Since 1968, Literary Arts at Brown University has been a creative and intellectual center for the U.S. literary avant-garde. Along with a handful of other writing programs nationwide, Brown provides a home for innovative writers of fiction, poetry, digital language arts and cross-disciplinary. Established in the mid-1960s by poet, translator and critic Edwin Honig, Literary Arts at Brown continues its tradition of hiring and retaining a faculty comprised of nationally and internationally known authors. Each year, the program offers 60 – 70 classes, awards the M.F.A. degree to approximately 12 graduate student writers, and confers Honors on about 35 talented seniors who will have completed the undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts.
For additional information, please visit the department's website: http://brown.edu/academics/literary-arts/home/literary-arts
LITR 0100A. Introduction to Fiction.
A workshop for first year students, introducing them to the art of writing fiction. This course is reading and writing intensive. Enrollment limited to 17. S/NC required. FYS WRIT
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LITR 0100B. Introduction to Poetry.
A workshop for first year students, introducing them to the art of writing poetry. This course is reading and writing intensive. Enrollment limited to 17. S/NC required. FYS WRIT
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LITR 0110A. Fiction I.
A workshop for students who have little or no previous experience in writing fiction. Enrollment limited to 17 per section. This course is limited to undergraduates. S/NC.
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LITR 0110B. Poetry I.
A workshop for students who have little or no previous experience in writing poetry. Enrollment limited to 17 per section. This course is limited to undergraduates. S/NC. WRIT
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LITR 0110D. Digital Language Art I.
Project-oriented workshop for writers, visual/sound artists, filmmakers and programmers who wish to explore digital media techniques. No experience working in this field (or with computer programming) required. You'll learn through doing, reading, talking and collaborating on works in various traditions. Enrollment limited to 17. S/NC. WRIT
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LITR 0110E. Screenwriting I.
This workshop introduces the fundamentals of screenwriting through a variety of readings, exercises and assignments. Our main focus will be on students’ writing, with particular emphasis on exploring the cinematic potential of your stories and themes, and on developing structures that best suit your material and intentions. This course is limited to undergraduates. S/NC. Enrollment limited to 17. WRIT
LITR 0200Z. Faking It: Literature in the Age of the Hoax.
How is society simultaneously constructed and undermined by the persistence of fakes? With its cousins the hoax and the forgery, the fake plays the straw man in much of political, religious, and philosophical discourse, but the fake’s insistence on re-conceiving notions of originality and purity is more substantial. Pursuing a definition of the fake, we will consider its many forms in contemporary society alongside novels that parody and complicate the history of these particular deceptions. Authors include: Borges, Bolano, Ishiguro, Byatt, and McCarthy. Enrollment limited to 17.
LITR 0210A. Fiction Writing II.
Topics often include stylistic matters related to tone and point of view, and structural matters like controlling switches in time. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all intermediate workshops. Enrollment limited to 17. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
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LITR 0210B. Poetry Writing II.
Emphasis is placed on verse strategies, meter, rhythm, imagery and rhyme. Writing includes frequent exercises in various poetic traditions. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all intermediate workshops. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
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LITR 0210D. Digital Language Art II.
Project-oriented workshop for writers, visual/sound artists, filmmakers, and programmers wishing to explore techniques for effective and innovative use of text in digital media. Topics include hypertext narrative, kinetic poetry, and recombinant and computer-generated texts. Collaboration encouraged. Work sample (writing, programming, website) due on first day of semester. Enrollment limited to 17. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 0210E. Screenwriting II.
Emphasis is placed on filmic devices, such as dialogue, voice-over, montage and time. Writing includes frequent exercises. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all intermediate workshops. This course is limited to undergraduates. Enrollment limited to 17. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 0310A. Poetry in Service to Schools and the Community.
We shall be reading, writing and talking about poetry and letting this medium reflect back on other artistic practices -- what it means to live, work & think (in) this way; another key component will be an engagement with community practice through bringing poetry to local schools, a direct personal and enlightening exchange of enlightening ideas and experience. Participants will work independently, in groups, in classes (including this one); you produce, and work with others to produce, art individually as well as communally; you are the gaffer, you are also, and simply, a member of the guild. This feels more like a teacher's enterprise, though I call it, simply, community practice-- what happens when people just put themselves in the position to give their gifts, while allowing, at the same time, others to give equally of themselves. Limited to 17. S/NC. Permission will be granted by the instructor after the first class session. WRIT
LITR 0310B. City/Spaces: An Introduction to Psychogeography.
Psychogeography is an artistic discipline concerned with the subconscious ways in which we respond to and interact with the physical environment of the city. This course will focus on the intersection of psychogeography and text-both narrative and non-narrative- and the possibilities for walking to inform text and narrative. WRIT
LITR 0310C. Ethnic Writing (ETHN 0300).
Interested students must register for ETHN 0300.
LITR 0310D. Imagining the City: Visions from Film and Literature.
This course will look at representations of urban space both in films and fiction, and through the lens of critical writings on the intersections between city space, architecture, film, and narrative. How do cities affect us aesthetically and emotionally? How have film and fiction examined, reinvented and revolutionized urban space in the twentieth century? What is the future of cities? These are some of the questions we'll address through readings, screenings, and discussion. As a class we will do weekly creative writing exercises inspired by the films and designed to explore the ways in which poetic space might be evoked through text.
LITR 0310E. Making the Written Word.
While our primary focus will be on language, we shall explore its relationship to sound, video, and performance. Although no prerequisites are required, students should be competent in visual and language arts — we shall work with equal sensitivity in both. Works created shall interrogate the space between image and text as a single composite medium, therefore illuminating advantages and pitfalls of each. We'll consider works by Linda Montano, Jenny Holzer, Lyn Hejinian, Susan Sontag. Required lab sessions in new technologies (Final Cut Pro, Audacity, Logic, Processing) will provide skills necessary to produce conceptually driven works of digital language art. Enrollment limited to 17. WRIT
LITR 0310F. Visual Poetry.
This interdisciplinary workshop explores the visual possibilities of language. Considering the page as a starting point, we'll create new works between writing and visual art. Through researching early writing systems, concrete poetry, asemic writing and contemporary works, students will gain a deeper understanding of their own practices. We'll examine the works of Dieter Roth, Carl Andre, Sol Lewitt, Aram Saroyan, Kenneth Goldsmith, Rosmarie Waldrop and more. All visual media welcome. "[Blank space on a page means] freedom. The possibility of anything happening. Every mark on that paper is an interruption, an insertion into a kind of peace." -Susan Howe WRIT
LITR 0310G. COMIX: Words + Image.
In this course we will be exploring the expansive genre of comics. You will learn how to read, analyze, compare, and create/write sequential art. This will be done through a variety of readings, in class exercises, discussions, and assignments. We will apply these reading and writing forms to the digital. WRIT
LITR 0310H. Art of Film: An Introduction to Filmmaking.
This is a course in the art of film writing, directing, editing picture and sound, and producing, be it narrative or avant-garde. Students will engage the theory and practice of the art of filmmaking via readings, viewings, writings, and making their own films. S/NC required. WRIT
LITR 0310I. Exploding the Book: An Introduction to Hybrid + Cross-Disciplinary Poetry.
How might poetry exist in three dimensions? In four? How might it interact with images? With sound? With performance? This course invites students to reimagine the ways in which human beings experience text. Exploding The Book is both an introduction to hybrid/cross-disciplinary poetry—poetry intersected with other media including image, sound, video, etc.—as well as a writing workshop. Students will be introduced to hybrid poets and text-based visual artists challenging the possibilities for where and how text exists. Additionally, students will develop a hybrid and experimental writing practice of their own. WRIT
LITR 0310J. The Voice of Text.
The Voice of Text will explore the voice as mediator among text, sound and performance. The vocal instrument will be thoughtfully investigated with examination of extreme and unorthodox iterations of voice/text/sound, including: castrati repertoire, extended technique ranging from Diamanda Galas to black metal, coded shortwave radio transmissions, electronic vocal synthesis and the ecstatic speech of glossolalia. Additionally, voiced text will be given historical context through fiction and poetry, film, theater and music. Through individual and collaborative projects, students will explore a variety of techniques and technologies, harnessing the expressive potential of the voice across a wide variety of disciplines. WRIT
LITR 0510A. Masters and Servants.
