College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
MFA Creative Writing

MFA Courses

Spring 2014

EN 502: Graduate Prose Workshop: Fiction ~ Show Description

Instructor: Michael Dahlie
T  6:30-9:00 ECCW Basement

Graduate level creative writing workshop in one of the following prose forms: fiction (novel, short story, or mixed); creative nonfiction; children's/young adult; screenwriting; graphic novel; or open genre. Open to MFA in Creative Writing students only

Michael Dahlie is Butler University's first Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence. He earned his M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. His first novel, A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living, won the 2009 PEN/Hemingway award. He has been named a winner of the 2010 Whiting Writer's Award. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, the Mississippi Review and Tin House.

EN 502: Graduate Prose Workshop: Fiction ~ Show Description

Instructor: Dan Barden
M  6:30-9:00 ECCW Living Room

Graduate level creative writing workshop in one of the following prose forms: fiction (novel, short story, or mixed); creative nonfiction; children's/young adult; screenwriting; graphic novel; or open genre. Open to MFA in Creative Writing students only.

Author of John Wayne: A Novel and The Next Right Thing (2011), Dan Barden received his M.F.A. from Columbia University and has published fiction and essays in GQ, Details, and various literary magazines. Before coming to Butler he held the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore writer-in-residence at The George Washington University. In addition to teaching creative writing courses in fiction, poetry, and personal essay, Dan also writes plays.

EN 502: Graduate Prose Workshop: Non-Fiction ~ Show Description

Instructor: Susan Neville
W 6:00-8:30 ECCW Living Room

Graduate Prose Workshop. Nonfiction - A graduate-level workshop seminar in nonfiction prose writing. All students will compose nonfiction prose of their own design, and provide critique of the work of their peers in a workshop setting. Running alongside this workshop will be a craft seminar in Creative Nonfiction, in which students will read prominent examples from the genre and compose short essays modeled on those exemplars.

Susan Neville, Demia Butler Professor. B.A. DePauw University; M.F.A. Bowling Green State University. Expertise: Fiction and Creative non-Fiction Writing.

EN 503: Graduate Poetry Workshop ~ Show Description

Instructor: Dana Roeser
T 6:30-9:00 ECCW Living Room

It is my goal in teaching the graduate poetry writing workshop to create an environment where the student can thrive as a writer. We will try to identify and cultivate the necessary conditions for good writing by reading and discussing poetry and craft essays; by copious writing, sometimes in response to a prompt given by me; by thoughtful critique of peer writing; and by a willingness to make the writing of poetry a daily practice. We set the scene and hope that the muse visits. He/she may or may not, but without the necessary conditions, he/she certainly will not. Our several-pronged attack will result in a final portfolio of revised poems, some of which are bound to be standouts. We will do our parts thoroughly and see what happens.

Dana Roeser is the author of three books of poetry: Beautiful Motion (2004) and In the Truth Room (2008), both winners of the Samuel French Morse Prize, and The Theme of Tonight's Party Has Been Changed, winner of the Juniper Prize and forthcoming from University of Massachusetts Press in March 2014.

EN 506: How a Poem Comes to Life ~ Show Description

Instructor: Chris Forhan
TR 6:30-9:00 ECCW Dining Room

The connotations of this course's title-"How a Poem Comes to Life"-are purposefully multiple. Somewhere, somehow, in the course of writing a poem that is truly a poem, the writer recognizes that the poem has come alive, that it has become vital in its energies and complex and meaningfully mysterious in its implications. We might also say that, as a way to make this happen, a poem sometimes has to come closer to life: to open itself to aspects of experience that it has hitherto been closed to. In this class on the Form and Theory of poetry, we will investigate how poets can discover a poem's subject and unleash its power through various formal choices, such as those involving image, diction, rhythm, sound, syntax, and structure, and through sidelong veerings of attention toward previously unknown or unconsidered parts of the world. We will use our study of published poems and essays as a means to begin generating material for our own work and, if we are fortunate, to experience in the writing of poems what Federico Fellini described happened to him when he made a movie: "At the start, for one or two weeks, I'm directing the film. Then the film starts to direct me." Writing assignments: brief reading responses; a poetry journal; a few poems. Aside from, probably, a couple of as-yet undetermined volumes of poetry, we will be using the new anthology The Rag-Picker's Guide to Poetry: Poems, Poets, Process, ed. Wilner & Manning (UMichigan, 2013).

Inspired by the pop tunes of his youth and the gift of a cheap guitar, Chris Forhan began writing songs. During the grim period of puberty, he relied excessively on the E minor chord. As the years went by and his limited musical ability became embarrassingly apparent, he dropped the music, kept the words, and realized he'd been trying to write poetry all along. He kept at it, even during a brief first career as a television reporter, a life he abandoned in large part because it meant he had to keep his hair nice and work on Christmas. Three decades later, after earning graduate degrees from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Virginia, Forhan has published three books of poetry: Black Leapt In; The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars; and Forgive Us Our Happiness. His writing has won numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. At Butler, he teaches poetry writing and courses on modern and contemporary poetry. He is still fond of E minor.

