Image of books stacked on top of one another



Fiction Craft & Theory

Instructor: Imad Rahman
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Wednesday, 6:00–8:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 615

The Literary Thriller

What is a thriller and what is literary and what makes something literary and how does it become thrilling and how can you write that? In this class we’ll read twelve novels that channel twelve different mediums in a manner both literary and thrilling: Hanna Jameson’s The Last (Postapocalyptic), Mohsin Hamid’s Moth Smoke (Crime), Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy (Espionage), Lawrence Osborne’s Only To Sleep (Hardboiled), Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature (Psychological), Un-Su Kim’s The Plotters (Speculative), Maria Hummel’s Still Lives (Mystery), Martin Solares’ The Black Minutes (Noir), Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail Of Lightning (Fantasy), James McLaughlin’s Bearskin (Suspense), Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister the Serial Killer (Slasher) & David Mitchell’s Slade House (Horror). We’ll read to discover how you can continue the conversation by observing and subverting traditions of the various form(s) of the Literary Thriller. During the last four weeks of the class, students will present 20 to 25 pages of original thrilling prose to be workshopped by the class.

Book 1 Workshop

Instructor: Christopher Barzak
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time: Thursday
Course Number:

Designed to be taken in advance of next spring semester’s Book 2 Workshop, students will focus on generating the first 50–75 pages of prospective book-length manuscripts. These books-in-process will be workshopped by all. Novels, novellas, short story collections and novels-in-stories are all forms welcome to be presented for critique, and we will attend to various questions of those forms in relationship to the types of books students in the workshop have decided to generate.

Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Bob Pope
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Monday, 4:25–7:05 PM
Course Number: ENG 64071

The subject of this workshop is your fiction. I will augment our discussion with an occasional published story, chapter of a novel, or essay on writing sent as an attachment. Your manuscript will take precedence over any such additional readings. Our primary goal will be to discuss your fiction and the nature of fiction writing in general.

Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Eric Wasserman
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time: Tuesday, 5:20–7:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 3300 689

A positive and inviting MFA workshop in fiction writing that gives exclusive attention to the creative work of students enrolled in the course. Students are provided a manuscript submission schedule that allows for flexible creative output. Working on a focused, specific project? Great!

We’re excited to see what you’re developing. Want to be more exploratory and get some feedback on self-contained short stories or maybe interlinked, connected short fiction, maybe even an idea for the opening of a novel? That’s great, too! You will not be creatively constricted in this workshop. Instead, you will be encouraged to take your fiction writing where the creative impulse leads you over the semester. The course includes some minor exposure to creative theory that is covered in short class discussions that will directly assist students with crafting their own original fiction. In addition, students will respond critically and constructively to the work of their peers in building a supportive and inspiring semester-long creative classroom community.



Nonfiction Workshop

Instructor: David Giffels
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time: Thursday, 5:20–7:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 3300: 689-801

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.

Nonfiction Craft & Theory

Instructor: Caryl Pagel
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday, 6:00–8:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 615

Ways of Seeing: Ekphrastic Nonfiction

This course will explore nonfiction that engages with or reinterprets another work of art or art form. We will explore prose that illustrates, rearranges, talks to, contemplates, imitates, disrupts, quarrels with, defines, dismisses, or contributes to another art piece or project, asking how the experience of attending to other mediums—painting, photography, music, film, etc.—can transform the way we generate. We will look at the history and practice of ekphrastic writing and consider work by Hanif Abdurraqib, Hilton Als, John Berger, Gabriel Blackwell, Barbara Browning, T.J. Clark, Teju Cole, Marie Darrieussecq, Siri Hustvedt, Chris Kraus, Maggie Nelson, Eileen Myles, WG Sebald, Susan Sontag, and others. The class will include trips to local museums and shows, as well as ekphrastic experiments of our own. Please contact Prof. Jeff Karem (f.karem@csuohio.edu) for permission to enroll in this class.



Poetry Workshop

Instructor: Catherine Wing
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Wedmesday, 4:25–7:05 PM
Course Number: ENG 64070

In a world where poetry has been defined as a lump in the throat, a small (or large) machine made of words, a meteor or pheasant—no, a pheasant disappearing into the brush—imaginary gardens with real toads in them, a dash of the dictionary, the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits, the medieval town, with frieze of boy scouts from Nagoya, the best words in the best order, in a world such as this it’s hard even to figure out what a poem is, never mind how to write a good one. This workshop will seek to do a little of both. We’ll write to weekly pitches designed by our classmates as well as present more independent work to be taken up for workshop. We will pool our collective knowledge, do a little outside reading, and come up with a common critical language that will focus our conversations and allow for more precision and exactitude in our commentary.

Poetry Craft & Theory

Instructor: Steve Reese
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time: Tuesday, 5:20–7:50 PM
Course Number:

Why Poetry: defenses of, and attacks on, poetry from Plato to Pinsky (via Sidney, Ruckeyser, Zapruder, et al.).



Playwriting Craft & Theory

Instructor: David Todd
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday, 6:00–8:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 616

The goal of this course is to cultivate the perspective of the informed playwright. To that end, we’ll start with reading plays by breakthrough dramatists of the last century—Stein, Brecht, Genet, Beckett, Baraka, Ludlam, and Wellman—from the writer’s perspective, sharpening our sense of craft and form. How were these plays constructed? What was innovative about them? Theatrical? Seemingly unthinkable? How do these plays accomplish their goals—by means of what devices and gestures? How do these writers relate to our later readings of contemporary voices such as Mee, Lee, and Herzog? What can we take away from all of these works as writers ourselves? These are the types of questions that will underlie our ongoing “script analysis.”

In addition to these primary texts, we’ll also read a variety of theories of playwriting and dramaturgy, essays on the craft, interviews, and manifestos. We’ll view filmed plays and excerpts from operas, musicals, and performance art pieces. Among other things, this work will heighten our understanding of the relationships between dramatic theory and practice, between playwrights and their historical contexts, and between theater and the other arts.

In lieu of weekly response papers, you will be expected to lead our seminar group in discussions of assigned readings on a regular, rotating basis. Our primary formal work will be a series of creative exercises inspired by our readings, including the assembly or hybrid play, the free adaptation, the language-driven play, the landscape play, and the experimental libretto.

Playwriting Workshop

Instructor: Eric Schmiedl
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Monday, 6:00–8:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 612


Shakespeare did it. Kushner did it. Suzan-Lori Parks did it too. Adaptation. This course studies a diverse collection of theatrical adaptations in order to discover practical lessons about adapting works for the stage and applying them to our own writing. By the end of the semester each writer will have their own adaptation completed and ready to shake and inspire the theatrical world. The first six weeks of this course will be spent primarily studying and examining theatrical adaptations. The rest of the semester will be spent creating and developing each writer’s own adaptation through the workshop process. Writers will also be expected to attend and critique performances outside of the workshop time.



Dysfunctional Families

Instructor: Imad Rahman
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday, 6:00–8:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 616

To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy, all interesting families are dysfunctional; to paraphrase Mary Karr, a dysfunctional family is any family of more than one. Why does this mean for fiction writers? In this class we’ll look at twelve different ways a dysfunctional family can anchor your novel to an emotional center of conflict, regardless of the form(s)/genre(s) you’re working through. We’ll read Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny, Peter Rock’s My Abandonment, Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, James Hannaham’s Dangerous Foods, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, Tommy Orange’s There There, Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang, Alissa Nutting’s Made For Love, Daryl Gregory’s Spoonbenders, Karen Katchur’s River Bodies, and Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh. We’ll take what we learn and channel it into fiction. During the last four weeks of the class, students will present 20 to 25 pages of original dysfunctionally-inspired prose to be workshopped by the class.

Theory & Practice of Modern Poetry


Instructor: Mary Biddinger
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time: Monday, 5:20–7:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 3300: 689

This graduate literature seminar will flash back to consider pivotal poetry collections of the 1980s and 1990s, and then shift to the present to get a sense of how today’s poets have addressed themes that continue to preoccupy writers, particularly matters of the body and the relationship between past and present selves. All NEOMFA students are very welcome in this class, regardless of previous experience with reading or writing poetry. Class participation and attendance are essential. This seminar will include both critical and creative assignments.

Poe & Hawthorne

Instructor: Miller
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time: Tuesday, 5:20–7:50 PM
Course Number: ENG 3300: 645:805

In Poe and Hawthorne we’ll study the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. We’ll read their poetry, fiction, criticism, and assorted other writings, with greater emphasis on their shorter works. We’ll also study the literary and historical contexts of their work; we’ll read, for example, a few short works by their contemporaries. Students will choose writing assignments from a menu of options that includes short papers, research papers, and scholarly editions. Students who author scholarly editions will have the option of writing for publication in Nineteenth-Century Ohio Literature. Contact Dr. Jon Miller (mjon@uakron.edu) for more information.

