Creative Faith: A Writing Course

REL971
Fall 2017
F 1:30-4:20pm
Area: 
Area V
Professor: 
Permission Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

Students will be working on different forms of “spiritual” prose, leading toward a longer final project.  This final essay may take the form of spiritual autobiography, but it might also be more outward-focused, employing criticism, biography, or some other method that I haven’t even thought of.  We will be reading several hybrid works that verge on poetry, and poets are most welcome in the class (though I want to stress that the assignments are for prose). 

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 creative non-fiction.

Course Requirements: 

Required Texts

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

Assignments

Triptych piece, 600 words.

Two creative non-fiction pieces of no longer than 2000 words.  You will be given several models for these.

A final creative non-fiction piece of 4000 words.  We will read models all semester, but you don’t have to follow any of them if you don’t want to.

Final portfolio including revisions of all three essays.

Basis of Evaluation: 

Participation:  30%

Final portfolio:  70%