Intro to Lit: Creative Writing

Writing Culture, Place, and Identity
Tues, Thurs 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Kuykendall 407
CRN: 86454

Instructor: Amalia Bueno
This course fulfills a diversity in literature (DL) and writing intensive (WI) requirement. In Writing Culture, Place, and Identity, we will explore the wide world of creative writing, particularly poetry and short stories. Through selected texts, we will consider how these texts embody “authentic” or “hybrid” culture, a sense of home or place, and individual or community identity. Additionally, we will analyze these works through the broad lens of ethnicity, language, and nationality. If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, we will then imitate the form or style of these poets and authors, while using our own unique voices. If flattery is not your thing, you may choose irony, mockery, satire, anti-ode, for example, and still utilize the principles of poetry and short story.

But first we will ground ourselves in form, content and theory. What is poetry? What does a poem do or is supposed to do? What makes a good story? How does one begin to write a story? In this class, we will not only read poems and stories to find answers to those questions, but also pay close attention to how these literary forms interact with aspects of identity, culture, and geography. We will also seek answers to the following questions: Do the elements of ethnicity, language, gender, and local(e)s also inform creative writing? If so, how do they provide meaning, clarity, and sense in a poem? Furthermore, what impact do these elements have on a story’s plot, character, setting, conflict, and theme?

Perhaps aspects of culture, geography, and identity are superfluous after all, and that excellent poems and great stories are not affected by such discourses. We will investigate and come to our own truths by considering the intricate, reciprocal, and layered aspects of the craft of poetry and short story.

The texts that we will read together as a class are by no means exhaustive. We will compare and contrast these texts, learn how poets and writers use techniques and elements of literature, and how writing interacts with historical changes and our larger society.


  • Passion, Christy. Still Out of Place. ISBN: 978-0-910043-95-3. Bamboo Ridge Press, 2016.
  • Mohabir, Rajiv. The Cowherd’s Son. ISBN: 978-1-936797-96-7 . Tupelo Press, 2017.
  • Vuong, Ocean. Night Sky With Exit Wounds. ISBN: 978-155659-495-3. Copper Canyon Press, 2016.

     Course reader

  • A course reader will be available for purchases one week prior to class.

Attendance and participation are mandatory. You must have access to a computer in order to keep current through email and your Laulima account, as well as access to a printer to print out first and final drafts of your work. Other requirements include a research-based critical essay, 5 original poems and one short story. There will be an open book, take-home midterm. A chapbook containing at least three finalized poems and your short story, an e-portfolio, and an oral presentation comprise the final exam.

Grading is based on successful completion of the required assignments (80%), attendance, and class participation (20%).

Attendance and participation  (20%)
Chapbook, e-portfolio oral presentation  (20%)
Midterm exam  (15%)
Critical analysis research paper  (15%)
Reading responses  (15%)
Short story  (15%)

For more information on this course, contact the instructor at