ENGH 608: Craft Seminars

ENGH 608-008: Topographies: A Salon
(Fall 2018)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W

Robinson Hall B434

Section Information for Fall 2018

This writing salon presents a multi-genre platform for writers to come together, present a wide variety of outside texts to one another, write essays about how those texts might serve as the jumping off point for the creation of new writing, create writing prompts based on those texts, and produce and present new writings in a variety of genres.

Our subject for the selection of outside texts will be topographies, whether imagined, figurative, or real.  Given this subject, we will, no doubt, think about place and the absence of place, time and the absence of markers that designate time, nether-worlds, cityscapes, landscapes, literary histories.  We will likewise examine contours, shapes, and patterns effected through other aspects of media and form: style, surface, tone, perspective, measure, scale, intertextual reference, hybridity.  Depending on the interest of participants, we will examine our subject through a variety of media and genres, such as film, fiction, interview, television, poetry and literary criticism.

I will present the first six weeks' texts and brief, introductory essays that I have written about them. The tentative plans will include Agnes Varda's film Les glaneurs et la ganeuse (2000); Louise Gluck's Faithful and Virtuous Night along side excerpts from Iris Murdoch's The Green Knight and Claudia Rankine's Citizen.

Beginning on the seventh week of the semester committees of two to three participants will begin to select readings for the salon, well in advance and with my support, and present their own  reading essays.  On a week when a committee's essays are due, the committee will be excused from presenting new writing in progress during the second part of the evening.

Committees will select together their own texts, depending on the committee's interests.  Here are some examples of the kinds of texts a committee might choose:

  • Book 18 of Homer's Iliad, in which Achilles's shield is forged as a living landscape
  • "Part II: Time Passes" from Virginia Woolf's To The Lightouse
  • Chapters from Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space
  • Chapters from W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn or excertps from Austerlitz
  • Chapters from Walker and Agee's Let us Now Praise Famous Men
  • An essay from Gary Snyder's collection of essays A Place in Space
  • Georges Perec's memoir in spaces Species of Spaces
  • Anne Carson's "The Glass Essay, " possibly beside sections of Wuthering Heights (or not)
  • John Ashbery's Girls on the Run beside the work of Henry Darger
  • D.A. Powell's Useless Landscape
  • Kate Greenstreet's The Last 4 Things
  • Pound's "Pisan Cantos"
  • Rimbaud's proto-surrealist landscapes in The Illuminations
  • William Christianberry's photographic monograph Blackbelt
  • The catalogue for visual artist Matthew Barnet's The Cremaster Cycle
  • New York Times video interview/feature with the artist Maya Lin on her landwork "Wave Field"
  • Akira Kurosawa's film Dreams
  • Excerpts from Alison Bechdel's graphic novels Fun House and Are You My Mother
  • An episode from the 70s television series Lost in Space, or from the contemporary series Lost

Topic Varies

View 3 Other Sections of this Course in this Semester »

Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Non-MFA students seeking permission must submit manuscript of original written work in appropriate genre. Various sections offer work in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, each focusing in different ways on the practices and the craft development of writers. Numerous writing assignments mixed with reading followed by careful analytical and craft discussions. Notes: Assignments vary with genre and specific topic. May be taken concurrently with ENGH 564, 565, 566. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 15 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to MFA program or ENGL 464/ENGH 494, ENGL 458/ENGH 492, ENGL 489/ENGH 486, or permission of instructor. Non-MFA students must submit manuscript for review prior to registration.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Seminar
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.