EN 501: Understanding Mystery Fiction ~ Show Description

Instructor: Ben Winters
TR 6:30-9:00 ECCW Basement

In this elective we will engage with novels (and some shorter works) that fall under the broad and overlapping categories of of "suspense," "mystery," and "crime" fiction. We will read to understand how these machines are constructed, and with a particular emphasis on how writers working in other modes (not only traditional or "literary" fiction, but essays, journalism, even poetry) can learn from the techniques of mystery/suspense: how are these works paced? How do they create tension? Mood? How do they slowly or suddenly reveal hidden pieces of crucial information? Some writing in response to the authors under consideration (Dashiell Hammett, PD James, Richard Price, etc.); some writing inspired by them.

Ben H. Winters is the author of six novels, including The Last Policeman (Quirk), one of Slate's best books of 2012 and an Edgar Award nominee for Best Paperback Original. Ben's other books include the New York Times bestselling parody novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (Quirk) and a novel for young readers, The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman (HarperCollins), which was a Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2011 as well as an Edgar Nominee in the juvenile category. Ben has also written extensively for the theater, and his journalism has appeared in The Chicago Reader, The Nation, In These Times, and elsewhere. 

 

EN 455S-01: Writing in the Schools ~ Show Description

Instructor: Chris Speckman
T/TR 2:25-3:40PM JH304

Writing in the Schools is a service learning course that emphasizes of the teaching of writing alongside the mentoring of elementary, middle, and high school students. The chief concerns of the course are to introduce Butler students to community program building, to provide leadership opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students in partnership with an urban educational institution, and to further the aims of placing writing as a centerpiece within current education models.

Chris Speckman earned his BA and MFA from Butler University. Involved as a graduate assistant since the course's inception in 2011, he has helped to shape the Writing in the School program, which has been honored with a Jefferson Award for Public Service and a grant from the Jerry L. and Barbara J. Burris Foundation.

Summer 2014

EN501-01: Story Structure
EN 501-01: Graduate Seminar, Special Topic "Story Structure" ~ Show Description

Instructor: Dan Barden
Tues and Thurs  
6:00-9:00
Summer Session I: Start Date May 12, End Date June 20

Story Structure. The tools of narrative storytelling are probably as old as cave paintings and certainly as old as Greek drama. Aristotle articulated the principles that still pertain to every Hollywood blockbuster. As fiction writers and essayists and poets, our application of these principles will be tempered, but maybe not so much as we think. By studying the examples of stories, novels, and films, we will seek to understand these principles and apply them to our own work.

Author of John Wayne: A Novel and The Next Right Thing (2011), Dan Barden received his M.F.A. from Columbia University and has published fiction and essays in GQ, Details, and various literary magazines. Before coming to Butler he held the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore writer-in-residence at The George Washington University. In addition to teaching creative writing courses in fiction, poetry, and personal essay, Dan also writes plays.

EN 504-01: Project Workshop
EN 504-01: Project Workshop "Shaping a Poetry Manuscript" ~ Show Description

Instructor: Alessandra Lynch
Monday and Wednesday 6:00-9:20PM
Summer Session I: Start Date May 12, End Date June 20

This class is primarily for students who have a bulk of poems that are ready or near-ready for fine-turning and shaping into a collection¿whether a chapbook (20-30 pages) or a full book (40-70 pages).  We will wrestle with the sequencing, pacing, and arc, or journey, of the collection while engaging in writing prompts, workshopping, and discussion.  In short, we will rigorously attend to various microsms of the collection (discrete poems) and the macrocosm (the book as a whole) in an effort to shape and articulate the song and voice of your poetry most powerfully.  In conjunction with tending to your own poems, we will study a few nationally-recognized, award-winning first books of poetry. This is a required course for those who entered the program when the total credit hours were raised to 36.  Ideally, it is for students entering their thesis year who have been in the program for a few years, but others (including alumnae) are welcome.

Alessandra Lynch holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers's Workshop. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and other journals.  She is the author of of Sails the Wind Left Behind (2002), winner of the Alice James Books New England / New York Competition, and It was a terrible cloud at twilight (2008), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize.

EN 506-01: Teaching Creative Writing
EN 506-01: Reading Like A Writer "Teaching Creative Writing" ~ Show Description

Instructor: Hilene Flanzbaum
UPDATED MEETING SCHEDULE:
Summer Session I: May 12- June 20
MW 6:00-8:30

Teaching Creative Writing: This course will give students the opportunity to learn the pedagogy of creative writing classes, including the skills to teach "reading for writers", methods of workshopping and alternatives, and dealing with the psychodynamics of the creative personality. The class will feature a variety of creative writing teachers from various institutions at the graduate, undergraduate and secondary levels.  The class runs concurrently with Butler's creative writing camp and thus, give students the opportunity for hands-on experience. 

