Dec 09, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

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CRWR 185 A-Z - Special Topics

Semester Hours: 3

Fall, Spring
Special topics related to the creative writing genres. Subjects to be selected yearly.

Current Special Topics

CRWR 185M, CRN 23890: Creative Nonfiction: Truth vs. Fact

Drawing a Boundary Between “Non” and “Fiction”
Creative nonfiction writers strive to deliver the truth about people, places, personal experiences, and events. But is truth synonymous with fact? If not, where does fact fit into nonfiction? Where and how do we draw our own boundaries? Questions of artistic license are continually debated between writers, editors, fact-checkers, lawyers, and audiences. Is artistry of the line and the search for a deeper truth more important than a triangulated fact? How experimental can a writer be with chronology, dialogue, and composite character? In this class, we will unpack the differing points of view on this debate and read and write work that takes different approaches while we work toward establishing our own truth boundaries on the page.

CRWR 185R, CRN 23891:  Poetry of Witness

“In the dark times, will there also be singing?

Yes, there will be singing.

About the dark times.”

Bertolt Brecht

In this workshop, 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 expand upon Forche’s definition of poetry of witness and study how poets bear witness to their own 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 other week, each student will give an oral presentation on a poetry collection chosen from a recommended reading list, including poets Natasha Trethewey, Bruce Weigel, Tom Sleigh, Brian Turner, and Joy Harjo.  Required reading includes the following books: Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forche; 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; Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit.

Prerequisite(s)/Course Notes:
WSC 001  and CRWR 133 . May be repeated for credit when topics vary. As individual subjects are selected, each is assigned a letter (A-Z) which is affixed to the course number. Specific titles and course descriptions for special topics courses are available in the online class schedule.

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