Every semester the Department of English at Georgetown University offers numerous courses that foster students’ exploration of poetics and creative writing, including courses taught by the Lannan Committee members, Lannan Director, and Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics.
In order to view the complete current course offerings, visit the University Registrar’s page. Select the semester you would like to view from the left-hand panel, then select ‘English’ for ENGL courses or ‘Writing’ for WRIT courses in the subject category.
Lower Level Electives
Mod & Cont Poems & Poetics | ENGL 164
In this course, we’ll discuss and study terrific Modern and contemporary poems, and contend with some poets’ essays that (seemingly) advocate for such poems. Breakthrough Modernist poems have helped establish our sense of the world; we now drift through a murky era named “the Post Modern.” This course will test poems against their poets’ claims, and against our own, developed readings of poems. We may briefly consider some Romantic poems, then study the titanic Moderns—Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, WC Williams, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and others; then we’ll follow several of the outwardly spiraling clusters of significant poets since then. You need not be very experienced in reading poems; you may even find poems difficult, murky, or bewildering. I only ask, be ready to jump in! Text: Ramazani & Ellmann’s Norton Anthology of Modern & Contemporary Poetry (both volumes), and some short single books of poems. We’ll attend some of our Lannan poetry readings as well. Your written work will include: explication of texts; short essays; theatre review; (possible) in-class report; some poems composed by you (ungraded).
Intro to Creative Writing | ENGL 280
In this course, we’ll study and produce four genres of creative writing: poetry, fiction, personal prose, and dialogue. We will explore and discuss great models of each of these forms; we will try our hand at composing our own poems, stories, personal essays, and dialogue (for radio); and we’ll write short analyses on our texts. We’ll also hear craft lectures from the great writers in our Department who produce these works. The authors under study include Semezdin Mehmedinovic, Stephen Crane, D.H. Lawrence, Michael Ondaatje, Anna Deavere Smith, and a number of poets. We’ll follow Ondaatje through the genres. Our course is designed for those who have some experience in studying and writing in at least one of these genres. Please be prepared for intensive research in how each form of writing happens, how it renders human experience, voice, plot, statement, vision, and more. Be prepared both to produce your own texts, and to share your draft work with others.
Creative Non-Fiction Writing | ENGL 282
Joy A. Young
This workshop will explore the range of narrative possibilities available under the bunglesome term “creative nonfiction.” Through presentation and critique of published and student-generated work, class members will advance their understanding of the genre’s many forms and examine a range of formal strategies for representing lived experience. We will explore the writer’s quest for truth and address the question: how do we as writers in a post-modern age where memory, image, and testimony are all suspect, know what we know? Students will submit original manuscripts, critique each other’s work submit revised work for review.
Intro to Fiction Writing | ENGL 283
In this course, we will produce compelling fiction and study how fiction works. We’ll look at published fiction, analyze the strategies that writers employ, and use these works as models for developing our own fiction. We’ll read and discuss our own short stories, and those of emerging/established writers from the pages of small literary journals and magazines. Some readings will be paired with craft talks, interviews, or critical pieces that ask: What does contemporary fiction look like? What might it become? We’ll use the full-class workshop format, but also incorporate other methods of response and dialogue. In addition to producing two short stories for workshopping, we will produce a series of lower-stake assignments, such as imitations, storyboards for adapting fiction to film, book reviews, and responding to readings on campus or in the DC area. Students enrolled in the Creative Writing minor will develop a portfolio of revised fiction as well as an artist’s letter describing your writing process and how your work might grow from here. By special work arrangements with the instructor, this course can count as an advanced genre course for the Creative Writing minor.
Intro to Script Writing | ENGL 284
John J. Glavin
This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental elements of writing for the large (film) and small (television) screen. It roots in the core precept that plot is character is action. Which means that the first object of study for all dramatic writing must be the examination of character. In workshop exercises, complemented by theoretical models from Keirsey and Greimas, students develop techniques for character analysis and development. At the same time, week by week, they examine character development in iconic films from a wide range of periods and genres. By the end of the term each student will have generated a short (20 minute) film for television and a short (20 minute) film for the wider screen. Students should note that in addition to class meetings during the week, they are also required to attend throughout the term regular film screenings on Sunday afternoons.
Upper Level Electives
Adv. Creat. Nonfict. Writing | ENGL 452
n this course we will take deep dives into writing by great essayists. Instead of reading a wide variety of writers and subgenres, in this course we will explore a few writers in depth by examining what makes their writing both timeless and reflective of their zeitgeists. This will also allow us to trace some of the history of the modern essay in the American context. Students will read and write extensively, concluding the class with a final project that either reflects a creative risk/stance taken by one of the writers studied or reflexively profiles one (or more) of the writers studied.
Adv. Fiction Writing | ENGL 453
The aim of this workshop is to intensively study the craft of fiction by evaluating texts, completing writing exercises, and producing fiction. In this course, students will become familiar with many styles and forms of fiction; students will further define their voices as writers and learn to critically regard their own work as well as the work of their colleagues. Stories will be discussed, critiqued, and revised through weekly workshops; by the end of the semester students will possess a broad awareness of the strategies and styles employed by successful contemporary writers of fiction.
Advanced Script Writing | ENGL 457
John J. Glavin
Registration in this class requires instructor approval All interested students should contact Prof. Glavin (email@example.com) for further information about the course. An individual tutorial offered to students who have successfully completed Intermediate Screenwriting. The student will complete an original, full-length feature script in a genre and with a story line of the student’s choice.
Hybrid Forms | ENGL 459
What is a text? What is a literary genre? What links these two questions? According to Jacques Derrida, Lady Gaga, and other experts, all texts are always already hybrid. In this practicum, we will study—and create—texts that foreground their hybridity, dissolving and deconstructing the conventional boundaries of poetry, fiction, memoir, journalism, etc. Beyond literary hybridity, we will explore works that hybridize inscription with visual art, documentary evidence, film, digital media, t,v., theater, appropriated/found objects, performance, sound, music, noise, commerce, and protest. The politics, aesthetics, and ethics of hybridity will be examined as we conduct our own experiments in a range of derangements of genre. We will pay particularly close attention to works that explore theory/practice hybridity, including fictocriticism, autofiction, metafiction, documentary poetics, gonzo journalism. Ethnography, radical queer culture, and biology will make surprise appearances. Expect to write weekly, read critically, and engage in a variety of hybrid critical/creative practices.