We will consider the relationship between servants and masters as portrayed in fiction and films. We shall examine the basic relation of servitude to sovereignty, extrapolating to the broader power dynamics of two-person relationships. Beginning with the Hegelian dialect of the master and the servant, and building as well on a philosophical framework provided by Nietzche, Kojeve and Bataille, we shall look at the complexities of the relationship between masters and servants, exploring the psychological, social and ethical dimensions of two-person relationships that value each person differently. We shall focus on issues of class and power and look at literature and film in which there are explorations of several complicated manifestations of servitude and mastery: overlaps into gender power dynamics and fetishism, power dynamic reversals both to comic and tragic effect, and questions of boundaries and violation of social propriety and human communication. Core texts will include work from Ishiguru, Wodehouse, D.H. Lawrence, Miabeau, Richardson, Bronë, and Stanley Crawford, and film texts will include Joseph Losey's The Servant and Luis Bunuel's Diary of a Chambermaid. FYS
LITR 0510B. Into the Machine.
Starting from Turing's work on artificial intelligence, we shall examine the cultural and artistic ramifications of the rise of the machine, using Marx and Walter Benjamin to provide a framework. We will look at how machines generate anxiety, with special emphasis on robots, puppets and automatons; and we shall also consider utopian and dystopian images of machines, and visions of near and distant futures. Finally we will look at authors who utilize machine models of operation to generate artistic work. Authors and filmmakers include: Capek, E.T.A. Hoffman, Asimov, Lem, Breton, Redonet, Fritz Lang, Chaplin, Tati. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS
LITR 0510C. The Pleasures of the Text.
Enter the radiance of literature, music and film through devotional readings, viewings and listening experiences that will result in a series of weekly creative writing experiments. Dissolve into a narrative or sound or image the way a writer might and return from these experiences inspired and changed. Be prepared for the awe and wonder that only art can afford. Texts may include stories, poems and/or novels by Adler, Baldwin, the Bible, Coetzee, Cortazar, Gluck, Muller, Munro, Morrison, Pancake, Rankine, Schwartz, Wolf and others. Films by Akerman, Anderson, Kurosawa and Herzog. Music by classical, jazz and hip-hop artists. FYS WRIT
LITR 0510D. Why Don’t We Fall In Love?.
How do we fall in love? Why? The title of our seminar was inspired by the 2002 summer pop-hit, written and produced by Rich Harrison, and famously performed by Amerie Rogers. Through poetry, film, and music, we will be critical, clinical, and sometimes implicated observers of the dynamics which structure erotic desire, the selfless (or selfish) ambition of love, and its representations. FYS WRIT
LITR 0610A. Unpublishable Writing.
This workshop explores writing projects which do not fit into conventional avenues of print publication (i.e. books). Through a series of prompted artistic projects we will explore how writing can interweave in new relationships with time, materials, sequence, procedural approaches, performance, and collaboration. Independent research will support your creative projects throughout the semester. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC. FYS
LITR 0610B. Fiction Through Poetry.
This course is designed for poets, fiction writers, and cross-genre enthusiasts interested in looking at narrative as it occurs at the level of the sentence, even the level of the word. We will use a variety of poetic texts as well as other fractured content as a means to think about fiction and the borderlands of storytelling. Students will be given weekly writing exercises. Enrollment limited to 12 first year students. S/NC. FYS
LITR 0610C. Books By Hand.
We shall explore small press publishing and bookmaking from historical, contemporary and hands-on perspectives. Students will be asked to design and carry out small creative projects throughout the semester as well as research particular concerns in the field. Enrollment limited to 12 first year students. S/NC. FYS WRIT
LITR 0610D. Four Performance Texts.
A performance text can be of the past (as documentation), or future (as instructions towards a performance), or present (in the moment it is being written). In this course, we will engage a “deep dive” on four different performance texts – modes of engagement will include reading, performance, analysis, imitation, extrapolation, theorization, collaboration, documentation, and more.
LITR 0710. Writers on Writing Seminar.
Offers students an introduction to the study of literature (including works from more than one genre) with special attention given to a writer's way of reading. This course will include visits to the course by contemporary writers who will read to the class and talk about their work. Enrollment limited to 19 first year students. FYS WRIT
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LITR 0900A. Classic Short Stories.
This course introduces you to a selection of works by important writers of the short story. We shall explore the richness and diversity of short fiction through close reading and discussion, affording you an appreciation of the short story in general and of our writers' countries and histories in particular. Our focus will be on authorial strategies and themes explored. Artistic and political movements will be introduced as they impact the works. Furthermore, you will learn the appropriate terminology as tools for textual and critical analysis. Finally, this course will to develop your capacity for self-expression.
LITR 0999. Graphic Novels and Comic Masterworks.
Focused on the influence of graphic novels and comic art, this course examines graphic novels and comic art from seminal texts like Art Spiegleman's Maus through a range of mainstream and independent comics from Marjane Satrapi, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, David B., Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes, Frank Miller, and many others, including graphic memoir, reportage, and Indie and DIY zines. The course explores image and language in collaboration, seeking a better understanding of this influential genre. Assignments are critical and creative, both individual and collaborative, and will involve daily reading and writing assignments. Enrollment limited to 20. WRIT
LITR 1010A. Advanced Fiction.
The writing of short stories or longer works in progress in regular installments, along with appropriate exercises and reading assignments. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all advanced workshops. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1010B. Advanced Poetry.
Course work includes a body of exercises, close reading of poetry, workshop conversations and conferences. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all advanced workshops. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
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LITR 1010C. Advanced Playwriting.
Course work includes a body of exercises, significant reading, workshop conversations and conferences. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all advanced workshops. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1010D. Advanced Digital Language Arts.
An advanced writing working for which participants produce, individually or in collaborative arrangements, a significant work of language-driven, digitally-mediated art in networked and programmable media. This work will be given historical and critical context, as participants become more aware of what it is they are doing when they use digital systems to write, or when they create instruments for and of writing. Throughout the course — and especially before final projects become the focus — there will be seminar-style reading and discussion: readings from other works of digital language art and from selected critical writing in the field. WRIT
LITR 1010E. Advanced Screenwriting.
The writing of short screenplays or a longer work in progress in regular installments, along with a body of exercises, workshop conversations and conferences. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all advanced workshops. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
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LITR 1010F. Advanced Translation.
Translation draws from many fields including linguistics, comparative literature, literary studies, anthropology, cultural studies, cognitive science, and creative writing. While we consider different theories and approaches to translation, students will embark on a semester-length translation project. Expect to read and energetically discuss readings, to give a presentation on your ongoing translation, and to write a critical essay and numerous translation exercises on your way toward completing a manuscript in translation (the length of which will be determined by the work itself and an agreement between professor and student). Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1010G. Writing3D.
An advanced experimental workshop for writing in immersive 3D, introducing text, sound, spatial poetics, and narrative movement into Brown's Legacy Cave (now house in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts) with links to the YURT (Yurt Ultimate Reality Theater in the Center for Computation and Vixualization). An easy-to-learn and easy-to-use application allows non-programmers to create projects on laptops and then to run them in immersive 3D audiovisuality without the necessity for specialist support. Broadly interdisciplinary, the course encourages collaboration between students with different skills in different media, who work together to discover a literary aesthetic in artificially rendered space. WRIT
LITR 1110B. American Political Drama.
What exactly is an American political play? We'll examine issues of personal freedom, community rights, and the positioning of public power. Are we different from the myths of America? Political theater enables us to see our moral choices and aspirations. From Aristophanes to Suzan-Lori Parks, we will look at various political texts while we attempt to create new approaches to the writing of American Political Theater. WRIT
LITR 1110E. Innovative Narrative.
