry Seminars

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

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required.

Lyric poetry in contemporary practice continues to draw upon and modify its ancient sources, as well as Renaissance, Romantic and Modernist traditions.  In this seminar, we will explore the creation of the voice of the poem, the wild lyrical I, through closely reading female poets from antiquity to present day, beginning with Anne Carson's translations of Sappho, If Not Winter, all the way up to present avatars and noted sylists such as Mary Jo Bang (Elegy), Traci K. Smith (Life on Mars), Bernadette Mayer (New Directions Reader), Eileen Myles (Not Me), Maggie Nelson (Bluets) and others.  The identity of the poetic speaker remains with inescapable ties to memory and experience as one mode of the lyric, and with the dramatic topes of mask and persona as another.  Students will be asked to hear a range of current and classic women poets deploying, constructing and annihilating the self: the sonnets of Queen Elizabeth and the American beginnings of Anne Bradstreet; the emergence in the 19th century of iconic and radicalizing female presences: Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and the predominance of 20th century masters who re-invented the English-language lyric as much as they inherited: Louise Bogan, Gwendolyn Brooks, H.D., Marianne Moore, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Laura Riding, and Gertrude Stein.  As background, students will read prose works (epistolary, writing, journals and diaries, classic essays as well as prose poetry), which may contextualize women's desire and its reception in public and private space: the religious mysticism of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Dorothy Wordsworth's journals, Emily Dickinson's letters, and Virginia Woolf's criticism and novels.  Students will be expected to keep their own reading diary or write letters in response to class readings, as well as select a classic and contemporary female poet for semester-long research.  Additional course handouts will be organized by particular groupings of interest to our study of desire & identity, voice & witness:  Confessional poetry (Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton), Cave Canem poets (Harryette Mullen and Natasha Trethway), New York School (Alice Notley and Hannah Weiner), as well as additional contemporary poets (Lyn Melnick and Matthea Harvey).

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.

Fall 2018: WRIT UN3315
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3315 001/18597 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
302 Fayerweather
Joseph Fasano 3 15/15

Cross Genre Seminars

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 2018: WRIT UN3016
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 3016 001/27326 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
511 Kent Hall
John Cotner 3 16/15

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 2018: WRIT GU4310
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WRIT 4310 001/20508 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
411 Dodge Building
Deborah Paredez 3 17/15