Salvatore Pane

Tag: Roxane Gay

The Kellogg Writers Series 2013-2014 Season

Some of you may know that at UIndy I’m the co-director of our Kellogg Writers Series. This year, we have a tremendous lineup that’s free and open to the public, and I hope to see many of you there.

Patricia Clark
Monday, September 23, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Esch Hall Studio Theater
Patricia Clark is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Sunday Rising. Other titles are: She Walks Into the Sea; My Father on a Bicycle; and North of Wondering. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, also appearing in The Atlantic, Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. She is also the author of a chapbook, Given the Trees, in the Voices from the American Land series, and co-author of an anthology of women writers, Worlds in Our Words. She is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University.

Roxane Gay
Thursday, November 21, 2013
7:30 p.m.
UIndy Hall C
Schwitzer Center
Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOOON, The New York Times Book Review, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. Her novel, An Untamed State, will be published by Grove Atlantic and her essay collection, Bad Feminist, will be published by Harper Perennial, both in 2014.

Jim McGarrah
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Trustees Dining Room
Schwitzer Center
Jim McGarrah has three books of poetry, Running the Voodoo Down, which won a book award from Elixir Press in 2003, When the Stars Go Dark, part of Main Street Rag’s Select Poetry Series in 2009, and Breakfast at Denny’s from Ink Brush Press, 2013. He has publised two nonfiction books: A Temporary Sort of Peace, a memoir of the Vietnam War, and The End of an Era, a nonfiction account of life in the American counter-culture during the 1960s and 1970s. His poems and essays have appeared most recently in Bayou Magazine, Chamber 4, Cincinnati Review, Elixir Magazine, and North American Review. Along with Tom Watson, he edited Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana.

Jennifer Percy
Thursday, April 3, 2014
7:30 p.m.
UIndy Hall C
Schwitzer Center
Pushcart prize winner Jennifer Percy is the author of Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism (Scribner). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’
Workshop, Percy also received an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program as an Iowa Arts Fellow. She is the
recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, a Truman Capote Fellowship and the David Relin Prize for Fiction. She has significant journal publications including the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine and the Oxford American. She has also been featured on National Public Radio and BBC”s World News.

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2013 AWP GUIDE

I’ve been blogging about AWP for the last four years. You can check the previous guides here (2012, 2011, 2010). So I’m not going to ramble on too much with advice. You know how I feel about AWP. For me, it works best when I plan less. There’s too much to do, and every year it seems like I have more obligations and more friends and writers to meet. I’m never able to do even a fourth of what I’d like to, and often, my favorite moments of the conference have nothing to do with writing. Some of my favorite moments from last year were catching up with old classmates over a tray of deep dish pizza, or the time Kevin Tassini and I dragged Katie Coyle all over Chicago to look for video games. Just go and have fun. Be productive, but don’t overstress.

If you want to see me at AWP, there’s a few options. I’m doing a book signing at the Braddock Avenue Books table from 10:30 to 11:45 on Thursday. Come on down. Buy my book. Hug me? I’ll probably do a few more, and I’ll keep you posted here or via Twitter. I’m also participating in a panel on Thursday from 9-10:15am in Room 108 of the Plaza Level:

R109. Landing the Tenure-Track Job without a Book: What to Expect in the Job Market. (Kevin McKelvey, Salvatore Pane, Keya Mitra, Robert Long Foreman) In a competitive academic job market, how do you make yourself stand out without a book? Writers will discuss their diverse paths to tenure-track jobs and how to develop pedagogy for newer fields such as graphic novels and established fields like professional writing, screenwriting, composition, editing, and publishing. Panelists will discuss publications and teaching loads, how a visiting or contract position can turn into a permanent job, and whether or not you need a PhD.

If you want to see me read, come to this:

tpa

 

So let’s party. Let’s hang out. Let’s be cool. Below is my list of all the panels I’m interested in attending. Remember, these aren’t the “best” panels–I don’t even know what that would mean exactly. These are just the ones I’m going to try and make. Just relax and be cool. I’ll have an off-site guide posted soon.

THURSDAY

12:00-1:15

Room 200, Level 2

R167. Only Half as Crazy as We Seem: Exploring Unconventional Strategies for Indie Lit Startups. (Steve Westbrook, Matty Byloos, Carrie Seitzinger, J.A. Tyler, Skyler Schulze) At present, the notion of developing an independent literary startup tends to be perceived as a naïve dream or a bad business idea. Defying conventional wisdom, contributors to this panel discuss their recent experience of founding successful new journals, presses, and a reading series. As they examine how their efforts toward sustainability intersect or contradict industry lore, they offer strategies for developing alternative funding structures, distribution models, and marketing techniques.

Room 206, Level 2

R172. Literary Writers Writing Popular Fiction: What’s Up With That? (Ed Falco, Julianna Baggott, Lise Haines, Benjamin Percy) What exactly are we saying when we refer to a novel as literary or serious fiction, as opposed to popular or commercial fiction? Can clear distinctions be made? What do these commonly used terms—literary, serious versus commercial, popular—mean to writers? Is it possible to write a commercial novel that is also literary? Writers who have published literary works as well as novels that might be considered popular fiction explore these and other relevant questions.

Room 313, Level 3

R185. Too Much or Not Enough? Expectations in the Introductory Multi-Genre Creative Writing Classroom. (Carrie Shipers, Laurel Gilbert, Heather Kirn Lanier, Casey Thayer) Five teachers from two-year colleges will discuss best practices for teaching introductory-level multi-genre creative writing classes. What are the unique challenges of teaching creative writing in this setting, and how do we respond to them? Panelists will address how much (and what kind) of writing students should do; the appropriate role of reading student and published texts; expectations for revision; and the efficacy of full-class workshop.

1:30-2:45

Room 102, Plaza Level

R187. Party Down: Effective Fundraising Events on the Cheap. (Steph Opitz, Maribeth Batcha, Paul Morris, Eric Lorberer) Fundraising events don’t need to be fancy dinners and formal wear—learn from folks from One Story, PEN America, and Rain Taxi about producing effective and novel small fundraising events and strategies on a budget.

Room 104, Plaza Level

R189. Nothing but the Truth: Perspectives on Creative Nonfiction in the Classroom and Beyond. (Catherine Cortese, Michael Martone, Diane Roberts, Robin Hemley, Debra Monroe) Creative nonfiction continues to grow in popularity among readers and students of writing. The genre, however, lacks a standard definition. Some believe the slippery nature of perception affords writers infinite liberties, while others see the genre as one that artfully deploys stable facts. This disparity makes the genre tricky to write and trickier to teach. The writers on this panel will discuss the freedoms and constraints of the genre in their classrooms, as well as in their own work.

Room 200, Level 2

R196. From Parts to a Whole: Turning a Bunch of Essays into a Unified Book. (David Giffels, Chuck Klosterman, Sean Manning, Chuck Klosterman, Meghan Daum) Why do some books of essays feel like collections of B-sides, outtakes and orphans, while others carry the thematic and narrative satisfaction of a good concept album? Drawing from their own experiences, this panel of successful authors discusses vital techniques for conceiving, organizing, developing, and enhancing a collection of creative nonfiction essays into a unified whole. We will address how to balance recurring themes, maintain voice and tone, how to build bridges, and other topics.

3:00-4:15

Room 103, Plaza Level

R218. Does Place Still Matter? The Relevance of Regional Fiction in the 21st Century. (Brett Boham, Stewart O’Nan, Susan Straight, Alex Espinoza, Michael Jaime-Becerra) Attempts to categorize American literature often begin and end with region. Southern fiction. New England poetry. Midwestern novel. But to what extent is regionalism a useful lens through which to understand contemporary American literature? How do so-called regional writers conceptualize place? And has the expansion of the American counterculture and social media forever changed the landscape of regional fiction? Panelists will discuss the advantages and limitations of thinking regionally.

Room 105, Plaza Level

R220. All the Young Dudes: A Reading from Four Debut Collections. (Jared Yates Sexton, Eugene Cross, Andrew Scott, Jensen Beach) It’s said that everyone has stories, but publishing those stories, particularly a book-length collection of them, is proving more confounding a process than ever. Join four emerging writers with debut collections for a short reading from their work, followed by a Q&A session detailing how they got their first book deals, their experiences in attracting presses and navigating contracts, and an array of advice for aspiring scribes.

Room 200, Level 2

R226. Second Sex, Second Shelf? Women, Writing, and the Literary Marketplace. (Christine Gelineau, Erin Belieu, Bobbie Ann Mason, Lydia Diamond, Meg Wolitzer) Statistics suggest a gap still exists. But is there a problem, and if there is, what is its nature? What changes/remedies/metamorphoses can/should be imagined? Do you think about this issue differently in terms of your writing and in terms of your career? Accomplished writers, who happen to be women, theorize and report out of their own experiences and analysis of the current literary scene.

Room 206, Level 2

R231. The New Kids in the Class—Teachers Under 35. (Michael Croley, Laura van den Berg, Erica Dawson, David James Poissant, Holly Goddard Jones) Five professors discuss their transition from graduate student to faculty member and the advantages and difficulties their age has posed in negotiating—and finding—their teaching styles with undergraduate and MFA students as well as what role(s) they take on in their courses and departments. The session offers insights and best practices regarding the first few years on the job in and out of the classroom, while also discussing how gender may affect the perception of a young teacher.

Room 305, Level 3

R238. Oh, Grow Up: Writing Kids’ Voices in Literary Fiction. (Alexi Zentner, Alison Espach, Aryn Kyle, Haley Tanner) A lot of literary writers are writing young adult novels, but what about writing the voices of young adults and children in literary fiction? Five novelists talk about how to create believable young voices in adult fiction, how to avoid the imitative fallacy, the power of narrative distance, and how to balance grown-up needs while having kids in the story.

Alice Hoffman Bookfair Stage, Exhibit Hall D, Level 2

BF16. Major Jackson’s Ploughshares Issue Reading. (Ladette Randolph, Major Jackson, Maggie Dietz, Emily Bernard, David Huddle) Ploughshares literary magazine editor-in-chief Ladette Randolph will host a reading to celebrate Major Jackson’s guest-edited issue. Jackson will read from his work and speak briefly about his experience selecting work for the magazine. He will be joined by contributors from his issue, including Maggie Dietz, Emily Bernard, and David Huddle.

4:30-5:45

Hynes Ballroom, Level 3

R244. Alice Hoffman & Tom Perrotta: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Grub Street. (Christopher Castellani, Alice Hoffman, Tom Perrotta) Internationally best-selling writers Alice Hoffman and Tom Perrotta, authors of over thirty books between them, read from their recent fiction. After the reading, Grub Street artistic director and novelist Christopher Castellani moderates a discussion that focuses on how these authors continually appeal to wide audiences with novels and stories of great depth, subtlety, and cultural relevance. The discussion will also touch on how these authors use humor and magic in their work, the creative roles they’ve played in their film adaptations, and other topics related to the craft of fiction.

Room 104, Plaza Level

R248. Eros in the Classroom. (Heather McNaugher, Michele Morano, BK Loren, Eileen Myles, Barrie Jean Borich) More than a few academic careers in literature and writing were ignited by a crush on a teacher. But desire in the classroom is constructed, often for good reason, as threatening and inappropriate; we therefore don’t acknowledge or talk about it. This panel, inspired by Michele Morano’s recent Ninth Letter essay, “Crush,” speaks plainly and honestly about the overlap of desire and pedagogy, and how the writer-teacher has constructively channeled it into her/his creative work.

Room 200, Level 3

R255. Thoreau’s Granddaughters: Women Writing the Wild. (Suzanne Roberts, Cheryl Strayed, Pam Houston, Gretchen Legler, Li Miao Lovett) Do women approach writing both the wildness of the land and the wilderness of their own bodies differently from men? Do women have a uniquely feminine vision of what it means to be wild? Are they judged by a different set of aesthetics? These five women panelists, including memoirists, novelists, and poets, will discuss their literary influences, the joys and challenges, and the internal doubts and external criticism they face in writing the wild.

Room 208, Level 2

R262. What to Do Before You Debut. (Randy Susan Meyers, Nichole Bernier, Jane Roper, Carleen Brice) Authors are often naïve about their role in finding readers, and they are rarely taught the iterative steps involved in the process of a book launch. Panelists will share specific methodologies, from best practices for websites, publicity, marketing decisions, and working with publishing houses, to assessing the line between awkward hawking and reasonable audience building. Timelines, methods, and tools offered will be balanced with discussion of the art of finding comfortable promotional voices.

Room 309, Level 3

R270A. Southern Writers in Exile. (Michael Croley, Richard Bausch, Michael Griffith, Steve Yarbrough, Brad Watson) Writers who identify as southern don’t often stray far from home, but as some have moved into teaching positions, they find themselves now living all over the country, out of their comfort zones. This panel explores how that distance has affected each writer’s approach to their craft and teaching, as well as what it means to be a southern writer no longer living in the South, and what role regionalism plays in the landscape of American literature.

FRIDAY

10:30-11:15

Room 103, Plaza Level

F134. Courage, Craft, and Cunning: From MFA Thesis to Published Book. (Jayne Anne Phillips, Will Schutt, Christa Parravani, Ryan McIlvain, Akhil Sharma) This panel features poets and fiction writers whose manuscripts began in their MFA thesis and progressed through revision and invention to first books published by respected presses. Each will read for four minutes, discuss mentorship in their MFA programs, and compare notes on structuring first books, publishers, and the cunning (as in artful, resourceful) required of writers whose lives embrace far more than writing. Audience Q&A will follow.

Room 109, Plaza Level

F139. The Geek in Me: Writing from the Cultural Fringe. (Ethan Gilsdorf, Lizzie Stark, Peter Bebergal) Geek and fringe subcultures such as Dungeons & Dragons, Larping, psychedelia, punk rock, and comic books can be ideal portals through which to examine the self, construct narratives, and comment on the culture at large. In this session, three panelists whose books mix memoir, pop culture, and ethnography discuss best practices for breaking into subcultures conducting fringe culture reportage and using that research to tell powerful and poignant stories about the human condition.

12:00-1:15

Room 101, Plaza Level

F161. Experimental Fiction Today. (John Parras, Daniel Green, Alissa Nutting, Ted Pelton, M. Bartley Seigel) Editors, writers, critics, and teachers discuss recent trends in experimental fiction and how such work enriches the publishing landscape, the creative writing workshop, and the direction and function of literature itself. What are some of the more exciting trends in innovative fiction? What are the special challenges and rewards for writers testing fiction’s limits? How does fabulist work work? If all literature is innovative, what distinguishes the experimental from other types of fiction?

Room 200, Level 2

F171. Does the World Need Another Literary Magazine? (Tom Bligh, Catherine Dent, Dave Essinger, Karolina Gajdeczka, E. Ethelbert Miller) Undergraduate literary journals encourage students to take responsibility for the shape and form of their work and to learn about publishing through firsthand exposure to the process. Panelists share unconventional wisdom on ways to help print and online journals survive and thrive while sustaining enthusiasm and maintaining high standards. Editors discuss the advantages to joining the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) and explain how to start your own FUSE chapter.

Room 202, Level 2

F173. How to Build a Successful Kickstarter Campaign for Your Publishing Project. (Meaghan O’Connell, Benjamin Samuel, Mat Honan, Joshua Mandelbaum, Laurie Ochoa) Kickstarter moderates a panel of editors from Electric Literature, Words Without Borders, Slake, Longshot, and Tomorrow Magazine for an instructional and informational session on developing a successful Kickstarter campaign for your periodical or publishing project. We’ll walk you through the process step by step and discuss how to best represent your brand, set a fundraising goal, shoot a video, create rewards, engage backers, and promote your campaign.

