Fall 2023
Courses

Upcoming
Courses

Image of Sony leading a writing workshop

Fall 2023
Courses

This list of recent classes is maintained for reference. For current information, visit our Upcoming Courses page.

Fiction

Fiction Workshop: Book 1
Instructor: Imad Rahman
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 610
 
< Description forthcoming. >
Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Chris Barzak
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time: Thursday 5:00 - 7:40 pm
Delivery Method: Online (Synchronous)
Course Number: ENGL 6967 (CRN: 45602)

In this class we will discuss techniques for the writing and revision of fiction at various lengths and in various modes and genres. We will work to create a constructive workshop setting in which critical techniques can be discussed and employed. We will also talk about the purposes of fiction: not only its abilities to entertain and enlighten, but also its role in reflecting or shaping culture. Our prime objective, though, will be to create, critique, and revise stories or portions of novellas and novels.
Craft & Theory: Fiction
Instructor: Hilary Plum
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Wednesday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 615

The Detective, the Crime, & the Context: This seminar will explore the craft and theory of detective novels, focusing on how they perform social realism and critique. We’ll explore the origins of crime fiction and the figure of the detective, the aesthetic traditions and possibilities of noir, and we’ll study a range of contemporary crime fiction with an astute sense of the sociopolitical from around the world. For the sake of this seminar, we’ll keep a strict sense of genre, reading “true” detective stories and novels, not literary crossover work. We’ll consider how the hard-boiled or world-weary state of the sleuth may yet be a form of “social optimism” (in the words of Lyn Hejinian); we’ll analyze the structure of the mystery plot, the workings of the “whodunit,” and the role of clue as detail; we’ll consider how detective fiction represents critical tensions between justice and oppressive social order. Our reading will include canonical work by writers such as Poe, Highsmith, Chandler, and/or others, alongside a selection of great contemporary works in the genre that explore pressing social issues including: racism in the criminal justice system, the opioid epidemic, misogyny in the world and in crime fiction, sex work and vulnerability to crime, dating apps and surveillance capitalism, crimes committed by the state, human trafficking, and more. Readings may include work by writers such as Tana French, Denise Mina, Philip Kerr, Liz Moore, Jane Pek, Val McDermid, Laura Lippman, Kate Atkinson, Susanna Moore, Attica Locke, Susie Steiner, Jane Harper, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Henning Mankell, etc.

Creative Nonfiction

Craft & Theory of Creative Nonfiction: The Contemporary Memoir
Instructor: David Giffels
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Wednesday 5:20 - 7:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 689-802
 
Over the past generation or so, the memoir has emerged as the dominant stylistic and commercial force in American nonfiction. In this MFA craft &amp; theory course, we will trace the history and influence of the “nobody memoir,” books written by common people about some important facet of their lives, beginning with groundbreaking works by Tobias Wolff and Mary Karr and continuing to the present. We will also explore the way celebrities and influencers have used the genre to present their narratives. In addition to Wolff and Karr, the reading list (subject to change) will include Alison Bechdel, Patti Smith, Brian Broome, and Rob Sheffield. Students will write and present critical essays and produce their own works of personal nonfiction.
Creative Nonfiction Workshop
Instructor: Joseph Earl Thomas
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Thursday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: TBD
 
< Description forthcoming. >

Poetry

Craft & Theory of Poetry
Instructor: Catherine Wing
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 4:25 - 7:05 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: English 66895 (Section 001)  
 
Loose Meters & Free Forms: A Study of Form in Contemporary Poetry: 
“Form is a straightjacket in the way that a straightjacket was a straightjacket for Houdini.” -- Paul Muldoon, in an interview for The Irish Times
If Louis Sullivan’s dictum that “form ever follows function” is true, then what can be said of form’s role in poetry?  Even on clear (and optimistic) days the function of poetry remains somewhat elusive, while the idea of strict poetic form leaves many poets uneasy.  Are we, as Frost would have it, “playing tennis with the net down,” or have we, a la Ezra Pound, freed ourselves from “the sequence of the metronome” and “the shackles of the iamb”?  In this class we will explore form’s role in poetry, as we consider where we might stand in relation to it, as writers.  The class will serve as an introduction to (and practice of) form’s basic mechanics, as well as an investigation of what effects these techniques have on a reader.  We’ll look at the evolution of form over time—sapphics to sonnets, iambs to Oulipo—to determine what different structures can accomplish.  No formal background required, just an open mind and a willingness to experiment.
Graduate Writing Seminar: Poetry
Instructor: Mary Biddinger
Campus: The University of Akron 
Day & Time: Monday 5:20 - 7:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 689-801

In this course we will use traditional and nontraditional approaches to workshopping poems, with individual students determining how they would like their work to be discussed. The majority of class time will be dedicated to considering student poems, but we will also have occasional readings and conversations on topics such as sending work out for publication and writing a series of poems.

