Fall 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
What does it mean to be "literary"? Of course, to be literary is to be engaged in the act of writing, and to be generating written expressions of both a particular quality and a certain constitution. But such expressions, as much as they are the product of any given writer's innate talent, are also grounded in the writer's attitudes, habits, proclivities, discipline, and familiarity with the raw materials of the craft of writing itself. As such, being literary entails more than writing. To be literary is to assume a disposition; to be literary is to care about language and its use; to be literary is to be conversant in a specific discourse and the vocabulary appropriate to that discourse; to be literary is to be analytical with respect to writing, both one's own and others'; and to be literary is to declare one's affiliation with a community of writers, one whose membership is local and contemporary even as it also ranges far back over the past and its traditions and projects itself forward into some barely glimpsed posterity.
Over the course of the semester, we will work together to gain a better understanding of the above definition of the literary. To this end, we will address ourselves to the following tasks:
1) defining and / or honing a regular writing practice
2) developing attentive and careful reading strategies
3) engaging in substantive discussions of literary texts
4) gaining greater familiarity with the salient features of three major literary genres (poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction / CNF) via reading and discussion
5) practicing specific techniques and approaches appropriate to each genre via writing exercises
6) becoming proficient at individual and group critique of writing produced by the members of our immediate literary community (this class)
7) applying all these lessons learned to the independent generation and revision of our own literary texts
Upon completion of this course, each student should have increased his / her proficiency in the following areas:
1) Implementing, managing and adjusting (as needed) a regular writing practice.
2) Reading both comfortably and with some regularity in multiple genres.
3) Writing both comfortably and with some regularity in multiple genres.
4) Reading his / her own work, his / her colleagues' work, and published work from a literary perspective.
5) Employing a common critical vocabulary in his / her discussions of literature.
6) Offering constructive criticism and writerly support in a workshop setting.
7) Accepting constructive criticism and making revisions to his / her work in consideration of comments offered in a workshop setting.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Assessment And Evaluation Of Performance
1) Completion of assigned readings and reading responses (20% / 160 points).
2) Completion of regular writing exercises (20% / 160 points).
3) Submission of written comments for ALL workshop sessions (30% / 240 points)
4) Submission of one (1) revised piece of original writing ("Final") (15% / 120 points).
5) Active participation in class discussion (15% / 120 points).