“Broken Genres” is for adventurous readers and writers interested in experiments with genre, form, and style that generate new and hybrid works. We'll encounter surreal folk tales, works that fuse writing with visual arts and sculpture, meditative high fantasy, introspective science fiction, postmodern horror, noir-fantasy, tragic-comedy, a poetic western, a multi-genre epic, and more (including work by: Octavia Butler, Shirley Jackson, Michael Ondaatje, Leonora Carrington, Alison Bechdel, Mark Danielewski, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchel, Haruki Murakami, and others).
Many writers use features of a genre to build unfamiliar literary constructs out of familiar elements. Together, we'll study such works as literary achievements on their own but also consider them in relation to how we talk about literature, high and low art, and the relationship between writers, their creative process, and their audience.
We'll also view our readings as a means to understand the craft of writing. The major creative project of the quarter will be to fully draft and revise an original work that plays with genre conventions to new effect, to address a new audience, to integrate other media, or as a means of bringing a genre into a new kind of relevance. You'll discuss your major creative project in one-on-one sessions with faculty throughout the quarter.
This program will be conducted remotely, using Canvas and Zoom. Synchronous class times will include live video-seminar sessions (in small groups) and short lectures; students will use online discussion threads to discuss ideas and participate in feedback groups. Offline workshops and tasks will support students in developing their reading and writing skills and prompt weekly creative and critical writing submissions; a final short essay and your creative project will be due at the end of the quarter. I will offer alternative assignments if conditions or illness prevent students from accessing our synchronous meetings.