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MFA in Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship

Course Schedule and Descriptions


JAN/SPRING 2018 GRADUATE COURSES IN ENGLISH and IN CREATIVE WRITING

ENGL 250H CONTEMPORARY BRITISH THEATRE STUDY ABROAD (1/2-1/23/2018)

 Prof. J. DiGaetani

Students in this course read, study, discuss, and write about contemporary British theatre – that is, British drama since World War II.  Playwrights to be studied may include Samuel Beckett, John Osbourne, Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, David Hare, Alan Ayckbourn, Peter Shaffer, Michael Frayn, and Christopher Hampton.  Since the course will be taught in London, classwork will be supplemented with performances of contemporary plays, along with the classics of world theatre (depending on what is being staged in London at the time).  Classwork will be augmented with performances at the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the West End and/or fringe performances, and a backstage tour of the Royal National Theatre.  The course will include four theatre performances.  Optional theatre performances are available as well.

The course will introduce students to the city of London as the literary and dramatic capital of the English-speaking world.  The British Library will be used as a major resource for literary research.

SPRING SCHEDULE OF CLASSES (29 JANUARY – 19 MAY)

ENGL 291J A NARRATIVE TEXTURES (Prof. J.S. Russell) M 6:30-8:20PM
ENGL 291M HARLEM RENAISSANCE    (Prof. J. Henton) R 6:30-8:20PM                 
CRWR 243 A CREATIVE NON-FICTION WRITING (Prof. K. McMasters) T 6:30-8:20PM
CRWR 291S A ADAPTATION-PAGE TO  STAGE  (Prof. E. Brogger) R 6:30-8:20PM
CRWR 293R A FICTION WRITING-THE PAGE TURNER (Prof. J. Markus) W 6:30-8:20PM
CRWR 293S A POETRY OF WITNESS (Prof. M.C. Roberts) W 6:30-8:20PM
CRWR 293T A CRAFT POETRY & VISUAL ARTS (Prof. M.A. Zapata) T 6:30-8:20PM

(NB: The MFA Program requires students to complete credits in English; the MA Program allows students up to 6-credits in CRWR to count toward the degree. Should you have any questions about our offerings or your degree requirements, please contact the graduate directors of your individual programs: for the MFA, contact Prof. J.S. Russell at engjsr@hofstra.edu; and for the MA, contact Prof. Craig Rustici at engcmr@hofstra.edu

ENGL 291J A
NARRATIVE TEXTURES
M 6:30-8:20PM

Prof. J.S. Russell

Narrative Textures explores the transformations of a single narrative sequence in different hands with different visions. The class will focus on three such narratives from the late middle ages, the stories of Constantia, Dorigen, Griselda and the story of Troilus and Criseyde, comparing the treatments of these tales in their (translated) sources with the better-known treatments of Chaucer and Shakespeare.
Class assessments will consist of two short analytical papers, two “homages” (original treatments of required readings) and a final examination.

ENGL 291M
HARLEM RENAISSANCE
R 6:30-8:20PM

Prof.  J. Henton

This course explores the literary period resulting from the great migration in African American culture. Known as the Harlem Renaissance, African American artists vigorously questioned the aesthetics and expression of their lives and experiences through traditional artistic mediums and began to reshape those forms to encompass their vision. The course makes use of this period's literary explosion, but we will keep an eye on music, art, and film in order to grasp a fuller understanding of the time period. Some writers on our list of readings are Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, George S. Schuyler, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, and Alain Locke. We may also read a "send up" of the movement's failure, Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo (1972).

CRWR 243A
CREATIVE NON-FICTION WRITING
T 6:30-8:20PM

Prof. K. McMasters

The best creative non-fiction marries the fiction writer’s toolbox (character, scene, and narrative arc) and the journalist’s curiosity (research, reportage, and factual integrity). In this graduate-level course in creative non-fiction writing, students hone their own voices as writers while sharpening their critic’s eye through workshop and intense reading.