Stereotexts: a project-driven writing workshop focused on innovative multidimensional approaches to narrative. Projects using two or more media such as print and digital formats or texts and sound, filmed text, hyperfictions, narratives with multiple voices or even multiple spaces, text installations, fictions that put contraries into play, etc., are all welcome. Writing samples and project descriptions required. WRIT
LITR 1110F. Narrative Strategies.
A course essentially geared to the creative and critical writer interested in experimenting with some of the narrative structures suggested by the great films. To include films of Akerman, Antonioni, Eisenstein, Hou Hsiao, Hsien, Goddard, marker, Tarkovsky and others and texts by Duras, Sebald and Vittorini. Instructor permission required. WRIT
LITR 1110G. Narrative Voice: Fact and Fiction.
No description available. WRIT
LITR 1110J. The Short Story.
Experiments in writing; extensive reading in traditional and experimental collections of fiction in shorter forms. Writing samples of no more than ten pages should be left at 68 1/2 Brown Street on the first day of the semester. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1110L. Aspects of Contemporary Prose Practice.
Using Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus, Tayeb Saleh's The Weddingof Zein and Other Stories, Luis Bernard Honwana's We Killed Mangy Dog, and Our Sister Killjoy, this course will look at prose narrative in contemporary African Literature, for a background to general narrative practice. Among areas of special interest, the course will examine the contents and structure of the short story, not as an abbreviated novel, but as an autonomous genre. We shall also look at literature in translation, and discuss what the reader loses in the process if anything, and how much that matters, if at all. Students will be expected to work on short stories and novel chapters. Instructor permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1110M. Stereotexts: Experimental Multidimensional Fiction Workshop.
A project-driven writing workshop focused on innovative multidimensional approaches to narrative. Projects using two or more media such as print and digital formats or text and sound, filmed text, hyperfictions, narratives with multiple voices or even multiple spaces, text installations, fictions that put contraries into play, etc., all are welcome submissions. WRIT
LITR 1110N. Workshop for Potential Literature.
A novel without the letter "E", 100,000-billion sonnets by permutation and texts that take the shape of a Mobius-Strip-- all this time and more, as workshop participants try their hands in writing in response to problems created by and inspired by a group of writers engaged in strange constraints and procedures. Instructor permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1110O. Hybrid Texts, Hybrid Thinking.
In neither being fiction, poetry, memoir, theory, nor art writing but a crossing of these genres, the hybrid text proffers an open and complexly layered environment for engaging questions of perception, knowledge and articulation. In this course, we will study exemplary works of literature and venture briefly into visual art. Both critical and creative responses will be required. WRIT
LITR 1110P. Alternative Scriptwriting: Writing Beyond the Rules.
This course will consider various screenwriting genres and how to write against genre or extend the traditional screenwriting forms. Students applying must have already completed either a 90+ page screenplay or have taken Advanced Playwriting (LITR 1010C) or Advanced Screenwriting (LITR 1010E) at Brown. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1110R. Performance Dimensions of Text.
This workshop (modeled on a traditional "atelier") explores the relationships between the performative and the printed/textual, asking in particular how the page can serve as a dynamic blueprint for sound, video, movement, and theatrical practice. Weekly examples of works that have pushed the boundaries of literary genres by incorporating performative elements will be combined with student experimentation in long and short pieces. As an interdisciplinary workshop, this course invites students from all backgrounds. S/NC. Instructor's permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. WRIT
LITR 1110S. Fiction into Film.
A study of various directors' attempts to transfer masterpieces of fiction into film. Concerning both genres we will ask Gertrude Stein's question: What are masterpieces, and why are there so few of them? Includes fiction by Austen, Bierce, Carter, Cowley, Doyle, Faulkner, Forster, Fowles, Kesey, Joyce, McCullers, Morrison, Nabokov, O'Connor, Thompson, Walker, Spielberg, Woolf, Yamamoto as directed by Burton, Forman, Felini, Gilliam, Huston, Jordan, Kurasawa, Lee, Potter, and others. Class and weekly screenings. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150A. Ecopoetics in Practice.
What we have perpetrated on our environment has certainly affected a poet's means and material. But can poetry be ecological or display values that acknowledge the economy of interrelationship between human and non-human realms? Aside from issues of theme and reference, how might syntax, line break, or the shape of the poem on the page express an ecological ethics? How might poetry register the complex interdependency that draws us into a dialogue with the world? Readings, discussion, essays and creative writing. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all special topics workshop/seminars. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150B. The Foreign Home: Interdisciplinary Arts.
Project-centered workshop for exploration beyond one's "home" genre, whether in video, poetry, fiction, music, performance or visual arts. Contemporary and art-historical interdisciplinary works will ground our investigation into the tension between expertise and "beginner's mind". Collaborative and individual work expected. See general course description above for entry procedures for all special topics workshops/seminars. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150C. Unpublishable Writing.
Before becoming the dominant form of book-marking, "the codex" meant a tree stump where criminals were tied. After examining conventions of western print culture, we will explore literary practices which are performative, sculptural, multimedia, or out-scale. Through the course is primarily for creative projects, critical research will also be expected. WRIT
LITR 1150E. Strange Attractors: Adaptations/Translations.
A workshop for students from all genres and disciplines to explore adaptation as creative process. Adaptation can be between any genres and from any source. See general course description above for entry procedures for all special topics workshops/seminars. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150F. Home and Abroad.
This course combines seminar and workshop sessions for students with special interest in the writing of novels and short fiction. Attention will be given to the ways certain English and American writers - Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, Graham Greene - have interpreted the lives of people in other and foreign cultures. These are classic examples of the meeting of insiders and outsiders in the house of fiction. Instructor permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. WRIT
LITR 1150G. Books by Hand.
As both a seminar and workshop, this course will explore small press publishing and bookmaking from historical, contemporary and hands-on perspectives. Students will be asked to design and carry out small creative projects throughout the semester as well as research particular concerns in the field. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all special topics workshop/seminars. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150H. Latin American Poetry Live.
We focus on 18 essential poets from Latin America. If you do not weep and run naked shouting through the streets of Providence you will not have read the poems closely. Bilingualism is not a prerequisite, but all the texts are bilingual and we will consider translation issues in a way that is accessible to and engaging for everyone. Several of the poems we consider are book length magisterial works. The poems are political, erotic, domestic, colloquial, innovative, or incendiary, and sometimes all at once. This section does not require permission from instructor. WRIT
LITR 1150I. The Lyric Essay.
Advanced level workshop for graduates and undergraduates to explore the possibilities of creative nonfiction in a radical or hybrid mode. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all special topics workshop/seminars. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150J. The Cinematic Essay.
A creative writing seminar in which we take the Essay Film as the primary inspiration for weekly writing exercises. Works by Marker, Godard, Ivens, Resnais, Varda, Akerman, Herzog, Morris, Su Friedrich, Sadie Benning and Trihn Mon-Ha to be included. Also writing by Cannetti, Gass, Handke, Cha, Hong Kingston and more. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all special topics workshop/seminars. Written permission required. S/NC. Students MUST register for the lecture section and the screening. WRIT
LITR 1150M. Short Fiction Experiments.
A course in fiction which pushes against the very definitions of stories and fictions. Using short forms, we will examine our habits and assumptions of story telling and engage in willful adventures of mind, spirit, and language. Prerequisites include a passion for trying everything and anything once. No prior writing experience needed. Written permission required. WRIT
LITR 1150N. The Novella: An Adventure in Writing.
In this workshop/seminar, we will explore the ever elusive world of the novella - how to think of this work, what the rules are, where the boundaries lay. Alongside their reading of writers such as Marguerite Dumas and Michael Ondaatje, students will embark on their own novella-writing journeys. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150P. John Cage and Meditative Poetics.
Primarily an interdisciplinary literature course, we will experience the writing and thinking of John Cage in the context of a wider exploration of creative process with a basis in american and european interpretations of Buddhist practice and thought. We will explore the work of contemporary artists such as Bill Viola, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, as well as Samuel Beckett and others. Students in the course will be expected to write in both creative and critical modes. Instruction in basic meditation practice is recommended but optional throughout the semester. Written permission required. WRIT
LITR 1150Q. Reading, Writing and Thinking for the Stage.
