SJU Writing Studies Blog

Spring 2020 Writing Studies Course Offerings

ENG 688: Creative Nonfiction Workshop (Areas I & III)

Mondays – 6:30 – 9:15 p.m.

Dr. Melissa Goldthwaite

Creative Nonfiction will explore literary diaries and journals, memoir (including graphic memoirs), the personal essay, cultural criticism, and literary journalism. We’ll  analyze and practice different forms of creative nonfiction with attention to both student and professional writing. This class will provide a context in which students can learn the conventions of the genre—from finding a topic to creating a structure, from scene making to fact finding and more; participate in the process of discovery and research; and work with others in crafting, drafting, revising, and seeking a larger audience through publication. Assignments include discussion of assigned readings, keeping a writer’s notebook, participating in weekly writing exercises, and writing, workshopping, and revising short (2-pages), medium (5-7 pages), and longer (20-pages) creative nonfiction pieces. (Areas I & III)


ENG 620: Special Topics in Literature/Culture: Crime & Media (Area I) 

Tuesdays – 6:30 – 9:15 p.m.

Dr. Mike Lyons

One out of five people imprisoned in the world is in a prison in the United States. This country incarcerates more people—by a long way—than any other country in the world. Yet we don’t know much about who is in our prisons or why they are there. We think we do because journalistic (Fox News and CNN) and fictional depictions (Law and Order and Orange is the New Black) tell us stories about crime, justice and incarceration. But are those trustworthy? In this class we’ll find out by meeting people who are in prison, talking with them and their families and creating our narratives.

Media narratives have impacted our understanding of crime, justice and incarceration. We will produce new narratives, stories of redemption inside the walls through work with men and women who serve life sentences and their families. The course includes work outside of class, meeting with these folks. Our work will include audio, video and prose. Media production experience is helpful but not required.

This course will include undergraduate students and graduate students from the Writing Studies program in the Department of English. For more info write Dr. Mike Lyons at (Area I)


ENG 679: Special Topics in Journalism: Writers at Work (Area III) 

Wednesdays – 6:30 – 9:15 p.m.

Professor Tenaya Darlington

This course is designed to set your professional life as a writer in motion. Over the course of 15 weeks, you’ll meet a series of working writers from around Philadelphia who will visit our class. During these visits, you’ll have the opportunity to network with professional writers and learn about possible career paths, from public relations to publishing. Each writer’s visit will tie into a different writing assignment so that you can begin building a portfolio of professional work (likely assignments will include: a press release, a review, a book proposal, an edited manuscript, plus a professional resume and bio.) At the end, you’ll develop an online portfolio that you can use as a calling card. (Area III)

Questions? Email Director Tenaya Darlington ( or Heather Foster at

Fall 2019 Writing Studies Course Schedule

ENG 642: Style (Area II)

(CRN 42602)
Mondays – 6:30 – 9:15 p.m.
Dr. Melissa Goldthwaite

In this course, we will consider the history of style from a rhetorical perspective and then move to the work of 20th and 21st century writers to explore the use of style in contemporary writing, including your own. A discussion-based seminar with a workshop component, this course depends on a high level of participation. In addition to reading, you will write a series of short papers and conduct a semester-long project exploring style. (Area II)


ENG 676: Writing for Publication (Area III)

(CRN 42603)
Wednesdays – 6:30 – 9:15 p.m.

Successful freelance publishing begins with an awareness of what editors and their readers want. It demands knowledge of the manuscript market and familiarity with the requirements of specific publications: subject, length, organization, style. Unpublished writers can perfect their skills by analysis and imitation of authors who already write for the publications in which learners wish to appear. The course requires that assignments be composed—from the beginning—for specific publications and that completed work will be submitted for publication. Content can be fiction, nonfiction, or journalism and varies with the instructor. (Area III)


ENG 550: Practice of Writing (Core Class)

(CRN 42600)
Thursdays – 6:30 – 9:15 p.m.
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)

Questions? Email Director Tom Coyne at or Heather Foster at


Job Opportunities!

Thanks to alum Liz Kukielka (’13), we have been given a head’s up about some openings at her company,  MJH Associates, a healthcare communications company in New Jersey. Here’s the skinny from her:

There are two new positions open at MJH for any current or former students who may be interested.

Email her at work ( or at home ( if you are interested. If you send her a resume and cover letter directly, she will pass it on to HR.


Summer 2019 Course Offerings

Summer I: (CRN 20784)

ENG 669: Poetry Writing Workshop (Area III)

Mondays & Wednesdays 18:30-21:45

Instructor:  Professor Eleanor Stanford

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’ll 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, and will try our hands at writing many different kinds of poems as well. We will cover meter and form (organic and received), and engage deeply with some of the greatest contemporary poets. By the end of the semester, you will be able to both identify and compose poems in various forms and metrical patterns; to read and discuss a poem on its own terms–structural, thematic, emotional, musical; to offer helpful feedback on classmates’ poems, based on the elements of poetic composition we’ll examine in the class; and to revise your own work using these same elements. This class will have a workshop element as well as an academic one.


Summer II: (CRN 20964)

ENG 640: Experiments in Narrative (Area II)

Hybrid class – Online/ Thursdays in person – 18:30-21:45

Instructor:  Dr. Kay Cosgrove (Gomes)

In this course, students will carefully study specific approaches to craft and technique in creative writing, from long form narrative to minimalist poetry. Through detailed critical reading, analysis, and diagramming, students will explore the scaffolding that underpins creative writing, with special attention to form and genre. By analyzing the craft techniques used by other creative writers, students will learn to apply such approaches to form and technique effectively in their own work.