Image of books stacked on top of one another

Spring 2023 Courses

Registration for core NEOMFA courses (workshops, craft and theory courses, MFA literature courses, and the internship) begins 12 am, October 10. See details on the NEOMFA registration page (and sent by email).

We will publish recommended electives and literature courses across all four universities, but this is not an exhaustive list. For these courses, contact the name listed under the course description to request a seat and, if approved, complete a cross-registration form.




Book 2

Instructor: Hilary Plum
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Wednesdays 6:00-8:50 PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENG 610 (sec. 50)

This workshop is designed to support the writing of a book-length work of fiction, whether a novel or novella, short-story collection, or a work of indeterminate form. Students may continue in this workshop from Book 1, or start here with a book-length project. Together we’ll grapple with the questions of structure and process that a longer project raises and needs. We’ll explore the workings of narration and point of view, plot and structure, character, worldbuilding, genre, tone, theme, realism and research, the responsibilities of representation. We’ll consider together the forms and priorities of fiction amid the tumult of the present day and our multimedia digital lives. This workshop is welcoming to writers across aesthetics, styles, and interests—we’ll help you explore possibilities for how to build your book and support you as you work to realize your aims. We’ll read several boldly inventive books of contemporary fiction to support and deepen our exploration, most likely: Eugene Lim’s Search History, John Keene’s Counternarratives, Rob in McLean’s Get ‘em Young, Treat ‘em Tough, Tell ‘em Nothing, and Salar Abdoh’s Out of Mesopotamia

Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register

Craft & Theory of Fiction: Horror At The Crossroads (or, Writing Through Multiple Filters)  FULL

Instructor: Imad Rahman
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time:  Thursdays, 6:00-8:50 PM
Delivery Method: TBD
Course Number: ENG 615

We'll be reading contemporary novels that filter variations of one distinct mode (in this case, horror) through the lens of multiple modes (historical, fabulist, noir, domestic, thriller, weird, fantasy, satire, mystery, speculative, gothic, comic--to name a few) in order to create work that feels both strange and familiar. We'll hope to gain from this investigation as writers: how might we anchor our own work in one mode while exploring it through the lens of another? Our readings tentatively include Stephen Graham Jones' Don't Fear The Reaper, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia's The Daughter Of Dr. Moreau, Elizabeth Hand's Hokuloa Road, Stephen King's Fairy Tale, Gabino Iglesias's The Devil Takes You Home, Nghi Vo's Siren Queen, Grady Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism, Mona Awad's Bunny, Kea Wilson's We Eat Our Own, Victor LaValle's Big Machine, Sarah Gailey's Just Like Home & Megan Giddings' The Women Could Fly. The last month of class will be spent reading and discussing original student work inspired by the spirit of these novels.

Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register

Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Chris Barzak
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time: Tuesdays 5:10-7:50 PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENGL 6967

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. 

Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register



Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Instructor: James Allen Hall, Virtual Writer-in-Residence
Campus: KSU
Day & Time: Thursday, 6:00-8:50 PM
Delivery Method: online, synchronous
Course Number: ENG 66895

James Allen Hall is the author of I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, which won the 2016 Essay Collection Competition, se­lected by Chris Kraus and published in 2017 by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Recent essays have appeared recently in Fourth Genre, Copper Nickel, and Bennington Review. Hall is also the author of two collections of poetry: Romantic Comedy (Four Way Books, 2023), winner of the Levis Reading Prize, selected by Diane Seuss, and Now You're the Enemy (U of Arkansas, 2008), which won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. He directs the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College.