Composed of contemporary dramatic literature for playwrights. Contemporary texts are studied. Use of each author's dramatic techniques, the influence of the times on his drama, his themes, the demands of market driven theater and popular art considered. Simultaneously students will write an original 60-page manuscript. Students applying must have already completed plays of 60 pages or have advanced playwriting experience. Written permission required. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150R. Exemplary Ancient Fictions.
We shall discuss and examine a selection of pre-Gutenberg narratives from Gilgamesh and Genesis through Ovid and fairytales and medieval romance, with a focus on the ancient art of narrative. We shall also try our hands at exercises in the alternative fictional strategies these works suggest. Course entry based on the submission of a writing sample (and in-class writing in response to an assignment) at the first class session. WRIT
LITR 1150S. What Moves at the Margins.
A multi-genre seminar/workshop based on fiction, non-fiction and dramatic literature that has been banned or otherwise marginalized because it is critical, interrogative and alternative. Weekly writing exercises based on readings and discussions in class. A term project is required. For students who love literature. For admission, students may submit fiction, non-fiction or drama. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150T. Foreign Home.
Project-centered workshop for exploration beyond one's "home" genre, whether in video, poetry, fiction, music, performance or visual arts. Contemporary and art-historical interdisciplinary works will ground our investigation into the tension between expertise and "beginner's mind". Collaborative and individual work expected. Instructor's permission required. WRIT
LITR 1150U. Prose City: The Making of Spatial Texts.
In this workshop/seminar, we will explore, through selected reading and writing exercises, some basic questions of "writing city": how is place captured, encompassed; how can the city emerge in language as a character, an event, as reflective space; how do we enter the city; how do we recognize its borders? Students will be asked to create a portfolio of texts for an imagined city, as well as to think through concepts such as "structure," "location," "encounter," and "identity" as they occur in the paragraph. Instructor's permission required. WRIT
LITR 1150V. The Novel in Brief.
This workshop/seminar takes the novel form on a wild ride as it investigates concepts such as compression, fragmentation, miniaturization, and sequencing in the construction of narratives. Students will be required to write their own brief novel over the course of the semester. Writing sample due at first class session. Instructor permission given after review of manuscripts. Enrollment limited to 12. WRIT
LITR 1150W. Clown Aesthetics.
Clown as literary structure and trope as well as character will be our focus. We will ask if this "clown aesthetic" exists, could exist, should or might continue to exist -- in fiction, performance, and film in particular. Clowning of all kinds considered from history, theory, literary and performing arts. Graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplines invited. This workshop course includes individual research as well as collaborative projects. Come to first class for permission. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150X. Reading, Writing and Thinking.
We will explore various ways to engage with a work of art in order to fuel one's imagination and projects. Close textual reading of several books with writing assignments based on the readings. Writers will include Woolf, Stein, Beckett, Coetze, Kertesz and others. Writing samples due at first class session. Instructor permission given after review of manuscripts. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC. WRIT
LITR 1150Y. Fiction Through Poetry.
This course is designed for poets, fiction writers, and cross-genre enthusiasts interested in looking at narrative as it occurs at the level of the sentence, even the level of the word. We will use a variety of poetic texts as well as other fractured content as means to think about fiction, and the borderlands of storytelling. Instructor permission required (bring a writing sample to the first class meeting). Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC WRIT
LITR 1150Z. Reading for Writers.
We will look closely and deeply and with a writer's passion and agenda to the various formal decisions used in a variety of astonishing and evocative texts with the objective of utilizing some of these strategies in weekly compositions of our own. Writers include: Aria, Berssenbrugge, Coetzee, Kertesz, Kincaid, Lispector, Mueller. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151B. Figures of Thought.
What can you say about what can’t be said, and what form does such a saying take? From the gnostic gospels to Agamben, Yeats to Yves Bonnefoy, we'll follow these fleeting figures of thought and their messages. We will read a variety of writings from the deep past to the present. These writings will come in a variety of forms but illuminate a path ahead of the one we daily follow. Students will keep journals that respond to the world and writing and bring these as material for discussion in class. Each one will give a presentation during the term. WRIT
LITR 1151C. Virginia Woolf: Four Novels.
This is a class for writers and will entail close devotional readings of the texts and weekly writing experiments based on methods, motions, patterns, rhythms, abstractions and other narrative strategies employed by the novels. We'll read the following books by Woolf: Jacob's Room, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts. S/NC required. Writing samples due at first class meeting. WRIT
LITR 1151D. Art of Film.
This is a course in the art of film writing, directing, editing picture and sound, and producing, be it narrative or avant-garde. Students will engage the theory and practice of the art of filmmaking via readings, viewings, writings, and making their own films. Each student will complete four films from initial conception to the final film in a collaborative environment. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151E. Latin American Death Trip.
Death is the subject of many of the greatest (most moving, innovative, funny, haunting, political, oneiric) Latin American poems of the 20th century, from Gorostiza’s Death without End to Villaurrutia’s Nostalgia for Death to Saenz’ The Night. What particularities of culture, gender, age, faith or experience might account for the visionary clarity of death as constant companion or permeable border, etc.? What makes the poems great? Our class will read classic Latin American books in bilingual editions (so Spanish literacy is not a requirement, but we will talk about translation issues). DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151F. Choose Your Own Adventure.
This game is lit. I mean this Lit is a game. How do the design elements of a novel resemble the design elements of a game? And to what extent have interactive [video] games been designed with novelistic conceits? Your adventure begins here, starting with what lies at the dark heart of the literary adventure genre (Defoe, Conrad, Behn). We’ll sojourn at contemporary indie video games (Undertale, Walking Dead, Broken Age, Gone Home), along the way analyzing how “choice” is utilized to build reciprocal fictions. We will also undertake semester-long projects—creating our own “Choose Your Own Adventure”s. WRIT
LITR 1151G. Everything Emily.
This is a course that wallows in Emily Dickinson—one of the most important poets at the foundations of American poetry and, still today, one of our most exacting and most experimental practitioners. No one in the ensuing 150 years has surpassed her radical modes of expression, invention, and vision. We will engage with her poetry, her letters, her biography, and many of the works of criticism, visual art, film, and poetry that her work has inspired, as well as exploring the Dickinson collections in Brown’s Hay Library and visiting her Amherst home. WRIT
LITR 1151H. Discomfort.
Comfort is overrated! This course is an invitation to leave our comfort zones and dive into texts that invite us to rethink the way we view history, the world, fiction, writing, race relations etc. We will read recommended texts and discuss them in class. Discussions will include but not be limited to the narrative techniques employed by the writers and our response to the texts, both as readers and as writers. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151I. Remaster + Remix.
This workshop/seminar will use the intuition, logic and esthetics of popular music forms such as punk, house, dub step, reggae and blues to delve into the complex connections between a selection of classic novels and versions of these novels retold. What tensions get reset when writers on an empire’s margin write back? What assumptions get shifted when women refocus a novel’s concerns? What are the possibilities and dangers in reconstructing classics while trying to mash them up? And why are we breathless when a stylist riffs? French Antillean notions of creolité will offer guidance. Main guide—the books. WRIT
LITR 1151J. Bob Marley: Lyrics and Legend.
Bob Marley is one of the most accomplished songwriters of all time. We're going to engage with the lyrics of this postcolonial Caribbean writer; contemplate him as a subject of memoirs, biographies and documentaries; and explore him as a figure in the creative imaginations of novelists and poets such as Marlon James and Lorna Goodison. We're also going to look at reggae as an important literary esthetic. And of course listen to a lot of his music. Special attention will be paid to the albums and singles produced under the guidance of Lee "Scratch" Perry. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151K. Art of Assemblage: Collage, Reportage + Re-Appropriation.
In this class we will examine works of literature that challenge and re-imagine the poetic form using re-purposed text, research, fragment and image to enter into conversation with history and contemporary culture, and illuminate the every day realities of life. We’ll explore the use and effect of collage in visual work and music, and investigate how the form operates when transformed for the page through reading, class discussion, and creative writing exercises. DPLL
LITR 1151L. World Tour: Recent Poetry in Translation.
