Romayne Rubinas Dorsey

11:15a-12:05p MWF (15 students) 3 cr. Section requires permission of instructor.

This intermediate-level writing workshop will focus on a specific genre of nonfiction: the essay. We’ll be exploring subgenres within the essay genre (including the travel essay, the personal essay; the polemical, public essay; the brief, lyric essay, etc.). We will read multiple (and in many cases, canonical) examples of these subgenres, and we will attempt to interpret them both through class discussion and in our own writing. In class discussions, we will focus on an understanding of craft through close reading of outside texts. In the workshop component of the class, we will focus on how craft elements—from syntax to overall form—are being put to use, the ways in which each of our essays engages the subgenre and its conventions, and what is wonderful and what might be improved about each of our essays.

Students will be expected to hand in 35-40 pages of new and original work, probably two to three pieces over the course of the semester. There will also be several shorter exercise assignments geared toward generation of original material. You will offer substantive written critique of peer work (30+ pages over the course of the semester) and you’ll be expected to be prepared to participate actively in all class discussions.

Some possible course texts: The Art of the Essay edited by Phillip Lopate; a Best American Essays anthology; or New American Essays edited by John D’Agata.

To apply for admission to the course, place the following materials in a manila envelope in my BH442 mailbox (Romayne Rubinas Dorsey): 15-20 pages of what you consider your best writing (a mixture of poetry and prose is fine, but at least half of those pages should be prose writing); A brief letter outlining your interest in the course and your background in creative writing (you should have taken at least one of the following: W103, W203, W301/W303 or equivalent). Please include in your letter instructor(s) name(s) and what grade you received in the course(s); A current email address and your name and local mailing address. I will admit and notify students as they apply, so your chances for admission increase with early submission of materials.

I will notify you via email of my decision and authorize the registration of students who are admitted.