SJU Writing Studies Fall 2016 Course Offerings

 

Tenaya Darlington

 

Monday

ENG 550: Practice of Writing/CRN 40587

Professor Tenaya Darlington

 

This course is designed as an Introduction to the Writing Studies Program, and it allows students to explore a variety of genres while they explore career options within the writing/publishing world. Students will literally “walk in the shoes” of different writers, playing the role of columnist, reporter, editor, poet, and fiction writer. At the end of the course, students will reflect on these different roles and begin brainstorming a possible thesis project in one area. (Core Course)

 coyne

Tuesday

ENG 673: Screen Writing/CRN 40590

Professor Tom Coyne

 

In this class, we will learn how to present story in a specific, challenging, and rewarding format that may be unknown to you, but the fundamentals of good screenwriting are the same as all good creative writing — detail, dialogue, character, voice, precision, and imagination. We will develop and locate our most cinema-ready narratives, and learn how to tell them via camera and microphone. We will read screenplays, write screenplays, and discuss the craft and conventions of professional screenwriting. We will study three-act structure and the fundamentals of dramatic storytelling, and we will look at a number of professional screenplays to guide our discussion of form and craft.  Each member of the workshop will develop his or her own screen project from an initial concept/pitch to a full-length, feature screenplay.  The class will also look at the business of screenwriting and discuss the overall development of screen projects. No screenwriting experience required. (Area III)

green

Wednesday

ENG 636: Writing as Empowerment/CRN 40589

Dr. Ann Green

In Writing and (as) Empowerment, we’ll explore how writing can be used as a tool, a method, and a means of empowerment. We’ll consider how the ability to tell one’s story can be empowering and what the risks of telling one’s own story are. We’ll also consider what an author might choose to leave out of her telling of a particular tale. Finally, we’ll research a story of empowerment and write our stories of empowerment. Each participant will complete two projects in different genres, including fiction, nonfiction, pedagogy, poetry, and academic prose.  Lots of writing and intensive reading.  (Area II)

 owen gilman

Thursday

ENG 615: Road to Revolution in the 1960s/CRN 40588

Dr. Owen Gilman

 A study of the American cultural scene during the 1960s with particular focus on the contribution of writers as agents of change in movements to break existing stereotypes and to challenge racial discrimination, gender discrimination, sexual repression, environmental degradation, and war. Writers may include: Jack Kerouac, Harper Lee, Rachel Carson, Nikki Giovanni, Eldridge Cleaver, Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Betty Freidan, and some Beat poets. Films were also consequential both in propelling and in reflecting revolutionary changes in American life through the 1960s. Several key films that may be considered include In the Heat of the Night, Bonnie and ClydeThe Graduate, and Easy Rider. (Area I)

5 Tips for Budding Music Bloggers

Krisann Janowitz

Krisann Janowitz

Writing about music can be difficult, particularly when you are someone like me who never took up an instrument (unless you count that one year of guitar). So how have I become a music blogger writing reviews for the awesome website, Independent Clauses? First off, I write often. Through writing personal blogs for years, reviewing albums just for fun, and writing nearly every day, I was able to hone my writing skills. Self-editing is also a very helpful practice. I certainly am no expert at writing about music, but I have learned a lot through writing for Independent Clauses.

Enough about me. If you are at all interested in furthering your writing, particularly in the area of music journalism, read on! Here are a few tips for any budding music blogger.

 