Room 210, Level 2

F180. The Urge Toward Memoir. (Elisabeth Schmitz, Jill Kneerim, Michael Thomas, Jeanette Winterson, Lily King) Novelists Jeanette Winterson, Emily Raboteau, Michael Thomas, agent Jill Kneerim, and editor Elisabeth Schmitz discuss the writer’s urge toward memoir. What defines memoir and is it any more “true” or less creative a process than fiction? Panelists will talk about a favorite memoir and the forms they invented for their own.

1:30-2:45

Room 206, Level 2

F205. A Point of View on A Point of View. (Daniel Menaker, Amy Hempel, Bret Anthony Johnston) Point of view is the lens through which a writer conveys the vision of a story. But what is it about point of view that makes an editor pick an unknown writer out of a pile of unsolicited submissions? And what is it about point of view that makes a series of short stories cohere into an original and memorable collection? In A Point of View on A Point of View, distinguished editor Daniel Menaker and much-anthologized writers Amy Hempel and Bret Anthony Johnston turn a lens on the lens itself.

3:00-4:15

Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2

F219. Don DeLillo & Dana Spiotta: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by The Center for Fiction. (Noreen Tomassi, Don DeLillo, Dana Spiotta) Celebrated novelists Don DeLillo, author of Underworld, Libra, and White Noise, and Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia, present readings, to be followed by a discussion moderated by Noreen Tomassi, Executive Director of the Center for Fiction.

Room 108, Plaza Level

F227. Write Short, Think Long: Exploring the Craft of Writing Flash Nonfiction. (Kathleen Rooney, Sue William Silverman, Peggy Shumaker, Judith Kitchen, Ira Sukrungruang) In celebration of this popular emerging genre, as well as the publication of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers, edited by Dinty W. Moore, five of the book’s twenty-six diverse contributors gather to discuss what makes good flash nonfiction memorable and unique, and to offer up ideas and techniques for writing, publishing, and reading the brief essay form well.

Room 202, Level 2

F233. Women on the Road: Exploration, Inspiration, and Imagination in Fiction. (Tara L. Masih, Mary Akers, Jessica Anthony, Midge Raymond, Laura van den Berg) An exploration of crafting stories and novels that place characters in distant regions and countries, and how travel abroad helped shape the countries of the panelists’ imaginations. Panelists will share travel experiences and photos, inspirations, readings, and the process of creative observation. Tips will be offered on using research to fill in travel gaps, both in contemporary and historical contexts, and on negotiating the complexities of writing about cultures different from one’s own.

4:30-5:45

Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2

F250. Alison Bechdel & Jeanette Winterson: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Emerson College MFA. (Alison Bechdel, Jeanette Winterson, Elisabeth Schmitz) Alison Bechdel, author of the graphic memoir Fun Home and the ground-breaking comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, and Jeannette Winterson, author of Written on the Body and the memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, present readings from their work followed by a discussion moderated by Elisabeth Schmitz, Executive Editor at Grove/Atlantic, Inc. The events will be introduced by Emerson College’s Steve Yarborough, author of the novels Safe from the Neighbors and The End of California.

Room 202, Level 2

F263. Blue-collar College Students and the Creative Writing Degree. (Jerry Wemple, Lawrence Coates, Claire Lawrence) Faculty from creative writing programs in rust belt regions that traditionally serve students from blue-collar backgrounds ponder what, exactly, they are preparing their students for, since most undergraduates will not become “professional” writers. The panelists discuss what they are trying to accomplish in their programs, what their graduates feel they’ve learned and how they are using that knowledge, and potential revisions to a program after re-assessment at the ten-year mark.

Room 206, Level 2

F266. Bring Out Your Dead: Writing Ghosts (and Zombies) in Literary Fiction. (Rebecca Makkai, Tea Obreht, Lauren Groff, Dan Chaon, Alexi Zentner) The ghost story thrives in literary fiction as well as the oral tradition, defying genre. How do we keep these compelling tales fresh? How do we frighten without resorting to cheap tricks? How do we navigate the borders between spirituality, science, doubt, and a reliable narrative voice? And why are we drawn to these themes again and again? Five writers introduce you to their ghosts and tell you how they summoned them.

Room 207, Level 2

F267. What We Write About When We Write About Music. (Laurie Lindeen, Rick Moody, Will Hermes, Jen Trynin, Jacob Slichter) All art aspires to music because it touches our hearts, souls, senses, and imaginations This panel of writers, musicians, and writing instructors loves, appreciates, knows, and plays music. They have written passionately about music in memoirs, essays, novels, songs, poetry, and blogs. Each individual on this panel would like to share his or her unique path with prose and music, and share their collective beliefs in the emotional, rhythmic importance of musicality when writing and when teaching writing.

Room 102, Plaza Level

F269. The Literary Legacy of Andre Dubus. (Matthew Batt, Andre Dubus III, Melanie Rae Thon, Nancy Zafris, Bruce Machart) Andre Dubus (1936-1999), author of nine volumes of fiction and two collections of essays, including Meditations from a Moveable Chair and Dancing After Hours, was a long-time resident of Haverhill, Massachussets, and is widely recognized as one of the greatest practitioners and teachers of the contemporary short story. Panelists, including Dubus’s son, a former student, a close friend, and a lifelong fan, will discuss their relationship with Dubus and what they learned from his work and life.

6:00-7:15

Room 110, Hynes Convention Center, Plaza Level

F283. Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) Caucus. (Catherine Dent, Michael Cocchiarale, Esme Franklin, Andrew Baker, Sarah Gzemski) Are you an undergraduate interested in editing and publishing or a faculty member working with undergraduate students on a literary journal or small press? Come join FUSE for its annual meeting, which includes national elections and FUSE chapter updates, followed by a roundtable discussion. This year’s topic is the interdisciplinary nature of undergraduate publishing, i.e. how and why to forge good relationships among departments. Bring ideas and journals to exchange.

8:30-10:15

Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2

F284. Amy Bloom & Richard Russo: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Lesley University. (Leah Hager Cohen, Amy Bloom, Richard Russo) Amy Bloom is author of the New York Times best-selling Away: A Novel, and Where the God of Love Hangs Out, a collection of short fiction. Richard Russo is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls, Straight Man, and Nobody’s Fool. The reading will begin with an introduction by poet Steven Cramer, director of the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, and will be followed by a discussion moderated by novelist and critic Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others and House Lights.

Hynes Ballroom, Hynes Convention Center, Level 3

F285. Language at the Breaking Point, Sponsored by Blue Flower Arts. (Kwame Dawes, Jorie Graham, Terrance Hayes) Pulitzer Prize-winner Jorie Graham and National Book Award-winner Terrance Hayes stretch language past the barriers of mind and limitations of personal experience to reinstate a kind of dignity to the world. Their creative tensions puncture the commonplace allowing the familiar to dislocate, laying bare our tenuous connection to life. Yet grace and a vivid, wakeful presence abide. Their poems demonstrate how the excavation of language itself can shape new possibilities for imagination to evolve.

SATURDAY

9:00-10:15

Room 303, Level 3

S123. Puritan Scar, Scarlet Letter: Contemporary Writers on Hawthorne’s Masterwork. (John Domini, Amy Wright, Heidi Julavits, Jennifer Haigh) No novel so established Boston as a literary center as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), and few have left such an indelible trace across the American project since. Hester Prynne’s struggle raises core issues of outsider and community in all their moral contrariness. As art, too, the novel sets a rare challenge, working cross-gender and cross-genre, at once romance and realism, transcendental and ambiguous. Panelists assess the impact the book had both locally and worldwide.

10:30-11:45

Room 111, Plaza Level

S137. The Art and Craft of Short-Form Nonfiction. (Sarah Einstein, Joni Tevis, Brian Oliu, Chelsea Biondolillo) Can you write an essay in 140 characters? In 750 words or fewer? And can you get it published once you have? Join the managing editor of Brevity, two authors of short-form collections, and a graduate student working in this exciting new form as they share techniques and strategies for writing and marketing short-form nonfiction—from the lyric to the expository.

Room 200, Level 2

S138. The Lake Effect: A Celebration of Fifty Years of Creative Writing at Syracuse University. (Sarah Harwell, George Saunders, Arthur Flowers, Brooks Haxton, Christopher Kennedy) Syracuse University’s creative writing program celebrates its fifty-year anniversary with a reading by current faculty. The faculty will read from their own work as well as highlight work from a diverse and celebrated group of alumni and past faculty. Readers will include poets Brooks Haxton, Christopher Kennedy, and Sarah Harwell and fiction writers Arthur Flowers and George Saunders.

Room 207, Level 2

S144. Agents, Editors, and the State of Publishing. (Mary Gannon, Jofie Ferrari-Adler, Jennifer Joel, Chuck Adams) Agents and editors share behind-the-scenes perspective about what authors need to know about the changing industry of publishing. How have e-books, e-readers, and self-publishing affected the industry? With the closing of Borders and the growing influence of Amazon, how have changes to distribution channels affected the way publishers market books, and what does this mean for authors? How have the best practices for submitting work to agents and editors changed?

Room 302/304, Level 3

S148. Breaking the Jaws of Silence. (Sholeh Wolpe, Kim Addonizio, Tom Sleigh, Quincy Troupe, Yusef Komunyakaa) Poets are a threat to despotic regimes as light is a threat to darkness. In a project to benefit PEN USA’s Freedom to Write program, prominent American poets raise their voices and call on poets to bear witness, to collectively engage, to activate, to call, to give texture, to demand, to caress, to shatter, to build, and to never let the world forget.

Room 306, Level 3

S150. If These Walls Could Talk… Oh Wait, They Do! (Eleanor Henderson, Stewart O’Nan, Tea Obreht) The whole world is a stage, but as fiction writers we get to choose where and when to set a story. That decision can influence everything else in the novel, for better or worse. Four novelists talk about the pressures that settings, both urban and rural, can place on our fiction, and how and why to make choices about landscape.

12:00-1:15

Room 209, Level 2

S172. From the University of Nebraska Press: Readings from The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Anniversary Reader. (Hilda Raz, Shane Book, Brock Clarke, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Susan Blackwell Ramsey) A perfect time capsule of the diverse, experimental trends in American poetry and short fiction over the last ten years, The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Anniversary Reader pulls together excerpts from all twenty winning books of Prairie Schooner’s Book Prize Series. The Press will launch this anthology at AWP 2013; come listen to four of the most successful winners read and hear Hilda Raz, legend and influential founder of the Book Prize Series, discuss finding work that speaks to our living moment.

Room 302/304, Level 3

S174. Write Where You Know: When Setting Serves as a Main Character in a Novel. (John Roche, Jennifer Haigh, Thomas Kelly, Richard Russo) Richard Russo’s bestselling novels, including Pulitzer-winner Empire Falls, uniquely capture a sense of place, whether it’s dying blue-collar towns in upstate New York or New England enclaves. Thomas Kelly, the author of three novels praised for their authentic depiction of New York City, and Jennifer Haigh, whose four novels include Faith, set in Boston, will join Russo in discussing the importance of setting in their fiction, at times to the point where place itself becomes a main character.

Room 306, Level 3

S177. Reading by Grand Central Authors. (Benjamin Percy, Julianna Baggott, Ed Falco) Discover three of the strongest voices in contemporary fiction at a reading by Grand Central’s finest. Julianna Baggott is the author of Pure, the first book in a postapocalypic series which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ed Falco’s most recent novel, a prequel to The Godfather titled The Family Corleone, is based on material excerpted from screenplays by Mario Puzo. Benjamin Percy’s new novel, Red Moon, is an epic and terrifying story of lycans set in the American West. Prepare for a thrilling night—and take the cannoli.

1:30-2:45

Room 306, Level 3

S204. How to Lose Friends and Alienate Loved Ones: Exploitation vs. Documentation in Creative Nonfiction. (B.J. Hollars, Roxane Gay, Marcia Aldrich, Ryan Van Meter, Bonnie J. Rough) Not every story is flattering, nor is every character. Nevertheless, nonfiction writers continue to document their lives and the lives of others, often at the risk of violating personal relationships. How should writers navigate between revealing the true nature of their subjects without alienating the people themselves? Join four writers as they explore the fine line between documentation and exploitation, among other ethical dilemmas inherent in writing of friends, family, and loved ones.

3:00-4:15

Room 103, Plaza Level

S211. Video Games, Fan Fiction, and Comics: Alternative Genres as Legitimate Literature. (Leslie Salas, Jim Miller, Elaine Phillips, Kirsten Holt) Alternative forms of narrative are often perceived with disdain or suspicion even though they address the same plots, themes, and conditions of respectable literary forms. Comics have begun to break away from this stigma, but what about more mainstream genres, such as fan fiction and video games? How do all three of these alternative forms both threaten and reinforce ideas about originality and narrative? This panel will make the case for alternative genres as creative literature.

Room 200, Level 2

S219. A Reading by Matthew Batt, Jen Percy, and Rob Currie, Jr. (Matthew Batt, Ron Currie, Jr., and Jacob Paul) Matthew Batt, author of Sugarhouse, Ron Currie, Jr., author of God Is Dead, Everything Matters, and Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, and Jacob Paul, author of Sarah/Sara, will read from their recent work, all of which deals with, in the face of catastrophic loss, the sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing ways we try to mend our lives.

Room 210, Level 2

S228. Art vs. Commerce: Writing for Love and Money. (Elizabeth Benedict, Stephen McCauley, Stephen Elliott, Maud Newton, Steve Almond) Grace Paley’s advice to writers: Keep your overhead low. But when teaching doesn’t lead to tenure, how do literary writers cobble together a living and a life while writing work that matters? Panelists who have had unconventional careers largely outside the academy examine their decisions and discuss the role of money, literature, and serendipity in their creative pursuits: editing an online literary magazine, writing soft-core porn, and creating advice columns, TV shows, and yoga books under a pseudonym.

Room 302/304, Level 3

S229. Z.Z. Packer & Meg Wolitzer: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. (Cheryl Strayed, Z.Z. Packer, Meg Wolitzer) Fiction writers will give a reading followed by a conversation about race, literature that happens to be written about women (as Wolitzer puts it in a recent New York Times essay), and the realities of the contemporary publishing landscape, moderated by Cheryl Strayed, VIDA board member and author of Wild. AWP participants are encouraged to join a brief Q&A period to be held afterwards.

4:30-5:45

Room 302/304, Level 3

S256. Smart Girls. (Terry Ann Thaxton, Terese Svoboda, Bobbie Ann Mason, Kelly Cherry, Elissa Schappell) Girl does not denote age but power—no men in it. No ladies-first either. A girl’s got gumption. A pre- and post-feminist name for great girl lit. Different from the chick kind, the just-hatched; we’ve been around, we’re serious. This is for women and men who go for it, featuring readings from our books that qualified us for The Smart Girls club. We represent a diversity of age, region, and genres.