Discourse Analysis

Instructor: Dunmire
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Thursday, 12:30–1:45 PM
Course Number: ENG 6/75042

This course, which is open to both MA and Phd students, is designed to teach you how to think about and examine language data from a discourse analytic perspective. We will approach this task by considering discourse in terms of questions that can be posed about how texts and other discursive events function as situated social practices. That is, rather than survey discrete analytic methods (i.e., speech act theory, pragmatics, conversation analysis, etc.), we will examine discourse in terms of the key functions language serves as a form of social action: to represent the world, to invoke and create social relationships and interactions, and to organize utterances into meaningful discursive events and products. We will explore these functions within the contexts of the natural language of everyday texts and contexts. While we will consider the theoretical underpinnings of the analytic methods we’ll be studying, as a research methods course, our primary focus will be on how to analyze discourse. As such, in addition to learning particular analytic techniques and tools, we will consid- er the research context in which particular techniques are used, the questions they can answer, the data they can be applied to, and the limitations of the findings they generate.

Literary Movements: Culture & Literature of the Chicago Renaissance

Instructor: Hakutani
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Thursday, 2:15–3:30 PM
Course Number: ENG 6/76401

This seminar is an investigation of the genesis and development of the Chicago Renaissance. Unlike the Harlem Renaissance, the genesis of this movement originated from the interactions between African and European American writers. In particular, the impact of Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945) on Richard Wright (1908–1960) represented the genesis of the movement. The first half of the seminar will be devoted to an examination of Dreiser’s influences on Wright’s works. First, we’ll read Dreiser’s “Nigger Jeff” and Wright’s “Big Boy Leaves Home.” Second, we’ll read Dreiser’s Jennie Gerhardt and Wright’s Black Boy. Third, we’ll read Dreiser’s An American Tragedy and Wright’s Native Son. The Chicago Renaissance then developed into African American writers’ exploration of other cultures. For the second half of the seminar we’ll focus on Wright’s exploration of Eastern philosophies, such as Zen and Buddhist ontology, reflected in his haiku. Wright acquired the theory and technique of haiku composition from R.H. Blyth, the foremost haiku scholar and critic. We’ll study Blyth’s seminal Haiku: Eastern Culture and read Wright’s Haiku: This Other World, the largest collection of haiku written in English The student is expected to write two publishable essays, one on Dreiser’s and Wright’s fiction and nonfiction, another on Wright’s haiku.

Temporalities, Labor, and Leisure in the Anthropocene

Instructor: Hediger
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Monday, 4:25–7:05 PM
Course Number: ENG 67591/77591

The cultural norms surrounding work are among the most powerful in contemporary life. These norms not only set our daily schedules, they inflect our experiences in practically every stage of life, establishing many of our attitudes toward fellow humans and nonhumans and inform fundamental principles of being such as property, purpose, and, of particular concern in this seminar, time more generally. These work norms and their associated regimes of temporality tend to seem natural and inviolate, but in fact, they are a relatively recent invention. This seminar investigates that fact, inquiring into the threads of time, labor, and leisure to trace their history and to map possible futures in the Anthropocene, “the age of humans.” The Anthropocene designates a new geological epoch, defined by human activities that have impacted planet Earth so significantly as to be legible in the geological record, presently and ages hence. This term “Anthropocene,” then, is a method of periodizing the history of Earth in dialog with human societies. This seminar, motivated in part by the new thinking about time at massively broad scales in the Anthropocene, focuses more specifically also on the human experience of time and norms around time, particularly in terms of labor and leisure. Our readings include theory, history, and a few literary texts.

Thinking and Feeling in Victorian Literature

Instructor: MacLure
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Wednesday, 4:25–7:05 PM
Course Number: ENG 6/7229

The course will cover a range of Victorian fiction (and a smaller amount of poetry), focusing on the cultural politics of thinking and feeling. This course starts from the premise that the Victorians were obsessed with determining how people should think and feel—what kinds of feelings are good and what kinds are dangerous, what habits of thinking distinguish individuals as good citizens, when it is appropriate to make decisions based on feelings versus cognitive processes, how to train citizens to think and feel “correctly,” and what happens when feelings get disruptive. We will explore these questions within Victorian literature, and we will also interrogate literature’s key role in these questions—that is, how novels and poetry take part in the process of training readers how to feel and how to think. Primary readings will include works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Martineau, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, and Arthur Conan Coyle. Secondary readings will include Sara Ahmed, Eve Sedgwick, Lauren Berlant, Elaine Hadley, Caroline Levine, and Amanda Anderson. Units will include the following: The Politics of Feeling; Feeling Like a Capitalist; Thinking Like a Citize; Thinking Like a Scientist; Imperial Feelings; Unruly Feelings. Assignments will include weekly reading, periodic short reading responses, one pedagogical and/or public scholarship assignment and an accompanying presentation, one book review, and a final research paper of 15–18 pages (length negotiable depending on individual student’s publishing/conferencing goals).

