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WTG 201 Poetry and Transcendence

The Poetry of Transcendence: Exploring the Supreme Reality in the Crown Jewels of World Poetry

Poetry does the impossible. It allows us to say what cannot be said, to feel what cannot be felt. It can do this because its reach is beyond boundaries. All poetry is transcendental to one degree or another, but the best draws upon Transcendental Consciousness in both form and meaning. In this course we will sample some of the greatest spiritual poetry ever written to use as models in writing our own transcendent poetry. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 202 Fiction Writing 1

Fiction Writing 1: Emulating Nature’s Own Creative Process — Creating, Developing, Structuring, and Refining Works of Short Narrative Fiction

Fiction writing is among the most satisfying forms of artistic and personal expression. A fiction writer writes from the heart as well as the mind, but good fiction is much more than “disguised autobiography.” To excel at this craft, students need to learn the arts of creating plot and character, fashion an appropriate point-of-view, and control style and tone. For inspiration and guidance we will read some of the world’s finest writers of fiction. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 210 Poetry Writing

Poetry Writing: Tracking the Path of Transcending — Expressing the Subtlest Fluctuations of Heart and Mind

Students in this course read and study model poems to learn the technical building blocks of poetry: imagery, sound effects, rhyme, rhythm, and form. The class members then write their own poems in either free verse or such traditional forms as the sonnet, blank verse, ballad, and villanelle. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 301 Nonfiction Workshop 1

Creative writing is often mistakenly associated solely with fiction and poetry, but some of the best creative writing is found in nonfiction. Whatever writers put their attention on is filled with their own originality. In these courses, students read beautiful and moving selections of nonfiction prose and examine them for their grace, clarity, and effectiveness. Students then write their own nonfiction projects that could include essays, interviews, reviews, and other forms. (4 credits) Prerequisite for each: STC 108/109

WTG 302 Nonfiction Workshop 2

Creative writing is often mistakenly associated solely with fiction and poetry, but some of the best creative writing is found in nonfiction. Whatever writers put their attention on is filled with their own originality. In these courses, students read beautiful and moving selections of nonfiction prose and examine them for their grace, clarity, and effectiveness. Students then write their own nonfiction projects that could include essays, interviews, reviews, and other forms. (4 credits) Prerequisite for each: STC 108/109

WTG 312 The Persuasive Essay

Among the most useful forms of writing is the persuasive essay. To write so convincingly and with such authority that your reader can’t help but respond favorably to your viewpoint is eminently valuable and satisfying. The hallmark of the persuasive essay is impeccable logic and sound reasoning. In this course, students examine classical and contemporary arguments as models for their own persuasive essays. Topics include inductive and deductive logic, audience consideration, the evaluation of assumptions, counterarguments, fallacious reasoning, and the role of emotions in persuasion. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 313 Writing and Reading the Short Story

Writing and Reading the Short Story: Exploring the Dynamics between Wholeness and Point

Edgar Allen Poe once stated that everything in a short story works toward a “single effect.” Economy and precision of language make the short story the perfect narrative form. In this course we will read and study intriguing stories such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.” as models for short fiction we will write. We will also look closely at elements of fiction: character, structure, point of view, imagery, and figurative language as building blocks for our own stories. Students will write three short stories and workshop those stories in class. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 314 Fiction Writing 2

Fiction Writing 2: The Divine at Every Point

This course advances techniques learned in Fiction Writing 1. See WTG 202 for details. (4 credits) Prerequisite for each: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 315 Writing Literary Nonfiction

Writing Literary Nonfiction: Expressing the Truth that Transcends Facts with the Power, Grace, and Insight of Fiction

During the second half of the twentieth century, creative nonfiction — called “the new literature” — has steadily grown in popularity. Reading such writers as Tom Wolfe, Peter Mathiessen, and John McPhee, students discover the potential of nonfiction to elicit an aesthetic response equal to that of the novel. In this course, students learn to combine techniques of journalism and fiction in writing their own creative nonfiction. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 320 The Personal Essay

The Personal Essay: Examining Experience from One’s Own Self-Referral Perspective — The Memoir and Other Forms

Students read and discuss a range of essayists from earlier traditions to such contemporary essayists as David Sedaris or Vowell. Writing in this form, each student develops his or her personal voice. Students also discover the power of short prose to transform topics of individual concern into expanded visions of wholeness. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 321 Blogging and Reflective Writing

Want to speak to the world and feel you need more than the Comment space on Facebook or Twitter allows?

