“Broken Genres” is for adventurous readers and writers interested in experiments with genre, form, and style. In this class, you'll get to encounter surreal and scientific folk tales, introspective science fiction, postmodern horror, tragic-comedy, a poetic western, a poetic labyrinth, an impossible detective story, and more (including work by: Octavia Butler, Shirley Jackson, Michael Ondaatje, Leonora Carrington, Alison Bechdel, Italo Calvino, Harryette Mullen, and China Mieville).
We'll learn from works that use features of a genre to build unfamiliar, sometimes challenging, literary experiences. You'll study such works as literary achievements on their own but also consider them in relation to how literature evolves, how you approach the creative process, and how you master the craft of writing. You'll also learn how to do peer critique and provide (and receive) inspiring criticism. In addition to reading, practicing short critical responses to texts, and doing lots of creative exercises, you will be developing a major individual writing project. Your project will be your focus in the second session (the second five weeks). Through individual meetings, feedback from faculty, and work with your peers, you'll focus entirely on your creative work. A well-developed version of your creative project will be due at the end of the quarter.
This program will be conducted remotely, using Canvas and Zoom. You'll need a reliable internet connection to fully participate. In the first session, eight hours per week of synchronous class time will include seminars, workshops, and short lectures. In the second session, you'll use video sessions and online discussion threads to participate in feedback groups, meet with faculty for one-on-one feedback, and to attend occasional writing "retreats". If you ever find yourself unable to participate due to technology, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, you can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.