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Modes of Writing

Fridays: 10.00-11.30 IN FAB 6.02 and 12.00-13.30 in FAB 2.31 in Arts Building

Aims and Objectives:
 

The main purpose is to introduce students to writing essays, poetry, fiction, and writing for performance and new media. Rhetoric, form and genre will be among the topics discussed and practised. The module aims to develop a range of literary writing styles and approaches; and to read widely in contemporary world literature. Students will produce examples of work to meet specific challenges and deadlines. Students will also will gain insights into contemporary literature and the processes of literary production.

Learning Outcomes:
 

By the end of the module the student should have:

  • Acquired some knowledge and understanding of a range of examples of contemporary fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
  • Received an introduction to some literatures in English and to the practice and imitation of those literatures.
  • Acquired some knowledge of the power and practice of the imagination in literary creation.
  • Acquired and introductory knowledge of useful and precise critical and practical terminology and, where appropriate, of linguistic and stylistic terminology.
  • Acquired some awareness of the range and variety of approaches to the practice of writing.
    Improved skills in writing a critical commentary
Teaching Methods:

 

Weekly workshops. 'Warwick Thursday' events in the Writers’ Room. Individual tutorials given by Writing Programme staff and visiting writers.

Structure of the module:
 

The module has four units: Essay, Beyond Books, Poetry, Fiction. Each unit runs for 4 or 5 weeks and is taught by a different instructor.
Students are also expected to attend all Warwick Thursdays events.

Reading is offered in links to PDF documents and websites. You should also invest in a good dictionary and thesaurus.

Assessment:
 

This module is 100% assessed.100% assessed = 5 assignments [20% each]

You submit an assignment for each of the four units. These assignments each count for 20% of your final score. Details of the the 4 assignments are given in the module details below.

The tutors of each unit should be consulted for guidelines on formatting and style.

In addition to the four assessments for each individual unit, there is a final assessment of 2000 words. This submission requires your independent study and can take the form of an essay OR fiction OR creative piece (each 2000 words) OR the equivalent in poetry (10 pages). Please also write 3 pages of commentary on your submitted creative work. This commentary is in addition to the word/page count above. There is no set formula for this submission. The choice of what you submit is up to you. You might even make a hybrid creative piece that showcases different genres. Submit as one file, in Word only (PDF cannot be marked up). Use single space or 1.15. Use a font that publishers and magazine editors will welcome e.g. Garamond or Palatino or Times New Roman.

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1. Essay (Dr Nell Stevens)

We’ll be reading essays focusing on their structural, stylistic and thematic elements. But the focus will be practical. We’ll come to understand the flexibility of the essay form in various exercises and in-class discussion, with the aim of producing work of intellectual value which manages to break some of the preconceived notions of the apparent stylistic rigidity of essays.

  Week Number Session Title Reading
  Week 1 Voice

David Sedaris, 'Me Talk Pretty One Day': https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/a1419/talk-pretty-0399/

Leslie Jameson, 'Empathy Exams': https://believermag.com/the-empathy-exams/

Porochista Khakpour, 'How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay': https://catapult.co/stories/how-to-write-iranian-america 

Trigger warning: this essay references sexual violence

Joan Didion, 'Why I Write', https://lithub.com/joan-didion-why-i-write/

  Week 2 Food

David Foster Wallace, 'Consider the Lobster': http://www.columbia.edu/~col8/lobsterarticle.pdf

Michelle Zauner, 'Crying in H Mart': https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/crying-in-h-mart?src=longreads

Nora Ephron, 'Serial Monogamy': https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/02/13/serial-monogamy

Becky Mandelbaum, 'Everything I know about writing a novel I learned from watching British people bake': https://electricliterature.com/everything-i-know-about-writing-a-novel-i-learned-from-watching-british-people-bake/

  Week 3 Place, Pursuit, and Memory

Jonathan Franzen, 'Farther away': https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/18/farther-away-jonathan-franzen

Trigger warning: the essay references suicide.

Nina Mingya Powles, 'The Safe Zone': https://granta.com/the-safe-zone/

  Week 4 Living, Looking, Reading

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (excerpt): https://longreads.com/2015/07/22/argonauts/

Lucy Scholes, 'A Woman Alone in London': https://lithub.com/a-woman-alone-in-london-on-the-literature-of-solitude/

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City (excerpt): https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/28/the-lonely-city-olivia-laing-edward-hopper-andy-warhol

  Week 5 Whose Reality?

