Requirements & Info

My office: Klapper 633

Office hours: Tuesdays 3-4 & 6:30 – 7

Classroom: Klapper 708

Tuesdays 4:40 – 6:30

Office number: 718-997-4873

My number: 917-370-0413 (feel free to text or call if it’s urgent)


Texts to Purchase

  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Vintage; 9780679744726)
  • Joe Brainard, I Remember (Granary Books; 9781887123488)
  • Ellen Forney, Marbles (Avery; 9781592407323)
  • Carl H. Klaus, A Self Made of Words: Crafting a Distinctive Persona in Nonfiction Writing (U. Iowa Press 9781609381943)
  • Antjie Krog, Nosisi Mpolweni, and Kapano Ratele, There Was This Goat: Investigating the Truth Commission Testimony of Notrose Nobomvu Konile (University Of KwaZulu-Natal Press; 9781869141660)

*Texts can be purchased at

 Course Requirements

Weekly Blog Writing Assignments: Each week I will assign an exercise sparked by the texts we read, which you will post to our blog by the Monday before class. These assignments are meant to give you freedom to experiment. They need not be particularly long or formal. In most cases, a couple of paragraphs will do. I will read and comment but won’t grade them. I encourage you to experiment or play with them. For any given week, if you have an idea for a response that falls outside the parameters of my prompt, feel free to diverge. Just let me know–and don’t do it every single week. Each student is required to post a response to at least two of that week’s posts before class on Tuesday.

Course Project: Fifteen pages of new writing in a creative nonfiction genre, written this semester. I encourage you to use the exercises in class or at home as a point of departure, but you are by no means limited to those. Include a two-page epilogue that explains your motives or goals for the piece and makes connections to ideas or techniques we’ve explored in other writers or class discussion during the semester.

Workshop: We’ll spend the last three weeks of the semester workshopping each student’s final project. Every student is required to submit a draft for workshop–and to participate in the workshops of other students’ work.

Learning Goals

In this course you will:

  • Examine the techniques a diverse range of writers use to craft compelling voices.
  • Reflect on relationships to spoken, sung, written, and visual voice.
  • Experiment with techniques of language and craft to create a variety of your own literary voices.
  • Read and respond to theories of voice.
  • Consider how the parameters of literary voice have changed over time.
  • Explore voice as a defining feature of creative nonfiction—and ways voice interacts with other elements of the genre.

Special Accommodations
If you have any condition that requires accommodation in this class—for example, a medical condition or a difficulty with cognition or psychology—please let me know. You should also contact the Office of Special Services in 171 Kiely Hall at 718-997-5870. That office will strive to offer any services students need.

Academic Integrity
A student’s work should be his or her own. But a student’s ideas should also engage the ideas of other thinkers and writers. Communication gives ideas meaning and creates a community of thinkers. This is where citation and plagiarism can become tricky. Plagiarism is, of course, a serious issue. It is important that you establish your own point of view, make it clear what ideas are yours and which come from your sources, respond to your sources critically, and cite them in a way that’s appropriate for the genre. Finally, if you’re struggling with your ideas, your writing, or your sources, be sure to talk to me. Plagiarism sometimes arises from confusion and sometimes from desperation. If you are feeling panicked or just unsure about a writing assignment, talk to me. I can help you with the process. I count on you to take your academic integrity seriously, and I take any breach of
the college’s policy on plagiarism seriously, too. You should familiarize yourself with that policy, and let me know if you have any questions about it.

Formatting Guidelines for Writing Assignments
All your formal writing should be typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins. Please proofread carefully, so that your essay is polished and free of typographical errors. Give every essay a title and include your name as well as the course name and number. If you use sources, be sure to cite them in a way that’s appropriate to the genre. It probably makes sense to use Chicago style for a work of creative nonfiction. It’s the one most publishers would require. Depending on your form, you might make another choice or devise your own style (like Machado does, for example).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.