8:30-10:00

Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2

S263. Augusten Burroughs & Cheryl Strayed: A Reading & Conversation, Sponsored by the Wilkes University Low-Residency MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing. (Bob Morris, Augusten Burroughs, Cheryl Strayed) Augusten Burroughs, author of memoirs Running with Scissors and Dry, and Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild and the voice behind the Rumpus’s beloved “Dear Sugar” column, will present readings of their work, followed by a discussion moderated by columnist and commentator Bob Morris, author of the memoir Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad. The authors will be introduced by playwright and novelist Bonnie Culver, director of the Wilkes University Low-Residency MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Intro to Creative Writing Spring 2013 Syllabus

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English 21844 270-01 Intro to Creative Writing
MWF 10:00-10:50am

University of Indianapolis
Assistant Professor Salvatore Pane
E-mail: panes@uindy.edu
Credits: 3.0

Syllabus
Required Materials

On Writing Short Stories, 2nd Edition edited by Tom Bailey
The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail, written by Gregory Sherl

Welcome to Intro to Creative Writing

In this course, you’re going to write and read a lot. You’ll produce fiction or poetry or creative nonfiction or a combination of the three, and along the way we’ll discuss the publishing industry, the internet blogging scene, and even have a few guest speakers. I’m not going to lie and say writing is easy. It’s not. It’s one of the hardest things you can ever do. But, and I can guarantee you this, if you’re serious about the craft of creative writing and you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll absolutely be a better writer at the end of the course than you are today.

Each student will put up 6 – 12 pages of literary fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry for workshop twice a semester. You can write a short story or flash fiction, you can write memoir or literary journalism, you can write a series of connected poems, but remember, you have to demonstrate the fundamental principles of writing we’ll discuss in class in all of your workshop pieces. I want to see structure, character, development. I want nuance and complexity. I don’t want filler pieces meant to get you closer to the page requirement.

Substantial revisions will be required. Substantial revision does not mean fixing grammar. Substantial revision usually means a complete rewrite and perhaps multiple rewrites. Students must also post 300-500 word critiques for every student workshop. Similarly, you will read a ton of professional writing from our textbooks and handouts. Students will post 200-300 word takeaway posts for outside reading days.

Reading so much literary writing will allow you to build a library of published work in your head. Students are expected to use their knowledge of writers like Chuck Klosterman, Terrance Hayes, or Alissa Nutting to comment about peer work up for discussion. Students will make parallels and use the published work to inform their critiques of peer work. The majority of the course will be spent workshopping. The goal of the course is for you to not only become a better writer, but to become an active literary citizen who can participate in the ongoing dialogue concerning literature.

By the end of the course successful students will:

Use basic elements of craft (image, voice, character, setting, etc.) to create 15-30 pages of thoughtful creative writing.

Employ critical-reading skills while analyzing, for specific issues of craft, a wide range of published and peer writing.

Substantially revise their work by utilizing critical feedback generated by class discussion and written critiques.

Contribute thoughtful and complex commentary to discussions of published and peer writing.

Workshop

You will be prepared for every workshop class by doing the following:

1.) Write comments in the margins of stories up for discussion. You MUST use the comments feature in Microsoft Word. All comments will be transparent to the entire class. I want you to upload your marked up versions of workshopped stories to Ace under the student-in-question’s forum. Failure to do so will negatively impact your grade. Also, DO NOT FORGET TO BRING A PRINT OUT OF THE STORY IN QUESTION TO CLASS. This is mandatory. If this becomes a problem, I will mark you absent.

2.) Write a 300-500 word critique for each peer written story we read this semester. You must critique the story based on its own intentions. For example, if the writer is attempting to write in the realist mode of Ray Carver, do not suggest adding a mysterious underground school ala Patrick Somerville just because you don’t like realism. On the flip side, don’t knock an experimental story because you prefer realism. Judge the work the writer wrote, not the work you want to write. Try and help them see how they could better serve their material and unique world vision. In your responses, first describe what you think the writer is attempting to do and what the story is about— this should be the shortest section. Then discuss the piece’s strengths. Finish with prescription, a section where you point out very specific things that still need work within the story. Go beyond grammar. Character, plot, prose, all the building blocks of writing are on the table. You must use the description, strength, prescription model.

3.) Post your critique and margin comments to Ace by 12am the night before workshop. All critiques will be visible to all members of the class, and I encourage you to read what your peers are saying about every story. Name your thread on Ace after your favorite line of the story in question. If you don’t turn in these materials BY MIDNIGHT, you will lose points.

Example of a good critique:

[TITLE OF STORY REMOVED] is primarily about a squeamish young man who dates an over-sized, sailor mouthed woman he meets in a bar. She is emotionally unavailable and taunts the boyfriend–who she nicknames Christopher Robbins–quite a bit, but in many instances Robbins interprets these gestures as tenderness and grows to love his female companion. He can’t leave well enough alone, however, and decides that he has to figure out her past–which he believes is connected to the sea. He takes her to a small boat off a dock in New York City and when pushed, Mary lies to him prompting CR to trick her into falling into the ocean. Then he sails away but remembers he can’t.

The principal strength of the story is the prose. It is quite beautiful in places and has a really sweet lyrical tendency despite the crazy subject matter and frequent cursing. The sentences move. Also, the character of Mary is quite strong. She’s an enigma to CR, and she’s an enigma to the reader. I don’t want her backstory, and I don’t think the writer should be talked into giving it to us. Mary is a puzzle inserted into fiction. She doesn’t need to be solved.

Christopher Robbins does not fare as well. I’m going to echo [NAME REMOVED]’s sentiments. We don’t know CR well enough and that makes some of the story fall relatively flat. When CR gives up his previous life to follow Mary everywhere it doesn’t have much impact because we have no idea what he’s giving up. Is he some little rich kid–he implies otherwise when Mary accuses him of having Harvard hands? Is he right out of college? Does he have some office job? Does he live in Hoboken and eat canned soup? We need the details of his life before-Mary to understand how his life post-Mary is so different and strange, and at times, wonderful.

Secondly, the story makes a big leap in logic when CR definitively decides that his girlfriend’s past is tied up with the sea. We need more concrete hints from Mary to buy into this. And why does he want to know about her past so much in the first place? Is he inherently an inquisitive person? Does he need to solve everything he comes across? Up until this point in the story, CR seemed so utterly passive. Why the change in demeanor? Also, the boat plot at the end seems a little half-baked. He thinks something terrible happened to his girlfriend at sea, so his solution is to tell her he has a surprise for her, then he brings her to a boat. That’s kind of crazy and out-of-character. It almost makes it seem like he’s getting back at her for all the little pot shots she’s taken but I don’t think that’s your intention. The final image of CR sailing away from Mary is a compelling ending, but it does not (yet) feel earned.

Notes About Workshop

When you are being workshopped, it is very important that you are quiet, take notes, and do not respond to anything verbally. To reiterate, you are not allowed to talk when being workshopped unless I specifically ask you something, and that will be very rare. You are not there to defend your story. Your story must stand on its own.

Please proofread your work. If a story is excessively sloppy, I will not workshop it. Do not depend on your classmates to fix your grammar.

Distribution of Manuscripts

For your workshops, you can put up any combination of fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry as long as you hit the page count—I don’t want novel chapters; more on this later.
In the first week, you will be broken up into one of five pods. Each pod has its own specific due date. Your work will be due at 10am on whatever due date corresponds to your pod. If your work is late, your grade for that story will drop by an entire letter. If you are more than a day late, you will get an F, no exceptions. Once you upload your manuscript, you CANNOT EDIT IT FOR ANY REASON. If you do, we will skip your workshop and you will take an F. You are responsible for printing out your peers’ stories for discussion on workshop days. Please include page numbers.

ACE Takeaway Posts

On days when we aren’t workshopping, you will often be required to read at least one professional example of writing. On these class sessions, you must post a 200-300 word Takeaway Post on ACE under the appropriately titled forum. Posts must be uploaded by midnight the day before we discuss the work. If your post is late, you will lose points. During weeks in which we will be discussing multiple professional examples a classroom session, you are required to write a 200-300 ACE Takeaway Post that covers all of the assigned pieces. Post your responses on the appropriate Ace forum. There’s a forum designated by name for every professional piece of writing.

Let me be very clear on this. This is not a forum for you to explain whether or not you like the piece in question. I don’t care. What I’m looking for is what you can take away for your own writing. Every piece of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction has something to teach us as writers, something we can take for our own writing. Whether you like or dislike a piece of outside writing is beside the point in this class. If you simply talk about why you love or hate a specific piece of writing, you will take an F on the Takeaway Post in question. Below is an example of a good Takeaway Post:

Don Lee’s “The Price of Eggs in China” provides a great example of keeping characters consistent. They’re unique characters, I think, but they’re always consistent.

Dean is a devoted, committed boyfriend. No matter how Caroline treats him, he wants to be with Caroline. He wants to help her when she’s sick, even though she’s broken up with him. He wants to help her with the problem with Marcella.

Caroline is consistently just kind of mean and crazy. She seems to have no filter on what she says…as made obvious when she says “This is what it’s come down to, this is how far I’ve sunk. I’m about to fuck a Nipponese fire hydrant with the verbal capacity of tap water,” and again when she responds with “yikes” to Dean’s declaration of love.

One of the good things to learn from this story, though, is that we see a mean character who is not evil, only evil, all we see is evil. I know that’s something I had a problem with in my last workshop story–that the character was just mean, and rude, and no one could understand why the main character was friends with her. In this story, you see Caroline’s vulnerable side. You see her vulnerable side when she starts getting sicker due to a stalker who is leaving her death threats. Though this sympathy is kind of taken away when it’s suggested she might have sent herself the death threats, you still see the vulnerable side. The side that is not completely mean/evil. She also transforms at the end when she becomes a mother, and although we do not see her in that role, it is described in the narration. I think this was a really good story to help show a way to fix the problem that a lot of us are having with writing a completely “evil,” one-sided character.

NOTE: You will have to read one full book in this course, the very short The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail by Gregory Sherl. For this Takeaway Post, you must write 500 words. We will then Skype with the author. Come prepared to class with questions. He will give a short presentation, and then we’ll do a 30 minute Q&A.

Writing Buddies

After everyone has workshopped, I will break you up into small groups of Writing Buddies in which you will read each other’s revisions and then run mini-workshops. You should begin revising your work immediately after workshop as you will be expected to turn in mini-revisions (not your final revisions for the end of the course) to your writing buddies twice throughout the course.

Long Form Projects

Long form projects are wonderful. We love novels and memoirs and 100 page poems. Novels are why so many of us want to be writers. But in a workshop setting, students often use first chapters or short excerpts as an excuse to not end their work. They can avoid criticism by saying, “That happens in chapter two.” I’ve seen many, many talented writers produce thirty opening chapters in their undergraduate career, graduate, and have no idea how to sustain a middle or land an ending. I don’t want that to happen to you.

For the first workshop, I don’t want you to write a chapter of something larger. Everything must be self-contained. Everything must end. For the second workshop, if you’re really serious about writing a larger project, I want you to first provide me with a 4 page outline of the entire book. If given permission, you will put that AND a 6 -12 page chapter up for workshop. I want to know you have a plan and that writing a chapter isn’t just a way out from writing an ending.

Genre Fiction

All of our discussions in this class will center on literary writing. What is literary writing? We will explore that as the semester goes on. The point is that if you’re here to work on your vampire zombie spaceship novel, this class is not a good outlet for that kind of work. I’m expecting you to produce character driven work that drives toward emotional complexities. I don’t want to see battle scenes between elves and warlocks. Your stories can be wacky, your stories can be strange and not set in reality (wait till you see the craziness of Alissa Nutting!), but this class will never focus on straight genre fiction.

Classroom Etiquette

Turn off all cell phones before class begins. Do not text people during class. It’s really obvious when you’re doing this. If you’re checking your cell phone, I won’t interrupt class, I’ll just mark you absent.

Attendance

I want to be as clear as I can on this. If you miss class five times, you will fail. There will be no make up assignments. Don’t come back to class. The ONLY excuses I will accept are a doctor’s excuse or some kind of family emergency. I am not going to make any exceptions on this front.

You should always be on time for class. If you are late, you will not get credit for attending an entire class.

If you are unprepared for discussion or workshop, I cannot give you credit for attendance that day.

Grading

This is what you have to do if you want an A in this course. You have to put up two thoughtful workshop pieces. Then you have to take the time to substantially revise them. You have to be engaged in classroom discussions and add something relevant every class. You must do all the Ace posts and turn them in on time. You do all these things, you get an A. You slack off, turn work in late or short, doze off in class, and you’re not getting anything that even resembles an A.

Here’s the grading breakdown. 70% of your final grade will come down to your final portfolio, i.e. all of your revised work at the end of the semester. The other 30% comes from participation and Ace posts. Please note: participation is mandatory. If you are not contributing to every single workshop, you are not going to get a good grade. This is a workshop course. The same goes for Ace. If you consistently fail to turn in work on time, you’re not going to get a good grade.

Final Portfolios

On the last day of class, you will be expected to turn in two substantial revisions of your workshop pieces between 15-30 pages. Late portfolios WILL NOT be accepted. We’ll talk more about this as the semester goes on.

Conferences

After your first workshop, I will schedule a conference with you during my office hours. After your second workshop, please contact me and we can either set up an appointment to discuss your work or I can just send you your critique. I encourage you to meet with me in person, but this second conference is optional. Please remember: my door is always open.

Visitors

I have scheduled a number of visitors throughout the semester. Some run reading series or lit journals here in Indianapolis, others are national writers dropping by on tour, some will chat with us via Skype. I want you to be engaged in these discussions. Participate. These are very rare opportunities. Don’t squander them.

Outside Events

Students are required to attend one reading outside of class. The details will be announced, but you will have multiple opportunities to attend one, although I encourage you to go to them all. I sure will. These are opportunities, not burdens, and I hope you treat them that way.

You will be required to attend and write a short 300 word Takeaway Post for one of these readings.

Public Reading

At the end of the course, all students will be required to give a public reading of their work. This will take place during class time and other students and faculty will be invited to the reading. The reading will be livestreamed on the internet at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uindy-lit.

Note

The syllabus is subject to change. I will only push assignments and readings back however. No assignment will ever be due earlier than it’s listed here.

Special Assistance

If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please inform me immediately so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. Students with a disability must register with the Services for Students with Disabilities office (SSD) in Schwitzer Center 206 (317-788-6153 / http://www.uindy.edu/ssd) for disability verification and for determination of reasonable academic accommodations. You are responsible for initiating arrangements for accommodations for tests and other assignments in collaboration with the SSD and the faculty.

Plagiarism

Intellectual theft, like any other kind of theft, is a crime, and is especially dangerous on a college campus. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another person’s thoughts or words as your own. I don’t expect to see plagiarism in this class, and if I do each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, but the MINIMUM penalty will be failure for the assignment in question. Failing the entire course is not out of the question. If you are doing research and are unsure how to incorporate someone else’s work into your own in a valid manner, please ask—I’ll be more than happy to help you out so that there’s no danger of confusion.

