Creative Faith: A Writing Course

Spring 2017
F 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Area V
Permission Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

Students will be working on different forms of poetry, leading toward a longer final project that incorporates poetry and prose.  We will use a variety of prompts, imitation exercises, and small group work to generate new material.

This course is part seminar and part workshop.  About a third of our time will be devoted to the reading and analysis of exemplary works of art.  “Exemplary” in this context means, first of all, works of art that are works of art and not merely examples of spiritual writing.  “Reading”—again, in this context—means reading as writers, which can be both predatory and infinitely sympathetic (often at the same time) but in any event is quite different from reading as a scholar.

The rest of our class time will be devoted to discussing work done by students in the class.  The methods here will vary, but it is safe to say that we will not always (if ever) follow the traditional workshop protocol wherein the author sits silently while his or her work is discussed by the others.  We will come at your work in many different ways, our methods evolving with the class.

Background Expected: 

Students are expected to have some background in literature, but the course is open to students who may not have much experience in writing poetry.

Course Requirements: 

Required Texts

Shahid Reads His Own Palm, Reginald Dwayne Betts

Song and Error, Averill Curdy

Whose Flesh is Flame, Whose Bone is Time, V. Penelope Pelizzon

Birds of the Air, David Yezzi

Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Claudia Rankine

Nigh No-Place, Jen Hadfield

The Wild Iris, Louise Gluck

Hapax, A. E. Stallings

There is also a course reader at Tyco, which you will need for the first class and all subsequent classes.


Six poems (including prose poem).

Memorization and recitation of two poems NOT from readings.  These must be approved in advance by me.

Craft presentations (groups of two) based on poems NOT from readings.  These are to focus on specific elements of poetic craft, as I will explain in class.

Final portfolio including revisions of all poems PLUS a prose statement of purpose and explanation of revisions.

Basis of Evaluation: 

Participation:  20%

Recitations:  10%

Presentations:  10%

Final portfolio:  60%