Students in the Cathedral of Learning

For a complete list of courses offered and the most current descriptions, please visit the School of Arts and Sciences course descriptions database. 

We offer many courses regularly, but the focus varies from term to term, depending on the faculty member's particular interests. Here's a sample of recently offered MFA courses: 

Readings in Contemporary Fiction: Immigrant Fiction with Irina Reyn  

In today’s political climate, immigration has become an ever more heated political topic. In this course, our readings will trace the evolution of the category of “immigrant fiction,” that started gaining steam in American book publishing in the 1980s.  The books may overlap for the ways they tap into and/or subvert the reader’s fascination with the immigrant narrative but are wildly variant in their approaches to the depiction of the immigrant experience, and show an evolution in the way the subject matter and its concerns evolved over the past thirty years. 

Narrative Audio Workshop with Erin Anderson  

In recent years, podcasting has moved from a niche medium to a widespread cultural phenomenon—and a booming industry. Narrative audio is now arguably the most fertile ground for writers looking to take their work off the page to connect with new audiences. In this workshop, we’ll come together across genres to explore our craft in this burgeoning medium. You should expect to dedicate yourself to a single, substantive work of narrative audio—either documentary or fiction—which you’ll carry from concept to completion with support and insight from your fellow students, aiming to leave the class with a roughly 20-minute broadcast-quality story. While our primary texts in the course will be your own stories, we’ll also learn from focused discussions on the craft of established audio producers, which each of you will select and present to the class. This course does not presume prior experience with audio production. It’s designed for writers from all backgrounds. 

Poetry Workshop with Yona Harvey  

This cross-listed poetry/nonfiction workshop was for graduate students interested in studying and writing hybrid forms of memoir, literary nonfiction, and poems, and in exploring the questions: what can poets learn from nonfiction writers? And what can nonfiction writers learn from poets? Students were led in guided practices in immersion research and in gathering information from memory and imagination. Students and faculty explored ways of telling "true stories" dependent on narrative, syntax, rhythm, and language dimensions. 

Readings in Contemporary Poetry with Dawn Lundy Martin 

This course was cross listed as a graduate literature seminar, Race And Gender In 20th Century Poetry. The class focused on poetry—from African American modernism to African American experimentalism - including work by Melvin B. Tolson, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, N.H. Pritchard, the Umbra Poets, Erica Hunt, Harryette Mullen, Claudia Rankine, Duriel E. Harris, Nathaniel Mackey, and Will Alexander. Students also examined African American digital poetry. 

Readings in Contemporary Nonfiction 

Transformations. The focus of the course was on how certain short-form essays, short literary works of fiction and poetry and magazine articles were transformed into sustained, book-length narratives in the creative nonfiction genre. This included articles that had been expanded into books as well as works from the imagination-based genres (poetry and fiction) that had been reconceived as nonfiction. Many published nonfiction writers visited the class and shared invaluable publishing wisdom, including Lise Funderburg, Sad Dhume, Kavitha Rajagopalan, Julian Rubinstein, and Mitra Kalita, 

Topics in Nonfiction: Magazine 

This course is an orientation to the publishing industry today as the digital era transforms it. For centuries publishing has been synonymous with print. The curriculum focused first on the traditional print publishing paradigm (books, magazines, newspapers), then shifted to electronic publishing (e-books, audiobooks, PDFs, CD-ROMs, databases, Internet, World Wide Web, Intranet, podcasting, etc.). The course surveyed print and electronic publishing procedures and protocol from acquisition to publication. Topics included: history of writing and the book; American publishing history; economics of the publishing industries; intellectual property, idea protection, and electronic or subsidiary rights; the evaluation and acquisition of manuscripts; the role of literary agents; publishing contracts; the role of the editor; marketing and promotion; design and production; warehousing and order fulfillment; royalties; and subsidiary rights.