Students will read and respond to short stories by authors with strong ties to the European and North African countries we will visit. Stories by Roberto Bolano, Italo Calvino, C.P. Cavafy, Naguib Mahfouz, Paul Bowles and others will inspire our discussions about the craft of writing and provide examples for students to draw on to create plausible narratives of their own as they navigate the streets, footpaths, mountain trails or plazas of our destinations. Journal assignments will be linked to the reading/port and will consist of a series of exercises or prompts designed to help students establish character and setting by focusing relentlessly on evoking sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Students will present at least two of their written pieces to the class on workshop days. One of the workshop pieces will be the basis for a final short story. A strong interest in reading contemporary fiction is recommended. Prerequisite: introductory class in creative writing, either poetry or fiction.
Introduction to Creative Writing or by permission.
Field WorkCountry: Greece
The field lab for this course will result in students writing a fictional piece inspired by a trip to Delphi, Greece. Delphi is both a modern town and an archeological site. Delphi is also of course the site of the Delphic oracle. During a walking tour of both the modern town and the archeological site students will record observations. They will be given ways to organize their observations and will be encouraged to use figurative language to give clarity, specificity and originality to their written observations. Their notes should list as many sensory details, or details that evoke the senses, as possible from both the modern world and the ancient and include spoken words and phrases as well as "found language," landscape details, tastes, textures, and smells. During the course of the tour they will hear stories, mythological and historical, about the ancient city. Students will be expected to use all or part of one of the stories they hear about the ancient past to tell their own story that must be set in the present or in the recent past. Our trip to Delphi will thus be a source of inspiration on many different levels.