This is a reading, writing, translation, and discussion class. Commit to a vigorous combination of all four. Some translation theory will be reviewed, but the emphasis of the course is upon models of translations. Texts will include translations of books by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Jean Fremon, Yoshimasu Gozo, Kim Hysoon, Anja Utler, Adonis, and others. Enrollment limited to 12. S/NC DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151M. Cross-Fertilizations: Text-Based Performance.
Gabrielle Civil is a conceptual and performance artists whose stated aim is to "open up space." With that in mind, the aim of this course is to open up -- and engage -- multiple spaces of language as it operates in the interstices of poetry, visual art, music, performance, shamanism, documentation, and activism. Among the texts we shall read are those by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Yoko Ono, LaTasha N. Nevada-Diggs -- through them, we shall consider how performed language can activate various forms of engagement, perception, dissemination and understanding. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1151O. Ideas of Narration Before Don Quixote.
We shall read fictional narratives (and some narrative poetry) from the first moments of preserved literature up to Don Quixote, for clues about how earlier writers thought about form and narration. Of what was narrative fashioned before “omniscience” was a relevant term? Before there was a science of psychology that could speak to the protagonists? What can we say about the diversity and unpredictability of early narrative writing, and how does that contrast with the more consistent look and feel of the nineteenth century? How can these “ancient fictions” inform an interest in narrative innovation and formal ingenuity today?
LITR 1151P. Documentary Poetics.
This course will explore 20th and 21st century documentary poetic texts to provide points of discussion and inspiration for our own investigative poetry. We’ll look at a range of works, from those confronting the legal record to those creating their own record of the infraordinary quotidian (Perec’s term), and discuss the various aesthetic, ethical, social, and procedural questions raised. Participants will be asked to develop and create their own final documentary poetry projects. Readings will include works by Reznikoff, Niedecker, Williams, M. NourbeSe Philip, C.D. Wright, Bernadette Mayer, Cole Swensen, Raúl Zurita, Anne Carson, Cristina Rivera-Garza, and many others.
LITR 1151Q. Great Adventure.
This hybrid seminar/prose workshop will take you to Antarctica, Japan, France, Cambodia, outer space—and to other places too. But much of your writing will be about yourself. Your cross-genre wandering through novels, essays, and indefinable hybrid works by a fascinating list of thinkers and stylists, will lead to questions about your own sense of place, belonging, contextual otherness, and the pleasures, powers and implications of your gaze. You'll search for answers through the medium of your own creative work—lyric essays, fictional vignettes, pictures. WRIT
LITR 1151R. Ecstatic Alphabets: Poetry by Other Means.
How to do things with words? How to do words with things? The latter is a question whose answers might prove as—if not more—compelling than its familiar inverse. Both are at the core of this course focusing on interdisciplinary works for which notions intrinsic to poetry serve as either springboard or endpoint. We will study contemporary examples as well as historical antecedents, and will experiment with producing genre-defying works that animate the written word. Among the strategies we will cover are verbivocovisual works, cut-ups and collage, sound poetry and concrete poetry, happenings, agitprop, poets theater, and dance. WRIT
LITR 1151S. Fan_Fic.
Fan fiction is a thing, right? And, let's be honest, we all secretly love this kinda thing! O, to relive those Microsoft '95 nights spent reading semi-romantic Legend of Zelda fan fiction... What compels us to reinvent the stories we're already attached to? The texts we might consider fan fiction exist on a spectrum somewhere between high literary and kitsch, between Milton and My Immortal. If not a proper genre, let's imagine that fan fiction is a particular (perhaps ancient) practice of literary mimesis. The question is whether it's possible to create a wholly original derivative. WRIT
LITR 1151T. Poetry for Healing Territories.
The texts we’ll be reading in this seminar/workshop address the will to heal and recuperate after loss. These are poets with courage enough to reclaim lost territory—and from their reclamations, we too are given permission to claim that which we’ve lost, that which has been taken, and that which is constantly pursued and harassed in us. How are these poets able to write through dissolution in a way that substantiates healing? What is gained in every/any instance of loss? WRIT
LITR 1151U. Literatura Puertorriqueña: Cruce-Ficctiones y Contra-Poemas.
The purpose of this course is to analyze the myriad ways Puerto Rico and the United States have influenced each other through literature, music, and art. In 1898, the island was ceded to the U.S. by Spain following the Spanish American war. Since then, an ongoing exchange (often one-sided) regarding the political status of the island and its people has informed a wealth of literary materials, musical hybridity, and radically avant-garde arts. WRIT
LITR 1151V. Black Box Poetics.
We live in an age when most of the language we read and write runs through proprietary digital systems we do not understand. Accordingly, this course approaches poetry in terms of code[s], data collection, overflow, opacity, and one-way mirrors. We will consider ununderstandability itself as an aesthetic property, discuss compositional strategies of selective clarity and obscurity, and use poetics to probe the unknowable. We will look closely at source code, but our purposes will be more conceptual than technical. No coding experience is required. WRIT
LITR 1151W. The Restless Desk: Hybrid Writing, Performance, Collaboration.
Immersion in a range of writing possibilities linked to performance and collaboration. Assigned readings will explore multiple genres, theory, and engage writing prompts that are ”experiments of attention”, working with voice, instrumentation, movement, visuals, improvisation. We will invoke “documentary poetics” as a method that engages inquiry and research and consider historical and contemporary literary performance practices. Students will design semester-long creative projects out of these multiple trajectories. Several guest musicians, performers, writers will be visiting. We will have use of the University’s recording studio and prepare a final class performance.
LITR 1151X. Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop: Translation of Concept.
Art-making is as an act of translation – a thought, process, question, object, declaration, desire, system, or intention is filtered through the artist and subsequently finds new existence in the form of art. This project-centered workshop is a cross-genre exploration of that filter, where participants working in differing genres will be asked to engage a wide range of materials to “translate” into their art-making process. Please be prepared to write, dance, sing, mix, draw, ask, reach, and fail, in and out of your comfort zone. Individual and collaborative work expected. For writers, dancers, architects, musicians, painters, digital artists, “non-artists.” Written permission required.
LITR 1151Y. Against Genre.
An experimental workshop in creative writing hybridized with other forms--not only literary work that does not adhere to traditional genres, like prose-poetry, but writing that includes video, or music, or collage, and which includes practices like appropriation and non-traditional distribution. Including weekly reading assignments (Kenneth Goldsmith, Paul Metcalf, W. G. Sebald, Robert Smithson, Vito Acconci, the Surrealists, Public Enemy/The Bomb Squad, Shelley Jackson, Thalia Field, etc.), weekly writing prompts, one oral presentation.
LITR 1200. Writers on Writing.
Offers students an introduction to the study of literature (including works from more than one genre) with special attention given to a writer's way of reading. This course will include visits to the course by contemporary writers, who will read to the class and talk about their work. Enrollment is limited to 30 students.
LITR 1220A. History and Practice of English Versification.
An opportunity to study through reading and imitating poems that represent a variety of poetic eras and traditions. S/NC.
LITR 1220B. Samuel Beckett.
This course will mark the centenary of the author by reading and discussing a range of works from Samuel Beckett's substantial output of fiction, poetry, drama and translation.
LITR 1220C. The Cantos in their Environment.
A reading of Pound's Cantos, with attention to their origin and developments, their background and their influence.
LITR 1220D. The Bible as Literary Source.
A survey of the English Bible and its presence in English and American literature. Students will learn to notice and account for Biblical echoes in a wide variety of writings from several cultures.
LITR 1220E. Dada and Surrealism.
Two of the most famous modernist movements, studied through their writings, their visual arts, their performances, and their manifestoes; their origins and influence; their place in history. S/NC.
LITR 1220F. Restoration Drama.
A survey of English drama and theatrical practice from the reopening of the theaters at the Restoration to the early eighteenth century. Works of the major playwrights, including Dryden, Congreve, Wycherly, Gay. S/NC.
LITR 1220G. The Waste Land and After.