Elif Batuman, 'Japan's Rent-a-Family Industry': https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/30/japans-rent-a-family-industry

Ryu Spaeth 'How The New Yorker fell into the "Weird Japan" trap': https://newrepublic.com/article/160595/new-yorker-japan-rent-family-fabricated

Eric Carle, The Art of Fiction no. 229: https://www.theparisreview.org/the-art-of-fiction-carle

Dan Piepenbring, 'Anatomy of a Hoax': https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2021/06/08/anatomy-of-a-hoax/

 
Assessment 1
At the end of the unit, you will submit an original essay of 1,600-2,000 words.
 

2. Beyond Books (Lucy Brydon)

  Week Number Session Title Reading
  Week 7 Manifest Everything

The Stuckists Manifesto

The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism

The SCUM Manifesto - Valerie Solanas

  Week 8 Screenwriting Little Women by Greta Gerwig (Screenplay)
  Week 9 Adaptation The Value of Fidelity in Adaptation by James Harold
  Week 10 Digital narratives

Excerpt from Simulacra and Simulation - Jean Baudrillard

Dead Man's Phone (Game)

 
Assessment 2

2000 words of written work related to the course content. You must produce a single document of 2000 words comprising a writer's manifesto and a piece of writing / cultural production that relates to and 'makes manifest' the ideas you present in your manifesto. You have free choice to decide how much of your 2000 words you dedicate to the manifesto and how much you dedicate to the item of cultural production (this will likely depend on what form your creative piece takes).

The cultural production could be anything which relates to the manifesto. We have had songs submitted on YouTube, performance poetry, video game scripts on Twine, a non-linear storytelling app, etc. These do have writing and are submitted with your manifestos on Tabula: please link any videos and other formats in the submitted document.

 

3. Poetry (Professor David Morley)

  Week Number Session Title Reading
  Week 11 Seeing is Believing

Derek Mahon, 'The Mayo Tao'

Anna Akhmatova, 'He Loved Three Things Alone'

Norman MacCaig, 'Frogs'

Norman MacCaig, 'Toad'

Jane Draycott, 'Prince Rupert's Drop'

Elizabeth Bishop, 'A Cold Spring'

  Week 12 Riddles of the World

The Exeter Book of Riddles

Ian Duhig, 'From the Irish'

  Week 13 Spoken Words

Frank O Hara reads 'The Day Lady Died'

Poem as Talk in Frank O'Hara 'The Day Lady Died'

Voice and Spoken Word in Kate Tempest, Interview

'The Sound of Sense' in: Robert Frost, 'Birches'

  Week 14 Patterns and Charms

John Hollander, 'Swan and Shadow'

George Herbert, 'Easter Wings'

Guillaume Apollinaire, Calligrammes

  Week 15 The Arts of Memory

Rachel Long, 'Red Hoover'

Jackie Kay, 'My Grandmother's Houses'

Mary Jean Chan, 'Fleche'

Kim Moore, 'In That Year'

Excerpt from Joe Brainard's 'I Remember' with an Afterword by Ron Padgett

 
Assessment 3

Submit 6 pages of poetry.

 

4. Fiction (Dr Nell Stevens)

  Week Number Session Title Reading
  Week 17 Interruptions

Carmen Maria Machado, 'Horror Story'

George Saunders, 'The Mom of Bold Action' 

  Week 18 Motivations

Ingrid Persaud, 'The Sweet Sop'

Eley Williams, 'Smote, or When I Find I Cannot Kiss You in Front of a Print by Bridget Riley'

  Week 19 Complications

Kristen Roupenian, 'Cat Person' 

Trigger warning: the story contains a scene describing potential sexual coercion, and includes offensive language.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 'Jumping Monkey Hill'

Trigger warning: this story contains offensive language.

  Week 20 Resolutions

Sarah Hall, 'Mrs Fox'

David Means, 'The Depletion Prompts'

Trigger warning: this story explores mental illness.

 
Assessment 4
Two flash fictions (700 words EACH) and one commentary (300 words).
 
Final Assessment
In addition to the four assessments for each individual unit, there is a final assessment of 2000 words. This submission requires your independent study and can take the form of an essay OR fiction OR creative piece (each 2000 words) OR the equivalent in poetry (10 pages). Please also write 3 pages of commentary on your submitted creative work: this commentary is in addition to the word/page count above. There is no set formula for this submission. The choice of what you submit is up to you. You might even make a hybrid creative piece that showcases different genres. Submit as one file, in Word only (PDF cannot be marked up). Use single space or 1.15. Use a font that publishers and magazine editors will welcome e.g. Garamond or Palatino or Times New Roman.