Ethnic Literature of the United States

Instructor: M’Baye
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Thursday, 5:30–8:15 PM
Course Number: ENG 66103/76103

This course examines how selected African American, Arab American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Indian American, Jewish American, and Native American writers have historically defined their social, political, economic, and cultural spaces and identities in the United States’ larger society and culture through literature. It explores the constructions and definitions of these identities and spaces in major novels, memoirs, and poems, written since the 1970s and 80s, which reveal the ambivalent, often-tumultuous, and complex relationships between America’s ethnic communities and mainstream society. This approach will help to revisit the complex experiences of ethnic communities both within their own contexts and in the frameworks of the larger society and history of multiculturalism, biculturalism, and biracialism in the United States. Moreover, this method will help to reveal the similar histories, values, and aspirations that ethnic communities share among themselves and with the larger American society despite the differences in how their writers conceptualize identity, power, and culture. Subsequently, this course will interrogate the meaning of contested terms such as “the melting pot,” “the salad bowl,” “hybridity,” and “cultural pluralism” through the lenses of American ethnic experiences and literary texts.

Reading and Interpreting Research on Writing

Instructor: Van Ittersum
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: TBA
Course Number: ENG 6/75012

This seminar focuses on learning and practicing ways of reading and interpreting research in Writing Studies. In the first main section of the course we will read scholarship about research in the field, aiming to develop a heuristic for approaching research articles. In the second section of the course, we will read recent research articles and apply the heuristic to analyze them. As the course progresses, students will use their understanding of research practices and production to develop their own research agenda.



Literary Editing & Publishing

Instructor: Hilary Plum
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Wednesday, 6:00–8:50 PM
Course Number: English 497/597

English 497/597 will combine hands-on work in small press, magazine, and DIY literary settings with a comprehensive study of the structures and issues that characterize contemporary publishing. Students will gain both practical skills and theoretical background in the work of literary editing. The course will consider the editorial process and author/editor relationships; the history, tradition, and forms of the book; connections between presses and larger cultural communities; reading publics in the internet age; and the role of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. We will consider how to develop an editorial aesthetic and editorial practices, as well as practical approaches to budgets, mission statements, online platforms, submissions, design, and distribution. The coursework will culminate in a final publishing project that students will design, with instructor guidance, and in which they may pursue their own interests (in web or print publication; translation; book design; marketing; etc.). This course will contain a collaborative laboratory component and is recommended for those interested in interning or reading for the CSU Poetry Center, the Vindicator, Whiskey Island, or other literary and cultural publications.

Studies in African American Lit

Instructor: Burrell
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:35–3:25 PM
Course Number: ENG 547

Topic: WWII African American Literature

Studies in 18th Century Lit

Instructor: Dyer
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00–3:15 PM
Course Number: ENG 533

Topic: 18th Centery Law Literature

Studies in Multicultural Lit

Instructor: Gosselin
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00–3:15 PM
Course Number: ENG 548

Topic: Mestizo/a – Mixed Race Literature

Studies in American Lit

Instructor: TBA
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30–9:45 PM
Course Number: ENG 545



Wick Internship

Instructor: Katie Daly
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Monday, 5:30–8:15 PM
Course Number: ENG 66895

Creative Writing in the Community

This course fulfills the NEOMFA internship requirement and will prepare students to apply their knowledge of creative writing by participating in a community-based teaching residency. It will meet every Monday for the first part of the semester and shift to every other week after residencies begin. In class, students will explore community-based learning and what it means to be a literary teaching artist in the field of service learning. Students will apply academic experience to community-based projects and build a resource of lessons and writing samples for a variety of populations. We will also study creative writing pedagogy currently used in the community. Students will be paired up to engage in field experience in schools, hospitals, shelters, community centers, senior centers, and correctional facilities assigned by the instructor and agreed upon by students. Student pairs will be expected to teach in the community a minimum of one hour a week for six to ten weeks at a location agreed upon by the student and instructor. Please contact Katie Daley (kdaley5@kent.edu) for permission to enroll in this class.

NEOMFA's Ohio icon

© 2019 NEOMFA
English Department
Kent State University
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, Ohio 44242