Course Schedule
Week One

Monday January 14
Syllabus
Introductions
Justin Taylor “Tetris”

Wednesday January 16
Lorrie Moore “How to Become a Writer” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Geoffrey Wolff Excerpt of The Duke of Deception COURSE DOCUMENTS

Friday January 18
John Updike “A&P” On Writing Short Stories
Terrance Hayes “The Same City/Snow for Wallace Stevens/All the Way Live” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Two

Monday January 21
Writing Prompts

Wednesday January 23
Alissa Nutting “Porn Star” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Chuck Klosterman “Being Zack Morris” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Friday January 25
Flash Fiction Tutorial Etgar Keret/Roxane Gay/xTx COURSE DOCUMENTS
Pod 1 Writing Due

Week Three

Monday January 28
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

Wednesday January 30
Workshop 3
Workshop 4

Friday February 1
Skype with Gregory Sherl, writer of The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail (You must have the book read by this point; Takeaway Post due)
Pod 2 Writing Due

Week Four

Monday February 4
Workshop 5
Workshop 6

Wednesday February 6
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

Friday February 8
Metonymy Media Visit
Pod 3 Writing Due

Week Five

Monday February 11
Workshop 9
Workshop 10

Wednesday February 13
Workshop 11
Workshop 12

Friday February 15
Wells Tower “Welcome to the Far Eastern Conference” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Pod 4 Writing Due

Week Six

Monday February 18
Workshop 13
Workshop 14

Wednesday February 20
Workshop 15
Workshop 16

Friday February 22
Raymond Carver “Cathedral” On Writing Short Stories
Pod 5 Writing Due

Week Seven

Monday February 25
Workshop 17
Workshop 18

Wednesday February 27
Writing Prompts

Friday March 1
Lit Journal Presentation

Week Eight

NO CLASSES SPRING BREAK

Week Nine

Monday March 11
Writing Prompts
Mini-Revisions Due

Wednesday March 13
Anton Chekhov “The Lady with the Pet Dog” On Writing Short Stories
Sheryl St. Germain “Addiction/Sestina for the Beloved/Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Friday March 15
Writing Buddies I
Pod 1Writing Due

Week Ten

Monday March 18
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

Wednesday March 20
Workshop 3
Workshop 4

Friday March 22
Pod 2 Writing Due
Stuart Dybek “Pet Milk” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Eleven

Monday March 25
Workshop 5
Workshop 6

Wednesday March 27
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

Week Twelve

Monday April 1
Workshop 9
Workshop 10

Wednesday April 3
Workshop 11
Workshop 12

Friday April 5
Tobias Wolff “Bullet in the Brain” On Writing Short Stories

Week Thirteen

Monday April 8
Workshop 13
Workshop 14

Wednesday April 10
Workshop 15
Workshop 16

Friday April 12
Workshop 17
Workshop 18

Week Fourteen

Monday April 15
Patrick Somerville “The Universe in Miniature in Miniature” Course Documents
Billy Collins “Consolation/Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes/Workshop” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Wednesday April 17
Public Reading I TBA

Friday April 19
Erik Deckers Visit
Mini-Revisions Due

Week Fifteen

Monday April 22
Writing Buddies II

Wednesday April 24
Public Reading II TBA

Friday April 26
Final Portfolio

Indy Lit Events or I love when you shake it like that, ah, ah, ah/I see that you like it like that, oh, oh, oh

English Composition Syllabus or Comp So Hard The Registrar Wanna Fine Me

A new semester has begun, and I thought it might be interesting if I posted all my syllabi. I’ve done this before, but every semester I try to retool some things that aren’t working. I’ve just started work at the University of Indianapolis, and honestly, I can’t even imagine being happier than I am right now. My experience here has already gone above and beyond expectations, and they were pretty high to begin with. This fall I’m teaching two sections of English Composition, one section of Advanced Composition (the only course I haven’t taught before), and one section of Fiction Writing Workshop. I’ll be posting the syllabi separately over the next week. If you want to use these or take sections that work for you, please feel free to do so. I’ve cobbled these from syllabi I’ve photocopied and downloaded. Some of it comes from Cathy Day. Some of it comes from my friends back in Pennsylvania. Some of it was used as the standard comp syllabus at Pitt back in 2007. Most of the assignments and papers are my own inventions, but I really think syllabi are things to share and learn from. Let me know what you think of what I’m proposing here. Let me know what you’re doing in the classroom. Let’s collaborate.

ENGLISH COMPOSITION

MWF 8:00-8:50

University of Indianapolis
Assistant Professor Salvatore Pane
Office Hours: 10-11 MWF, 2-3 MW
Credits: 3.0

Public Connections: The Evolution of the Essay

 

Syllabus

 

 

Required Texts

 

The Best American Essays, Sixth College Edition, edited by Robert Atwan

Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White

 

 

Recommended Text

Writer’s Reference, Seventh Edition, by Diane Hacker

Welcome to English Composition

Somewhere along the way, you likely encountered the five-paragraph essay with its introductory paragraph and thesis statement, its three supporting examples and conclusion that re-states the central idea. Now, having arrived in a college Composition course, you may be expecting more of the same. But you will soon discover that English Composition—and writing in the university more broadly—demands more complex (and inventive) writing and thinking than this kind of essay allows. You might say this is a writing course that begins where the five-paragraph essay leaves off…

Course Description

This is a class in which we will write A LOT. We will write about the reading we do and write about the thinking we do and then write about the writing we do and just plain write. This description may sound exhausting or exciting, but either way, you can be sure that the course will be both challenging and rewarding. Keep in mind that writing is a skill, just like playing football or driving a car. That is, it is something that improves with diligence and practice. But in this class, unlike driving a car, you will never be asked to follow the same rote steps. The essay assignments and short exercises in this course are designed to help you approach writing from a variety of contexts, using a variety of techniques. We are trying to look beyond pat formulas (such as the five-paragraph essay) while still understanding the writely conventions specific to each piece and how they can be useful. At times, the prompts might ask you to employ a particular strategy or style of a published essayist, but always with the aim of exploring your own range of writing and voices.

Workshopping and revision will be key components of our work in this class. We will put essays from inside and outside of class onto the table to find out what is working or not working for us as readers and writers. The object is to take what we learn from workshop and apply it to our own writing in future drafts and revisions. I encourage you to look at every assignment that you complete as a draft that can be improved rather than a finished product.

Critical engagement and close reading will also be integral to this course. In fact, I hope that they will both become daily practices. A big part of this class is learning to complicate your thinking, to notice the details of language and composition on a micro and macro level. Throughout the term, we will do close reading exercises focusing on various literary and rhetorical devices with the aim of nuancing our own analyses and writing. Producing work that is fresh and insightful depends upon being able to draw out insightful readings of other texts, of ourselves, and of the world. English Composition will push you to ask not only the “how” of writing but also the “why” and the “so what.”

Things to Remember

Push yourself to be innovative and creative. Push yourself to take that extra step towards flushing out the complexity of an issue. This class is a safe place to take risks that may not always improve your writing in the short term but will help you better understand writing and the successful choices you can make as a writer over time. You will be given plenty of time to write during class. Use this to your advantage.

This small size of our class will help you get to know each other and each other’s work well. The goal is to forge a community of writers who participate in an ongoing and constructive conversation about the craft. English Composition illustrates quite literally how your writing is always part of a public conversation!

Turning in Your Writing

It’s important that you turn in your writing on time, as late work cannot become part of class discussion. Likewise, because the Essays and Exercises build upon one another, turning in late work means you miss out on comments that would help you with the upcoming assignment. Since you will regularly revise your work, make sure to keep electronic and paper copies. All papers must be written in Times New Roman 12 with one inch fonts. Failure to comply will result in a lowered grade. Also, please title your work. Do not generically title your papers, “Essay 2” or “Essay on Singer.”

Readings

All of the assigned readings are either in Best American Essays or on Ace. It is your responsibility to print out the readings we will focus on in any given class session. Everything you will need is explained in the Course Sequence. You only have to read essays marked “Homework.” If you do not bring print outs of the readings, I will take off participation points. If this becomes a consistent problem, I will start marking you absent.

Grading

You will receive provisional grades on each of the essays you turn in, but you will have a chance to revise those essays throughout the semester. At your mid-term conference you will receive a provisional grade, which is in no way final and is not factored into your final grade. Rather, this mid-term assessment is intended to give you a sense of how your writing is being evaluated and of your progress in the course. You are always welcome to stop by during office hours to talk about your writing or your grade. Keep in mind that your final portfolio will be comprised of three polished essays. Thus, you are encouraged to keep on reworking essays that you like throughout the semester.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Classroom participation will affect your grade. Lack of engagement or preparation will lower your grade. Regular comments and involvement with moving the ongoing conversation of the class forward will increase your grade.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you turn in a paper late, you will lose an entire letter grade. If you turn in a paper more than 24 hours late, it is an automatic failure. Automatic failures WILL impact your final grade in the class. No excuses.

Essays & evaluations                                                                                                 70%

Exercises and class participation                                                                                30%

Course Objectives

1)    A successful student will add thoughtful and complex commentary to every class discussion.

2)    A successful student will hand in thoughtful and complex essays on time for each corresponding assignment.

3)    A successful student will complete all of the exercises with great attention to detail.

4)    A successful student will substantially revise and extend two of their essays.

Conferences

You will have at least one conference with me over the course of the semester at mid-term. This meeting takes place in my office. It will be brief and is designed to better gauge individual needs and interests as well as get feedback.

Attendance

I want to be as clear as I can on this. If you miss class five times, you will fail. There will be no make up assignments. Don’t come back to class. The ONLY excuses I will accept are a doctor’s excuse or some kind of family emergency. I am not going to make any exceptions on this front.

You should always be on time for class. If you are late, you will not get credit for attending an entire class.

If you are unprepared for discussion or workshop, I cannot give you credit for attendance that day.

Note

The syllabus is subject to change. I will only push assignments and readings back however. No assignment will ever be due earlier than it’s listed here.

Plagiarism

Intellectual theft, like any other kind of theft, is a crime, and is especially dangerous on a college campus. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another person’s thoughts or words as your own. I don’t expect to see plagiarism in this class, and if I do each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, but the MINIMUM penalty will be failure for the assignment in question. Failing the entire course is not out of the question. If you are doing research and are unsure how to incorporate someone else’s work into your own in a valid manner, please ask—I’ll be more than happy to help you out so that there’s no danger of confusion.

Week One

Monday August 27

Syllabus & Introductions
Azar Nafisi “Words of War”
In Class Writing

Wednesday August 29

Farhad Manjoo “Is Facebook a Fad?”
Exercise A

Friday August 31

Ben Percy “Keep Doing What You Are Doing, James Franco”
Exercise B
Homework: Read Peter Singer “The Singer Solution to World Poverty”

Week Two

Wednesday September 5

Exercise C
Discuss Peter Singer “The Singer Solution to World Poverty”
Homework: Read ANY five opening paragraphs from Best American Essays

Friday September 7

Discuss Essay 1
Exercise D

Week Three

Monday September 10

Examples of Essay 1

Wednesday September 12

Nate Jackson “The NFL’s Head Cases”
60 Minutes
Exercise E
Homework: Read Tom Bissell “Grand Thefts”

Friday September 14

Discuss Tom Bissell “Grand Thefts”
Homework: Read David Masello “My Friend Lodovico”

Week Four

Monday September 17

Essay 1 Due
Peer Review

Wednesday September 19

Discuss David Masello “My Friend Lodovico”
Exercise F

Friday September 21

Discuss Essay 2
xTx “We Have to Go Back”
Exercise G

Week Five

Monday September 24

Examples of Essay 2

Wednesday September 26

Student Workshops

Friday September 28

Essay 2 Due
Peer Review

Week Six

Monday October 1

Molly Lambert “The ‘Poor Jen’ Problem”
Exercise H

Wednesday October 3

Revision Pamphlet
Discuss Revision 1
Exercise I

Friday October 5

Roxane Gay “A Profound Sense of Absence”
Exercise J

Week Seven

Monday October 8

Student Conferences

Wednesday October 10

Student Conferences

Friday October 12

Student Conferences

Week Eight

Wednesday October 17

Revision 1 Due
Roger Ebert’s Twitter Feed
Kellee Santiago “Are Video Games Art?”
Homework: Read Roger Ebert “Video Games Can Never Be Art”

Friday October 19

Discuss Roger Ebert “Video Games Can Never Be Art”
Exercise K
Homework: Read Jason Wire “Urinals, Amputations, Starvation, and Silence: Controversial Art or Just Crap?”

Week Nine

Monday October 22

Discuss Read Jason Wire “Urinals, Amputations, Starvation, and Silence: Controversial Art or Just Crap?”
Exercise L

Wednesday October 24

The Simpsons “Marge vs. Itchy and Scratchy”
Exercise M

Friday October 26

Class Cancelled

Week Ten

Monday October 29

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Wednesday October 31

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Friday November 2

Discuss Essay 3
Exercise M

Week Eleven

Monday November 5

Examples of Essay 3

Wednesday November 7

Ray Fisman “Clean Out Your Desks”
Exercise N
Homework: Read Mike Rose “I Just Wanna Be Average”

Friday November 9

Discuss Mike Rose “I Just Wanna Be Average”
Exercise O

Week Twelve

Monday November 12

Essay 3 Due
Peer Review
Homework: Read Richard Rodriguez “Aria”

Wednesday November 14

Discuss Richard Rodriguez “Aria”
Exercise P
Homework: Read Hephzibah Roskelly “Redneck Daughter in the Academy”

Friday November 16

Discuss Hephzibah Roskelly “Redneck Daughter in the Academy”
Discuss Essay 4

Week Thirteen

Monday November 19

Examples of Essay 4

Week Fourteen

Monday November 26

Peer Review First Page of Essay 4

Wednesday November 28

Student Workshops

Friday November 30

Student Workshops

Week Fifteen

Monday December 3

Student Conferences

Wednesday December 5

Student Conferences

Friday December 7

Final Portfolios Due

In-Class Writing

For this first writing assignment, we would like you to discuss authority in Azar Nafisi’s “Words of War.”

At some point in your response, we would like you to focus in on specifics.  Which details capture your attention and why?  As you describe what you read—bombs over Iran, some strange book called Pride and Prejudice, allusions to the US War in Iraq—consider what gives Nafisi “authority.” Authority, on the page, is when readers believe what a writer writes. What makes you believe that Nafisi knows what she’s talking about? Is it because she is from Iran? Is it because she is a university professor? Is it because she uses big words? Or do you not believe her, and if so, why not?

While you may come to some interesting conclusions by the end of your response, you should not feel obligated to wrap things up neatly or to offer a definitive set of statements.  In fact, rather than driving toward a pre-determined conclusion, we want to encourage you to surprise yourself, to discover new interpretive territory.  Try writing without knowing quite where you will land.  You may even find that as your understanding deepens, a whole new set of questions arises.

You will have the rest of class to complete your response.

Essay #1 (3 pages)

DUE MONDAY SEPTEMBER 17th IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 8AM

“My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment, and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish.”

—Joyce Carol Oates

As readers, we are often drawn to voices we consider “conversational,” by which we usually mean friendly or non-threatening.  And yet there are many modes and styles of conversation.  Consider the differences in tone, diction, cadence, and syntax that characterize the dialogues in which you regularly engage, your varied motivations for speaking or listening.  Talks with your teachers no doubt differ markedly from those with your parents, your friends, your romantic partners, your cat, or that police officer who pulls you over for speeding.  Even chats between the same two speakers can vary considerably according to circumstances: arguments, heart-felt confessions, interventions, seductions, lies, denials, comic relief.

Write an essay in which you present your conversation with “The Singer Solution to World Poverty.” What do you notice about how Singer shapes and manipulates the relationship between writer and reader? Where, for example, does Singer anticipate your response?  How does he ask you to see yourself, and what strategies does he employ to get you to do so? What do you notice about your responses to Singer’s provocations, his anticipated counter-arguments, his questions and direct addresses? Where did you listen quietly, and where did you speak back? Do you agree or disagree with Singer? Why or why not?

Keep in mind that we are not asking you to summarize the essay, but rather to describe and reflect on your reading process. Unless you have a compelling reason for doing so, you should avoid the five-paragraph essay form.  Write as many paragraphs as you need, structuring your work according to the logic of what you have to say.

In your essay, make sure to use quotations from the text to illustrate your ideas or support your claims.

Essay #2 (3 Pages)

DUE FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28th IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 8AM

“We must remove the mask.”

                      —Montaigne

“If you must preserve your secret, wrap it up in frankness.”

                                                                                 —Alexander Smith

One way the essayist fashions a persona is by choosing what to reveal to the reader, and what to conceal.  Personal history is offered piecemeal, often while the writer appears to be focused on another subject altogether.  In telling someone else’s story, the writer plays the part of looker-on, a lens trained on the essay’s real subject.  When such essayists turn to talk about themselves, their candor seems almost accidental, a slip of the tongue.

