English | Writing Creative Nonfiction
W311 | 13859 | Romayne Dorsey

Romayne Dorsey

PREREQUISITE:  Requires permission of instructor.  RECOMMENDED:
W103 or W203.

13859 - 4:00p-5:15p TR (15 students) 3 cr.

TOPIC:  ¡§The Personal Essay¡¨

This writing workshop will focus on a specific genre of nonfiction:
the personal essay. We will be exploring several approaches to the
personal essay from the travel essay to the domestic essay; from the
polemical, public essay to the brief, lyric essay; from the
satirical to the sublime. We will read multiple examples of the
genre, and we will attempt to interpret them both through class
discussion and in our own writing. In the workshop component of the
class, we will focus on how craft elements¡Xfrom syntax to overall
form¡Xare being put to use, the ways in which each of our essays
engages the genre 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, consisting of four short essays, two of which will be
developed into longer essays for workshop. You will offer
substantive written critique of peer work and you¡¦ll be expected to
be prepared to participate actively in all class discussions. In
preparation for class discussion, you will keep a reading journal of
reflections on all course readings.

Possible texts include: A collection or two of personal essays like
Beard¡¦s The Boys of My Youth or Bass¡¦s Winter; a representative
anthology such as The Norton Reader; Short Takes (ed. Judith
Kitchen); The Art of the Essay (ed. Phillip Lopate); and/or a Best
American Essays anthology; and a craft text like On Writing Well or
The Situation and the Story.

To apply for admission to the course, place the following materials
in a manila envelope in my BH442 mailbox (Romayne Rubinas Dorsey) or
submit electronically to rrubinas@indiana.edu:
„X	10-12 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 of some kind be it fiction or course
paper or other nonfiction work).
„X	A brief letter outlining your interest in the course and
your background in creative writing (you should have completed at
least one of the following: W103, W203, W301/W303 or equivalent).
„X	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 copy the departmental
secretary who clears admitted students for registration.