Eng 223/Comp 223: Creative Writing Fall 2015

The University of Michigan Dearborn


Tue 6:00-8:45pm   CASL 3048

Instructor:           Dr. Jill Darling

CASL 3027CB; 313-583-6375


Office Hours:     Tue 5:30-6pm; Fri 12-1 pm


Required Texts:

  • Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler
  • Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones (Shambhala)

*Selections from additional texts will be available in Canvas online as pdfs. You will be responsible to print and bring additional required reading materials with you to class. Failure to come to class prepared with hardcopies of the materials will result in a diminished grade. Digital versions are allowed in class on a reader or laptop if you have taken notes and have clearly read the material and are able to participate in class discussion. Using cell phones for course readings is not allowed.

Course Description:

Introduction to Creative Writing is a reading, writing, and workshop course. We will read creative work from various genres (poetry, fiction, essays) and work that falls between or outside of genre categories (experimental prose, prose poetry, hybrid genre essays). Students are expected to do weekly readings from a variety of sources, complete regular writing assignments, offer creative work for class workshop and discussion sessions, and attend and participate in class. Writing assignments will cover writing in a variety of genres. This course emphasizes the critical importance of the relation between reading and writing. Reading assignments are not optional but are crucially important to writing assignments. As a college English and writing course, reading, responding, critical thinking, and discussion are key elements. Students should expect to read and think critically about creative work, and creative process, over the course of the semester.

Individual assignments will be collected and graded over the course of the semester. Please see the list of assignments and grades below for more specific details.

Workshop Approach:

Since students of the craft learn to write by reading and writing, English 223 is practical and hands-on. This class will be run as a seminar and workshop course, not as a lecture course. We will read a variety of texts about writing as well as contemporary creative work and talk about the elements of fiction, poetry, and essay from a writing perspective. I will also assign writing exercises and everyone will participate in small group writing workshops. Workshops consist of writers who share works-in-progress to get constructive feedback. If you are uncomfortable with the prospect of showing your writing to others in the class, then this section of English/Comp 223 is not for you. You must be willing to share your work and expend the energy it takes to thoughtfully read and critique the work of your peers. Workshop depends on trust and involvement. Members of the class should get to know each other in order to “take the risk” of sharing. You will be expected to prepare for workshops by making copies of your work for the rest of the class, and reading and responding to others’ stories or poems carefully.

 Respect in the Classroom:

Because we will spend much class time sharing ideas in written or oral form, respect is essential. Every member of the class has the right to participate. The idea is for us to challenge each other and push each other to use the tools of the craft to make effective choices as creative writers. Do not belittle any member of the class – especially on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or physical appearance. We must maintain an open environment.

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