CRWR 291S A
ADAPTATION-PAGE TO SCREEN
R 6:30-8:20PM

Prof. E. Brogger

“My Story Wants To Grow Up To Be An Actor!” :
This is a graduate level course in playwriting that explores ways by which we capture a work from another genre and re-imagine it into a coherent dramatic form. The initial resource may be drawn from previously published work in the public domain or it may be the product of a student’s previous work of fiction. Our workshop could therefore be a cross-over course for graduate students whose primary genre is fiction and who wish to learn more of how a dramatic re-construction can illustrate previously undisclosed aspects of action, theme, character, setting, and dialogue. Students will share their own works of fiction, or the previously published work (which must be in the public domain) as a stepping off point for their emerging play-script, concluding with a work that reflects dramatic unity. It is hoped that this course will enhance our appreciation for the distinct qualities of otherwise separate literary genres, leading to an understanding of the ways by which the substance of one form can be newly minted into another.

CRWR 243R A
FICTION WRITING - THE PAGE TURNER
W 6:30-8:20PM

Prof. J. Markus

How often have we heard a friend say of a book:   “I couldn’t put it down.”  Or of a play:  “You must see it.”   Writers will bring new work or work –in- progress to this graduate hands-on writing seminar as we collaborate toward the end of keeping the audience involved.   Nonfiction writers and playwrights as well as fiction writers  are welcome.    We will be reading Stephen King On Writing.  A Memoir of the Craft and Vivian Gornick The Situation and the Story, to study the various ways in which “Story” entices the reader.  Can psychology or plot or theme do the same?  We will read a novel to-be-determined to see.  No matter what your method, the aim will be to tighten your prose in a way that impels the reader to keep going—and for the author to keep going as well.  For there is no such thing as writer’s block, in my opinion,  but there is such a thing as growing bored or unsure of what you are writing.  We will examine how the writer’s enthusiasm and authenticity contributes to keeping the work alive and how that can translate to the reader’s delight in turning those pages.

CRWR 293S A
POETRY OF WITNESS
W 6:30-8:20PM

Prof. M.C. Roberts

In the dark times, will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.
                                     --Bertolt Brecht

In this workshop course we will study “poetry of witness,” a genre of poetry described by Carolyn Forche in her anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness written by “significant poets who endured conditions of historical and social extremity during the twentieth century—through exile, state censorship, political persecution, house arrest, torture, imprisonment, military occupation, warfare and assassination.”  Poems that “bear the trace of extremity within them, and [that] are, as such, evidence of what occurred.”  We will also broaden Forche’s definition of poetry of witness and examine how poets bear witness to their lives and the world in general in poems about disability, racism, health issues, domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc.

In addition to writing a new poem every week, each student will give an oral presentation on a poetry collection chosen from a recommended reading list, which includes poets Natasha Trethewey, Bruce Weigel, Tom Sleigh, Brian Turner and Joy Harjo.  Required reading includes Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forche; The New American Poetry of Engagement: A 21st Century Anthology, edited by Ann Keniston & Jeffrey Gray; Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, edited by Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black & Michael Northen; Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine; Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa; A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson; Off Duty by Katie Donovan; Little Witness by Connie Roberts.

CRWR 293T A
CRAFT POETRY & VISUAL ARTS
T 6:30-8:20PM

Prof. M. A. Zapata

This course is design to discover the transformation of the brush stroke into the written word and the new image that reappears as a new work of art. This  encounter between poet and painter opens new doors of research into the intrinsic relation between the arts.  It is not on a mere whim that so many poets have felt themselves attracted to works of visual art, and at the same time have expressed their interior selves through the contemplation of paintings.  This exploration has caused them to work their way into the canvas itself, and to reside inside the brilliant house of color. After the explorations and readings of other poets in relation to visual arts, students will write personal poems about paintings and photographs or sculptures. The student will have the freedom to choose the work of art to write the poem.


MFA in Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship