Undergraduate Courses

Professor: Emily Skillings
Term: Fall
Day/Time: TTh 4:00pm-5:15pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

This course combines elements of seminar and workshop and invites students to deepen their knowledge of poetic forms, movements, and styles, with the goal of strengthening their voices through equal parts reading and writing poetry. Over the course of the semester, we will study specific aspects of craft, such as line, line breaks, stanzaic choices, meter, form, image, metaphor, and sound, broadening and developing our range of expression, linguistic elasticity, comfort with risk-taking, formal innovation, and writer’s “toolkits.” As we read and investigate a wide scope of both canonical and contemporary poets—from Shakespeare to Harryette Mullen—with an eye toward craft, we will experiment with their architectures and formal choices in our own poetry. Students will develop a portfolio of poems (including odes, sonnets, list poems, ekphrastic poems, and other constraint-based forms) and write an accompanying essay on the craft of poets who have influenced their work.

This course is open to all students, but freshmen and sophomores are especially welcome.

No advance application is required for this course.

Professor: Alan Burdick
Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 2:30pm-4:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

Exploration of ways in which the environment and the natural world can be channeled for literary expression. Reading and discussion of essays, reportage, and book-length works, by scientists and non-scientists alike. Students learn how to create narrative tension while also conveying complex—sometimes highly technical—information; the role of the first person in this type of writing; and where the human environment ends and the non-human one begins.

Professor: Amity Gaige
Term: Fall
Day/Time: M 3:30pm-5:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

An intensive introduction to the craft of fiction, designed for aspiring creative writers. Readings and experimental exercises will lead to the completion of a short story.  This course is a workshop, centered around in-depth discussion of both published literature and student-written fiction.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

 
Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 3:30pm-5:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

An intensive introduction to the craft of fiction, designed for aspiring creative writers. Focus on the fundamentals of narrative technique and peer review.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Professor: Louise Glück
Term: Fall
Day/Time: T 1:30pm-3:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

A seminar workshop for students who are beginning to write poetry or who have no prior workshop experience at Yale. Preference given to freshmen and sophomores.

Admission to writing courses is by application and is based chiefly on work submitted by the student.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Special application instructions: Students should submit a sample of their own work, if it exists; in addition, all applicants should submit a paragraph on a literary work of any kind, any period: the choice should reflect personal admiration.

Term: Fall
Day/Time: TTh 11:35am-12:50pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

A workshop on journalistic strategies for looking at and writing about contemporary paintings of the human figure. Practitioners and theorists of figurative painting; controversies, partisans, and opponents. Includes field trips to museums and galleries in New York City.

No advance application is required for this course.

Also HSAR 460.

Professor: Donald Margulies
Term: Fall
Day/Time: T 2:30pm-5:00pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

A seminar and workshop in writing for the stage. Readings include modern American and British plays by Pinter, Mamet, Churchill, Kushner, Williams, and Wilder. Emphasis on play structure, character, and conflict. In addition to weekly exercises, students write a one-act play.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Special application instructions: Your Writing Sample may be in any genre; there is no limit to the length of your Statement of Purpose.

Also THST 320.

Professor: Fred Strebeigh
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Th 1:30pm-4:00pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

Course No: ENGL 454a

Course Title: Nonfiction Writing: Voice and Structure

Instructor: Fred Strebeigh

Th 1:30-4:00

A nonfiction workshop, confronting the challenges of journalism as an art. Emphasis on voice and structure in long-form, reportorial  nonfiction. Study of texts that may suggest modes, voices, forms, and styles for nonfiction pieces. Frequent writing projects and revisions.

English 454 (Non-Fiction Writing: Voice and Structure) concentrates on voice, structure, and style in the shaping of non-fiction reportage.  Workshops and discussions explore techniques by which writers may mold intractable fact into enduring literature.  Readings include reportage by writers such as Joan Didion, Atul Gawande, John Hersey, John McPhee, Jessica Mitford, Susan Orlean, Michael Pollan, Mark Twain, John Updike, Tom Wolfe, and Virginia Woolf.

Students in the course will build, starting with proposals and drafts, to the creation of at least two polished pieces, typically with word lengths from 3000 to 5000 words.  The best information for this course, including links to past work by students, is on the web at <http://engl454.coursepress.yale.edu/> (available via Yale login).

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Here are opportunities to add strength to an English 454 application:

Writing samples:

In the space where the application form asks students to paste “a writing sample of … about 4500 words of prose,” feel free to paste up to two pieces of any length (and even a third if its length is a page or less, such as a piece for Daily Themes).  Strong applications often include some of the following:  Reportorial work that has been published on campus or professionally.  Innovative play with structure or voice, in any genre of writing.  Nonfiction writing for at least one and often both of the two samples.  Guidance by the author, particularly when samples are long, about where to look for the greatest strengths.

Proposals for work to write this term:

Applicants for this course are invited to look at past work for this course and, by using that work as an indicator for what this course gives students an opportunity to create, to offer preliminary proposals for writing in the coming term.  Work written by past students, much of it published soon after taking this course, is available via the English 454 Reader at <http://engl454.coursepress.yale.edu/>. Strong proposals in past have referred to previous student pieces as models for future ones. 

A proposal might include, for example, information such as this: “Much as Sarah Stillman immersed herself in the anti-sweatshop movement for her piece ‘Made by Us’ <http://engl454.coursepress.yale.edu/sarah-stillman-made-by-us/>, I hope to immerse in _____ ; whereas Stillman used a hasty November trip to Florida to report one important scene, I have already done my reporting in _____ and have taken notes that guarantee the accuracy of my writing. My piece will prove surprising and significant because ____ .” (As this phrasing suggests, the course is open to some past reportage, although much reporting will occur during the term.) In the form provided by the English department, proposals may be pasted after writing samples.

Term: Fall
Day/Time: T 9:25am-11:15am
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

Advanced non-fiction workshop in which students write about science, medicine, and the environment for a broad public audience. Students read exemplary work, ranging from newspaper articles to book excerpts, to learn how to translate complex subjects into compelling prose.

Admission by permission of the instructor only. Applicants should email the instructor at carl@carlzimmer.com with the following information:

1. One or two samples of nonacademic, nonfiction writing. (No fiction or scientific papers, please.) Indicate the course or publication, if any, for which you wrote each sample.

2. A note in which you briefly describe your background (including writing experience and courses) and explain why you’d like to take the course.

Professor: Louise Glück
Term: Fall
Day/Time: M 3:30pm-5:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

A seminar and workshop in the writing of verse. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Note: This class WILL MEET for the first time on Labor Day, Monday, September 4.

Professor: Caryl Phillips
Term: Fall
Day/Time: T 1:30pm-3:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

An advanced workshop in the craft of writing fiction. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Professor: Cynthia Zarin
Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 3:30pm-5:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

A seminar and workshop in the contemporary essay. Public versus private voice, the responsibilities of the essayist, and the evolution of writing in the first person. Readings include essays by Joan Didion, Jonathan Lethem, Jenny Diski, Zadie Smith, M. F. K. Fisher, Bruce Chatwin, John Berger, and Oliver Sacks.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Professor: Steven Brill
Term: Fall
Day/Time: M 9:00-10:50
Course Type: Workshop/Journalism, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Journalism

ENGLISH 467A: JOURNALISM
Steven Brill ● sb@brillbusiness.com ● (212) 332-6301
Fall 2017

DESCRIPTION:  This seminar – the core course for Yale Journalism Scholars – is for those interested in understanding the changing role of journalism, in coming to grips with the challenges and opportunities related to the business model of journalism in a digital, global age, and in learning the practice of journalism. Grades will be based on participation and written work, with an emphasis on the final project.

An emphasis will be placed on both imaginative and critical thinking as it applies to reporting and to creating ways and forms of telling a story so that it has maximum impact in a world cluttered with media and experiencing profound challenges to making journalism economically viable.

One or perhaps two extra (and voluntary) sessions will take place in New York City, so that students can meet with working journalists there.

I will meet with each student individually during the term as often as necessary in order to provide feedback, help with the final project, and (if requested) provide career guidance.

Guest instructors during two of the sessions will be Bob Woodward, Jill Abramson and a variety of successful journalists who took this seminar in prior years. 

Successful completion of this course and other aspects of the Yale Journalism Scholars program will qualify students to be designated Yale Journalism Scholars. For more information on the Yale Journalism Scholars and the Yale Journalism Initiative, see http://writing.yalecollege.yale.edu/journalism-initiative.

ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS:  The seminar is open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors. In general, we are looking for a range of students – some with demonstrated commitment to and experience in journalism, others without that background but who can write well, want to learn, and perhaps have an added dimension to offer in class discussions (such as an intense interest in politics, the arts, law, or economics), which they might want to apply to journalism.

Admission:

Each student must submit the following simple, two-part application package to sb@brillbusiness.com. I prefer that you submit the package by the evening of Monday, September 4, 2017.

If you want to submit your application earlier, you can submit it any time after August 15 – and in some cases I will admit students early who do so. If there are 15 well qualified applicants from among those applying early, I will send notice that the application process has closed as soon as it has.

However, if you first want to visit the introductory class on Friday, September 1 (which is the substitute for the regular Monday class because of Labor Day), that is fine.

ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE IN by 11:59 PM on Monday, September 4.  I will post with the English Department the final list of those accepted by Wednesday, September 6, if not earlier.

The two-part application should consist of:

  1. No more than two double-spaced pages: A written statement explaining your interest in the class and in the Yale Journalism Scholars program. This should also include your Yale class year, any previous writing courses that you have taken, a brief description of your extra-curricular activities and a description of your journalism experience.
  1. One writing sample – either an article that you have published in an on- or off- campus publication or something that you submitted for a class.

 _____________________________________________________________________________

Printable version

SYLLABUS

Also PLSC 253.

Professor: Anne Fadiman
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Th 2:30pm-5:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Creative Writing

A seminar and workshop with the theme “At Home in America.” Students consider the varied ways in which modern American literary journalists write about place, and address the theme themselves in both reportorial and first-person work.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

Please read the description below, paying special attention to sections highlighted in bold, some of which describe exceptions to the standard application procedure.

The purpose of this course is to examine and attempt good nonfiction writing through the microcosm of setting. How do we see America (whether urban or rural, east or west, rich or poor) as home? We will attempt to dismantle some of the traditional barriers between academic reading and pleasure reading as we discuss works by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Joan Didion, Ian Frazier, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, John McPhee, and others. Students will write four pieces (two first-person, two reportorial), the last of which is a substantial profile reported in New Haven, outside the Yale campus, on someone found in the Greater New Haven Yellow Pages. They will also critique each other’s work both orally and via email. Each student will have at least six individual conferences with me, most of them an hour long, to discuss and edit his or her work.

English 469 has no prerequisites, which means that you may apply even if you have no reporting experience. I’m more interested in the grace of your writing style and the sound of your voice. The class is usually a mix of seasoned journalists and creative writers. Fiction writers, playwrights, and essayists bring valuable gifts to our table. Though most 469ers have been juniors and seniors, I have accepted an occasional sophomore. Graduate students shouldn’t apply (sorry); freshmen should wait.

Students who wish to apply to English 469 should submit the standard Application for Writing Courses on the English Department Website by noon on Wednesday, August 16.  Please note the following special instructions for English 469 applications:

1. The standard application specifies “a” writing sample. Ignore that! I can assess your work better if you submit two samples, totaling about 5-15 double-spaced pages. (The total length may exceed that, but if it does, please mark the sections to which I should pay particular attention.) You may even submit three samples if one is very short (for instance, a Daily Themes one-pager, in which case please note the prompt).

2. If possible, your samples should belong to the same genre we’ll be reading and writing (“non-non”–nonacademic nonfiction). Essays, literary journalism, and personal essays would all be appropriate. (If fiction is your strength, one but not both of your samples may be a short story. Similarly, if you’re a playwright, one sample may be a scene from a play. The other sample should be non-non.) Be sure to choose pieces that give your literary style a thorough airing.

3. Your “statement of purpose” should be a note to me that explains some things your samples don’t. The application suggests “a paragraph,” but you are welcome to write as long a note as you wish. For instance: Why do you want to take the class? What would you contribute to it? What writing experience and honors have you accumulated? (I’ll still consider you if the answer is None and None.) What are you majoring in? (English majors will receive no special preference.) Is there anything else that might help me understand you as a writer or a person? Your note need not be conventional; it should sound like you.

If you have questions about English 469 before you apply, or after you hear about admission and are wondering if it’s the right class for you, you’re welcome to write me (anne.fadiman@yale.edu). Two veterans of last year’s class have also volunteered to field them. Elena Saavedra Buckley (elena.saavedrabuckley@yale.edu) came to 469 with reporting experience; Mae Mattia (mae.mattia@yale.edu) came from a creative writing background but survived without difficulty.

Admitted students will be notified about a week before the first class. Please be ready to respond with a yea or nay so that wait-listers can be swiftly admitted. The roster will be complete (and brief reading assigned) before the first class on August 31.

Professor: John Crowley, Professor: John Rogers
Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 1:30pm-3:20pm
Course Type: Seminar/Senior Seminars, /Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Senior Seminars, /Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Senior Seminars, /Creative Writing

Utopian writings as a form of fiction. Students read and discuss major utopian fictions and conceive, propose, and write a utopia of their own. Readings from Plato and Thomas More to H. G. Wells and Ursula LeGuin.

Senior Seminar or Creative Writing Workshop. No advance application required.

Professor: John Crowley, Professor: John Rogers
Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 1:30pm-3:20pm
Course Type: Seminar/Senior Seminars, /Creative Writing, Course Type: Workshop/Senior Seminars, /Creative Writing, Course Type: Advanced Workshop/Senior Seminars, /Creative Writing

Utopian writings as a form of fiction. Students read and discuss major utopian fictions and conceive, propose, and write a utopia of their own. Readings from Plato and Thomas More to H. G. Wells and Ursula LeGuin.

Senior Seminar or Creative Writing Workshop. No advance application required.

Term: Fall
Day/Time: W 1:30pm-3:20pm
Course Type: Workshop/Creative Writing

The writer’s work is making sentences. Everything else is secondary. But too often our intentions blind us to the sentences we are actually making, or we feel that, somehow, form or genre is more important than the sentence itself. This workshop will scrutinize your nonfiction prose, looking for the opportunities, the energy, the clarity that may be lying hidden there. We’ll be aided by many other writers—Auden, Didion, McPhee, Baldwin, Joseph Roth, Kapuscinski, Dillard, Oates, etc. We’ll be thinking about writing as an act of discovery and the sentence as the smallest unit of perception. That means we’ll be using your writing. I’ll expect you to be writing new each week for this course, and we’ll all be reading each others’ work every week as we go through the semester. The goal is quite simply to clarify the act of discovering sentences and, in doing so, discovering the better writer within you.

Not open to freshmen.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains a statement of purpose and a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).

Professor: Sarah Stillman
Term: Fall
Day/Time: M 1:30pm-4:00pm
Course Type: Workshop, Course Type: Advanced Workshop

A feature-writing workshop in the reporting and writing of memorable long-form magazine narratives. Close readings of exemplary investigative works. Emphasis on reporting strategies and storytelling tools for interviewing diverse subjects, generating suspense, crafting scenes, and reconstructing events through use of human and non-human sources.

Fall application due by noon on August 16.

After completing the online APPLICATION FORM, upload one Word or Adobe PDF document that contains your name, the course number (e.g., ENGL 245), instructor’s name, a statement of purpose, a writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages or up to 4500 words of poetry, double-spaced. For the statement of purpose, please write a paragraph about why you wish to take this specific writing course. The file should be named with the course number and your name (Sample: ENGL 245_Sayers-Erica.pdf).