Hilene Flanzbaum earned her BA from Brandeis, MA from Johns Hopkins, and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the editor of the Norton Anthology of Jewish-American Literature, and The Americanization of the Holocaust, published by Johns Hopkins UP in 1999.  Her essays and poetry have been widely published in venues such as O, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, and Tikkun.

Fall 2014

EN 501: Teaching Creative Writing ~ Show Description

EN501-01 (4149)

Instructor: Hilene Flanzbaum
M 6-8:30 ECCW Sunroom

Teaching Creative Writing: This course will give graduate students the opportunity to learn the pedagogy of creative writing classes, including the skills to teach "reading for writers", methods of workshopping and alternatives, and dealing with the psychodynamics of the creative personality. The class will feature a variety of creative writing teachers from various institutions at the graduate, undergraduate and secondary levels.  Open to MFA students only.

Hilene Flanzbaum earned her BA from Brandeis, MA from Johns Hopkins, and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the editor of the Norton Anthology of Jewish-American Literature, and The Americanization of the Holocaust, published by Johns Hopkins UP in 1999.  Her essays and poetry have been widely published in venues such as O, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, and Tikkun.

EN 501: Young Adut Novel ~ Show Description

EN501-02 (4150)

Instructor: Michael Dahlie
T  6:00-8:30 ECCW Basement

Graduate level seminar on the Young Adult Novel.

Michael Dahlie is Butler University's first Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence. He earned his M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. His first novel, A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living, won the 2009 PEN/Hemingway award. He has been named a winner of the 2010 Whiting Writer's Award. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, the Mississippi Review and Tin House.

 

EN 502: Prose Workshop in FICTION ~ Show Description

EN 502-01 (2094)
Workshop in Fiction

Instructor: Ben Winters
M 6-8:30 PM, ECCW Sunroom

Graduate level prose creative writing workshop, Fiction. Open to MFA in Creative Writing students only.

Ben H. Winters is the author of six novels, including most recently The Last Policeman (Quirk), one of  Slate's best books of 2012 and an Edgar Award nominee for Best Paperback Original. Ben's other books include the New York Times bestselling parody novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (Quirk) and a novel for young readers, The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman (HarperCollins), which was a Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2011 as well as an Edgar Nominee in the juvenile category. Ben has also written extensively for the theater, and his journalism has appeared in The Chicago Reader, The Nation, In These Times, and elsewhere.

EN 502: Prose Workshop in NON-FICTION ~ Show Description

EN502-02 (2095)

Instructor: Unassigned (Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence)
Class Meeting: Thursdays 6-8:30 PM at ECCW

Graduate level prose creative writing workshop, Creative Non-Fiction. Open to MFA in Creative Writing students only.


EN 502: Prose Workshop in SCREENWRITING ~ Show Description

EN 502-03 (4151)

Instructor: Unassigned (Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence)
Meeting times: Wednesday 6-8:30 PM at ECCW

Graduate level prose creative writing workshop, Screenwriting. Open to MFA in Creative Writing students only.

EN 502: Prose Workshop in NOVELS ~ Show Description

EN 502-04 (4550)

Instructor: Allison Lynn
Wed 6-8:30 ECCW Living Room

Graduate workshop for writers beginning, or in the process of writing, novels. In this class, we'll delve into issues particular to the novel - pacing, the development of conflict, a sustainable voice, the revelation of information, and more - using the participants' work as the main basis for discussion. Open to MFA students only.

Allison Lynn holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MFA from New York University. Her novel Now You See It (2004) won the William Faulkner Medal from the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society and the Chapter One Award from the Bronx Council on the Arts. Her essays and reviews have appeared in publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Sun-Times, People, InStyle and Post Road, as well as several anthologies.

EN 503: Poetry Workshop ~ Show Description

EN 503-01 (1971)

Instructor: Chris Forhan
Thurs 6:00-8:30PM ECCW Living Room

This is a graduate level poetry writing workshop.  Throughout the semester, you will write your own poems in the context of a study of various poetic movements and aesthetic inclinations in American poetry of the last few decades, from the loosened form and expanded subject matter seen in "confessional" poetry of the '50s and '60s to the "Deep Image" and "Neo-surreal" poetry of the '70s to the indeterminacy and radical disjunctiveness evident in more recent "language" poetry.  You will write a number of poems to be critiqued in a workshop format and will submit a series of short written responses to the assigned reading.

Chris Forhan earned an MA from the University of New Hampshire and an MFA from the University of Virginia. He is the author of Forgive Us Our Happiness (1999), co-winner of the Bakeless Prize; The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars (2003), winner of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize and the Washington State Book Award; and Black Leapt In (2009), winner of the Barrow Street Press Book Prize and the Best Book of Indiana Award.  Forhan's poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry and in Poetry, Paris Review, New England Review, and other journals, and he has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes.