What is She Saying?

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Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

Participants in this program will engage creative writing—their own and that of published authors—as a nexus for critical and creative inquiry, delving into the content and characteristics that mark the work and words of women writing today in very different voices from different perspectives. What are women saying to us—about themselves, about us, about the world? How do fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry serve as modes of critical engagement? What can we say in these modes that can’t be said any other way? How do gender, sexual orientation, economics, race and other aspects of intersectional identity affect our reading of “women”? How do we respond? How does identity shape our own writing, regardless of how that is defined? How do we speak for ourselves and for others, and to whom are we speaking?

Program participants will "locate" themselves and their work in a cultural and critical context, and will contribute to the discourse of contemporary writers. We will study and practice the elements of narrative and lyrical discourse through workshops, presentations, seminar, critique and through iterative critical and creative writing assignments. There will be an emphasis on formal hybridity, the relationship between critical and creative thought and practice, as well as on development of a sustaining creative writing practice. Participants will experiment with different ways of engaging their work independently and as a community of artists: developing a daily writing practice, building and participating in an online community, and going away together to the Washington coast for a 4-day writing retreat.

Participants will develop two significant creative projects throughout the quarter through iterative drafts and critiques; and they will work together to conduct a research project on a set of mutually agreed-upon writers as a way of extending and augmenting our shared reading list—using primary creative texts, secondary critical texts, and biographical works they will conduct a rich and dimensionally complex investigation.

We will read two books each by four writers in order to develop a sense of how/if an author can say different things in the same “voice.” The writers are: Claudia Rankine, Lidia Yuknavich, Maggie Nelson, and Bhanu Kapil.

Program Details

Fields of Study

gender and women's studies literature writing

Preparatory For

writing, publishing, and literary criticism.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, April 3 at 10am (Sem II A2105)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$220 for field trip transportation and lodging, workshop registration and supplies.


2017-02-24Fee increased (from $175 to $220).
2016-03-09New spring opportunity added.