Playwriting

MFA Playwriting Workshop: Adaptation
Instructor: David Todd
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Monday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 612
 
This course focuses on the craft of adapting works from various other genres into new stage plays. We’ll review the core concerns of dramatic writing–scene construction, editing dialogue, character arcs, beats, plot vs. story, and so on–in part to make this class more accessible to writers from the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry tracks. Then, we’ll look at the primary gestures of adaptation, seeking ways to draw out and heighten the dramatic and theatrical elements from works in other modes. Finally, we’ll apply our insights in the creation of our own adapted pieces.
“Adaptation” is a term with multiple implications in the dramatic writing world, and we’ll explore a range of faithful and free-form samples accordingly. In addition to plays based on novels and archival material, we’ll look at hybrid pieces mixing elements from multiple sources, modernizations of classical tragedies, new musicals based on old songs, and various other reinterpretations. Our own creative projects will include a series of creative exercises (including practice in the common 10-minute play genre) and a final project in the form of an approximately 45-page one-act.

Literature

Hemingway and Fitzgerald
Instructor: Robert Trogdon
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Thursday 4:25 - 7:05 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 6/76595

Hemingway and Fitzgerald are perhaps the most popular and most critically important American writers of the 20th Century. Friends and rivals, the two writers shared an editor, a publisher and a group of friends. This course will examine their relationship and influence on the other author’s work. Special attention will be paid to the short stories of both writers.

Literary Movements: Queer Comics
Instructor: Christopher Michael Roman
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 4:25 - 7:05 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 66401/76401
 
In the past several years, there’s been an explosion of queer comics—that is, “comic books, strips, graphic novels, and webcomics that deal with LGBTQ themes,”as professor and cartoonist Justin Hall writes. These contemporary works are part of a queer genealogy that stretches over four decades. This seminar will introduce students to this rich history of queer comics in America from the 1960s through the present. We will consider how these works represented various identities and current events over time and how and where these comics were published and circulated. While this course will focus on understanding comics through queer, trans, feminist, gender, and sexuality studies approaches, students will also be introduced to the field of comics studies. This course will also be useful for students with an interest in contemporary North American literature, cultural studies, marginalized histories and creators, book history, grassroots publishing, memoir studies, visual and popular cultures. Professionalization activities, thinking about comics as queer archives, as well as, digital approaches to comics and queer scholarship will accompany the completion of a final project. (CW: some of the texts we read in this course contain nudity and depictions of sex).
 
Shakespeare
Instructor: Don-John Dugas
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Monday 4:25 - 7:05 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 6/76051
 
We will read selected plays and secondary works. Our emphasis will be on understanding and participating in current scholarly conversations with particular attention paid to professionalizing MA and PhD candidates. High school teachers, who are very welcome, are encouraged to research and engage with the robust scholarship that exists about the teaching of Shakespeare.

Electives

Literary Editing & Publishing
Instructor: Zach Peckham
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 497/597

This course will study the structures and practices of contemporary book and journal publishing. We will examine both print and online publishing, ranging from multinational corporations to independent publishers, small presses, and DIY literary projects. Topics will include the editorial process and author/editor relationships; the history, tradition, and forms of the book; funding, labor, and the publishing workforce; publishing as culture-making; reading publics in the internet age; and the role of Amazon, Apple, Google, and social media. Students will gain both theoretical background in the work of literary editing and practical skills (such as approaches to budgets, mission statements, online platforms, submissions, and distribution). The coursework will culminate in a final project that students will design, with instructor guidance, according to their own interests. This course may contain a collaborative laboratory component and is recommended for those interested in interning for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, the Vindicator, Whiskey Island, or other literary and cultural publications. [Prerequisite: ENG 203.] 
Perspectives in Multicultural Studies
Instructor: Dolores Sisco
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time: Wednesday 5:10 - 7:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 6963

An advanced study of primary and secondary texts from the field of multicultural literature and multicultural education. The course will emphasize the formation of social identities, the intersections of race, class, and gender, relationships among dominant and nondominant subjects in U.S. and other global cultures. The course will pay special attention to the theory and application of multiculturalist paradigms to education, professional work, and graduate study.
American Women Poets
Instructor: Jon Miller
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Tuesday & Thursday 12:15 - 1:30 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 553-001

In this course we will study and write about the work of selected poets. We'll start with Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein and finish the course with a series of brand-new collections.
Jewish American Literature
Instructor: Patrick Chura
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Mon-Wed-Fri 12:55 - 1:45 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 589-001
 
A contextualized study of Jewish-American literature from the late 18th century to the present. Class discussions will consider the longstanding anxieties of hyphenated identity, the trials of assimilation, and the American necessity to witness to the Holocaust. We will also explore literary responses to the recent rise in antisemitic violence in the United States. Authors studied include Rebecca Samuel, Emma Lazarus, Abraham Cahan, Mary Antin, Anzia Yezierska, Mike Gold, Bernard Malamud, Cynthia Ozick, Allegra Goodman, Dara Horn.

Internship

NEOMFA Internship
< Forthcoming in Spring 2024 >