PDFs: 501.01/.02



Course Syllabus



Unit 1: The Art of Writing (& writing about art)  


Tuesday, January 21st    

Introduction to each other and course

Read: Syllabus, “What is Creative Nonfiction?” & excerpt from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, come with an example of creative nonfiction for discussion


Thursday, January 23rd     

Continue introductions, class schedule

Reading discussion: defining creative nonfiction & the art of writing (& broccoli)  

Introduce close readings

Read: “How to Write Vivid Descriptions,” “Write till You Drop” & “Total Eclipse” by Annie Dillard

Tuesday, January 28th    

Close reading/reading discussion: descriptive writing & sensory details

Sign up for close readings (check out the close reading options here)

Intro to Art Narrative assignment 

Sensory detail exercise

Read:, “Why I Write” by TTW & Leap by Terry Tempest William & Still Life with Oysters and Lemon by Mark Doty excerpts


interviews with the authors: "On Writing as an Act of Living: An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams" in Brevity & An Interview with Poet Mark Doty at Poets & Writers


Thursday, January 30th   

Close reading/Reading discussion, form/style & ekphrastic essays

Share sensory detail exercise

Read: "Ekphrasis" by Marjorie Munsterberg & Ekphrastic poems at poetry.org (bring with you next Thursday)


Tuesday, February 4th   

Art Museum Day!

e-mail art narrative proposal

Read: “Building Blocks of Creative Nonfiction: Characterization and Scene,” NowNovel dialogue examples, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Egger excerpt


(From Your Fathers, Where are They? And the Prophets, Do they Live Forever? by Dave Eggers)


Thursday, February 6th  

Close reading/Reading discussion: more ekphrasis & dialogue

Share ekphrastic poems/activity

In-class work on dialogue

Sign up for conferences for next week!

Read: “Dead Christ” by Brian Bouldrey


Tuesday, February 11th    

Individual conferences this week!

Close reading/Reading discussion: ekphrasis, visuals, & video essays

Art narratives in process check-in, preparing for workshop

Rough draft for Thursday


Thursday, February 13th  

Small group workshop rough draft/revisions
Read: “My Mother in Two Photographs…” by Aleida RodrÍguez



Unit 2: Identity (A picture is worth a thousand words) 


Tuesday, February 18th     

Art Narrative due!

Visual rhetoric & terms for analysis
Photo essays

Introduction to Snapshot essays, technology & examples

Visual narrative group assignments
Read: “Caring for your Introvert” by Jonathan Rauch, “A Path Taken, with All the Certainty of Youth” by Margaret Atwood, & individual excerpts from The 27th Letter of the Alphabet by Kim Adrian

Thursday, February 20th      

Close reading/Reading discussion: identity

In-class group work on visual narratives

Possible visit from Parker Media Lab
Read: excerpt from Picturing Texts& excerpts from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


Tuesday, February 25th   

Close reading/Reading discussion: images & text
Group Visual Narrative presentations

Pre-writing/Planning/Storyboarding snapshot essays

Read: "On the Origin of the Video Essay" & Mangoes by John Bresland & Baptism by Marilyn Freeman


Thursday, February 27th    

Close reading/Reading discussion: video essays & identity
Work on snapshot essays
Sign up for conferences

Read: “Walking the Line,” Fitting the Pattern by Christine Wilks, “That Kind of Daughter” by Kristen Radtke (& City Fish by JR Carpenter)


Tuesday, March 3rd     

Individual conferences this week!

Close reading/Reading discussion: interactivity & reader/author relationships

Hypertext, how to talk about e-lit, terms for analysis

Work on snapshot essays

Read: “Electronic Literature: What is it?” by N. Katherine Hayles & “Mr. Plimpton’s Revenge” by Dinty Moore


Thursday, March 5th     

Reading discussion: nonlinear/linear narrative

Workshop snapshot essays/Revision

Read: “How to write like a *((@*(#$&” and excerpt from Wild by Cheryl Strayed



Unit 3: Place (Where we have been & where we are going)


Tuesday, March 10th   

Snapshot Essays due (& presentations)

Reading discussion: Merging identity & place & home & maps  

Read: “How to write about Place in Creative Nonfiction,” “The Ashes of August” by Kim Barnes, “The Art of the Travel Essay” & “History” by Dinty Moore


Thursday, March 12th  

(Presentations continued)

Close Reading/Reading discussion: researching/capturing place, “home”

Introduce Google Maps Essay, technology & examples
Group analysis assignments

Read: “Pine Point” by the Goggles and assigned Hyperlocal Essays


March 16-20 Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 24th  

Group Hyperlocal analysis presentations

Pre-writing/planning/mapping Google Maps Essay

Read: “Taroko Gorge” by Nick Montfort and excerpts from A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson


(and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer?)


Thursday, March 26th  

Close reading/Reading discussion: code, generative text, & authorship

In-class work on Google Maps

Read: “High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese” by Nicola Harwood & co. and excerpt from Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen


Tuesday, March 31st

Individual conferences this week!
Close reading/Reading discussion: multimedia elements & design & co-authorship

In-class work on Google Maps
Read: “As we May Think” by Vannevar Bush& excerpt from Circle K Cycles by Karen Tei Yamashita


(& excerpt from Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson?)


Thursday, April 2nd

Workshop Google Maps drafts/revision

Reading discussion: links, connections & hypertext (& collage)
Introduction of hypertext project
Media options/brainstorming

Read: “My Body, A Wunderkammer” by Shelley Jackson & excerpt from Bossypants by Tina Fey



Unit 4: Connections (Listen to your (multimodal) broccoli)


Tuesday, April 7th
Google Maps Essay Due!
Close reading/Reading discussion, hypertext, fragmentation & lexias
Introduction to hypertext essay & examples
In-class My Body assignment
Topics, planning & storyboards
Bring images/text for hypertext tutorial!


Thursday, April 9th

Dreamweaver/Twine tutorial
Hypertext assignment
In-class work on projects
88 Constellations for Wittgenstein” by David Clark & “The Fall” by Alan Bigelow& “The Bafflement Fires” by Jason Nelson (in class)
Topic proposals due (via email)

Tuesday, April 14th

Close reading/Reading discussion, media & authorship
Navigation options (a look at three diverse styles)
Hypertext assignment, cont.
In-class work on projects
Read: “The Gathering Cloud” by JR Carpenter (winner of the 2016 New Media Prize) & “Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems” by Judy Malloy (short-listed for the 2018 Coover award for electronic literature)


Thursday, April 16th     
Close reading/Reading discussion: the elegance of e-lit
In-class work on projects
Read: “The End of Books” by Robert Coover & Novelling
by Will Luers, Hazel Smith, and Roger Dean (winner of the 2018 Coover award for electronic literature)


Tuesday, April 21st

Individual Conferences this week!

 Reading discussion: the past & future of e-lit

Virtual Reality?
Reflective memos
In-class work on projects


Thursday, April 23rd

In-class work on projects/ Posting drafts
Sign up for workshop & conferences


Tuesday, April 28th    
Presentations & discussion/workshop


Thursday, April 30th     

Last day of class!
Presentations & discussion/workshop


Final project revisions & reflections due by Thursday, May 7th