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Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences

Course Descriptions


CWPA Course Descriptions

Other available courses are listed under Publications Design (PBDS) and Integrated Design (DESN).

View the schedule of classes to determine course offerings by semester.

  • CWPA 620 Creativity: Ways of Seeing (3)
    Exploration of the creative process, relationships between written and visual expression, sources of inspiration and forms of publishing. Through a series of weekly projects, design experiments and innovative models, students develop new ways of seeing and deepen their understanding of creative expression. Team-taught by a creative writer and a book artist or graphic designer, the course offers a collaborative setting that acknowledges important connections between form and function, materials and subject, and tradition and innovation. Lab fee required.
  • CWPA 622 Fiction Workshop (3)
    Exploration of the uses and values of narrative. Combines practice in writing narratives with analysis of the nature and methods of narrative art.
  • CWPA 623 Poetry Workshop (3)
    How poetic language achieves its powerful effects. Students read and analyze various examples of the lyric, from the traditional poetic forms to images in advertising and media, and experiment with a range of lyrical forms and styles.
  • CWPA 624 Workshop in Novel Writing (3)
    Composition of the novel. Each student has an opportunity to make significant progress on a novel already begun or on one that originates in class. Emphasis on the distinctive features of the novel as a prose form and the special aesthetic problems confronting the novelist.
  • CWPA 626 Literary Nonfiction (3)
    Experimentation in writing various kinds of nonfiction, such as personal essays, travel essays, profiles, culture criticism, memoirs and essay reviews. Focus is on the use of literary techniques within the context of the form’s traditions and contemporary innovations.
  • CWPA 627 Memoir Workshop (3)
    An opportunity to write a memoir. Students read and study memoirs by contemporary authors to become more familiar with the many possibilities available to writers working in this form. Focus is on issues relevant to the writing of memoir, including craft and techniques, memory and truth-telling, and interior and exterior significance.
  • CWPA 628 Screenwriting (3)
    Students analyze and write entertainment-oriented scripts for television and film. Emphasizes plot and character development, dialogue, writing for the eye and the ear and following industry script and program conventions.
  • CWPA 651 Type & Design for Creative Writers (3)
    Exploration of the fundamentals of typographic form and function with specific application to literary publishing. The course examines type design and family classification of type and their characteristics as well as organization of visual space and other basic design principles. Lab fee required. prerequisite: knowledge of Adobe lnDesign and Photoshop
  • CWPA 752 Creative Writing: Special Topics (3)
    Intensive exploration of topics in creative writing of special interest to faculty and students. Content varies according to specific interests and trends in creative writing. Possible topics include narrative poetry, gothic or romance novels and stories, detective and mystery fiction and marketing small press books. Specific topic is listed in the schedule of classes. Course may be repeated for credit when topic changes. Lab fee may be required.
  • CWPA 753 Publishing Arts: Special Topics (3)
    Intensive exploration of topics in print publishing, electronic publishing and book arts of special interest to faculty and students. Content varies according to specific interests and trends in publishing arts. Specific topic is listed in the schedule of classes. Course may be repeated for credit when topic changes. Lab fee may be required.
  • CWPA 761 Teaching Writing (3)

    Teaches students how to teach writing, focusing on pedagogical strategies, course planning and classroom management. Also introduces students to the theory and scholarly debates surrounding these topics. Includes readings, discussions, and applied and experiential learning.
  • CWPA 775 Internship (3)
    Direct experience working in the field of creating writing. Internship opportunities include working for presses. literary agencies, publishers and literary arts organizations, as well as teaching. Eligible for continuing studies grade; otherwise, grading is pass/fail. May be repeated for credit if the internship is different. prerequisite: permission of program director
  • CWPA 778 Independent Study in Publishing Arts (3)
    Production project in an area related to the M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts program. Topics vary with individual student interest. Lab fee required. prerequisite: permission of the program director
  • CWPA 779 Independent Study in Creative Writing (3)
    Research or writing in an area related to the M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts program. Topics vary with individual student interest. prerequisite: permission of the program director
  • CWPA 780 Book Arts (3)
    Hands-on course in which students produce a variety of small literary publications. They serve as editors and designers as well as writers. Also introduces students to book arts, teaching book structure, construction and binding. Lab fee required.
  • CWPA 781 Electronic Publishing (3)
    Exploration of ways for creative writers to write and publish on the Web. Students analyze electronic literary publications, write and produce their own literary Web publications and gain an understanding of the opportunities available to them in electronic publishing. Lab fee required.
  • CWPA 782 Creating the Journal (3)
    Exploration of processes involved in creating a print journal, from choosing manuscripts to designing and publishing. As a result of participating in the editing process, students gain insight into their own writing, develop their own aesthetic and see how editors make selections. Lab fee required.
  • CWPA 783 Print Publishing (3)
    How to place creative writing for publication. Topics range from writing a cover letter to finding agents to handling rejection. Students work independently, analyze current print and online publications and develop an extensive and annotated list of appropriate places for their work to appear. Before manuscripts are submitted for publication, they are critiqued by the class.
  • CWPA 786 Experimental Forms (3)
    Examination of selected works that challenge our conventional assumptions about language and form. Emphasis on new forms that re-imagine traditional genres of writing and blur the boundaries between poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Students explore possibilities for appropriating and subverting conventional uses of language as well as mixing and creating new forms in their own writing.
  • CWPA 787 Seminar in Literature & Writing (3)
    Combining traditional scholarship and creative writing, the course begins with a close study of a seminal literary work or group of works, to be chosen by the instructor. Students explore the nature of these texts per se and how they relate to both current and past literature and to the students’ own work. A final written project integrates original research and the creative interpretation of the ideas developed from reading and discussion.
  • CWPA 788 International Writing Workshop (3)
    Focuses on reading the work of writers from around the world, most of it in translation. At the same time, students explore new subjects for and approaches to their own writing.
  • CWPA 795 Seminar in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts (3)
    Capstone course for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts. Entering the course with a completed or nearly completed manuscript written while in the program, students design and produce a publication consisting of their own original work. In a seminar setting, they act as peer advisers to one another and are responsible for providing in-depth critiques of each other’s work. The course revisits and re-examines concepts introduced in earlier courses. Creative Writing & Publishing Arts students must earn a B (3.0) or better in this course. prerequisite: all other required courses for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts and permission of the program director
  • CWPA 796 M.F.A. Thesis I (3)
    Opportunity to focus intensively on creative writing in a particular genre. Students may revise and edit previously written work as well as create new work, aimed at publication. In addition to expanding and refining their own work, students critique each other's work. A substantial essay focusing on another writer's work or on a topic related to their interests and concerns as writers is also required.  Creative Writing & Publishing Arts students must earn a B (3.0) or better in this course. prerequisite: two writing workshops in the same genre and permission of the program director
  • CWPA 799 M.F.A. Thesis II (3)

    Second semester of two-semester thesis sequence. Entering with a completed or nearly completed manuscript written while in the program, students revise and complete their manuscript and prepare it for publication. In addition, they act as peer advisers to one another and are responsible for providing in-depth critiques of each other's work. Creative Writing & Publishing Arts students must earn a B (3.0) or better in this course. prerequisite: all other required courses for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts except CWPA 795, which is taken concurrently, and permission of the program director