Blogging can offer a platform from which to share your thoughts with a larger audience. This course offers the opportunity to set up your own blog site and produce your first postings for your site.

Drawing on our own feelings, opinions, memories, and insights, we’ll use reflective writing to channel those experiences into expressive prose to share with our readers.

Then we’ll post our thoughts to open a dialogue with the world.

WTG 322 Writing the Personal Memoir

Writing the Personal Memoir: Knowing the Self

During this course, students explore various forms of memoir: childhood memoir, graphic memoir (memoir in cartoon form or illustrated memoir), travel or journey memoir, memoirs of people from other cultures, eyewitness memoir, mosaic memoir, etc. Students read examples by an international selection of famous authors such as Frank McCourt, Janet Frame, Azar Nafisi, Annie Dillard, Helen Nearing and Elizabeth Gilbert, and also work by lesser known authors such as Mark Spragg, Yang Erche Namu, and Etty Hillesum. Students also create their own portfolios using techniques from fiction and poetry to create story and to explore objective and subjective life experience in depth. Ultimately, students learn to stand back and experience their life stories twice, “in the moment and in retrospection,” as Anais Nin said. In this way, students come to more deeply know their own Self on every level. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 323 Memoir of Transcendence

Memoir of Transcendence: Knowing the Self

During this course, students explore memoir with a focus on the theme of transcendence — spiritual quest, transcendental moments, stories about overcoming obstacles and achieving great things for mankind, and stories of diving within to explore the uncharted territories of consciousness. These may be childhood memoirs, graphic memoirs (memoirs in cartoon form or illustrated memoirs), travel or journey memoirs, memoirs of people from other cultures, eyewitness memoirs, mosaic memoirs, etc. Students read examples by an international selection of both famous and lesser-known authors such as Annie Dillard, Helen Nearing, Elizabeth Gilbert, Henry David Thoreau, Greg Mortenson, Ann Patchett, Azar Nafisi, Mark Spragg, Yang Erche Namu, and Etty Hillesum. Students also create their own portfolios of transcendental memoir using techniques from fiction and poetry to create story and to explore objective and subjective life experience in depth. Ultimately, students learn to stand back and experience their transcendental life stories and their own spiritual quest “twice, in the moment and in retrospection,” as Anais Nin said. In this way, students have an opportunity to more deeply know their own Self on every level. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor.

WTG 332 Prose Style

Prose Style: Conveying Universal Ideas through a Highly Personalized and Carefully Wrought Voice

Students acquaint themselves with a wide range of writing styles as they investigate their own style of writing. Examining the works of various authors, students fine-tune their understanding of the mechanics of English expression and develop their ability to use sentence structure, diction, and punctuation as the sophisticated tools they have the potential to be. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 340 Writers on Writing

Writers on Writing: Learning from the Great Tradition of Literary Masters — The Nature and Craft of Writing

The nonfiction writing projects in this course are designed to help students see themselves as legitimate writers. Students examine what celebrated writers, from journalists to novelists, from children’s authors to essayists, have said about their profession. Their insights into the writing craft provide both inspiration and direction. Their explanation of technical matters are then put into practice in the students’ own work. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 342 Writing for Young People

Writing for Young People: Writing Stories to Awaken a Child’s Sense of Meaning and Wonder

Writing for the young can be as rewarding as writing for adults, and as challenging. Children are becoming more sophisticated at younger ages, and generally enjoy reading books at their intelligence level. Students in this class will learn to avoid stereotypes, moralistic tales, and stories with talking animals. In this course, we will sample some marvelous children’s literature, investigate some time-honored writing techniques, and find a venue for our own youthful imaginations. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 350 Advanced Creative Writing

Advanced Creative Writing: Creating Harmony of Sound and Coherence of Meaning

Maharishi says, “writers start with what the eyes see, the ears hear and the hands feel, then travel into space and time to explore the beyond.” Following this prescription, this course offers advanced students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and hone their writing skills by focusing on a body of their own work in poetry or fiction. Students will acquaint themselves with authors, write personal responses to books and articles, attend readings, and watch videotaped interviews of famous writers. Course participants will also workshop their manuscripts with their classmates and make an extensive presentation of their work. The final outcome will be a submission for publication. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

