English Writing

Bethany Goch, Poetry Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

Through writing exercises, close and extensive reading of modern and contemporary poetry, and intense revision of their own poetry, students will be introduced to the forms, elements, and techniques of poetry writing.

What is a poem? Emily Dickinson famously wrote “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” What is the purpose of a poem? William Carlos Williams said in a poem, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Is poetry important? Is there a role for poets and poetry in the year 2018? In this course, you will ask and attempt to answer these questions as you read and discuss poetry and begin writing your own original poems.

You will be asked to read and write every class, respond to the work of published authors as well as your peers, think critically about the formal components poems, thoughtfully draft and revise your own work, and, most importantly, think of yourself as a writer.

Text:

A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry by Mary Oliver

Syllabus: 
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Bethany Goch, Creative Nonfiction Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

This course introduces students to the art and practice of creative nonfiction prose, including personal essay, memoir, and literary journalism. Students will explore the unique possibilities of the genre by reading and studying modern and contemporary authors, and composing and revising a variety of creative writing assignments. You will be asked to read and write every class, respond to the work of published authors as well as your peers, think critically about the formal components of creative nonfiction, thoughtfully draft and revise your own work, and, most importantly, think of yourself as a writer.

(from David Foster Wallace’s Spring 2008 Creative Nonfiction Workshop syllabus)
“The term’s [creative nonfiction] constituent words suggest a conceptual axis on which these sorts of prose works lie. As nonfiction, the works are connected to actual states of affairs in the world, are “true” to some reliable extent. If, for example, a certain event is alleged to have occurred, it must really have occurred; if a proposition is asserted, the reader expects some proof of (or argument for) its accuracy. At the same time, the adjective creative signifies that some goal(s) other than sheer truthfulness motivates the writer and informs her work. This creative goal, broadly stated, may be to interest readers, or to instruct them, or to entertain them, to move or persuade, to edify, to redeem, to amuse, to get readers to look more closely at or think more deeply about something that’s worth their attention. . . or some combination(s) of these. Creative also suggests that this kind of nonfiction tends to bear traces of its own artificing; the essay’s author usually wants us to see and understand her as the text’s maker. This does not, however, mean that an essayist’s main goal is simply to “share” or “express herself” or whatever feel-good term you might have got taught in high school. In the grown-up world, creative nonfiction is not expressive writing but rather communicative writing. And an axiom of communicative writing is that the reader does not automatically care about you (the writer), nor does she find you fascinating as a person, nor does she feel a deep natural interest in the same things that interest you. The reader, in fact, will feel about you, your subject, and your essay only what your written words themselves induce her to feel. An advantage of the workshop format is that it will allow you to hear what [a group of] intelligent adults have been induced to think and feel about each essay you write for the course.”

Text:

To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction by Phillip Lopate

Syllabus: 

Bethany Goch, Introduction to Creative Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

This course offers students an introductory study of the written arts. Through the close reading of modern and contemporary texts and guided experimentation in a variety of genres (e.g. poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction), students will examine, explore, and discuss the creative process.

You will be asked to read and write every class, respond to the work of published authors as well as your peers, think critically about the formal components of the genres of creative writing, thoughtfully draft and revise your own work, and, most importantly, think of yourself as a writer.

Text:

Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, Burroway, 4th edition

William J. Fine, Technical Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

ENGWRT 1192, Technical Writing, serves students who are preparing for careers in the sciences and applied sciences, and business. This advanced course in writing familiarizes students with the discourse practices prized in their fields and helps them to manage those practices effectively in their written work.

Required Texts:

- Pearsall, Thomas E. The Elements of Technical Writing. Boston: Longman, 2010. (9780205583812)
- Wolfe, Joanna. Team Writing. Boston: Bedford, 2010. (9780312565824)

Syllabus: 

Michael W. Cox, Technical Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

In this class you will write letters, resumes, memos, proposals, and reports, key forms of writing used in the workplace. You will determine the content of your assignments by collecting and refining information on employers in your field. Near the end of the term, you will speak briefly to the class about your research. Proper grammar, punctuation, mechanics, spelling, and formatting will be expected and lucid writing required at all times. Classroom instruction, careful attention to the course textbook and other readings, individual conferences, and a variety of exercises will help you learn the basics of technical communication for the workplace. You will complete four out-of-class assignments across the term and give a five-minute oral report at the end of the course. Exercises and conferences will also determine part of your grade.

Text:

Pfeiffer's Pocket Guide to Technical Communication, 5th edition.

