Upcoming Courses


Image of books stacked on top of one another

Fall 2024 Courses

Registration for core NEOMFA courses (workshops, craft and theory courses, MFA literature courses, and the internship) will open on Monday, March 18 at 9:00 am. See details on the NEOMFA registration page.

We will publish recommended electives and literature courses across all three universities, but this will not be an exhaustive list.

For the courses listed here, contact the name provided under the description to request a seat and, if required, complete a cross-registration form.


Recent Courses

For recent course offerings, consult the past semester pages linked below.


MFA Craft & Theory: Research [Full]
Instructor: Hilary Plum
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Thursday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 615
Registration Contact: h.plum@csuohio.edu
* This course is now full. Email h.plum@csuohio.edu to be added to the waiting list.
Note: This course counts toward the Craft & Theory degree requirement in any genre. Readings will cover all four genres, and students can designate the genre for their course work.
This craft and theory seminar will include and support writing across genres. We’ll explore the role of research in the practice of creative writing and in contemporary literature in a global context. We’ll consider genres and modes including historical fiction, its conventions and responsibilities; documentary poetics; interviews and testimony within/as literary work; the incorporation of archival material; reportage and projects based in experience, witness, or performance; process as research; facticity, expertise, and authority in creative writing. We’ll read works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama (expect to read roughly 6–8 books in the semester, or the equivalent thereof in selections). We’ll discuss the strategies and practices writers use to perform research, and the diverse ways that literary writing is built on, or is, research. Expect to explore questions of objectivity, subjectivity, and doubling; representation, desire, and absence in the archive; erasure, palimpsest, and trace; collectivities, movements, and memory; alternative histories and presents; visions of historical selves and future modes of justice; the problems of personal and familial remembering. Participants will each pursue their own writing project(s), in the genre of their choice, informed by research and structured by an intentional research practice. A lot of different things will happen, sometimes at once. Readings are likely to include the work of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Jeannie Vanasco, Peter Dimock, Salar Abdoh, Robin Coste Lewis, Ivan Vladislavic, Isabella Hammad, Sven Lindqvist, Don Mee Choi, Anna Deavere Smith, and/or others.


MFA Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Imad Rahman
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 610
Registration Contact: m.geither@csuohio.edu
< Description forthcoming. >
Flash Fiction Workshop [Full]
Instructor: Mary Biddinger
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Wednesday 5:20 - 7:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 689-802
Registration Contact: dg36@uakron.edu
* This course is now full. Email dg36@uakron.edu to be added to the waiting list.

In this course students will write flash and micro fiction, and learn more about a genre that has gained popularity in recent years. We will read examples of recent and not so recent short short fiction, but the primary course text will be classmate work. We will also discuss publishing flash fiction and creating a series of interlinked stories. All NEOMFA students—including those without prior fiction writing experience—are very welcome in this workshop. Feedback will be tactful and abundant.
Craft & Theory of Fiction 
Instructor: Anthony Tognazzini
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 4:25 - 7:05 pm
Delivery Method: In-person 
Course Number: ENG 66895-002
Registration Contact: atognazz@kent.edu

The Lyrical Novella

lyr•i•cal adj. 1. having an artistically beautiful or expressive quality suggestive of song. 
no•vell•a n. 1. a work of fiction indeterminate in length and complexity between a short story and a novel. 

In this class we’ll focus, in study and in practice, on lyrical and experimental novellas. We’ll read a big boatload of contemporary examples, discuss their various effects on us, ask, “How did the authors do this?” and try, to the best of our abilities, to answer that question. Alongside craft elements like characterization, plot, point of view, and narrative structure, we’ll discuss the greater complexities of process and practice within the novella form. 

Concurrently, over the course of the semester, each student will engage in generative writing exercises and build, in sections, pages toward their own novella-length work. Sections of each student’s novella-in-progress will be discussed in full-class workshops. Students will learn about revision, and push to develop and shape their material over time. In every aspect of the class, students will be encouraged to transform their own storytelling in wildly imaginative ways, and expand their conception of what the novella can do. 

Likely course texts include Ottessa Moshfegh’s McGlue, Max Porter’s Grief is a Thing With Feathers, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman, Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Justin Torres’s We The Animals, Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, Amal Ei-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose the Time War, Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street, Roberto Bolano’s By Night In Chile, and Toni Morrison’s Home

Creative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop [Full]
Instructor: David Giffels
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Thursday 5:20 to 7:50 p.m.
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 689
Registration Contact: dg36@uakron.edu
* This course is now full. Email dg36@uakron.edu to be added to the waiting list.
In this MFA creative nonfiction writing workshop, students will propose a semester-long writing project tuned toward their own literary style, goals and writing background. Once the proposals are discussed and approved, each student will submit two to three pieces of original work to be read and discussed by the workshop participants. Individual readings will also be assigned, tailored to each writer’s aesthetic and goals.


Chaos & Control: A Poetry Workshop [Full]
Instructor: Caryl Pagel
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesdays 6:00 – 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 613
Registration Contact: c.pagel@csuohio.edu
* This course is now full. Email c.pagel@csuohio.edu to be added to the waiting list.

Do your poems ignite in form or flurry? Are you a counter, a feeler, a connector, or a mess? A tinkerer or an iterator? Does your thinking tend to blossom or knot? In this workshop we’ll read and respond to student poems with attention to control and chaos (not mutually exclusive) and how they manifest in one’s subjects, writing processes, formal decision-making, revision practices, and endings. Though our focus will be on generating and discussing new student writing, we’ll also consider poems by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Xavier Cavazos, Alyssa Perry, and Robyn Schiff—all writers interested in the intersections of turmoil and structure. This workshop is open to any NEOMFA student wanting to experiment with poetic constraints, patternmaking, disruption, and shaping or escalating disarray.