Craft & Theory of Creative Nonfiction: Figure Drawing

Instructor: Caryl Pagel
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Tuesdays, 6:00-8:50 PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENG 615 (sec: 50)

In this class we’ll engage with creative nonfiction that takes a single person as its subject. We’ll consider portraits of mothers, lovers, brothers, artists, writers, and celebrities. We’ll render nonfiction that reaches beyond biography, gesture sketch, or memoir to something rangier—choosing curiosity, hybridity, and connection as our modes of inquiry. Students will engage in stylized portraits of their own including a final researched piece about a specific individual, and we’ll discuss how writing about another person with care and variation can reveal both universal conundrums and particular histories. Books will include Hilton Als’ My Pinup, Hanif Abdurraqib’s Go Ahead in the Rain, Jennifer Clement’s Widow Basquiat, Marie Darrieussecq’s Being Here Is Everything, Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage, Anne Germanacos’ Tribute, Jamaica Kincaid’s My Brother, and Jenn Shapland’s My Autobiography of Carson McCullers.

Contact: neomfa@kent.edu to register



Poetry Workshop

Instructor: Catherine Wing
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time: Wednesdays, 4:25-7:05
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENG 64070

What are your literary “values”? Do you appreciate honesty or humor? Playfulness or sincerity? Music, energy, intellect, authenticity, deep image, sly wink? All of the above? What kinds of poems do you most want to make? In this class we will be focusing predominantly on student work as we create and share a mutual reading list that highlights the poems and poets we care most about. Weekly readings and prompts will accompany and supplement our workshop discussions.

Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register

Craft & Theory of Poetry: Prose Poem Studio

Instructor: Mary Biddinger
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time: Tuesdays 5:20-7:50 PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENGL 689-802

This course will look at the history of the prose poem and evolving present moment of the form, but it will primarily be a prose poem studio where we write and share and talk about our craft. We will read a select range of prose poems—from Baudelaire to current practitioners—while maintaining a focus on classmate writing. The course will include some real-time work with formatting of prose poems, and consideration of the many possibilities of the unbroken line. Prose poem studio welcomes writers from all genres, and will provide solidarity for those working in hybrid forms. Our philosophy will be one of experiment and play; no prior knowledge of poetry (or prose) required. 

Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register



Playwriting Workshop

Instructor: Mike Geither
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time: Mondays, 6:00-8:50 PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: TK


Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register



Shakespearean Drama

Instructor: Hillary Nunn
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time:  Asynchronous
Delivery Method: online
Course Number: ENG 615-501

This course focuses on the study and interpretation of Shakespearean plays, considering their importance today as well as in the early modern era. We will pay particular attention to the historical and cultural changes that people of the Renaissance faced, and we will examine the ways that the concepts present in Shakespearean drama have been performed and written about by people then, today, and in the years in between. In doing so, we will also be tracing developments and variations in the dramatic genres of tragedy, comedy, and romance. This class will devote substantial attention to critical receptions and dramatic productions of Shakespearean plays.

Contact David Giffels, UA Campus Coordinator, dg36@uakron.edu for permission to register.

Studies in Romanticism

Instructor: Corey Andrews
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time:  Wednesdays, 5:10-7:50pm
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number: ENGL 6935

This graduate course will focus on British literature written during the Romantic period (roughly 1776-1837). We will examine and discuss poems, essays, stories, and plays written by key figures such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. In addition to these writers, we will read the works of Anna Letitia Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Robert Burns, William Blake, John Clare, and Mary Shelley, among others. Some questions we will explore throughout the course involve issues of authenticity, the role of gender and class in the Romantic writer’s self-definition, revolutionary discourse, and theories of the sublime. The class will require regular reading and writing, including short essays, discussion posts, in-class writing, and a longer final essay.

Contact Dr. Corey Andrews (ceandrews@ysu.edu) for permission to register.

British and American Modernism

Instructor: Tammy Clewell
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time:  Wednesdays, 4:25-7:15 PM
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number: ENG 6/76401

This course offers a research-based approach to the study of “high modernism.” In addition to discussing modernism’s innovative textual, forms, students will select and pursue a research topic related to early twentieth-century British or American literature.