We shall examine Eliot's poem, and then deal with early poems by W.H. Auden and the work of Charles Williams and David Jones. S/NC
LITR 1230C. Poetry Newly in Translation in English.
This is a reading, writing. translation, and discussion class. Commit to a vigorous combination of all four. Some translation theory will be reviewed, but the emphasis of the course is upon models of translations. Texts will include works by Iva Blatny, Inger Christensen, Luljeta Lleshanaku, David Huerta, Takashi Hiraide; new translations of Rimbaud and Baudelaire and others. Enrollment limited to 20. S/NC
LITR 1230D. Poetry, Mind, World.
How does the poetic mind negotiate between an account of itself and an account of the world? How have poets used landscape as a model of mind, as an erotics, as elegy? Merleau-Ponty, Hardy, Houle, Alexander, Dewdney, Hass, D'Aquino, Audubon and others. Presentation, several short essays, a poem, and one final essay.
LITR 1230E. Form and Theory of Fiction.
"Form and Theory of Fiction" offers an exploration of narrative theories directed particularly at creative writers, in conjunction with a hands-on examination of contemporary fictional narrative practices. Theoretical readings include historical essays on fiction and work by Gaston Bachelard, Mieke Bal, Gilles Deleuze, and others. Enrollment limited to 20.
LITR 1230F. Writing, Reading City.
In this course, we will explore correlations, points of convergence, and possible mimesis between city and text. Students will be expected to keep a weekly journal, to have a city in question, and to write both imaginatively and critically in response to readings and class discussion.
LITR 1230G. Master Poets of Apartheid Streets: Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Margaret Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks.
With the theme of "Slavery and Justice" in recent Brown University review,  "Master Poets of Apartheid Streets: Perpetual Resistance against de jure and de facto Segregation" is the formal and precise embouchure as Critical Realism which legislates as antidote to pernicious social, economic and educational racism: the aesthetic stance of this seminar is "An Integer Is a Whole Number." Through close attention to the conventions of poetry as praxis by these four master poets, in social context, the modality of this study is poetic discourse (what Frederick Douglass called "a sacred effort" in Douglass' description of President A. Lincoln's 'Second Inaugural.' Peripheral insights will be provided by Brown University researchers of the past: Charles H. Nichols, Winthrop Jordan, Richard Slotkin, in their three dissertations, and James R. Patterson's most recent book on "Brown v. Board of Education." Written permission required. Enrollment limited to 20. S/NC.
LITR 1230H. Being in Time.
In this discussion-based course, we will examine the many roles time plays in the building of narratives as well as its impact on contemporary concepts of self. We will use both literary and philosophical texts to explore the spaces between time and perception, time and memory, time and experience, and time and grammar. Written permission required.
LITR 1230I. The Documentary Vision in New Literature of the Americas.
A study of genre-defiant works, lyric treatments, atypical narratives, film poems, etc., including works by Anne Carson, Elena Poniatowska, W.S. Merwin, Maggie Nelson, Raoul Zurita and others. Enrollment limited to 20.
LITR 1230J. Writing: Material Differences.
An exploration of practices that make a material difference to writing, that may change what writing is in specific cultural circumstance and locations. We will look for such differences through transcultural and translingual experiments with writing, beginning "West" and moving "East." We will engage with a selection of widely divergent writers and genres, with emphases on poetics - particularly a translated rendition of Chinese poetics (such as was taken up by Pound and became influential in English literature) - and on theories that we can use for our practice, from: Fenollosa, Foucault, Derrida, and others. Enrollment limited to 20. DPLL
LITR 1230K. Latin American Death Trip.
Death is the subject of many of the greatest (most moving, innovative, funny, haunting, political, oneiric) Latin American poems of the 20th century, from Gorostiza's Death without End to Villaurrutia's Nostalgia for Death to Saenz' The Night. What is up with Latin Americans and death? What particularities of culture, gender, age, faith or experience might account for the visionary clarity of death as constant companion or permeable border, etc.? What makes the poems great? We shall read classic Latin American books in bilingual editions (so Spanish literacy is not a requirement, but we'll talk about translation issues). Students will be expected to participate in literary discussions, to write essays and a death poem. Enrollment limited to 20.
LITR 1230L. Eros: Hot and Sour.
Literature, early and late, distant and near, at the intersection of love and loathing. A seminar on selected texts deriving their blood from poetry, their flesh from fiction, their anatomy from form and theory. Including works by Rikki Ducornet, Anne Carson, Roland Barthes, Helen Cixous, Gertrude Stein, Catullus, Henry Miller, et al. Enrollment limited to 20.
LITR 1230M. Poetry and Ethics (COLT 1812J).
Interested students must register for COLT 1812J.
LITR 1230N. Robert Coover -- Foremost Storyteller.
We shall examine the works of contemporary American fiction writer, Robert Coover. During his long, celebrated career, Coover has imaginatively responded to writers and forms that have come before him. We'll investigate how Coover appropriates earlier traditions and think about how he simultaneously preserves and subverts literary traditions. We shall consider such concepts as myth, religion, and history, and determine how Coover applies these. We'll focus on authorial strategies and themes explored. Furthermore, we'll define literary terminology as a tools for textual and critical analysis. Finally, through this experience you can develop or refine the capacity for self-expression and communication. Enrollment limited to 20. WRIT
LITR 1230O. Suppression and Invention in Modern Persian Literature.
This course begins with symbolic elements from classical mystic Persian literature and journeys into pre- and post-revolution Persian short fiction and poetry. We shall analyze creative responses to restricted expression, study efforts to modernize in a variety of genres, and finish with the rise of the woman writer in Iran. Enrollment limited to 20.
LITR 1230P. The New Wave in Iranian Cinema.
We shall explore this movement that produced remarkable award-winning films in Iran. Applying author (auteur) theory, we will study new Iranian movies, analyzing "signs and meaning" in their cinematic language, also investigating effects of Iranian culture on this new artistic wave. Enrollment limited to 20. S/NC
LITR 1230Q. London Consequences.
This course focuses upon a selection of British prose from the 1960s and 1970s, and gives particular attention to post-war literary history in Britain, autobiographical fiction and the legacy of neo-modernism. We'll consider the work of, among others, Anna Kavan, J.G. Ballar, Nicholas Mosley, Muriel Spark, Christine Brooke-Rose, Stefan Themerson, Ann Quin and B.S. Johnson, along with (if available) London Consequences, a collaborative novel co-edited by Johnson. WRIT
LITR 1230T. The Origins of the Detective Story.
This class will explore the development of the Detective genre, focusing on its roots in the 19th century and considering more broadly how genres develop and change. Readings include E.T.A. Hoffmann's "Mademoiselle de Scudery", Edgar Allan Poe's Auguste Dupin stories, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Martin Hewett, and selections from Detection by Gaslight and The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime. We will also look at theoretical texts, including Franco Moretti's "Clues". This course fulfills Literary Arts' pre-20th century literature requirement. Enrollment limited to 20.
LITR 1230U. Samuel Beckett.
This course will examine the works of Samuel Beckett--novels, plays and stories--from the beginning of his career to his death. We will read the majority of Beckett's work, with a major focus on his novel trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable) and on the other work Beckett published between 1948 and 1961 (especially Endgame and How It Is). WRIT
LITR 1230V. Why Don't We Fall in Love?.
We focus here on intersections of the erotic and poetry. How do we fall in love? Why? We will explore joy and happiness, love and lust, devotion and seduction. We will also, unfortunately, explore longing, heartbreak, jealousy, unrequited love. We will explore, through literature and film, the ageless enigma that prompted Ruth Stone to proclaim, "there is no choice among the voices / of love..." WRIT
LITR 1230W. Spectroscopy: [Identifying] Black Bodies in Narrative.
We shall focus on character development and narrative structure through the formation and presence of textual and cinematic black bodies. Our discussions will focus on the identification of that which is not allowed to speak -- the prototypical foil (Caliban), the other (Man Friday), the black body (Jim). How are narratives (how are we) shaped by that which cannot be acknowledged? DPLL WRIT
LITR 1230X. The New Long Poem.