In Tom Bissell’s “Grand Thefts,” we learn about the writer’s Grand Theft Auto avatar Niko Bellic. We discover vital information about Niko’s world and personality, but at the same time, Bissell reveals his own faults and obsession with drugs. In David Masello’s “My Friend Lodovico,” we meet the author’s dear friend, Lodovico Capponi.  But we also get to know the author—his history of love affairs and lost friends, his changeable fashions and wandering eye.  For as much as David Masello looks at Lodovico, Lodovico (and we) look at David Masello.  One might say these essays are as much autobiographies as they are biographies, double-portraits of the subjects and the writers.

Try your hand at a double-portrait in the spirit of “My Friend Lodovico” and “Grand Thefts.”  Like Masello, your subject will be a friendship, an acquaintance with someone (or something) you have never actually met.  A figure from art, history, or popular culture.  A character in a book, film, or television show.  An image in a painting or photograph.  A celebrity.  An athlete. As you prepare to write, consider the persona you will shape on the page, the tidbits of personal history you will reveal.

Revision #1 (5 pages)

DUE WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 17TH IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 8AM

“When you write,” Annie Dillard says, “you lay out a line of words . . . Soon you find yourself in new territory.  Is it a dead end or have you located your real subject?”  You write a first draft.  A few weeks pass and the terrain changes. You have some ideas for improvements.  Those comments in the margins are a good place to begin.  A few pointed questions, the occasional word of advice.  You have the voices of your classmates, a few new ideas about writing.  That’s a good start, you say to yourself.

For this assignment, you will substantially revise one of your essays and take it in a new direction.  Begin by reading over your writing, looking again at those lines of words you laid down.  Think about where you want them to go now.  How have your ideas about what you wanted to say, or how you wanted to speak, changed?  Where do you find yourself at a dead-end?  Are there questions in the margins that open up new routes, perhaps calling to mind stories you have yet to tell, ideas you would like to pursue further?

Once you have read through your writing and the comments, decide which essay you will revise.  Be sure to ask if you have questions about anything written on your draft.

Plan on spending at least as much time and effort revising as you did writing the original.  In some instances, you may write new paragraphs, entirely new pages.  In others cases, you will undoubtedly find yourself fine-tuning single sentences.  Highlight the revised and new material by using a different colored font.  Once you have completed your revision, the new essay should look quite different from the original.

If you scored an A on the first draft, cut 10% of your material. If you scored a B on the first draft, cut 25% of your material. If you received a C or lower on the first draft, cut 50% of your material.

Essay #3 (3 pages)

DUE MONDAY NOVEMBER 12TH IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 8AM

“I remain convinced that in principle, video games cannot be art. Perhaps it is foolish of me to say ‘never,’ because never, as Rick Wakeman informs us, is a long, long time. Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”

–Roger Ebert in “Video Games Can Never Be Art”

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked a lot about what exactly constitutes art and who gets the right to proclaim that something isn’t art. Kellee Santiago claims in her YouTube video presentation that Roger Ebert is wrong, that video games can be art, and in fact, already are. Ebert’s response essay, “Video Games Can Never Be Art” very much defends his position. And of course, Jason Wire argues in “Urinals, Amputations, Starvation, and Silence: Controversial Art or Just Crap?” that everything is now considered art, even demonstrations as bizarre as an orchestra sitting in silence for four-and-a-half minutes to the demented, a starving dog tied up just out of reach of food in a museum.

For this essay, you must come up with your own definition of art and argue for its validity using examples and logic just like Wire and Santiago and Ebert. In our society, what constitutes art? Do you take the hard-line view that only so-called “great works”—the classic novels and poems and paintings and operas—should be classified as art, or do you feel that everything—a sock, Transformers 2, the New York Knicks, a double cheeseburger—should be considered art? What is your stance? Prove it. Where do you draw the line?

Secondly, do you think that the specific people who have the ability to declare things art or not—Roger Ebert and other critics—in any way mimics the social power structure that governs our lives? Who in this society has power, and how do arguments about what and what is not art reflect that struggle? Remember Roxane Gay’s essay “A Profound Sense of Absence.” She makes a case that the art that is most often valued in our society focuses on upper-middle class white people from America. What does that say about us as a society?

NOTE: For this paper, include a works cited. You must use 3 of the essays/videos we’ve gone over in class during this unit (the Ebert, the Santiago, the Wire, the Simpsons episode or the Gay), and you must find 2 more CRITICAL sources on your own. I don’t want Wikipedia.

Essay #4 (7 pages)

DUE FRIDAY DECEMBER 7TH IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 8AM

“Students will float to the mark you set. I and the others in the vocational classes were bobbing in pretty shallow water. Vocational education has aimed at increasing the economic opportunities of students who do not do well in our schools. Some serious programs succeed in doing that, and through exceptional teachers… students learn to develop hypotheses and troubleshoot, reason through a problem, and communicate effectively—the true job skills. The vocational track, however, is most often a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for the disaffected. There were a few teachers who worked hard at education; young Brother Slattery, for example, combined a stern voice with weekly quizzes to try to pass along to us a skeletal outline of world history. But mostly the teachers had no idea of how to engage the imaginations of us kids who were scuttling along at the bottom of the pond.”

—Mike Rose in “I Just Wanna Be Average”

For Essay #4, you will produce an essay that combines personal inquiry and argument, an essay that not only reveals the writer’s life ala David Masello and Tom Bissell, but one that also strives to make a point ala Peter Singer and Roxane Gay.

The educational system is something every one of you has experienced on some level. Each person in this course has gone through high school, and now you’ve chosen to extend your education here at UIndy. Yet many of you feel there are a great many problems within the educational system. Richard Rodriguez tells a personal story about being forced to speak English instead of Spanish and how badly that damaged his relationship with his family. He then parlays that into an argument against widespread bilingual education. Mike Rose tells a personal story about being shuttled into the vocational track instead of the honors courses where he rightfully belonged. He then parlays that into an argument about students rising to what’s expected of them so that honors students act like honors students and vocational students act like vocational students. Hephzibah Roskelly tells stories about stories, referring to her days growing up on the farm and listening to her family’s tales. She parlays this into an argument about narrative as educational tool and the unjust stereotype most people think of when they hear the term “redneck.”

For this essay, you must write a personal story about education and parlay that into an argument about education. Pick something you care about. Be interested in your work. If you are bored with your topic, so will your readers. What links Rodriguez, Rose and Roskelly is that they have all chosen to write about deeply personal matters and use those feelings to write a coherent argument about education. You must critique the educational system. Nearly anything is fair game, everything from kindergarten to high school to college athletics to unfair distribution of scholarships. Secondly, like Roskelly, you must use sources. For this essay, we are requiring that you use two of the three education readings (Roskelly, Rodriguez or Rose) in addition to two outside sources on your own. Your sources must be integrated organically into the paper like in Roskelly’s, and you must provide a works cited. Search out people who agree with your argument. Search out people who disagree with your argument and “beat” them at their own game just like you “beat” Peter Singer. Like anything, the debate concerning education is an ongoing conversation. Your paper is not an island, but a mere dialogue in an endless series of conversations.

FINAL PORTFOLIO

DUE DECEMBER 7th IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 8AM

In addition to Essay #4, you also must turn in Revision #1, and Revision #2. For Revision #2, you will revise Essay #3 just like you did for either Essay #1 or Essay #2. All the same rules apply. You must cut out either 50%, 25%, or 10% of your work depending on your grade. Then you must extend the paper to five FULL pages.

Indianapolis Lit Events or You Wasn’t With Me Shooting In The Gym!

Roxane Gay is hosting a Word Lab TONIGHT at Indy Reads Books at 911 Mass Ave., Indianapolis. Details here.

Guys! You should totally come out for this. Lots of cool people are going to be there. Cathy Day! Chris Newgent! This bruh! Come on. Fun will be had.

AWP 2012 Aftermath

In no particular order, I give you my 2012 AWP highlights:

1. I read at the Beauty Bar for Mud Luscious, PANK, and Annalemma. The venue itself was really neat. You could get manicures and they had seasonal beers for three dollars. I read this new flash fiction piece I’d just finished called “I am Ronald Reagan: The Game” and it seemed to go over really well with the crowd. But being the clumsy jamoke I am, I hit my head on a low-hanging ceiling on the way to the stage. I mean really clocked it. And by the time I finished reading I’d totally forgotten hitting my head in the first place and slammed the thing twice as hard right between the eyes. I staggered down into the back room where all the readers where hanging out and there was all this blood coming out of my forehead. Yes. I injured myself reading.

In the closet-sized bathroom, I wadded up some paper towels and tried to stop the bleeding. There was only one stall and inside were Ben Tanzer and Ryan Bradley doing a literary podcast. I was stuck back there for pretty much the second half of the reading. Matt Bell came by and assured me I didn’t have a concussion or need stitches, and I shook Scott McClanahan’s hand while simultaneously holding bloody paper towels to my head. The best part was when Chad Redden came in and told me he’d read the chapbook I submitted to NAP Magazine and wanted to publish it. So if you listen to Ben and Ryan’s podcast and hear some lunatic shouting with joy in the background that’s bloody face me. I’m beyond excited about the chapbook! It’s called #KanyeWestSavedFromDrowning and it should be out late 2012.

2. I was very lucky to be included on a panel called “Vampire by Vampire: Genre Writing in the Creative Writing Workshop” with Jeff Condran, Alissa Nutting, BJ Hollars, and Elizabeth Weber. It went so much better than I ever even hoped for, and I was really moved when two current undergrads said they’d been so discouraged by their own universities for producing strange fiction that they weren’t even sure if they wanted to be writers anymore. Also, I explained the speeder bike level of Battletoads to the crowd, and then BJ told us about one of my favorite movies, The Wizard. I hope this starts a trend of more Battletoads references in AWP pedagogical panels.

3. At the Stymie reading, I finally met my boy Mark Cugini who came up to me and yelled, “Internet Friends!” We shared a cab with some folks to Literature Party and talked about fantasy football and Ms. Pacman which, if you know me, covers nearly all of my interests.

4. I ate Chicago style pizza with Geoff Peck, Dave Keaton, and Amy Lueck and Dave kept calling it a “Pizza Cake”.

5. The WPA in the 21st Century Panel with Geoff and Cathy Day.

6. While in line to register at the hotel, I saw Mike Meginnis and his wife Tracy a few people in front of me. We’d never met in real life, so I yelled, “Mike!” really loud and then tried to make it seem like I didn’t yell “Mike!” so if it wasn’t him I wouldn’t look weird. It was Mike. He recognized me because I was wearing a tie which is what many, many people told me throughout the conference.

7. I went to the top of the Sears Tower with Katie Coyle and Kevin Tassini and I basically spent the entire time complaining that they had all this shit about overrated Michael Jordan and nothing about Kanye West. We then dragged Katie about a half hour away so I could buy a handful of retro games including Dragon Quest I & II, Dragon Quest V, and Dragon Quest VI for the Super Famicom.

8. Oliu got a manicure at Beauty Bar.

9. I was drinking at the hotel bar with Peck, Lauren Becker, and Erin Fitzgerald when this dude came over to us and invited us up into his room for free wine. We went and met a bunch of really nice poets. Nobody lost a kidney which was a serious concern of mine.

10. I stepped off the plane and a writer gave me her card even before I made it to the subway.

11. Dancing with xTx, Roxane Gay, Ashley Ford, and a host of other people at Literature Party to “‘Mo Money, ‘Mo Problems” or as I call it, the greatest song ever conceived by humans.

12. I was able to grab a drink with the two other creative writing faculty members at the University of Indianapolis where I’ll be a TENURE TRACK ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH CREATIVE WRITING this coming fall! Pedagogy Level Up!

13. On the last night, me and Peck were closing down the hotel bar when this woman came over and basically advised us on every aspect of our lives. I’m talking some serious Yoda shit.

14. Steve Kowalski reading “When the Browns Win the Super Bowl” and it being as good as the time he read it in Cleveland.

15. Drunkenly rambling with Paul Morris about Nextwave, DC’s new 52, The Authority, and a host of other nerdy comic awesomeness.

16. Tim Kinsella is the Tim Kinsella from Cap’n Jazz.

 

 

 

2012 AWP Guide

And so it begins again. In less than two months we will be reunited in Chi-town to discuss our websites, publications, and favorite Nintendo games. xTx will play Dark Tower. Devan Goldstein will cry. Brian Oliu will rock a track suit. I will undoubtedly ramble about mid-nineties Spider-Man stories to vaguely interested new friends.

A-W-P!

This is my third year writing a guide, and it’s my fourth time attending. Each year has been significantly better than the last. What began as an excuse to hang around an exotic city with my friends has turned into the conference where Facebook Comes to Life! Here are all those people that post things that I click a button to like! And most of them are great people too! And they’re all fun to drink with. Let me recap what I basically said in last year’s guide. There are two AWPs. There’s the day AWP where you engage in thought provoking panels and strike up conversation with interesting people in the bookfair who work for journals and presses. Then there’s the night AWP where you attend reading after reading and everything is in a bar and everyone’s going nuts. It’s the worst. It’s the best. It’s AWP.

In the unlikely event that you’re interested in hanging out with this champion (crickets), here are three times/locations you can definitely find me.

Thursday
7

Convocation in Chicago
Location: Beauty Bar
Cost: Free
PANK, Annalemma, and Mud Luscious will once again host a holy meeting of literary minds. Convocation in Chicago will feature performances by Scott McClanahan, Daiva Markelis, Jac Jemc, Robb Todd, Sal Pane, Brian Oliu, Aubrey Hirsch, Matt Bell, xTx, Chris Newgent, Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, Casey Hannan, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Brandi Wells, Doug Paul Case, Ryan Bradley, Myfanwy Collins, Sarah Rose Etter, Laura Ellen Scott, Molly Laich, and Allyson Boggess.

Friday
7
Stymie Magazine Presents: A Really Big Show
Location:Theory Sport.Dine.Lounge; 9 W. Hubbard
Cost: FREE
Stymie Mag is coming to AWP 2012 and we’re throwing a party, or at least a reading with words, beverages, and good times at Theory Sports Lounge. We couldn’t be more excited and hope you are too (and that you’ll mark the date/time on what we’re sure is an already busy AWP calendar)!

Featuring:
Cynthia Hawkins, Tim Kahl, Jeanie Chung, James O’Brien, Lauren Becker, Alex Moody, Steven Kowalski, Joseph Baron-Pravda, Diane Durant McGurren, Shaindel Beers, Sal Pane, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Joe Ponepinto, J. Bradley, Megan Cass, Elijah Burrell, Ilan Mochari, Tyler Gobble, Mark Cugini, and Maria Nazos

Saturday
10:30am-11:45am
S143. Vampire by Vampire: Genre Writing and the Creative Writing Workshop
(Jeffrey Condran, Aubrey Hirsch, Alissa Nutting, Salvatore Pane)
Honoré Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
At a time when many students’ visual literacy is as highly developed as their traditional literary skills, when genre fiction dominates publisher and best-seller lists, and when many writers of literary fiction are open to narratives that reach beyond realism, instructors are often under pressure to include genre traditions in the fiction workshop. Four fiction writers teaching at colleges with diverse missions share stories and discuss strategies for including genre conventions in the workshop.

Below are the panels I’m thinking of attending. Let me be extremely clear on this. These aren’t the top however many panels of AWP. These are just the ones I’m most interested in seeing. That means there’s a huge fiction/comics/pedagogy/small press bias. Also, I’ll be rolling out a guide to the outside events sometime in the near future. Get pumped.