Topics are not limited to:
WAR: In what ways was literary modernism a response to the experience of World War I?
TRAUMA: What is the relationship between modernist aesthetics and trauma?
POLITICS: How did modernists respond to such contemporary political movements such as socialism, feminism, liberalism, nationalism, and/or imperialism?
CULTURE: What were modernists’ attitudes toward mass and/or consumer culture?
POPULAR CULTURE: What are the similarities/differences between modernist culture and popular culture?
AESTHETICS: Do recent scholarly discussions of form allow us to rethink modernist aesthetics?
GENDER: How did modernist writers conceive of gender difference?
SEXUALITY: In what ways were sex and sexuality central to literary modernism?
RACE: How did modernist writers represent—or fail to represent—race and racial concerns?
CLASS: Did the modernists care about class difference?
ENVIRONMENT: Did the modernists have an environmental consciousness?

Assigned Texts (subject to some revision): 
E.M. Forster, Howards End (1910), First World War Poetry; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916); Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier (1918); D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1920); T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922); E.M. Forster, A Passage to India (1924); Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927); Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929); Jean Toomer, Cane (1923); William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929); Nella Larsen, Passing (1929); Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

Contact Dr. Tammy Clewell (tclewell@kent.edu) for permission to register.

Critical Approaches to Lit

Instructor: Jennifer Jeffers
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time:  Tuesdays, 6-8:50 PM
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number: ENG 601

Critical approaches to literature and the theories that underlie them, including formalist, reader response, deconstructionist, new historicist, feminist, and other post-structuralist approaches. 

Contact Dr. Jennifer Jeffers (j.m.jeffers53@csuohio.edu) for permission to register. 



Young Adult Literature

Instructor: Heather Braun
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time:  Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:45am to 12pm
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number: ENG 589-001

In a 2020 interview, Jason Reynolds described young adult writers as “those of us who acknowledge the humanity of young people ... the complexity and the beauty and the sophistication of childhood.” With this description as our starting point, we will explore the evolution of young adult literature over the past century, including contemporary debates about what YA literature is, what it should contain, and who should be reading it. Focusing on first-person narrators who are entering, immersed in, or about to leave their teenage years, we will consider classic adolescent novels such as J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye (1951) and S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (1967) alongside contemporary YA novels including Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park (2013) and Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones (2021). At the end of the course, you will research one new YA novel that speaks to significant themes of the course and directions this genre may be heading.

Contact David Giffels, UA Campus Coordinator, (dg36@uakron.edu) to register.

American Literature Since the Civil War

Instructor: Patrick Chura
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time:  Wednesdays, 5:20 to 7:50 p.m.
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENG 589-003

A survey of important works in American literature from the late-nineteenth century to the present day.  Fiction by Stephen Crane, William Dean Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Willa Cather, Richard Wright, John Steinbeck, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gloria Naylor, James Baldwin, Colson Whitehead. Drama by Shirley Graham, August Wilson, Susan Glaspell and Eugene O’Neill. Poetry by Dickinson, Lazarus, Melville and Gwendolyn Brooks. Lectures and class discussions will emphasize the historical background of the literary works in order to place them in a wider cultural and multicultural context. 

Contact David Giffels, UA Campus Coordinator, (dg36@uakron.edu) to register.

Writers on Writing

Instructor: Jon Miller
Campus: University of Akron
Day & Time:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15pm
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number:  ENG 557-001

A close look at what established writers have to say about the process of writing. We will also study the publishing process and how writing changes when it becomes writing for publication. Students will do writings, and we will assemble and publish a one-issue literary magazine featuring the best of these writings.

Contact David Giffels, UA Campus Coordinator, (dg36@uakron.edu) to register.

Queer Theory

Instructor: Christopher M. Roman
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time:  Thursdays, 4:25-7:05pm
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number: ENG 6/77591

This seminar will examine the foundation, present state, and future of queer theory. Queer theory is a critical theory, one that critiques gender binaries, normative assumptions, and rigid definitions of sexuality and bodies. We will examine queer theory’s foundations through the classic work of Foucault and Butler. We will then examine the body of work known as queer theory in its present form through the work of Halberstam, Muñoz, and Edelman. Along the way, we will look at how queer theory intersects with trans theory, black studies, and disability (crip) studies. Queer theory is an anti-institutional theory (that has fought institutionalization, such as we might find in academia) as it works to both critique oppression and celebrate queerness in all its shapes. Throughout the course, we will think about how queer theory might reshape institutional power. As well, we will think about how queer theory might look in the future as queer identities proliferate. CW: This course will talk about sex, gender, and the body, and it will veer into the political.