  1. Listen to music well. If you foster active music listening, you will improve in how well you write about it. Pay attention to everything. Notice each instrument in the overall sound. Consider the texture that the vocals provide and the voice parts of each singer. Think about the lyrics and how they add to the song and album. Even in good ol’ rock n’ roll music– harmonization, dissonance, and repetition can all be present. Pay attention to these things and more.
  1. Don’t be afraid to look things up. If you have never taken music classes growing up, don’t fret– you, too, can write about music. All it takes is listening and writing. If you can do those, you are in good shape to blog about music. If you don’t know all of the musical terms or genres, just look it up! I have been writing about music for years now and I still have to look things up. If a musician is listed on Facebook as belonging to the genre of “psychedelic folk” and you’ve never heard of that before, look it up on Wikipedia! Wikipedia is not the enemy.
  1. Write about music you enjoy. When I started reviewing albums for Independent Clauses, I was surprised to learn that we only review music we like. Positivity is in, whiny criticism is not. Particularly if you are reviewing independent artists like we do at Independent Clauses. What these newer artists need are good sound bites, not negative commentary. When writing about music, you really have to think about how your words can affect the musician. A good review does wonders and a bad one could negatively affect an artist.
  1. Free-write, then compose. This rule applies to all writing. I used to stress too much about beginning a piece, until I allowed myself to free-write before the actual drafting. (In fact, this article itself looked very different when I started writing.) But if you just write, you will find yourself at a much saner place to begin drafting up a blog post. With my music reviews, I often find it helpful to first write notes about each track as I listen– quotable lyrics, the instruments I hear, the overall feel, etc. Then, I write my first impressions of the album, my favorite parts, what it reminds me of, and any other thoughts. Finally, I am ready to listen to the album again and begin drafting up a review. Good writing takes time to come together, so don’t rush the process.
  1. Let your writing sit. I’m sure we can all use improvement on this one. From my experience, a blog post is exponentially better when it has sat for a bit. In our fast- paced culture, we always want to get things done and move on, but writing about music should not work that way. Especially if you are reviewing an album. Take notes as you listen. Draft a review. Let it be. Then come back after some time and revise. If you follow that process instead of trying to bang out a review in two hours, I’m sure you’ll find it will make for much better writing.

 

Thanks for the great advice, Krisann!

Four Questions for Professor Eleanor Stanford

Here are Professor Ellie Stanford’s responses to our four questions. (Sorry about the delay, Professor Stanford).

Courtesy of Bartram's Garden

Courtesy of Bartram’s Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?)

I’m currently working on poems that come out of my recent Fulbright experience in rural Bahia. Ostensibly the poems are about traditional midwifery–but they’re also about questions of marriage, the female body, birth, and death…with a few folk remedies for snakebite and toothache thrown in.

Here’s a link to a recently published (unrelated) poem:

http://subtropics.english.ufl.edu/eleanor-stanford-poetry/

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

Poetry by Adrienne Su, Sarah Blake, Louise Gluck, and Pablo Neruda; essays by James Baldwin; Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

Music: Hank Williams, Gillian Welch, bossanova, Gilberto Gil, whatever jazz standards my kids are practicing (currently Night in Tunisia and Blue Monk)

Podcasts: This American Life, Radiolab, Longform, Dear Sugar

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

Before it gets too cold: at the park, playing frisbee and practicing handstands with my kids.

After it gets too cold: hot yoga studio!

SJU Writing Studies Summer 2016 Course Info

Registration for summer 2016 begins on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 7:00 am. Here are the offerings:

 

Eleanor Stanford

Eleanor Stanford

Summer I: May 16 – June 24, 2016

ENG 669: Poetry (Area II) – Monday/Wednesday

Instructor: Eleanor Stanford

Hours: two nights per week, 18:30-21:45

Poetry, many would agree, is language at its most intense and most alive. It asks us to push ourselves linguistically, spiritually, emotionally, with more intensity than perhaps any other genre. What better form, then, for any writer to learn from and engage with? In this course, we will read across a wide variety of styles, time periods, and cultures. We will consider what we can learn from these poems, as readers, writers and as human beings, that we can apply to other aspects of our work and our lives. We will also try our hands at writing many different kinds of poems as part of the workshop. This course fulfills Area II, Rhetoric & Composition.

Maureen Saraco

Maureen Saraco

Summer II: June 27-August 7, 2015

ENG 680: Writing the Grant Proposal (Area III) hybrid class – Mondays online/ Wednesdays in person

Instructor: Maureen Saraco

Hours: one night per week, 18:30-21:45

 

“Writing the Grant Proposal” is a hybrid course that will meet once a week on campus; the second weekly meeting will take place online. ENG 680 will introduce students to the fundamentals of grant writing, a critical part of working in the nonprofit sector (as well as in academia, the arts, and research). Successful nonprofit grant writers raise the money to allow an organization’s programs and specific projects to move forward, to facilitate growth and the achievement of key objectives, and, in many cases, to quite literally keep the doors open. Functioning primarily as a workshop, the course will pair each student with a local nonprofit organization, for which the student will serve as a “consultant.” By the end of the course, each student will have written a full grant proposal for his or her organization. The course will primarily emphasize developing convincing and compelling language for each piece of the grant proposal, but students can also expect to learn about a typical grant-making process and about how to conduct research to generate a strong proposal and to find appropriate funders. This course fulfills Area III, Professional Writing.

If you have any questions, contact Director Tenaya Darlington at tdarling@sju.edu or Heather Foster at hfoster@sju.edu.