WTG 355 Writing in the Professions

Writing in the Professions: Toward Fulfillment of Desires — Effective Communication in Business

Each profession has its preferred way of communicating. Good writers often find their niche in adapting to the style and techniques of a specific profession. In this course, we will investigate a number of professional forms of communication. Writing projects are designed to develop the students’ abilities to communicate clearly and effectively in a student’s preferred area of interest. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 360 Writing and Photography

This course teaches the basics of digital photography and how to write about it. Students learn how to adjust the digital “negative” in an image-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop. Students keep a daily journal of their photographic experiences, learn to photograph and write about the environment, and produce a photo essay on their favorite topic. For daily printing needs, students use online sources, such as Snapfish or Shutterfly. The course also includes at least one field trip and a variety of creative photographic assignments. For the final portfolio, students select their best photographs to enlarge and learn how to print and mat them. Requirements: a $25 fee for materials and at least a 7-megapixel camera with zoom lens and manual controls; this means the ability to manually adjust shutter speed and aperture size. (4 credits) Prerequisite: STC 108/109

WTG 370 Writing for Fun and Profit

This is a course for students who would like experience in professional writing for niche publishing markets, such as educational testing. We’ll explore a variety of markets and in detail: the educational testing market. For that market, we’ll focus on the compactness and concision necessary for writing test passages, the necessity for selecting topics appropriate for testing and recognizing sensitivity issues, mastering editing skills necessary to create grammatical and mechanical correctness, as well developing an eye for topics that will appeal to the appropriate grade level. The course will include a professional workshop with a testing development specialist, the possibility of a follow-up internship with American College Testing in Iowa City, and freelance writing opportunities. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of the instructor

WTG 373 Graphic Narrative

The graphic novel, a genre of literature combining writing and art, has become increasingly popular in the past decades. The term “graphic novel” broadly refers to any fictional or non-fictional story that is told by means of both writing and illustration—often, though not necessarily, in cartoon form. In this class, students will read selections from various award-winning graphic novels and illustrated memoirs, among them Persepolis by Marjane Sarpati, Blankets by Craig Thompson, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman, and the Pulitzer Prize winning Maus by Art Spiegelman. Students are expected to write and illustrate their own graphic novel during the class. In the process, they will hone all techniques relevant to this genre: Writing-wise, the focus will be on dialogue, scene, plot, pacing, character development, selection of detail, language, voice, and editing. Artistically, the focus will be on choice of materials, drawing technique, page layout, the relationship between positive and negative space, color, and shape. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of the instructor

WTG 375 Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: Crystallized Visions

In this course, students will explore the art of flash fiction and create a portfolio of miniature stories (100 to 700 words per story). Flash fiction, once marginal, has now gained mainstream acceptance and is also known as microfiction, microstories, miniatures, short-shorts, short short stories, very short stories, prose poetry, postcard fiction, sudden fiction, and nanofiction. The form takes the popular writer’s adage less is more quite seriously, giving students the opportunity to create dynamic, compact, and highly polished jewels in a relatively short space of time. Gesturing toward the transcendent, liberatory capacity of the form, flash fiction exponent, Stuart Dybek, states, “Within the constraint of their small boundaries the writer discovers great freedom.” Students will read selections from works by famous and lesser-known exponents of the form: Yasunari Kawabata, Gertrude Stein, Lydia Davis, James Wright, Stuart Dybek, Luis Cernuda, Charles Simic, Margaret Atwood and others. Students will be encouraged to playfully experiment with the form and discover for themselves if it is “rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of the psyche, the prickings of consciousness” as stated by French poet and art critic, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), a critical founding figure of the form. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of the instructor

WTG 410 Travel Writing

Travel Writing: Discovering the Universal in the Particular — Conveying the Sense of Feeling at Home in Unique Places of the World

From Mark Twain to John Steinbeck, many of the world’s best writers have been drawn to travel writing. By analyzing the work of great travel writers and through in-class writing workshops, students become familiar with techniques of travel writing. Highlighting the course are three day-trips to nearby tourist destinations, during which students learn to research articles and record their personal observations in a travel journal. The course culminates in the writing of a personal travel essay for publication. How to write a query letter and the top online markets for travel articles will also be covered. (4 credits) Prerequisite: WTG 192 or consent of instructor

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