Experiments in Text

Fall 2021
Olympia
Evening
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
4 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

This program is now meeting fully in-person instead of hybrid. Contact the faculty with any questions.

In what sense is creative writing an experiment? For one thing, writing is a process of discovery—it is not inert. “When it enters into an experience,” Joan Retallack asserts, it changes that experience, “creating a new, textual reality.” In that spirit, this course will explore the variety of ways we acquire new kinds of knowledge by writing—where, Retallack reminds us, the process of writing and process of scientific experimentation are not as different as we may think.

Our work in this language laboratory will involve continually testing out our instrumentation (our senses), while remaining open to the possibility of getting results that surprise us. The focus will be on building fundamental writing skills that can be applied across academic disciplines, but we will do so by posing difficult questions about written forms in relation to the social worlds from which they emerge. We will study various modes of creative writing, including poetry, prose, and performance, and will read works by authors such as Gertrude Stein, Robert Duncan, and Cecilia Vicuna.

Throughout the quarter, students will practice writing by composing a weekly short “experimental mini-essay” engaging with these works, as well as the work of their peers; other written assignments will invite students to experiment with the various creative forms they have been studying, such as writing poems or short fiction. In other words, this course will provide structured opportunities for connecting our work to the work of other writers, and to the social and political spheres that influence how and why we write—we’ll practice tuning in, as poet CAConrad urges, to “the creative viability of everything around us.”

 

In what sense is creative writing an experiment? For one thing, writing is a process of discovery, it is not inert. In that spirit, this course will explore the variety of ways we acquire new kinds of knowledge by writing, where the process of writing and process of scientific experimentation are not as different as we may think.

Our work in this language laboratory will involve continually testing out our instrumentation (our senses), while remaining open to the possibility of getting results that surprise us. The focus will be on building fundamental writing skills that can be applied across academic disciplines, but we will do so by posing difficult questions about written forms in relation to the social worlds from which they emerge. We will study various modes of creative writing, including poetry, prose, and performance, and will read works by authors such as Gertrude Stein, Robert Duncan, and Cecilia Vicuna.

Throughout the quarter, students will practice writing by composing a weekly short experimental mini-essay engaging with these works, as well as the work of their peers; other written assignments will invite students to experiment with the various creative forms they have been studying, such as writing poems or short fiction.

To be successful in this course, students will need access to the internet. If conditions permit, writing workshops will be held in person for roughly 2 hours a week, supplemented by roughly 2 hours a week of online lecture & seminar. Students should expect to spend about the same amount of time (4 hours a week) working asynchronously on their own or in small groups.

Registration

Fall 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

(4): 10129

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

Arts, activism, graduate study

Credits
4
Maximum Enrollment
25
Class Standing
Freshman
Sophomore
Junior
Senior

Schedule

In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Evening
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 A1105 - Lecture
Location
Olympia