Thursday
9-10:15

R103. A Writing Life, After the Workshop
(Ilana Shabanov, April Newman, Daniel Prazer, James Lower, Sheree Greer)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
This intensive presentation covers what your MFA program might have missed: how to organize and sustain a writing life in today’s economy. Our event showcases planning ideas, technology solutions, and tools writers can use to take control of their career and maintain a writing lifestyle long-term. The approach is engaging to the audience, displaying websites and tools available to writers to promote their work. The audience members will come away with resources and an action plan for their writing life. A Q&A session follows.

R104. The Constant Critic Anniversary Panel: Poetry Reviewing in the 21st Century
(Karla Kelsey, Ray McDaniel, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Vanessa Place, Jordan Davis)
Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
In 2002, Fence publisher Rebecca Wolff began the Constant Critic, an online-only poetry book review website. The venues for poetry criticism have dramatically altered in the past ten years, but the ,CC, has remained. This panel, staffed by the site’s five critics (two of whom have been with the project since the beginning) discusses what it means to have a lengthy presence in one venue along with issues surrounding the rapidly changing world of poetry publication, dissemination, and criticism.

R108. Reports from the Trenches: Teaching Novel and Novella Workshops
(Richard Sonnenmoser, Sabina Murray, Katherine Karlin, Cynthia Reeves)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Workshops focused on long-form narratives are difficult for many creative writing teachers to imagine. This panel focuses on issues related to the effective teaching of novel and novella workshops for graduates and undergraduates. Panelists who have been in the trenches of long-form workshops will discuss course design and suggested readings and give advice about the problems specific to workshops focused on longer forms.

R111. Of, By, and For the People: Indie Lit in the Second City
(S. Whitney Holmes, Jacob S. Knabb, James Tadd Adcox, Amanda Marbais, Jonathan Fullmer)
Lake Ontario, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Editors from a range of Chicago publications—online and print, established and upstart—discuss why independent literature thrives in Chicago, how their organizations contribute to a dynamic local literary community, and how their publications contextualize the city’s contemporary literary landscape for readers outside of Chicago. Panelists invite questions about how to get involved in the literary and publishing community in Chicago and offer advice for fostering such a community in any city.

R117. The Business of Publishing Your Novel with an Independent Press: Author and Publisher Perspectives
(Dennis Johnson, Joe Meno, Adam Levin, Christopher Boucher, Leigh Stein)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Melville House publisher and co-founder Dennis Johnson leads a practical discussion of the publishing process with four authors in various stages of their literary careers: Joe Meno has had seven books published since 1999, Adam Levin’s first novel was a 2010 critical hit, and Christopher Boucher and Leigh Stein have debut novels appearing in 2011 and 2012. Topics include acquisitions, editing, big house versus indie publishing, publicity, marketing, tours, social networking, and the changing role of the author.

R119. Flash Points: Publishing Flash Fiction in an Evolving Landscape
(Glenn Shaheen, Roxane Gay, Nancy Stebbins, Edward Mullany, Adam Peterson)
Empire Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Editors from PANK, NANO Fiction, matchbook, SmokeLong Quarterly, and the Cupboard discuss trends they see in the flash fiction submitted to their journals. What are some tropes they’re tired of? Things they wish they’d see more often? Are prose poems and flash fiction pieces scrutinized differently when submitted? Join the editors as they attempt to (briefly, of course) characterize the landscape of contemporary flash fiction and give advice to those who are submitting their shortest work.

10:30-11:45

R127. Ideas That Always Work; Solutions That Never Fail: Best Practices for the Creative Writing Workshop
(Christopher Castellani, Ethan Gilsdorf, Lisa Borders, Jill McDonough)
Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
Every workshop has problems: the dude who won’t stop talking; the lady who keeps psychoanalyzing; the inappropriately dirty/violent/creepy story. Every workshop needs new ideas: unique exercises that always yield worthwhile pages; rules that structure conversation without squashing spontaneity. In this panel, instructors of all genres will share case studies of how they deal with common problems and also reveal their best strategies for maximizing the effectiveness and fairness of workshops.

R130. Angles of Ascent
(Toi Derricotte, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dawn Lundy Martin, Vievee Francis)
International Ballroom South, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
In this reading, representative voices of eighty poets spanning three generations discuss and read from the anthology Angles of Ascent (edited by Charles Rowell). This landmark project was published by W. W. Norton in February 2012. Toi Derricotte, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Vievee Francis will discuss the nature and importance of Angles of Ascent in American poetry. This will be followed by twenty minutes of readings and a ten-minute exchange with the audience.

R134. Phoning It In: Publishing through an iPhone App
(Maribeth Batcha, Tyler Meier, Sunyoung Lee, Daniel Pritchard, Chad Post)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Representatives from five leading publishers—Boston Review, Kaya Press, Kenyon Review, One Story, Open Letter—discuss their experiences: the pitfalls, successes, and strategies of publishing digitally.

R142. Ten Years of Literary Politics: Is There Still Room and Interest in the New Marketplace?
(Dennis Johnson, Valerie Merians, Jessa Crispin)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Jessa Crispin, founder of the seminal lit-blog Bookslut, leads a discussion with Melville House founders Valerie Merians and Dennis Johnson on the challenges and importance of publishing political literature in a changing industry. Topics explored include: books of longform cultural and political rhetoric in the age of the Internet, the specific demands of political publishing, and the dedication to activism in the arts.

12-1:15

R153. Writing the American West
(D. Seth Horton, Antonya Nelson, Toni Jensen, K. L. Cook, Claire Vaye Watkins)
Continental B, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
Best of the West: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri is an annual anthology of exceptional short fiction rooted in the western United States. Four award-winning contributors gather to read from their recently anthologized work. They will be introduced by D. Seth Horton, the series co-editor

R159. A Novel Problem: Moving from Story to Book in the MFA Program
(Cathy Day, David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, Elizabeth Stuckey-French)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Short stories are often our main pedagogical tools, but the book is the primary unit of literary production. When are apprentice writers ready to write novels, and how do we review them in a workshop setting? How can we create courses and curricula that encourage students to move toward and complete book projects? This panel will explore the challenges of accommodating the novel or the novel-in-stories within the structure of an MFA program.

R164. A Reading from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Instructors
(David Lynn, David Baker, Nancy Zafris, Rebecca McClanahan, Geeta Kothari)
Wiliford A, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Held annually in the month of June, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop is a week-long residential writing experience that focuses on the generation of new material in an intimate, creative, and productive setting. This reading by recent faculty offers the opportunity to hear the work of returning instructors and will include an audience guided Q&A about Kenyon’s process-oriented approach.

R170. Villains and Killers and Criminals, Oh My: Representing Evildoers in Literary Fiction
(Reese Okyong Kwon, Matt Bell, Eugene Cross, Brian Evenson, Lauren Groff)
Honoré Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
Iago, the Misfit, Milton’s Satan, Judge Holden—some of the most memorable characters in literature have been the evil ones. “The death of Satan was a tragedy / For the imagination,” said Wallace Stevens. If this is true, how can fiction writers profit from the inclusion of villainy, and what might be lost? Join writers as they discuss their experiences incorporating elements of evil into their fiction, providing examples from their own and others’ work.

1:30-2:45

R175. The Tech-Empowered Writer: Embrace New Media, Experiment, and Earn
(Christina Katz, Jane Friedman, Seth Harwood, Robert Lee Brewer)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
What can a professor, a journalist, a novelist, and a poet teach you about new media? Using real-life examples from our own experience and that of other tech-savvy writers, we’ll construct a composite of how working writers use technology to invest in their careers, experiment and launch new works, and grow their income opportunities. Whether you need a day job, a part-time job, or just enough gigs to pay a few bills, there have never been so many ways for tech-savvy writers to earn.

R180. East and West: Creative Nonfiction and the Possibility of Post-Orientalist Travel Writing
(Joshua Schriftman, Faith Adiele, Fred D’Aguiar, Elizabeth Kadetsky, Oona Patrick)
Joliet, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
New travel writing too often builds on old notions of race. Developing cultures get reduced to romantic piquancy, and national identities become exotic foils to Western quests for identity: find prayer in one nation; food in another; love in a third. We may know Orientalism when we see it, but does this ultimately help us as writers to avoid it? How can Westerners writing on Eastern experiences use the tools of creative nonfiction to write outside of these old imperialist patterns?

R187. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reading
(Peter Mountford, Alexander Chee, Bruce Machart, Dean Bakopoulos)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
A reading by four writers who have had books published in 2011 by one of the most esteemed publishing houses in the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The authors will read from their diverse work and discuss the challenges and benefits of publishing literary fiction with a large publishing house and the changing landscape for emerging novelists.

R191. Keeping a Debut Book Alive
(Justin Taylor, Heidi Durrow, Marie Mockett, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Dylan Landis)
Crystal Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
What happens once a publisher says yes? First, champagne—then the author’s hard work starts. In this economy, relying solely on an in-house publicist, especially for a novel or story collection, can hurt a new book from a little-known writer. Four emerging authors reveal how they generated their own buzz. They discuss publicists, websites, mailing lists, social networking, book festivals, blogging, the art of coaxing people to readings, the legendary book tour—and who really pays for it all.

R193. The Bookstore Is Not Your Best Friend: Effective Small Press Marketing Strategies
(Colleen McKee, C.J. Kearns, Erin Wiles, Behnam Riahi, Winnie Sullivan)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Many publishers and authors starting out mistakenly assume that the first (or even only) places they should market their books and journals to are bookstores. While bookstores should be their friends—and often are—they are not necessarily their best friends. In this panel, publishers and PR people from young yet successful small presses discuss alternative venues for readings and book sales, from anarchist bakeries to punk bars, galleries to outdoor fairs, burlesque nights to feminist groups.

R195. Beyond Pulp—The Futuristic and Fantastic as Literary Fiction
(Anjali Sachdeva, Victoria Blake, Kevin Brockmeier, Brian Evenson, Matthew Williamson)
Red Lacquer Room, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
This panel examines the role of science fiction, horror, and fantasy writing in the world of serious literature. Literary journals’ submission guidelines often include the phrase “no genre fiction,” but these genres include talented writers who wield all the tools of literary fiction. Why are fantasy and sci-fi so often considered trivial? How do publishers separate literary genre writing from pulp fiction? The panel will discuss how literary genre writing is promoted, written, and published.

3-4:15

R208. Periodical Wisdom: Advising Student-Run Lit Mags
(Jay Baron Nicorvo, Jennifer Acker, Don Lee)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Current faculty advisors and publishers of literary magazines discuss the ins and outs of directing a student-run publication.

R212. There Will Be Blood: Writing Violence in Fiction
(Alexi Zentner, Antonya Nelson, Benjamin Percy, Alan Heathcock)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
As writers, we are often told to kill our darlings and to leave blood on the page. But what if we really mean it? Four writers talk about when, why, and how to introduce violence into fiction, how to choreograph a moment of physical savagery, and walking the line between too little and too much bloodshed.

R215. Points of View/Angles of Approach
(Peter Turchi, Robert Boswell, C.J. Hribal, Susan Neville)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Point of view is one of the most complex of the basic elements of fiction, with far more variables and possibilities than general discussions typically acknowledge. The writers and teachers on this panel will discuss “Deep Point of View: what we don’t talk about when we talk about point of view”; “The Reliably Unreliable Consciousness”; “First Person: From I to IIIIII”; and “Don’t Be So Sure: Interrogating the First-Person Narrator.”

R218. The Geometry of the Novel: Making “Shapelier” Fiction
(Peter Grandbois, Debra Di Blasi, Michael Martone, Lance Olsen)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
While Jerome Stern’s classic Making Shapely Fiction focuses on alternative narrative forms, most of the shapes are actually variations of the Freytag pyramid, for example, his “Journey,” “Visitor,” “Bear at the Door,” and “Aha” shapes. This panel seeks to expand Stern’s premise in order to explore not only the power alternative shapes offer in driving longer, book-length narratives, but also the aesthetic beauty of geometries that work with a story, not against it.

R221. What about Blog?: How Blogging Can Propel Your Career and Polish Your Craft
(Sarah Klenakis, Turi Fesler, Claire Bidwell Smith, Rachel Vogel, Caitlin Leffel)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Sure, lots of writers blog, but what can you do to actually capitalize from your daily posts? A writer, editor, literary agent, and blog sponsor come together to discuss what appeals to them when reading online, how you can better attract followers, make money from your blogging, and possibly even find a job. From sharing success stories to blogging “don’ts,” this panel will clarify the murky waters that surround online writing.

4:30-5:45

R233. The Renaissance of Midwestern Literature
(Jason Lee Brown, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Dan Chaon, Mark Wisniewski, Rebecca Makkai)
Lake Ontario, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
There is no doubt that midwestern literature exists, but how do we define and support its eccentricities and its coexisting relationship with other regional literature? Contributors to the new anthology New Stories from the Midwest read excerpts of their work and comment on the burgeoning renaissance of midwestern literature.

R236. What’s Wrong with the Whole Truth?
(Susan Resnick, Philip Gerard, Peter Trachtenberg, Paige Williams, Rebecca Skloot)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Many writers feel comfortable molding the truth to create a more satisfying story, yet still calling their piece nonfiction as long as the emotional core and basic frame of the work remain true. Not the writers on this panel. These authors, journalists, and nonfiction professors will explore the philosophy of factual versus emotional honesty and discuss how to achieve both—beautiful and moving nonfiction writing that is 100% true.

R238. Opening the Circle: Connecting Workshop Pedagogy and Public Audiences
(Sarah Harris, Tim Mayers, Dale Rigby, Drew Krewer)
Wiliford B, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
The CW workshop has been often critiqued, but seldom clearly defined. We argue that the workshop is a valuable space for openness, collaboration, and creativity, and these pedagogical aims can be achieved when the circle of the workshop is opened to include real-world audiences. Presenters will describe current methods of instruction used in the workshop and present attendees with a variety of workshop methods that allow students working in various genres to connect their work with audiences.

R239. Poetry Reading for Beauty is a Verb: New Poetry of Disability
(Jim Ferris, Cecil Giscombe, Stephen Kuusisto, Laurie Clements Lambeth, Ellen McGrath Smith)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
A reading by poets featured in the new anthology Beauty is a Verb: New Poetry of Disability. The book originated from a panel of the same name presented at the 2010 AWP conference in Denver. Following the panel, presenters Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northen came together to develop the anthology.

R244. The Way the Wind Blows: Trends in Contemporary Short Fiction
(Todd James Pierce, Steve Yarbrough, Kevin Moffett, M.M.M. Hayes, Darlin’ Neal)
Red Lacquer Room, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
In this panel, five noted short-story authors identify trends in contemporary short fiction. From the research-based stories of Andrea Barrett and Jim Shepherd to the sardonic explorations of Stacey Richter and George Saunders, this discussion will focus on how the form of the short story has evolved over the past ten years, with an eye toward understanding where the form is headed.

7:00-8:15

A Reception Hosted by Chatham University
Private Dining Room 4, Hilton Chicago Hotel 3rd Floor
Join students and faculty from Chatham University for a reception.

Friday
9:00-10:15

F112. The Fiction Chapbook—A Sleeper Form Wakes Up
(Nicole Louise Reid, Eric Lorberer, Diane Goettel, Kevin Sampsell, Abigail Beckel)
Marquette, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
In recent years, the literary marketplace has seen an upswing in publication of fiction manuscripts as chapbooks—a format associated mainly with poetry. A chapbook is the perfect medium for a short story or a clutch of short-shorts, and is capable of bringing an intimacy and aesthetic appeal unattainable by full-length books. Editors from Black Lawrence Press, Future Tense Books, Rain Taxi, RopeWalk Press, and Rose Metal Press, will discuss a range of experiences with this exciting format.

