Creative Writing Undergraduate Courses
ENGL 2010 Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry & Prose
Students will be introduced to various forms of poetry and prose, study the literary genres from a writerly perspective, and develop skills needed in the writing of poetry and prose through exercises, writing, creative research, workshopping, and evaluating both published works and works of their classmates.
ENGL 2011 Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction
Writing of short stories; examination and discussion in class of students’ work; assigned readings for history, theory of the short story, and critical analysis.
ENGL 2013 Introduction to Literary Nonfiction
Students will further develop their knowledge of creative nonfiction writing, studying the genre from a writerly perspective, and develop skills needed in the writing of creative nonfiction through exercises, writing, creative research, workshopping full-length essays, and reading both published works and those of their classmates.
ENGL 2015 Introduction to Screenwriting
This course is an introduction to studying, learning, and practicing screenwriting techniques. Students will learn about film and television screenplay structure, analyze dramatic strategies in film and television, learn and apply correct script form, and creatively engage in the various stages of original scriptwriting.
ENGL 2017 Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry
Writing of poetry; examination and discussion in class of students’ work; assigned readings for history, theory of poetry, and critical analysis.
ENGL 3032 Music and Poetry
Music has an essential connection to poetry, a shared dependence on rhythm, but too often the two genres are separated and their relationship ignored. This course will reunite these two branches of what Lessing calls “the temporal arts” and examine how they have complemented each other since antiquity. As Ezra Pound remarks, poetry “atrophies...when it gets too far from music.” In this course, students will read lyric poems and song lyrics by a wide range of poets from many different periods, concentrating on their poetic techniques and verbal effects. They will watch and listen to performances of the songs and analyze how the words operate within the confines of musical structures. They will investigate poetic and musical forms such as traditional ballads, blues, fugues, sonatas, and jazz, as well as the many varieties of song form. They will learn how deeply poetry is rooted in music. They will learn about poetic movements such as Symbolism, Surrealism, the Harlem Renaissance, Confessional Poetry, and the Beats. They will write poems and songs of their own, making use of techniques and devices learned in this class.
ENGL 3049 Creative Writing and Social Change
This is a writing and reading course that explores how creative writing has the power to shape and influence social and political change. This class combines traditional methods of literary and cultural analysis with a balance of creative writing workshops in literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and explores the ways in which creative writers can address pressing social issues. From essays, narrative nonfiction, and investigative journalism to novels and poetry, we will explore how writing can expose injustice and support new ways of thinking about social and political issues. This course combines critical, analytical discussions, creative writing workshops, and service learning with a local literary arts organization or a related organization to give students an integrated, experiential learning opportunity. Students will conduct brief research and use the writing process to explore and critique a current social issue.
ENGL 3079 Creative Writing and the Environment
Students will explore how creative writing engages, interrogates, reveals, and impacts environmental issues and concerns: What are the ways in which fiction writers, poets, nonfiction writers, and screenwriters can address pressing U.S. and global environmental issues? How does creative writing inform and help shape public and institutional debate? Can it, directly or indirectly, affect environmental policy? Whether through short stories, essays, poems, or other forms, we will explore how writing can expose current environmental topics and concerns and support new ways of thinking about the environment. This course combines critical, analytical discussions, creative writing workshops, and involvement with a local environmental organization or a related organization to give students an integrated, experiential learning opportunity. Students will conduct research to learn about new topics; use the writing process to explore and critique a topical environmental issue; and examine the landscapes that they know best through creative writing exercises.
ENGL 3096 Creative Writing and Literary Publishing
Students will develop practical, hands-on skills related to editing, producing, and promoting the online literary magazine Short Vine, the undergraduate literary journal of The University of Cincinnati. We will focus on the art and craft of evaluating and editing fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction, art, and photography as well as layout, production, and all the business aspects of publishing a literary journal including subscriptions, marketing, and distribution, as well as creating a stronger online presence. This course also provides an introduction to the larger literary market, and we will discuss the process of building a career as a writer, including topics such as literary contests, colonies and conferences, agents and editors, book production, readings, marketing, and the publishing environment overall. In addition to producing Short Vine, students will gain substantial experience in editing and preparing manuscripts of their own creative work and learn how to submit work for publication.
