Intro to Lit: Creative Writing

Writing in the Margins
“I never asked to be winter-colored, just as / I’ve gained no interest laying my claims to / the genocides of my peoples … In this slant light, forgetting edges, I assume / my rounded seat at my imagined table. It’s like my name, “a gift of god,” to sign it / in the margin of the luxury to choose.” – Matvei Yankelevich

The theme of this class is writing in the margins. We will consider what it might mean to write in the margins of the book, the stage, the page, society, and sanity.

Questions to consider: How do we write when we have been marked as other or marginalized, or when we have chosen the margins? Why would we choose to publish with independent publishers, to create ephemeral, experimental, or avant-garde work, to write about our experiences that are not considered mainstream, or to write from geographic locations that others might not consider central?

We will read works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and hybrid genres; writing by women, men, and queer-identified writers; and writing within occupied territories and in worldwide diasporas. Topics of focus may include, among others, intersectional expressions of identity; frameworks, definitions, and aesthetics of writing in the margins; and multilingual dimensions of marginal literature.

You will have the opportunity to examine and experiment with a variety of writing genres, and to workshop your writing in formats including group workshop, peer workshop, and discussion board workshop. We will discuss craft elements of each genre and ways that these elements can be applied across genres. We will also explore writing strategies, and you will have a chance to discuss your writing process, writing goals, and preferences in terms of genre and craft.

Major Assignments will include weekly blog posts, writing workshops, two short papers, and a final exam, which will involve a collaborative exploration of publishing options.

  • Blog Posts – 15 points – Based on Prompts for Critical and Creative Writing
  • Paper 1 – 20 points – Genre and Craft
  • Paper 2 – 20 points – Your Work, Your Voice
  • Workshop – 25 points – Creative Portfolio and Process Paper
  • Final Exam – 5 points
  • Attendance – 10 points
  • Participation – 5 points
  • Attendance is mandatory.