Foundations of Creative Writing (CW)

The purpose of this course is to give the
graduate creative writing student an introduction to the history, traditions,
influences and current trends in creative writing.  With this in mind, we will look at one basic
question, “Why write?”  Of course, there
are other corollary questions that will be considered, such as “For whom are we
writing?” and “Whose art is it?”  And,
given the events of this changing world, we will also investigate two questions
that deal with the contention between two cultural “camps”:  “Is art for art’s sake?” and “Is all art
political?”  Also to be discussed are
other relevant, perhaps more practical, topics, such as creative writing
pedagogy, writing groups, writer retreats, MFA programs, reading lists, etc.


  • a 2-3 page research proposal
  • a standard seminar paper (10-15 pages)
  • 10 weekly reactions to the readings, to
    be submitted to the class blog
  • two short class presentations and a
    project report
  • full attendance and active participation
    in class


  • John Berger, Ways
    of Seeing
  • Lajos Egri, The
    Art of Dramatic Writing
  • David Gershom Myers, The Elephants Teach
  • Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark
  • Ngugi Wa Th`iongi, Decolonising of the Mind
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, What is Literature?
  • a packet of readings by Margaret Atwood, Bertolt
    Brecht, André Brink, Carlos Bulosan, John Gardner, Epeli Hau‘ofa, Robert Henri,
    Jane Kramer, Federico Garcia Lorca, Ezra Pound, Ayn Rand, Alan Sillitoe, Mao
    Tse-tung, Albert Wendt, and others.