F116. Thirty Years of Award-Winning Short Fiction: The Drue Heinz Literature Prize
(Shannon Cain, Adria Bernardi, Tina May Hall, Edith Pearlman)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
The University of Pittsburgh Press celebrates thirty years of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction, featuring a panel of four DHLP winners. The authors will read from their work and discuss how they discovered their literary talent, what inspires their writing, what excites them about the writing process, and how their work fits into their daily routine. The audience is invited to participate in a Q&A, and the authors will sell and sign copies of their books following the event.

F119. Literature and the Internet in 2012
(Roxane Gay, Stephen Elliott, Blake Butler, James Yeh)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
The literary editors of four leading web magazines—HTMLGiant, the Rumpus, PANK, and the Faster Times—offer a roundtable discussion about how the Internet is changing literature and literary publishing in the 21st century.

10:30-11:45

F138. Apocalypse Now: A Multi-Genre Reading of Apocalyptic Literature
(Brian Barker, T.R. Hummer, Pinckney Benedict, Judy Jordan, Kevin Brockmeier)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Earthquakes, global warming, peak oil, and giant, man-eating ants: every generation has its version of the apocalypse and an abundance of writers who write about it. In recent years, the end of the world has become the subject for a number of literary writers, and a new genre of literature is emerging. Five award-winning poets and novelists read from their apocalyptic literature, examining how their work has been influenced by recent events and by the sense of impending doom we humans share.

F145. The Hollywood Stint: Prose Writers and Writing for the Screen
(Andrew Scott, Douglas Light, Tom Chiarella, John McNally, Owen King)
Red Lacquer Room, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Writing for Hollywood has long appealed to prose stylists such as Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and many contemporary writers. These panelists will discuss writing across genres, what’s required to write for the screen, how their fiction writing skills aid or hinder their attempts to please Hollywood, their dealings with producers, studios, and television networks, and the changing perceptions about screenwriting within creative writing programs.

F147. Home and Away: The Influence of Travel on Writing
(Stephan Clark, Sabina Murray, Jeff Parker, Kyle Minor, Jensen Beach)
Wabash Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Every writer works alone, but some go to great distances to do so. This panel brings together five writers who have traveled extensively—to Australia, Haiti, Hungary, the Philippines, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine—to discuss how travel and living abroad have enriched their fiction and nonfiction, allowing them to tell stories they otherwise would not have known and, paradoxically, better write about their own culture.

12:00-1:15

F149. Ghostwriting the Eulogy: How to Survive and Make Your Name beyond the Academy with a Degree in Creative Writing
(Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, Kim Addonizio, Dana Gioia, Maggie Dietz, Simone Muench)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
With the expansion of programs in creative writing, more and more degreed creative writers are overwhelming the academic job market, causing many of us to seek different ways to make a buck while continuing to write. Ghostwriting, editing, independent scholarship, running a workshop, writing for TV: you name it and the five poets and novelists on this panel have done it. They will share with us the creative ways they’ve found to make a living and some tricks they’ve learned along the way.

F153. A Reading and Conversation with Jaimy Gordon and Rebecca Skloot
(Jaimy Gordon, Rebecca Skloot, Donna Seaman)
Grand Ballroom, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
A reading and conversation by best-selling authors Jaimy Gordon and Rebecca Skloot. The conversation will be moderated by critic and editor Donna Seaman.

F154. Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem
(Harold Schechter, Cornelius Eady, Lynn Emanuel, Patricia Smith, Brian Turner)
International Ballroom South, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
What are the moral implications of writing about violence? Where is the line between portraying violence and exploiting it? The danger of writing about violence is that we might wind up aestheticizing it. If there is a difference between sensationalism and truth, when do we put down the pen and do something to help the victims? Or is writing about violence a form of action, an effective way of addressing the problem? Panelists will address these questions and more.

F156. Measuring Creativity: What Do Grades Have to Do with Artistry?
(Cass Dalglish, Heather Gibbons, Kate Green, Ellen McGrath Smith, Cary Waterman)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Creative writing teachers constantly face the inadequacies of conventional grading as they work in an unconventional field that often defies prescriptive norms. Five faculty members with diverse backgrounds—lecturer, instructor, assistant professor, and professor from community college, private college, and public university settings—will offer meaningful assessment tools for the survival of students and teachers alike, including self-evaluation, scoring machines, grade contracts, and chapbooks.

F160. Works in Progress Mix Tape
(Ken Chen, Nami Mun, Don Lee, Prageeta Sharma)
Marquette, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Participants read new work and the life behind their literature: private writing rituals, relationships with mentors and peers, favorite books, songs on iTunes repeat and performance-enhancing alcoholic drinks, social media and other procrastination devices. Ask nicely and they’ll talk about writing as Asian Americans when only 5% of the authors reviewed in the New York Times are writers of color. Presented by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

F166. Short but Not Too Sweet: Three Emerging Writers Read from Debut Story Collections
(Megan Mayhew-Bergman, Emma Straub, Stuart Nadler)
Crystal Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Long live the short story! Writers are often discouraged from pursuing short story collections, but this panel will prove they are still viable. Come hear emerging writers read from their debut story collections. The panelists will then engage in an honest, lively, and practical discussion about what it takes to get a short story collection published and open the floor for questions.

1:30-2:45

F178. National Book Critics Circle Celebrates Award-Winning Authors
(Jane Ciabattari, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Jennifer Egan, Jane Smiley, Isabel Wilkerson, Darin Strauss)
Grand Ballroom, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
A reading by Bonnie Jo Campbell (AWP Prize, 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Fiction), Jennifer Egan (2011 National Book Critics Circle and Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), Jane Smiley (1992 National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), Darin Strauss (2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction), and Isabel Wilkerson (2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction and Pulitzer Prize Winner in Journalism).

F181. Reinventing Realism: The Craft of Alice Munro
(Catherine Brady, Rachel Hall, Kim Aubrey, Michael Byers, Alice LaPlante)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Alice Munro has much to teach about the elegant execution of craft fundamentals. She also deserves her due as a daring innovator who’s inexhaustibly curious about the possibilities of form and the conventions of fiction writing. Panel participants will discuss Munro’s use of time in narrative; consider her methods of characterization, including her depiction of thought; and discuss her manipulation of point of view in the service of dynamic plotting.

F182. Let’s Work Together: Pedagogies of Rhetoric in the Creative Writing Class
(Richard Greenfield, Minal Singh, R.J. Lambert, Robert Houghton, EmmaLee Pallai)
Lake Huron, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Exploring the intersection of creative writing and composition, this panel will discuss pedagogy practices where the writing of composition texts integrates creative writing pedagogy with an emphasis on rhetoric. We will also discuss the benefits of utilizing rhetorical analysis as the basis of discussing creative writing texts in workshop as well as informing composition of the creative writing text itself. Each member of the panel will provide assignments or exercises as examples.

F189A. Anytown, USA: Representing Place in Fiction
(Ron Hansen, Ladette Randolph, Eric Goodman, Sherrie Flick, Robert Vivian)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
How do we define place in fiction? Does the location matter? How do place and region shape the writing and vise versa? This panel aims to answer the larger question of how to define place while also representing the sometimes misunderstood middle coast, featuring authors whose fiction is set in the Heartland, a place many times more clearly defined by what it is not than by what it is. Each author will share a unique approach to representing place in writing.

F196. Between Song and Story: A Reading from the New Autumn House Nonfiction Anthology
(Sheryl St. Germain, Debra Marquart, Michele Morano, John Price, Jane Fishman)
Wabash Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Readings and discussion from the newly published Autumn House anthology of essays, Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century. This anthology is the first of its kind to focus on the lyric and formally adventurous essay. Five contributors, including one of the editors, will read and discuss their essays, focusing on formal strategies that challenge the traditional essay form.

3:00-4:15

F208. Will Write for Food: Writers Working Outside Academia
(Chloe Miller, Alison Hicks, Patricia Lewis, Valerie Martinez, August Tarrier)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
During the past two years, openings in English departments declined more than 40%. Creative writing tenure-track openings declined more than 30%. At the same time, the demand for writing opportunities is widening, encompassing community-based, travel, and virtual writing communities. Panelists will discuss writing lives outside academia, including entrepreneurial ventures in online teaching and mentoring, editing and coaching services, workshops and retreats, and community engagement projects.

F218. Gender Interrupted: Poetry of the Alternatively Gendered
(Stacey Waite, Joy Ladin, Ely Shipley, Samuel Ace)
Lake Ontario, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
This reading features the work of alternatively gendered poets and writers, work that re-imagines and redefines the terrain of gender itself. In this unique and first-of-its-kind reading, the voices of transsexual, transgendered, and intersexed writers make their contribution to the rich and diverse aesthetics and politics of queer writing in the 21st century.

4:30-5:45

F232. Writing Games: Gaming, Digitally, and Creative Writing Pedagogy
(Stuart Moulthrop, Lane Hall, Anne Wysocki, W. Trent Hergenrader, Matthew Trease)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
This panel discusses relationships among writing, digitality, games, and the creative writing classroom. Addressing Surrealist parlour games, Oulipian constrained writing techniques, Candyland, Uno, animation, and videogames, panelists consider the possibilities of games and digitality for developing generative writing exercises and helping students understand how textual experimentation fits within the craft of writing.

F238. Chapbook Publishing in the 21st Century
(Genevieve Kaplan, Lucas Southworth, Kristy Bowen, Elizabeth Wilcox, Ander Monson)
Wiliford B, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Even as print traditions are evolving rapidly, chapbook publishers embrace and promote a somewhat antiquated literary form: the printed chapbook. Chapbook editors and publishers participating in this roundtable will offer perspectives on the business and art of the chapbook, centering their discussion around advantages of the printed chapbook format, aesthetics and innovations in chapbook publishing, and methods for success for new and established chapbook publishing ventures.

F245. Finding the Time—And Money!—to Write
(Angela Veronica Wong, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Kirstin Chen, Farrah Field, Kim Liao)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
All writers struggle with this quandary: either we have time to write and no money, or money and no time. But there are ways you can have both! Get practical advice and aesthetic inspiration from five writers under thirty-five who have all received grants, residencies, and fellowships propelling their careers forward. Especially useful to emerging writers battling the post-MFA slump, all genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, scholarly research/writing) and many varieties of funding sources are addressed.

Saturday
9:00-10:15

S103. Connecting with Readers via Your Website and Social Media
(Michele Wolf, Kim Addonizio, Leslie Pietrzyk, Matt Bell, Paul Lisicky)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
Having a vibrant, user-friendly Web presence—via your own website (supplementing a publisher’s and/or employer’s page for you), blogging, Facebook, and other social media—has become a key asset for engaging readers and students, being part of the conversation, and expanding interest in your work. Learn how to create an appealing, fun-to-click site that best represents your books and passions, what resources and social media contact that readers most appreciate, and what pitfalls to avoid.

S104. Midwest Gothic: Dark Fiction of the Heartland
(Jodee Stanley, Brian Kornell, Dan Chaon, Cathy Day, Michael Czyzniejewski)
Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
From the stories of Sherwood Anderson to contemporary Midwestern fiction, authors have explored the darkness that lies beneath the placid exterior of an often-dismissed region of America. Five Midwest-based writers and editors will discuss how the prairie landscape and traditionally Midwestern character traits, including politeness, stoicism, and a wariness of the unknown, combine with traditional Gothic literary elements to create a rarely discussed subgenre of fiction, Midwest Gothic.

10:30-11:45

THIS IS WHEN MY PANEL IS, DOPES.

12:00-1:15.

S165. Mine Is Clouds: Revisiting the Life and Work of Richard Brautigan
(Shawn Mitchell, Joe Meno, Sean Lovelace, Theresa Williams)
Empire Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
A forefather of flash, a witty poet, and a great American surrealist, Brautigan has influenced artists ranging from Haruki Murakami to Neko Case and from Aimee Bender to Tobias Wolff. But despite having sold millions of books during his lifetime, he remains less known compared to other Beat and cult writers. At this panel contributors to the forthcoming tribute anthology, Mine Is Clouds, will consider Brautigan’s importance today and celebrate his life and legacy with a reading of his work.

1:30-2:45 

S180. Writing Visually: Using Comics in the Writing Classroom
(Anne Panning, Matt Madden, Hillary Chute, Jarod Roselló, Jessica Abel)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Many incorporate reading comics in their classes these days. But how can you use comics to teach writing? On this panel, two teaching cartoonists and three literature and writing professors will discuss ways to introduce the practice of comics into the creative writing classroom and how that can benefit students’ writing—of prose as well as of comics. Approaches include the Bechdel method of writing comics without drawing and using panels to visually activate prose (or poetic) writing.

S183. Ambitious Fiction: Tackling Big Ideas, Lots of Characters, and/or Lush Language
(Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Jane Smiley, Achy Obejas, Allen Gee, Brian Bouldrey)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Everyone admires a spare, economical story or novel that moves forward with seemingly little effort. But some stories just can’t be told simply. They may have a large cast of characters. They may involve big, even complicated, ideas. They may call for a lush, rather than frugal, style. What is involved in biting off a big storytelling mouthful? This group of fiction writers will discuss their choices to sometimes write rich, rather than minimalist, fiction.

S189. A Reading Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Product, the Center for Writers Literary Journal
(Kent Quaney, Michael Knight, Andy Plattner, Mary Miller, Damian Dressick)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
The Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi has just published the 25th anniversary edition of its student literary journal, Product, and as a celebration of this landmark will present a reading to showcase some of the best writers the program has produced. Noted alumni Michael Knight and Andy Plattner, recent graduate Mary Miller, and current student Damian Dressick will represent the Center for Writers in a reading exemplifying the artistic standard of the program.

S190. Unrequited Love: Renewing Your Vows to the Troublesome Novel
(Elizabeth Brundage, Stewart O’Nan, Jenna Blum, Alice Elliot Dark, Carole DeSanti)
Honoré Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
Unpublished novels are like unrequited love affairs, they linger in the hearts and minds of writers for years to come; many of us have one stashed in a drawer. And yet often within the existing work, a new novel can be rescued. This panel will explore strategies of revision, encouraging a fresh perspective, a renewed faith in the text. Other topics will include structural elements such as characterization, pacing, thematic possibilities, and our enduring commitment to the sentences we make.

S192. You + Me = We: Collaborative Authorship as Pedagogical Practice
(Lily Hoang, Sequoia Nagamatsu, EmmaLee Pallai, Adam Crittenden, Kelsie Hahn)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Authors often work together to create scholarly articles, novels, short stories, screenplays, poetry, and beyond. Collaboration allows all parties to parlay their strength to the page, be it research, sentence structure, concept, or more. It also provides a rich learning experience improving not just writing skills, but also interpersonal skills. This panel will discuss ways of incorporating the collaborative model of authorship in the composition and creative classrooms.

3:00-4:15

S206. Orion 30th Anniversary Reading
(Jennifer Sahn, Amy Leach, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Benjamin Percy, Luis Alberto Urrea)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
For thirty years, Orion has used literature to bring our relationship with the natural world alive, in the belief that the arts connect people to the world, inspire action, and provide a way of thinking about a better future for people and the planet. Join Orion’s Editor-in-Chief and four of the innovative and exemplary writers who have helped make Orion one of the most respected magazines dedicated to the intersection of literature and the environment.