Syllabus: 

Michael W. Cox, Digital Magazine Production, Spring 2018

Course Description:

Description: This upper level English Writing/MMDC course will help students understand how magazines are written, edited, produced, and read. Students will become familiar with the best practices of print and online magazines in the first two thirds of the course while at the same time writing and polishing assignments that will populate their own web magazines. In the last few weeks of the course, students will work as an editorial team to select the best pieces to build an online magazine including essays, interviews, reviews, digital images, audios, videos, etc. Stylish writing and production will be encouraged, though not at the expense of careful proofreading and proper grammar, punctuation, mechanics, spelling, and presentation.

Text:

The Elements of Style

Syllabus: 

Michael W. Cox, Fiction Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

Students should have at least some familiarity with fiction writing and narrative craft. Here you will refine technique and story creation by focusing on key elements. You will also learn the value of reading and parsing published creative prose. The focus will be on literary fiction—literary as opposed to purely plot-driven genre (romance, mystery, SF/fantasy, etc.). You will take part in creative writing workshops where you will receive constructive criticism not just from me, but from your peers; you will also provide such criticism. Stylish writing will be encouraged, though not at the expense of proper grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling. Clarity, consistency, and emotional resonance in your work will be valued highly. You will write four stories of 5-10 typed pages each. You will also work on the fundamentals of fiction writing in a series of exercises held in the classroom.

Text:

The Art and Craft of Fiction (paper), by Michael Kardos

Syllabus: 

Scott A. Sheets, Technical Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

Prepares students to deal with problems of technological communication in various fields. Includes analysis, development, use and evaluation of various models employed in the process of technical writing.

Technical Writing prepares you to write in your profession. In a professional setting, your writing provides readers with information they need. Unlike most academic writing, in which students demonstrate their learning to a professor who already knows the subject, in technical communication the writer is the expert, and the readers are the learners. In professional life, you may be writing for supervisors, colleagues, or customers. You might be explaining a problem, a product, an experiment, or a project. You could be writing proposals, studies, or reports. You may be writing a request or applying for a job or promotion. This course teaches you to adapt your writing to different audiences, purposes, and formats.

Required Materials:

1. Handbook of Technical Writing 10th /11th edition by Gerald Alred, Charles Brusaw, & Walter Oliu
2. Handbook for Writing Proposals 2nd edition by Robert J. Hamper & L. Baugh
3. The ability to print material over the course of the semester
4. The ability to access / use CourseWeb and your Pitt email account.

Syllabus: 

Eric C. Schwerer, Introduction to Professional Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description:

This course introduces students to several forms of professional writing, such as review and profile writing, public relations and marketing writing, and writing for the web. Students will compose, revise, and edit their own texts and also read and study “real world” examples of professional writing.

Suggested Materials:

* reliable access to a computer and the internet and a Google account
* an active @pitt.edu email account you check regularly for communiati0ns from me
* reliable access to a printer (I will send you numerous handouts and readings via email attachments which you will be required to print and bring to class)
* a fail-safe way to back-up all your work; "back-up" means daily saving of material in at least two locations; for example, your computer's hard drive and a cloud storage such as Google Drive (included with a free Google account) or Box (available through my.pitt.edu and free with your tuition); you might even use USB drives or external hard drives to triple back-up!

Eric C. Schwerer, Introduction to Creative Writing, Spring 2018

Course Description

This course provides as introductory experience of how creative writers do what they do. You will be an
artist who writes essays, short stories, poems, and one act plays. You will also do a lot of reading.
I won’t lecture much, so things will go better for us if this course is centered on you and your classmates: your writings, your responses to what you’ve read, your ideas and questions. If that doesn’t interest you, please drop the class. Life is too short. But I hope you rise to the occasion! I want to help you discover some great writers and to experience the liberating, creative struggle of trying to write something that hasn’t been written before, something that makes us all feel more alive.

Required Texts:

• Imaginative Writing, Janet Burroway, FOURTH EDITION
• an @pitt.edu email account you check regularly for communiati0ns from me
• reliable access to a computer with a printer (I will send you numerous handouts and readings via email
attachments which you will be required to print and bring to class)
• a fail-safe way to back-up all your work; “back-up” means daily saving of material in at least two locations;
for example, your computer’s hard drive and a cloud storage such as Google Drive (included with a free Google account) or Box (available through my.pitt.edu and free with your tuition); you might even use USB drives or external hard drives to triple back-up!

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