Foundations of Creative Writing

English 625D Foundations in Creative Writing

Fall 2023 / Tuesdays / 3:15 – 5:45 p.m. / KUY 409 / In-person


Course Description

What are your goals for your writing? Do you want to publish? Do you want to teach? Use writing to energize your activism and community? How do you develop relationships with different readers and build writing community? This course offers graduate students perspectives and practice in the field of creative writing: from grounding ourselves in where we are and who we come from to cultivating inspiration, developing a regular writing practice, creating generative workshop models, submitting our work for publication, hosting a literary event, articulating our kuleana and contribution as writers, and earning a writing community. Our graduate course will constellate around four major areas of creative writing: practice, workshop, professionalization, and pedagogy. An emphasis on how and why we develop writing community will underline each section.


Student Learning Outcomes

  • Refine and develop a critical vocabulary for your writing practice.
  • Demonstrate written and oral ability to place creative work within broader aesthetic, critical, and/or activist conversations.
  • Engage frameworks and writing practices that are attentive to and responsible in our cultural location in Hawaiʻi.
  • Cultivate and apply foundational knowledge of creative writing workshop history in America, with an emphasis on anti-racist, decolonial, and feminist approaches in the last thirty years.
  • Advance close reading skills that articulate connections between craft, audience, and culture in a range of texts.
  • Build a safe and brave writing community and the tools for continuing that community beyond the course.


Required Texts

Please purchase the following five course texts on your own, whether ordering through local bookstores like da Shop or Native Books or online through

  • Jane Alison, Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative
  • Maggie Nelson, Bluets
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric
  • Felicia Rose Chavez, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom
  • Elissa Washuta & Theresa Warburton, Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers

Additional readings will be made available as PDFs or hyperlinks via Laulima.


Possible Assignments

  • Submit regular posts to our Laulima forum
  • Co-facilitate class discussion
  • Present a PechaKucha on a literary magazine/journal/contest
  • Compose original creative writing experiments based on course materials, which may include a flash memoir of yourself as a writer, a lyric essay, an epistolary project, and a (re)creation story
  • Compose a micro-essay on revision
  • Present at department colloquia
  • Compose a seminar paper on literary moʻokūʻauhau