S215. Men from Venus, Women from Mars: Writing from the Perspective of the Opposite Sex
(Reese Okyong Kwon, Jennine Capó Crucet, Alan Heathcock, Kyle Minor, Kevin Wilson)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
The old canard that fiction writers should write what they know would seem to prohibit writing from the point of view of characters of the opposite sex. Meanwhile, some of the most believable and compelling men in literature have been created by women, and vice versa. What is the appeal of writing from the head of an opposite-sex character, and how does one do so credibly? What politics should we consider? Panelists will offer perspectives, tips, and examples of effective embodiment of the other.

4:30-5:45 

S220. Ear Candy: Teaching the Pleasures of Poetic Meter
(Liz Ahl, Jeff Oaks, Annie Finch, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Tara Betts)
Continental B, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
Rooted in a diversity of aesthetic and pedagogical perspectives, this panel focuses on the teaching and learning of meter: how, when, and why might one teach meter to young poets? Is teaching meter like teaching other elements of poetic craft and technique? Is meter akin to music or language when it comes to learning and teaching? How can we help our students sing out rather than slog through? How might activities like scansion, reading aloud, or imitation, help poets develop an ear for meter?

S223. Poetry Reading: Pitt Poetry Series
(Ed Ochester, Toi Derricotte, Ross Gay, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, David Wojahn)
International Ballroom South, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
Series Editor Ed Ochester will introduce the poets as they read from their new books from the Pitt Poetry Series of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

S225. Home Sweet Home: Short Story Collections and Small Presses
(Caitlin Horrocks, Amina Gautier, Shannon Cain, Adam Schuitema, Kelcey Parker)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
With trade publishers less willing to take a risk on story collections and agents and editors advising writers to just finish a novel, where can the story writer turn? Five debut authors discuss their experiences with the small, independent, and university presses that are increasingly the most welcoming homes for story collections. They’ll discuss how they found their publishers, what small publishers can (and can’t) offer story authors, and how these presses are helping collections thrive.

S233. The Art of the Short Story Collection
(Mary Rockcastle, Richard Bausch, Laura van den Berg, Tiphanie Yanique, Daniel Libman)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
In the successful short story collection, the individual stories must move, delight, and entertain, and the collection as a whole must do so as well. What makes a collection of short stories a satisfying whole? How should it be put together? What should the writer consider when deciding upon content, placement, length, title? How easy or hard is it to sell? Robert Bausch, acknowledged master of the short story form and author of eight collections of short stories, joins three authors of very different, all successful, debut short story collections. Each will talk about his/her process in creating, shaping, and publishing the short story collection.

S236. Why Independent Publishers Matter / Independent Publishers and the Changing Industry
(Michael Miller, Tom Roberge, Jeff Shotts, Laura Howard, Eric Obenouf)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Bookforum editor Michael Miller, along with selected editors and publishers from various independent presses, will discuss the changing landscape of the publishing industry and the ongoing rise of independent publishers: why they are leading the way and what this means for the future of the industry as a whole.

Course Sequences

Over the last month or so, I’ve tried really hard to blow up my workshop syllabus. Things were going really well, and I wasn’t motivated out of some fear that I wasn’t getting through to the students. I just wanted to keep things fresh for myself. I realize that you can’t let students graduate with a degree in creative writing without knowing about certain benchmark writers/stories/novels. But I think it’s healthy for teachers to switch up their course sequences so they don’t fall into the trap of making the same tired points about Tim O’Brien or Ray Carver or Joyce Carol Oates or whoever.

This semester, I’m teaching a multi-genre workshop for the first time which I’m really excited about. I’m pretty well versed in creative nonfiction, but I’ve never even taken a poetry class. I’m hoping to learn a lot as the semester goes on, much like last semester when I taught Written Professional Communications. I didn’t know much at the beginning about LinkedIn or CVs or resumes, but by the end I felt pretty comfortable.

Below are the two course sequences I’m using for my two workshop classes. The first is for Intro to Fiction at the University of Pittsburgh, and the second is Advanced Writing Workshop at Chatham University. Usually, I’d include the syllabi, but I’ve discussed them at length in earlier posts. I’ve made some modifications to my workshop syllabus this semester (most having to do with long form writing projects and genre fiction), but the core of the thing is intact. Let me know if you have any suggestions or if you’d like to share your own course sequences. I’m also interested in what other teachers are doing.

Course Sequence

Week One

Wed January 4
Syllabus
Introductions
Justin Taylor “Tetris” HANDOUT

Fri January 6
John Updike “A&P” 3X33
Lorrie Moore “How to Become a Writer” 3X33

Week Two

Mon January 9
Raymond Carver “Cathedral” 3X33
Alissa Nutting “Porn Star” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Wed January 11
Donald Barthelme “The School” 3X33
Etgar Keret “Fatso” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Roxane Gay “The Harder They Come” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Amelia Gray “Hair” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Fri January 13
Emma Straub “Pearls” COURSE DOCUMENTS
George Saunders “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” 3X33

Week Three

Mon January 16
Class Cancelled Martin Luther King Day

Wed January 18
Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” 3X33
Barry Hannah “Testimony of Pilot” 3X33

Friday January 20
Breece D’J Pancake “Trilobytes” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Patrick Somerville “The Universe in Miniature in Miniature” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Four

Monday January 23
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

Wed January 25
Workshop 3
Workshop 4

Fri January 27
Rick Moody “The Apocalyptic Commentary of Bob Paisner” 3X33

Week Five

Mon January 30
Workshop 5
Workshop 6

Wed February 1
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

Fri February 3
A.M. Homes “The Former First Lady and the Football Hero” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Six

Mon February 6
Workshop 9
Workshop 10

Wed February 8
Workshop 11
Workshop 12

Fri February 10
Ethan Canin “The Year of Getting to Know Us” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Seven

Mon February 13
Workshop 13
Workshop 14

Wed February 15
Workshop 15
Workshop 16

Fri February 17
Deborah Eisenberg “Twilight of the Superheroes” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Eight

Mon February 20
Workshop 17
Workshop 18

Wed February 22
Workshop 19
Brian Oliu “Gradius” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Brian Oliu “Punch-Out!!” COURSE DOCUMENTS
Brian Oliu “Wizards and Warriors” COURSE DOCUMENTS
xTx “Water is Thrown on the Witch” COURSE DOCUMENTS
xTx “Marci is Going to Shoot Up Meth With Her Friend” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Fri February 24
Matt Bell “His Last Great Gift” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Nine

Mon February 27
Richard Yates “The Best of Everything” 3X33
Tobias Wolff “Bullet in the Brain” 3X33

Wed February 29
Junot Diaz “Fiesta, 1980” 3X33
Andre Dubus “The Fat Girl” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Friday March 2
Don Lee “The Price of Eggs in China” COURSE DOCUMENTS
James Alan McPherson “Gold Coast” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Ten

Spring Break – No Classes

Week Eleven

Mon March 12
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

Wed March 14
Workshop 3
Workshop 4

Fri March 16
Seth Fried “Loeka Discovered” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Twelve

Mon March 19
Workshop 5
Workshop 6

Wed March 21
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

Fri March 23
Jonathan Lethem “Super Goat Man” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Thirteen

Mon March 26
Workshop 9
Workshop 10

Wed March 28
Workshop 11
Workshop 12

Fri March 30
Scott Snyder “Blue Yodel” COURSE DOCUMENTS

Week Fourteen

Mon April 2
Workshop 13
Workshop 14

Wed April 4
Workshop 15
Workshop 16

Fri April 6
Lorrie Moore “People Like That Are The Only People Here” 3X33

Week Fifteen

Mon April 9
Workshop 17
Workshop 18

Wed April 11
Workshop 19
TBA

Fri April 13
TBA

Week Sixteen

Monday April 16
Fiction Pod

Wednesday April 18
Fiction Pod

Friday April 20
Final Portfolios Due

Course Schedule

Week One

Wed January 4
Syllabus
Introductions
Justin Taylor “Tetris” HANDOUT
Nancy Krygowski “Heaven, As We Know It” The Autumn House Anthology
Writing Exercise (First Lines)

Week Two

Monday January 9
Kim Addonizio “Collapsing Poem/Onset/The Moment” The Autumn House Anthology
Lorrie Moore “How to Become a Writer” E-MAIL
Geoffrey Wolff from The Duke of Deception Modern American Memoirs

Wednesday January 11
Sheryl St. Germain “Addiction/Sestina for the Beloved/Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce” The Autumn House Anthology
John Updike “A&P” On Writing Short Stories
Sarah Vowell “Ike Was a Handsome Man” E-MAIL

Week Three

Monday January 16
Class Cancelled Martin Luther King Day

Wednesday January 18
Billy Collins “Consolation/Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes/Workshop” The Autumn House Anthology
Flash Fiction Tutorial Etgar Keret/Roxane Gay/xTx E-MAIL
Chuck Klosterman E-MAIL

Week Four

Monday January 23
Raymond Carver “Cathedral” On Writing Short Stories
Workshop 1

Wednesday January 25
Workshop 2
Workshop 3

Week Five

Monday January 30
Patrick Somerville “The Universe in Miniature in Miniature” E-MAIL
Workshop 4

Wednesday February 1
Workshop 5
Workshop 6

Week Six

Monday February 6
Tom Bissell “Grand Thefts” E-MAIL
Workshop 7

Wednesday February 8
Workshop 8
Workshop 9

Week Seven

Monday February 13
James Baldwin from Notes of a Native Son Modern American Memoirs
Workshop 10

Wednesday February 15
Workshop 11
Workshop 12

Week Eight

Monday February 20
Terrance Hayes “The Same City/Snow for Wallace Stevens/All the Way Live” The Autumn House Anthology
Workshop 13

Wednesday February 22
Workshop 14
Workshop 15

Week Nine

Monday February 27
Jim Daniels “Short-Order Cook/Where Else Can You Go” The Autumn House Anthology
A.M. Homes “The Former First Lady and the Football Hero” E-MAIL
Frank Conroy from Stop Time Modern American Memoirs

Wednesday February 29
Lynn Emmanuel “Dear Final Journey…/The Murder Writer/The Revolution” The Autumn House Anthology
Anton Chekhov “The Lady with the Pet Dog” On Writing Short Stories
Maxine Hong Kingston from The Warrior Woman Modern American Memoirs

Week Ten

Monday March 5
Toi Derricotte “Boy at the Patterson Falls/Bird/Not Forgotten” The Autumn House Anthology
Flannery O’Connor “Everything That Rises Must Converge” On Writing Short Stories
Zora Neale Hurston from Dust Tracks on a Road Modern American Memoirs

Wednesday March 7
Class Cancelled Spring Break

Week Eleven

Monday March 12
Class Cancelled Spring Break

Wednesday March 14
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

Week Twelve

Monday March 19
Alissa Nutting “Porn Star” E-MAIL
Workshop 3

Wednesday March 21
Workshop 4
Workshop 5

Week Thirteen

Monday March 26
Tobias Wolff “Bullet in the Brain” On Writing Short Stories
Workshop 6

Wednesday March 28
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

Week Fourteen

Monday April 2
Malcolm X from The Autobiography of Malcolm X Modern American Memoirs
Workshop 9

Wednesday April 4
Workshop 10
Workshop 11

Week Fifteen

Monday April 9
Workshop 12
Workshop 13

Wednesday April 11
Workshop 14
Workshop 15

Week Sixteen

Monday April 16
Writing Pod

Wednesday April 18
Writing Pod

Friday April 20
Final Portfolios Due

Fall 2011 Fiction Recommendations

One of my favorite aspects of teaching is recommending fiction to students. There’s almost nothing better than reading a student story and thinking, “This person absolutely needs to read Lorrie Moore!” Matching students with their established counterparts is an integral and rewarding part of the job. I vividly remember being an undergrad creative writer and going to meet with Tom Bailey or Gary Fincke. Their office shelves were lined with books, most of which I’d never heard of. They’d go over my drafts with me and then list off three or four writers I had to read right that very second. Most times, I’d walk straight to the library and take out every last book they recommended. Reading everything I could get my hands on helped me develop as a writer, and I try really hard to pass that enthusiasm on to my students.

That being said, I’ve decided to again share every fiction recommendation I’ve given out this semester. This term I taught two fiction workshops, one at the University of Pittsburgh and another at Chatham University. In total, there were 33 students, meaning 66 workshops and individual conferences. The same ground rules I set forth last spring still apply. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the writers I teach. In fact, most of the writers on this list don’t show up in my syllabus. I recommended them because students put up work that was in conversation with these established writers. There was something to be learned there, something we might not have covered in the classroom or maybe not in enough detail. Some of the writers who appear the most often were in the syllabus, and I kept recommending other work by them to remind students of the lessons we’d learned throughout the semester. And literary journals! There are a bunch of literary journals at the bottom of the list. I want all of my students to become active literary citizens in the vein of Blake Butler, and that means supporting (submitting AND reading) emerging and established literary journals.

The numbers alongside the names represent how many times I recommended a specific author. Please leave suggestions in the comments feed. I’m always looking to shake up my reading list. If you have certain writers you recommend to students again and again, share. If you’re a student and were truly impacted by a specific writer, share.

George Saunders 15
Alissa Nutting 14
xTx 11
Andre Dubus 10
Matt Bell 8
Patrick Somerville 7
Kirsty Logan 7
Amber Sparks 7
Etgar Keret 7
Raymond Carver 7
Lorrie Moore 6
Martin Amis 6
Wells Tower 5
Breece D’J Pancake 4
Tom Perrotta 4
Alice Munro 4
Emma Straub 4
Bobbie Ann Mason 4
Roxane Gay 4
Kelly Link 4
Brian Allen Carr 4
Cathy Day 4
Scott Snyder 4
Deborah Eisenberg 3
Tillie Olsen 3
Colson Whitehead 3
Don Lee 3
Joyce Carol Oates 3
Matthew Simmons 3
Donald Barthelme 3
Gary Fincke 2
James Alan McPherson 2
Tobias Wolff 2
ZZ Packer 2
Alice Munro 2
Paul Yoon 2
Richard Yates 2
Barry Hannah 2
Bret Easton Ellis 2
John Fowles 2
Benjamin Percy 2
Donald Ray Pollack 2
Blake Butler 2
John Minichillo 2
Steve Himmer 2
Rick Moody 2
Philip Roth 2
Trey Ellis 2
Tim Jones-Yelvington 2
Junot Diaz 2
Steve Almond 2
Jonathan Lethem 2
Justin Taylor 2
Tina May Hall 2
Tom Bailey
Stewart O’Nan
Sarah Gardner Borden
Deborah Eisenberg
Teddy Wayne
A.M. Homes
James Baldwin
Peter Bognnani
Jayne Anne Phillips
Rebecca Barry
Aubrey Hirsch
Joe Meno
Richard Ford
Seth Fried
Rick Bass
Sherwood Anderson
Jeffrey Eugenides
Brian Oliu
J.A. Tyler
Lydia Davis
Dennis Cooper
Douglas Coupland
Cormac McCarthy
Cory Doctorow
Mike Meginnis
Rachel Glasser
Kevin Wilson
Gregory Sherl
Dave Eggers
Jay McInerney
Miranda July
Scott McClanahan
Brock Clarke
Peter Mewshaw
Frank Hinton
Shane Jones
Aleksandar Hemon
Tim O’Brien
John Irving
Gary Shteyngart

The Emprise Review 5
Hobart 5
kill author 4
PANK 4
Metazen 3
Prick of the Spindle 3
Flywheel Magazine 3
Annalemma 3
Atticus Review 3
Monkeybicycle 2
Decomp 2
Gargoyle Magazine 2
Dark Sky 2
Barrelhouse
Pear Noir!
Parcel
The Collagist
Diagram
Weave
FRiGG
Caper Literary Journal
Elimae
Stoked!
Barrelhouse