Contact Dr. Christopher M. Roman (croman2@kent.edu) for permission to register. 

Rhetorical Methods

Instructor: Patti Dunmire
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:15-3:30 PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: English 85057

This course focuses on the rhetorical nature and function of knowledge about the socio-political world.  We will critically examine the rhetorical practices and methods deployed in different contexts which underlie representations of the world and the people, identities, and relationships comprising that world.  As a methods course, students will learn about different approaches for critically examining rhetorical texts, discourses, and practices and how to apply those methods in their own analyses.  In sum, this graduate seminar is designed to provide students with:

  • a firm understanding of the theories underlying different approaches to rhetorical analysis; 
  • different analytic approaches and tools and an understanding of what particular approaches are appropriate to different types of data and research questions and goals; 
  • with materials for developing and conducting an analytic project on some data of their own choosing; 
  • an understanding of  the role that rhetoric, specifically, and language, more generally, play in shaping the socio-political world 

Contact Dr. Patti Dunmire (pdunmire@kent.edu) for permission to register.

Studies in Film

Instructor: Laura Beadling
Campus: Youngstown State University
Day & Time:  Mondays, 5:10-7:50PM
Delivery Method: in-person
Course Number: ENGL 6965

The term “American Independent Cinema” is notoriously difficult to define, ranging from notions of independent financing and production to frameworks that describe “indie” cinema as more like a style, attitude, or ‘spirit’.  While independent films have existed in one way or another since the early days of Hollywood, we will zero in on the last twenty years.  As we go, the class will focus on creating professional documents: book reviews, conference papers, and essays. We will look specifically at directors and subgenres.  The first unit will focus on one of America’s most underrated independent filmmakers, Alexander Payne, and you will be asked to choose a director that you want to study.  The second unit will be a case study of the food film, and you will be asked to choose a subgenre to study.  This approach will allow us to take a broad look at American independent cinema as it currently stands. 

 Also, this class focuses on professionalization. So you will write shorter argumentative papers that would be suitable for presenting at a conference, book reviews, and writing for publication (two students in this class last year got their papers published!).

Contact Dr. Laura Beadling (llbeadling@ysu.edu) for permission to register.

Studies in 18th Century Literature: Graveyard Poets

Instructor: John R. Rooney
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time:  MWF, 10:15 AM-11:05 AM
Delivery Method:  in-person
Course Number: ENG 533

Authors, genres, themes, or movements in 18th-century poetry and fiction. Topics include the Enlightenment, satire, rise of the novel, and neo-classical and pre-Romantic poetry. 

Contact Ashley Burks (a.n.burks@csuohio.edu), CSU English Department Secretary, for permission to register.

Writing & Rhetoric: Technical Writing

Instructor: Mary McDonald
Campus: Cleveland State University
Day & Time:  TBD
Delivery Method: online
Course Number: ENG 509

Request from professor.

Contact Mary McDonald (m.murray@csuohio.edu ) for permission to register.



NEOMFA Internship

Instructor: Catherine Wing
Campus: Kent State University
Day & Time:  Saturdays 11:15 AM-2:00 PM
Delivery Method: online (subject to change) 
Course Number: English 66895

This course fulfills the NEOMFA internship requirement and prepares students to apply their knowledge of creative writing to a community-based teaching residency. 

This class is designed to be taken concurrently with (or within a few months of) an independent internship (8-10 hours per week) of the student’s choosing. A student can set up an internship with a local literary organization, publishing house or press, business, non-profit, or school in which their skills as writers are put to use. During the semester the class will meet for a series of seminars that will assist students with preparation of resumés, CVs, cover letters, job research, and interview techniques. The class will meet remotely once a month on the following Saturdays: January 21, February 25, March 18, and April 15.


Contact neomfa@kent.edu to register

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