MFA Playwriting Workshop: Podcasts, Web Series, and Other Ways In & Out of Contemporary Playwriting
Instructor: Mike Geither
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Monday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 612
Registration Contact: m.geither@csuohio.edu
In this workshop we’ll explore how dialogue and narration interact on the live stage and in the recorded realm of podcasts and independent/DIY web series.  Any prose writer, poet or playwright will have the chance to plan and execute three short projects and we’ll workshop episode scripts, series plans for podcasts and web series, and short plays/monologues.  You’ll have the option to work collaboratively and individually.  For reading and listening we’ll consider short plays and solo performances by Holly Hughes, Susan Lori-Parks, Sarah Kane, Will Eno, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Caryl Churchill, Franz Kreutz and others and will consider podcasts and web series Serial, This American Life, Crime Junkie, Creepy, Pod Save America, The Retrievals, Doctor Death, Criminal, You’re Wrong About, WTF, Articles of Interest, Broad City, and Little Things.  We’ll also consider long-form stand-up by Hannah Gadsby, Jenny Slate, Mike Birbiglia and Neal Brennan.


Trauma Comics and Literature
Instructor: Tammy Clewell
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Tuesday 4:25 - 7:05 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 6/76895 
Registration Contact: cwing1@kent.edu
This course focuses on contemporary graphic narratives, including memoirs, novels, works of journalism, and biography. These books tell stories—in both images and words—about personal and collective experiences of trauma stemming from war, violence, and social exclusion. In addition to familiarizing ourselves with important theories of trauma and the formal properties of comics, we will pay particular attention to how the comics format offers unique opportunities for representing trauma and for exploring what it means to heal in the wake of devastating experience. This course will thus provide you with an opportunity to become aware of the ways people have suffered at the hands of other people and how comics representation of this suffering may promote reckoning, reconciliation, and transformation
Dramatic Literature: Shakespeare’s Rivals
Instructor: Don-John Dugas
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Monday 5:30 - 8:15 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 6/76502 
Registration Contact: cwing1@kent.edu
This course will survey the most famous works of Shakespeare’s most talented rivals. Specifically, we will study the most celebrated works of Kyd, Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Webster, and others—plays that remain among the most powerful statements in all of English drama.
Literary Analysis
Instructor: Dr. Brooke Conti
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Monday 6:00 - 8:50 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENG 600 
Registration Contact: m.geither@csuohio.edu

This course is designed to give you intensive practice thinking about works of literature in formal terms: that is, analyzing their form or the way they are constructed. That means paying attention to both big and small aspects of each text, from the word- or sentence-level up to the shape of the entire work (the way a poem is organized into stanzas, for example, or the way a novel moves backwards and forwards in time or alternates between the viewpoints of different narrators). As scholars, we can still read with joy and pleasure and get caught up in issues of character and plot. But literary analysis asks us to consider such features with greater sophistication. As scholars, we look for the formal qualities or authorial decisions that create the effects we respond to.

In order to dig more deeply into such issues, we will be focusing on just six works written in the three major genres of poetry, fiction, and drama: poems by John Donne and Terrance Hayes; plays by William Shakespeare and August Wilson; novels by Mary Shelley and Toni Morrison. My intention is to provide you with a good foundation for analyzing the different kinds of texts you are likely to encounter in your future graduate seminars: learning the technical vocabulary appropriate to each genre, but also learning how to make an overarching argument firmly rooted in formal analysis. And since this is a graduate class, we will also, in a sense, be analyzing a fourth genre: that of published literary criticism. For each of the six works we read, we will read a selection of recent criticism. As you will see, scholars always ground their interpretations in aspects of literary form, even as they tend also to bring in other methodologies or contexts, from the historical to the political to the theoretical.


Harlem Renaissance
Instructor: Dr. Philathia Bolton
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Monday 5:20 - 7:50 pm
Delivery Method: Online synchronous
Course Number: ENGL 589-501
Registration Contact: dg36@uakron.edu

This course takes for examination a period in the U.S. defined as the Harlem Renaissance. With attention to the socio-political rumblings of the time, we will interrogate the ways in which literary texts selected for study reveal shifting consciousness among people of African descent as it pertains to race, class, and issues of belonging both within and outside of the “black” community, and both within and outside of the nation. Along with these questions are ones we will consider relative to the “Renaissance” aspect of the title. What kinds of challenges, for instance, did certain Negro artists of the burgeoning, cultural scene of the North face, particularly as it relates to audience, freedom of expression, and securing sponsorship? Finally, what might be said about any distinguishing features that identify a piece as belonging to the Harlem Renaissance period? Is it “periodization,” alone, or something else?
Digital Projects in the Archives: “Out” of the Archives: Exploring Akron’s LGBTQ+ History
Instructor: Dr. Hillary Nunn and Tony Pankuch
Campus: The University of Akron
Day & Time: Monday & Wednesday 3:30 - 4:45 pm
Delivery Method: In-person
Course Number: ENGL 589-001
Registration Contact: dg36@uakron.edu

In this hands-on course, students will learn about the nuances of LGBTQ+ historical research through an open-ended exploration of LGBTQ+ narratives in local archival repositories. Students will dive into the archives to identify relevant materials about LGBTQ+ figures, organizations, and events. Aided by contextual research and community outreach, they will share their findings publicly and work to ethically create resources for others seeking access to the Rubber City’s queer stories. No special experience with archival or historical research required.


NEOMFA Internship
< Forthcoming in Spring 2025 >