An energetic study of powerful, book-length poems recently published in English, including texts as core to 20th c. literature as Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo to books as archly exacting as John Ashbery's Flow Chart, as affably innovative as Lyn Hejinian's My Life, as ingeniously formal as Inger Christiansen's alphabet and as unruly as Frank Stanford's The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You. Also: Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day, Evan S. Connell’s Notes Found in a Bottle on a Beach at Carmel, W.S. Merwin’s The Folding Cliffs, and the intra-genre Cecilia Vicuna’s Spit Temple. WRIT
LITR 1230Z. Syncretic Gods.
Is it possible to kill a God? What happens within a generation to change the face of a God? To change the nature of a God itself? In this course we will research the various transformations of the myths of Yoruba deities as they too traverse middle passage in the suffocating holds of merchant ships. We will commit to the (subversive) task of imagining and re-imagining the myths of the Orishas. Using as a foundation the seventeen drawings in Cuban artist Alberto del Pozo’s Orichas series, we will cover the storied lives of these our immortal and syncretic Gods. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1231A. Time Mechanics: Poetry as Translation.
This seminar focuses on experimental translations and transcreations in the spirit of Spicer’s claim in After Lorca: “A poet is a time mechanic not an embalmer.” Various approaches to leading a text across the time and space divide will be studied. If for Pound to “make new” is to look elsewhere, for Zukofsky it’s to listen closely. If Hawkey’s Ventrakl posits the poem’s decomposition over time, Bang gives us a current, self-obsolescing version of Dante’s hell. And while Hsia Yü’s poems stage the clash of analogue and digital transmission technologies, Brandon Brown offers contemporary readers Fleur du mal version 2.0. WRIT
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LITR 1231B. The Enchantment of Re-Imagining.
The author, Sam Leith, likened the recent Jane Austen project (in which six authors are tasked with rewriting Jane Austen for a modern audience) to “writing fiction as literary criticism.” In this course, we are invited to think more speculatively about the role of re-imagination in literature and society by reading texts which do not only re-imagine the past by reframing history but which also re-imagine life and the present to offer us an alternate view. In some cases, these texts re-write existing classics. We will engage closely with the texts and relevant works of criticism. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1231C. Experimental Poets of Color.
In this course we'll read and critically engage with contemporary experimental poets of color writing in English in the US and Canada. Exploring the intersection of poetics, aesthetics, critical race (and mixed race) theory, and social justice activism in the arts, we will question the modernist and post-modernist assumptions that experimentation and innovation are exclusively the domain of whiteness. We will explore how racism, colonialism, and other contemporary systems of oppression condition responses to poets of color, and consider how poets of color respond to and engage with these systems both overtly and through their aesthetic experimentation. DPLL WRIT
LITR 1231D. Narrative Possession: spirits, shamans and the walking dead.
Narrative Possession offers a creative and critical investigation of the nature of possession as it manifests in film, fiction, and theory, exploring narrative depictions of possession across a wide range of international cultural practices including shamanism, voodoo, Spiritualism and séance. We will explore the theoretical and political ramifications of possession as it pertains to embodiment, sovereignty, private property and personal identity. Texts include works by Toni Morrison, Muriel Spark, Antoine Volodine, Zora Neal Hurston, Lafcadio Hearn, Ishmael Reed, Cesar Aira, kobo Abe, Derrida, Sartre, and De Certeau. Films include works by Cocteau, Camus, Tourneur, and Russell. WRIT
LITR 1231E. Rereading Writing.
We will study writing and, more generally, language art in terms of reading, both reexamining theories and practices of writing — in linguistics, the philosophy of language, and in the actual making of literature — and also by proposing that reading is constitutive of language regardless of its medium. What is reading, historically, theoretically, and in the digitally mediated future of culture? If reading brings language into being, then how should we read and what should we compose to be read? Readings from Saussure and Ong to Hayles, Derrida, and beyond. Optional critical-creative project. WRIT
LITR 1231F. Listening/Voicing.
“How you sound??” the poet Amiri Baraka once asked. This seminar is concerned with acts of communication as pertains to voicing and listening. How do poets sound out in the world, and to whom? We will explore notions of voice as more than a site of identity production, looking at, for example, the various fractures possible in Sappho’s “voice” and what is carried to us through history, while also considering forms of singular and collective sounding via a range of poets and writers. On the other side of voice, we’ll read into and experiment with acts of deep listening.
LITR 1231G. Traditions of Rupture: the Latin American Avant-Garde.
We will read and write creative responses to poetry and hybrid works by the generation of early 20th-century Latin American writers who shaped a distinct corpus owing as much to the European tradition as to the region’s postcolonial history and vernacular: Huidobro, Vallejo, Neruda, Borges, and Guillén, and the Brazilian Modernists. We will also study postwar innovators—Berenguer, di Giorgio, Paz, Pizarnik, Parra, and the Brazilian Concrete Poets—as well as contemporary writers’ contributions to the expansion of the field. Special focus will be devoted to translation matters, indigenous writing, and ecopoetics. Knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese is not necessary. WRIT
LITR 1231H. New York City 1965-2001.
NYC's a city constantly in crisis. It's a city in protest, turning over its own history, its fatal oversights. A place where missteps made in the blink of an eye might mean death—or sliding into the dark groove between princes(ses) and peasants. We’re looking for NYC's story from 1965 to 2001. Why these years as bookends? Why this city made of boroughs held together by a sticky substance of uncertain origin we might call pride or ideology…? More importantly, what does it take to write historical fiction? To write about the places most important to us? WRIT
LITR 1300. Independent Study in Reading, Research, and Writing About Literature.
Provides advanced students with an opportunity to pursue tutorial instruction oriented toward a literary research topic.
LITR 1310. Independent Study in Creative Writing.
Offers tutorial instruction oriented toward some significant work in progress by the student. Typically taken by honors or capstone candidates in the antepenultimate or penultimate semester. See instructor to seek permission during the semester before undertaking the course of study. One advanced-level workshop is prerequisite. S/NC.
LITR 1410A. Fiction Honors.
A workshop setting for the completion of theses by advanced writers of fiction. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all honors workshops. Instructor permission required. Enrollment limited to 12 senior Literary Arts concentrators. S/NC.
LITR 1410C. Playwriting Honors.
A workshop setting for the completion of theses or capstone projects by advanced writers of dramatic literature. See general course description above for course entry procedures for all honors/capstone workshops. Written permission required. S/NC.
LITR 1510. Honors Independent Study in Creative Writing.
Provides tutorial instruction for students completing their theses or capstone projects. Typically taken by honors or capstone candidates in their final semester. See instructor to seek permission during the semester before undertaking the course of study. S/NC.
LITR 2010A. Graduate Fiction.
Advanced practice of the art: a writing seminar, limited to graduate students in Literary Arts. Emphasis is placed on developing a better understanding of the creative process, strategies and forms. Written permission required. S/NC.
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LITR 2010B. Graduate Poetry.
Advanced practice of the art: a writing seminar, limited to graduate students in Literary Arts. Emphasis is placed on developing a better understanding of the creative process, strategies and forms. Written permission required. S/NC.
LITR 2010C. Graduate Playwriting.
Advanced practice of the art: a writing seminar, limited to graduate students in Literary Arts. Emphasis is placed on developing a better understanding of the creative process, strategies and forms. Written permission required. S/NC.
LITR 2110A. Theatrical Styles on Stage and Page.
An investigation of theatrical forms and for collaborations among actors, directors and playwrights. This course is limited to participants in the MFA programs in acting, directing and playwriting. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
LITR 2110C. Reading, Writing and Thinking.
A course for graduate prose writers. We will explore various ways to engage with a work of art in order to fuel one¿s imagination and projects. Close textual reading of several books with writing assignments based on the readings. Writers will include Woolf, Stein, Beckett, Coetze, Kertesz and others. Written permission required. S/NC.
LITR 2110E. The Foreign Home: Interdisciplinary Arts.