ENGL 3085 Forms of Poetry
The first aim of this class is to build the vocabulary and knowledge students need to read like writers. The second aim of this class is to examine closely some of the structural possibilities for poetry writing. Students will do extensive reading of both poetry and the analysis of poetry. Writing assignments may include imitations of others’ writing and analyses of one’s own writing.
ENGL 3086 Forms of Fiction
The first aim of this class is to build the vocabulary and knowledge students need to read like writers. The second aim of this class is to examine closely some of the structural possibilities for fiction writing. Students will do extensive reading of both fiction and analysis of fiction. Writing assignments may include imitations of others’ writing and analyses of one’s own writing.
ENGL 3087 Forms of Literary Nonfiction
The first aim of this class is to build the vocabulary and knowledge students need to read like writers. The second aim of this class is to examine closely some of the structural possibilities for creative nonfiction writing. Students will do extensive reading of both creative nonfiction and analysis of creative nonfiction. Writing assignments may include imitations of others’ writing and analyses of one’s own writing.
ENGL 4012 Intermediate Creative Writing: Fiction
Students will develop skills needed in the writing of fiction through exercises, writing and workshopping full-length stories, and reading both published works and those of their classmates.
ENGL 5112 Senior Writing Seminar: Fiction
Students write, read, and critique fiction at an advanced level, analyzing the various elements of fiction as those elements interact in the work.
ENGL 5114 Senior Writing Seminar: Creative Writing and Research
This capstone course is appropriate for students working in any genre of creative writing. The course will expand the possibilities available to students as writers of fiction, nonfiction, and/or poetry by showing them how to seek out new subject matter. In other words, students will learn to research before they write. That research might take many forms: reading archival materials, touring a historic home or exploring a nearby town, interviewing a family member about her childhood or her job, exploring a scientific theory. Students will practice different approaches to research; read published work informed by it; generate stories, essays, and/or poems inspired by their own research; and analyze the work of their peers.
ENGL 5115 Senior Writing Seminar: Hybrid Forms
This capstone creative-writing class is ideal for students who prefer working in multiple genres, in cross-genre forms, or in innovative and experimental modes. The course will explore the history, current landscape, and future possibilities of working in mixed-genre and interdisciplinary forms. Mixed-genre forms pull together two different genres – for instance, poetry and prose coexist in texts like Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Interior, a “haibun”, or Jean Toomer’s Cane, a novel written in prose poems and songs. Interdisciplinary forms borrow structure and/or function from other genres and disciplines, and may take many forms (tweets, telegrams, footnotes, billboards, video games, films, postcards, websites, decks of cards, etc.). Students will engage critically with many examples of hybrid forms, as well as creating their own hybrid projects and technically analyzing those, and those of their peers.
ENGL 5117 Senior Writing Seminar: Poetry
In this culminating course in the poetry sequence, students write and workshop poems at the advanced level while reading and studying diverse texts of poetry to refine and challenge their ideas about the craft. Students draft and revise their own poems and contribute to the collective workshop format.
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ENGL 2027 Introduction to Creative Writing: Drama
Writing of drama; examination and discussion in class of students’ work; assigned readings for history, theory of drama, and critical analysis.
ENGL 3015 Poetry and Sound
Poetry and Sound will trace the growing focus placed upon considerations of both sound and media in contemporary poetics. Potential areas of study might include performance and sound poetry, voice, aura and phonetics as well as audio documentation and dissemination of poetry through various media.
ENGL 3022 Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy
This course will explore the trends, themes, and techniques crucial to the writing of science fiction, fantasy, and related subgenres. Students will read published work, comment on classmates’ work, and produce short fiction in the genres.
ENGL 3023 Writing the Mystery
This course will explore trends, themes, and techniques in contemporary mystery writing. Students will read published detective fiction, thrillers, and other variations on the mystery genre, comment on classmates’ work, and produce their own mystery-driven fiction.
ENGL 3025 Writing Historical Fiction
This course will explore trends, themes, and techniques in contemporary historical fiction. Students will read published work set in a variety of eras, discuss the motivations and purposes of historical fiction, research a time and place of their choice, and produce their own work set in another time.
ENGL 3026 Writing Fiction with a Global Vision
This course will explore trends, themes, and techniques in contemporary international fiction, with an eye toward broadening the scope of students’ fictional vision. Students will read a variety of international authors, discuss issues in global culture, and produce their own border-crossing fiction.
ENGL 3027 Writing Comic Fiction
This course will explore trends, themes, and techniques in contemporary comic fiction. Students will read comic short fiction and novels and essays on the comic, discuss theories of humor’s effects and how to generate it, and produce their own comic fiction.
ENGL 3028 Memoir as Literature
Memoir as Literature will introduce students to the field of memoir studies and provide them with an overview of the various debates surrounding the genre and its history. This course might focus on a number of different forms of memoir, including but not limited to Holocaust narratives, women's memoir, non-fiction accounts of illness, and "fake" memoirs.
ENGL 3030 Writing the Love Poem
In this course, students will read and analyze poetic and critical works on or about love, acquiring knowledge of the literary forms, traditions and trends of love poetry, and the ethical, philosophical, and cultural issues involved in works of literature that have love as its central subject. Students will also write original poetic works and engage in critical discussion of their own and their classmates’ poems.
ENGL 3031 The Poet as Actor: Persona and Voice in Poetry
This class introduces students to the use of persona as a means of empathy, self-exploration, interpretation, and disguise. The term “persona” originally referred to masks used to represent the characters in ancient Greek drama. In poetry, the word identifies a kind of poem in which the poet speaks for someone other than herself through a “mask” drawn from myth, the Bible, historical events, events of daily life, fairy tales, and even, in the case of Louise Gluck, common garden flowers. A persona poem can enable the poet to speak in a more genuine way, or about a difficult subject, by drawing over herself a poetic “veil.” Because persona is related to the dramatic monologue, students will read monologues taken from a range of exemplary plays. A convincing persona is a well-wrought character; therefore, character as a fictional element will be examined. Students will read poems in diverse voices to learn how diction and syntax are manipulated to create a unique voice. Method acting, one means by which actors gain entrance to characters, will be studied, as will the use of self-disguise by contemporary photographers such as Cindy Sherman. Course readings will include persona poems by a range of poets including Robert Browning, Randal Jarrell, John Berryman, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Louise Gluck, and Ai, to name a very few. Students will write poems employing a variety of poetic techniques to learn how the human personality can be realized as a literary construct.
ENGL 3033 Writing Prose Poetry and Flash Fiction
This course will explore the related cross-genre forms of prose poetry and its newer variant, flash fiction (a.k.a. short short fiction, microfiction, etc.), analyzing the characteristics each genre shares and what differentiates them. In addition to reading literary works in each genre, students will experiment with writing their own pieces in these forms and consider the role of characterization, plot, imagery, and music in each.
ENGL 3034 Audiopoetics
This is a companion workshop to Poetry and Sound (ENGL 3015), which is largely a literature course with a small creative component. In this course, students will read, listen to, and view a variety of texts whose composition places special emphasis on sound, media, performance, or technology, then create works of their own which reflect these preoccupations. Work produced will include both written texts and audio pieces, and the class will include training in the use of audio editing software.
ENGL 3053 Writing Fiction in the Digital Age
In this fiction workshop, we will embrace and explore technology's influence on the ways we tell and experience stories. We will examine and experiment with the narrative possibilities of forms made possible by technology, such as video games, storytelling on social media, fan fiction, and/or transmedia narratives. Students will produce a variety of narratives, which might include stories written through collaboration, or with character limits, inclusion of audio and visual components, and/or choice-driven narratives.
ENGL 3054 Creative Writing Pedagogy
This course is designed to offer future educators a variety of approaches to the teaching of creative writing. In this class, students will learn about the forms and techniques of creative writing and then practice how best to communicate that knowledge to their own students. The course will encompass the technical (how to create a character, how to write a sonnet); the practical (how to manage the creative writing workshop, whether and how to grade creative work); the aesthetic (how to discuss beauty and self-expression); and the ethical (how creative writing teaches empathy, how its concerns overlap with social justice aims). Assignments will include creative writing exercises, lesson plans, and teaching demonstrations.
ENGL 3055 Creative Writing from Real Life
Life experience is the raw material for the writer of fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry, and writers are continually observing and examining their own lives and the lives of others. Writers also engage in personal and creative ways with contemporary conflicts and concerns, such as politics or war, and with other disciplines, such as anthropology, history, journalism, medicine, and psychology. How does a writer develop creative material from real life? How do we write about other people in our lives? How do we tell family stories? What do writers owe their subjects? In this class, students will consider the potential for creative forms to capture difficult social and emotional issues and the ethical and aesthetic concerns that come up when we write about our own lives and the lives of others. The assignments will include creative work that explores contemporary events, history, and/or students' own lives.
ENGL 3056 Writing Comic Poetry and Prose
This course will provide a guided tour of some of the funniest poems, stories, essays, and/or drama ever written in English. Genres covered will include light verse, satire, parody, absurdism (“nonsense”), and others. We’ll explore the serious side of comic writing and vice versa. Students will have the opportunity to write their own comic pieces in the genres discussed.
ENGL 3102 Podcasting and Audio Storytelling
We are living in “a new golden age” of storytelling, according to New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead, “in the form of the podcast.” Mead cites a study conducted by Edison Research, which found that nearly a quarter of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month. The number seems only to be increasing. The podcast has taken the kind of audio storytelling popularized by shows like "This American Life" and "RadioLab" on public radio, as well as the growing interest in audiobooks and even the old “War of the Worlds” broadcasts, and made storytelling widely available online in fascinating new formats, allowing for exciting new projects and premises. From "Welcome to Nightvale" to "Serial" or "The Daily" and beyond, podcasts have made their way more deeply and more broadly into our lives, into our cultural conversations, and into our social consciousness. Furthermore, many of America’s favorite writers have gotten their start or their big break in this forum, including people like David Sedaris, Mike Birbiglia, and Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, whose WNYC podcast “Two Dope Queens” is now an ongoing HBO series. Furthermore, podcasts have created new opportunities for writers and journalists from Anderson Cooper to Snoop Dogg to do something different and more personal, more intimate, and more self-driven. It’s a versatile and popular medium for fiction and nonfiction storytelling and artistic performance. In this class, students will learn how to produce these kinds of audio stories. We will do this through analysis of professional podcasts as well as the study of interviewing and research techniques, story development, and script writing. Students will explore the entire podcast-production process and learn to use sound recording, mixing, editing, and production principles and technologies, while being encouraged to develop their own personal projects and cultivate their own voices and styles.
ENGL 4013 Intermediate Literary Nonfiction
Students will develop skills needed in the writing of creative nonfiction through exercises, writing, learning creative nonfiction research techniques, workshopping full-length essays, and reading both published works and those of their classmates.
ENGL 4017 Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
This course, part of the Creative Writing Poetry Track of the English major, develops and hones aspects of the craft of poetry. Students read and analyze a diverse selection of published poems, using these poems as models for their own work with the craft, and generate and revise their work in a workshop setting.
ENGL 5113 Senior Writing Seminar: Literary Nonfiction
Students write, read, and critique creative nonfiction at an advanced level, analyzing the various elements of creative nonfiction as those elements interact in the work.