Project-centered workshop for exploration beyond one's "home" genre, whether in video, poetry, fiction, music, performance or visual arts. Contemporary and art-historical interdisciplinary works will ground our investigation into the tension between expertise and "beginner's mind". Collaborative and individual work expected. Written permission required. S/NC.
LITR 2110F. Essays Without Borders.
A workshop for writing, performing, or media artists exploring essay or non-fiction forms in any genre. No project too strange, no essay too fanciful. Readings and research into experimental non-fiction. Individual and group work as well as critical and artistic projects. Literary Arts MFAs will be given priority. Come to first meeting for permission. Enrollment limited to 12. Permission required. S/NC.
LITR 2110G. Writing The Novel.
For advanced fiction writers who wish to work in long form. Through this course, participants will read a selection of novels and investigate the form; the primary emphasis will be placed on the work being undertaken by the members of the workshop itself. S/NC.
LITR 2110H. Embodying the Book.
What are the limits of the book? How far can it go? Alternatively, what is its essence? What is absolutely essential to it? This collaborative class brings writers together with RISD industrial designers and graphics artists to consider these questions and to create inventive book structures. Focus will be on collaboration itself, with texts addressing various aspects, such as the ethics of cooperation and group dynamics, as well as on the history and nature of the book as a cultural tool and force. Working in teams of three, students will invent their own structures and work together to embody them.
LITR 2110K. Deep Rivers, Lost Roads, Bent Symbols: Poets and Poetry Outside the Frame.
Geographically and/or aesthetically suspect, often shelved under the wrong rubric. Word-works by hermits and wanderers, sots and sot nots, whose language confirm, as Sister Rosetta Tharpe sang: Strange Things Happening Every Day. Including work by Besmilr Brigham, Wong May, Bernadette Mayer, Mary Reufle, Frank Stanford, David Fisher, a new translation of Beowulf (by an American! A Woman!), and others. There may also be music.
LITR 2110M. Challenging the Single Story: Reading Africa.
In recent years, there has been an explosion of new writing from Africa on the international scene, even as the single narrative of the continent persists. In this course, we will engage with fiction published in the last 15 years as well as critical texts and essays. Students will read fiction written in different genres. We will examine, among other things, how these writers negotiate their themes without compromising the integrity of their craft with a view to excelling in our own writing.
LITR 2110P. World of Echoes: The Poet as Translator.
How is a poet’s translation different from other translations? What factors determine a poet’s choice to translate a specific author? For this seminar we will read innovative poetry recently translated by a diverse group of poets. Examples include Jennifer Scapettone’s rendering of Amelia Rosselli’s Locomotrix, Sawako Nakayasu’s translations of Chika Sagawa, and Daniel Borzutzky’s version of Raúl Zurita’s The Book of Planks. Besides the translated materials, we will consider their relationship to the translator/poets’ own works and the politics of cultural transmission. Students may engage in translation projects themselves or respond creatively to the materials, thereby also engaging in translation.
LITR 2110Q. American Experimental Writing: A Survey.
A survey of foundational experimental prose works, with weekly creative assignments, and oral presentations. The Confidence Man, Melville; In the American Grain, Williams; Nightwood, Djuna Barnes, The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner; Sixty Stories, Barthelme; Mumbo Jumbo, Reed; The Left Hand of Darkness, Le Guin; Naked Lunch, Burroughs; Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, Delany; Two Serious Ladies, Jane Bowles; Dawn, Octavia Butler; In Watermelon Sugar, Brautigan; I Love Dick, Kraus.
LITR 2210A. House Language.
We shall explore the house and its adjacent places and categories, with a focus upon narrative mannerism, terror and the grotesque, and the creation of literary form. We'll discuss stories, essays, household artifacts and etiquette, architectural plans and dangerous parlor games. Works by, among others: Georges Perec, H.G. Wells, Shirley Jackson, Isabella Beeton, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Frank Lloyd Wright, Rube Goldberg and Edith Wharton.
LITR 2230. Graduate Independent Study in Reading, Research, and Writing About Literature.
Provides graduate students with an opportunity to pursue tutorial instruction oriented toward a literary research topic.
LITR 2310. Graduate Independent Studies in Literary Writing.
Offers tutorial instruction oriented toward some significant work in progress by the graduate student. S/NC.
LITR 2410. Graduate Thesis Independent Study in Literary Writing.
Provides tutorial instruction for graduate students completing their graduate creative theses. Typically taken in the final semester. See instructor to seek permission during the semester before undertaking the course of study. S/NC.
LITR 2450. Exchange Scholar Program.
LITR 2600. Seminar in Teaching Creative Writing.
A course focused on how to design and lead a creative writing workshop. Reading, writing and laboratory workshop sessions. Designed for first-year Literary Arts graduate students. S/NC.
Janet A. Blume
John H. Cayley
Professor of Literary Arts
T.B. Stowell University Professor Emeritus of Literary Arts
Thalia L. Field
Professor of Literary Arts
Professor of Literary Arts
Eleni A. Sikelianos
Professor of Literary Arts
Professor of Literary Arts
Leigh Cole Swensen
Professor of Literary Arts
Bernard K. Waldrop
Brooke Russell Astor Emeritus Professor of the Humanities
Colin C. D. Channer
Assistant Professor of Literary Arts
Assistant Professor of Literary Arts
Assistant Professor of the Practice
Joanna E. Howard
Assistant Professor of the Practice of Literary Arts
Visiting Assistant Professor
Andrew E. Colarusso
Visiting Assistant Professor of Literary Arts
Peter Gale Nelson
Senior Lecturer in Literary Arts
Brown’s Program in Literary Arts provides a home for innovative writers of fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, literary translation, electronic writing and mixed media. The concentration allows student writers to develop their skills in one or more genres while deepening their understanding of the craft of writing. Many courses in this concentration require a writing sample; students should consult a concentration advisor or the concentration website for strategies on getting into the appropriate course(s).
Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree with concentration in Literary Arts will be expected to complete the following course work:
1. At least four creative writing workshops from among the following series: LITR 0100, LITR 0110, LITR 0210, LITR 0310, LITR 0610, LITR 1010, LITR 1110, LITR 1150 and LITR 1410. At least two genres must be covered within the four courses taken. An independent study in literary arts (LITR 1310 and LITR 1510) may count toward the workshop requirement. Other writing-intensive courses may also count, at the discretion of the advisor.
2. Six elective reading and research in literary arts courses, which must include:
- a course in literary theory or the history of literary criticism
- a course that primarily covers readings and research in literary arts created before 1800
- a course that primarily covers readings and research in literary arts created between 1800 and 1900
- a course that primarily covers readings and research in literary arts created after 1900
These courses, selected in consultation with a concentration advisor, may come from (but are not limited to) the following departments: Africana Studies, American Civilization, Classics, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, Egyptology, French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Italian Studies, Judaic Studies, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures in English, Middle East Studies, Modern Culture and Media, Music, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Slavic Studies, South Asian Studies, Theatre, Speech and Dance, Visual Arts. With approval from the concentration advisor, courses covering pre-20th century time periods may be distributed in a variant manner, so long as they cover two distinct literary time periods that precede the 20th century
3. Among the ten required courses, at least four must be at the 1000-level or above. At least six classes (workshops and reading/research courses) that shall count toward the concentration must be taken at Brown through the Literary Arts Department. No more than two of the ten required courses for the concentration may also count toward fulfilling a second concentration.
4. During the senior year, all students must take at least one course within the Literary Arts course offerings (courses with LITR designation by the Registrar, or courses approved by the concentration advisor).
Honors in Creative Writing: Course requirements are the same as those for the regular concentration (four workshops, six elective literature-reading courses), with the following changes and additions: honors candidates must include two 1000-level workshops or independent studies among their courses; and complete a thesis. Students who are enrolled in or have completed at least one 1000-level workshop (or independent study) may submit honors applications to the Literary Arts Department from the first day of the fall semester to 25 September. Interested students should obtain information from the office of the Literary Arts Department.
The Graduate Program in Literary Arts offers a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) degree with courses in fiction, poetry, digital language arts and work that cross the boundaries of discipline.
For more information on admission and program requirements, please visit the following website: