Program in Creative Writing

Faculty

  • Director

    • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Executive Committee

    • Su Friedrich
    • Judith Hamera
    • Aleksander Hemon
    • Brian E. Herrera
    • Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Deana Lawson
    • Yiyun Li
    • Susan Marshall
    • Moon Molson
    • Paul Muldoon
    • Kirstin Valdez Quade
    • James Richardson
    • Joseph S. Scanlan
    • Tracy K. Smith
    • Susan Wheeler
    • Jeffrey Whetstone
    • Stacy E. Wolf
  • Associated Faculty

    • Michael W. Cadden
    • Jane Cox
    • Martha Friedman
    • Rebecca Lazier
  • Professor

    • Aleksandar Hemon
    • Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Yiyun Li
    • Paul Muldoon
    • James Richardson
    • Tracy K. Smith
    • Susan Wheeler
  • Assistant Professor

    • Kristin Valdez Quade
  • Lecturer

    • Michael C. Dickman
    • Mark Doten
    • A. M. Homes
    • Daphne Eva Kalotay
    • Christina Lazaridi
    • Idra Rosenberg Novey
    • Susanna Styron
    • Jenny Xie
    • Monica Youn
  • Visiting Professor

    • Rowan R. Phillips

     

  • Sits with Committee

    • Michael Dickman
    • A.M. Homes
    • Christina Lazaridi
    • Monica Youn

Program Information

The Program in Creative Writing, part of the Lewis Center for the Arts, allows undergraduates to work with practicing writers while pursuing a regular liberal arts course of study. Students develop their writing skills; explore the possibilities of contemporary poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and translation; and gain a special access to the critical understanding of literature through their involvement in the creative process.

Small workshop courses in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and translation are taught by the program faculty, and visiting writers. These courses are limited in enrollment to ensure the benefits of working closely with faculty. Students begin the creative writing course sequence in either the fall or spring with 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 348, 349, or 448. (Any of these may be repeated for credit with a different instructor.) Students who have taken two 200-level courses in poetry, fiction, and translation may apply for the 300 level. All creative writing courses require an application process. Screenwriting students may apply to intermediate and advanced screenwriting classes after one introductory screenwriting class, or any other two CWR courses.

Each workshop focuses on one genre only (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, or translation). Workshops meet for up to three hours weekly and are devoted to a craft-based consideration of published writing, and to the discussion of student work.

All creative writing program courses are graded pass/D/fail but are not counted in the pass/D/fail budget.

Program of Study

Students may earn a certificate in creative writing by successfully completing the following requirements:

(1) Candidates for the certificate normally take two 200-level courses in creative writing by the end of sophomore year and two 300-level courses by the end of junior year, though a portion of this requirement may be waived in unusual circumstances. The courses need not be in a single genre; students are encouraged to experiment with kinds of writing new to them. Applicants for a screenwriting thesis must have taken one course in poetry, fiction, or translation; and at least two courses in screenwriting.

(2) Students may earn a certificate in creative writing by writing a creative senior thesis in one genre (e.g., collections of poems, stories, one feature-length or several short form screenplays, a novel, or literary translations in poetry or fiction) under the direction of program faculty.

During the spring term of junior year, candidates for the certificate apply to the Program in Creative Writing for permission to write a creative thesis. The application consists of a short form and an extensive portfolio of work in the relevant genre. Successful applicants are assigned specific deadlines and an adviser they meet with throughout senior year.

Accepted students seek permission from their home departments to use the creative thesis to satisfy departmental thesis requirements. For students in the Department of English creative writing track and Comparative Literature Program D, approval is routine, and several other departments have welcomed creative theses, but some students undertake the creative thesis as a "second thesis." Unlike creative writing workshops, which are pass/D/fail, theses receive letter grades.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in creative writing upon graduation.

 

Courses

CWR 201 Creative Writing (Poetry) Fall LA

Practice in the original composition of poetry supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 202 Creative Writing (Poetry) Spring LA

Practice in the original composition of poetry supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 203 Creative Writing (Fiction) Fall LA

Practice in the original composition of fiction supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript at least every other week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 204 Creative Writing (Fiction) Spring LA

Practice in the original composition of fiction supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript at least every other week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 205 Creative Writing (Literary Translation) (also
TRA 204
) Fall LA

Practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: fluency in a language other than English and by application. Instructed by: P. Muldoon

CWR 206 Creative Writing (Literary Translation) (also
TRA 206
/
COM 215
) Spring LA

Practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: fluency in a language other than English and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 209 Along the Edge: Leonora Carrington (also
ART 223
/
COM 240
/
GSS 277
) Fall LA

This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on Leonora Carrington. Students will be asked to respond to Carrington's oeuvre both critically and creatively, writing essays, responses, and imaginative texts inspired by a close reading of Carrington's idiosyncratic fiction and by studying her prints, drawings and paintings, which are part of the Princeton Art Museum's permanent collection. Knowledge of French and/or Spanish is recommended but not required, as we will also look at some of Carrington's writing in the original languages of composition, and consider questions linguistic migration and experimentation. Instructed by: J. Lahiri

CWR 211 How to Write A Song (also
MTD 211
) Spring LA

An introduction to the art of writing words for music, an art at the core of almost every literary tradition from Homer through Beowulf to W.B Yeats and beyond. Composers and writers will have the opportunity to work in small songwriting teams to respond to such emotionally charged themes as Contempt, Gratitude, Revenge, Desire, Disgust, Joyousness, Remorse, Loneliness, Despair and Defiance. Assignments are based on study of a range of works in the popular song tradition. The final exercise will be a public showcase of work from the semester. Instructed by: P. Muldoon

CWR 214 Graphic Design (See VIS 214)

CWR 215 Graphic Design: Typography (See VIS 215)

CWR 223 360 Degrees With 7 Storytellers (See VIS 223)

CWR 240 Creative Non-Fiction (See JRN 240)

CWR 301 Advanced Creative Writing (Poetry) Fall LA

Advanced practice in the original composition of poetry for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. Prerequisites: 201 or 202 and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 302 Advanced Creative Writing (Poetry) Spring LA

Advanced practice in the original composition of poetry for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. Prerequisites: 201 or 202 and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 303 Advanced Creative Writing (Fiction) Fall LA

Advanced practice in the original composition of fiction for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. Prerequisites: 203 or 204 and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 304 Advanced Creative Writing (Fiction) Spring LA

Advanced practice in the original composition of fiction for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. Prerequisites: 203 or 204 and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 305 Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation) (also
COM 355
/
TRA 305
) Fall LA

Advanced practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Prerequisites: 205 or 206 and by application. Instructed by: P. Muldoon

CWR 306 Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation) (also
COM 356
) Spring LA

Advanced practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Prerequisites: 205 or 206 and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 308 Autobiography: Writing Our Selves Spring LA

What compels us to write about ourselves? And what drives us to read about the lives of others? In this workshop we will examine different approaches to writing about the people, places and events that have made us who and how we are. Through the reading and discussion of a number of autobiographical texts, we will gather a set of writerly tools that will help us in writing about our own life experiences. In other words, we'll pay close attention to the craft-based choices made by writers of memoirs and personal essays, and see what those choices will yield when applied to our own material. Instructed by: Y. Li

CWR 310 Writing from Life Spring LA

What compels us to write about ourselves? What drives us to read about the lives of others? Where is the intersection between public life and private life? In this workshop we will examine different approaches to writing about the people, places and events that have shaped us. Instructed by: Y. Li

CWR 315 Life Is Short, Art is Really Short Spring LA

All literature is short - compared to our lives, anyway - but we'll be concentrating on poetry and prose at their very shortest. The reading will include proverbs, aphorisms, greguerias, one-line poems, riddles, jokes, fragments, haiku, epigrams and microlyrics. Imagism, contemporary shortists, prose poems, various longer works assembled from small pieces, and possibly even flash fiction. Students will take away from the thrift and edge of these literary microorganisms a new sense of what can be left out of your work and new ideas about how those nebulae of pre-draft in your notebooks might condense into stars and constellations. Instructed by: J. Richardson

CWR 318 Oral History: The Art of Listening and Translation Fall LA

How do we craft narrative from the material of another person's life? We will look at the oral history interview as an act of spontaneous literature - one that contains both the individual story, and the larger history. Students will learn the art of listening, the ethics of interpretation, and approach the writing process as translation of experience. We will borrow from documentary practices across different media (film, visual storytelling, audio storytelling), allowing them to inspire our efforts to find the literary forms that respond to the lived histories that are shared with us. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 345 Special Topics in Creative Writing (also
GSS 383
) Not offered this year LA

Students gain special access to the critical understanding of literature through their involvement in the creative process. Topics include autobiography, prosody, non-fiction, revision and point of view. Students are expected to prepare a manuscript at least every other week. Specific topics and prerequisites will vary. By application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 348 Introduction to Screenwriting: Writing the Short Film (also
VIS 348
) Fall LA

This course will introduce students to core screenwriting principles and techniques. Questions of thematic cohesiveness, plot construction, logical cause and effect, character behavior, dialogue, genre consistency and pace will be explored as students gain confidence by completing a number of short screenplays.The course will illustrate and analyze the power of visual storytelling to communicate a story to an audience, and will guide students to create texts that serve as "blueprints" for emotionally powerful and immersive visual experiences. Final portfolio will include one short exercise and two short screenplays. By application. Instructed by: C. Lazaridi

CWR 349 Introduction to Screenwriting: Writing for a Global Audience (also
VIS 349
) Spring LA

How can screenwriters prepare for the evolving challenges of our global media world? What types of content, as well as form, will emerging technologies make possible? Do fields like neuroscience help us understand the universal principals behind screenwriting and do tech advances that alter the distance between audience and creator, man and machine, also influence content of our stories? This class will use fairytales, films, games and new media to illustrate universal script principles while creating a rich interdisciplinary lens to explore the innovative intersection of narrative screenwriting, science and technology. Instructed by: C. Lazaridi

CWR 350 Creating Your Biomythography Workshop (See DAN 350)

CWR 351 Archive Writing (See COM 350)

CWR 385 The Art of the Essay (See FRE 385)

CWR 401 Advanced Creative Writing Tutorial Not offered this year LA

Tutorials in the original composition of fiction, poetry, or translations, open to those who have demonstrated unusual commitment and talent through four terms of creative writing or who provide equivalent evidence of their capacity for advanced work. Open also to qualified graduate students. Individual conferences to be arranged. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 402 Advanced Creative Writing Tutorial Not offered this year LA

Tutorials in the original composition of fiction, poetry, or translations, open to those who have demonstrated unusual commitment and talent through four terms of creative writing or who provide equivalent evidence of their capacity for advanced work. Open also to qualified graduate students. Individual conferences to be arranged. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 403 Special Topics in Screenwriting (also
VIS 406
) Not offered this year LA

This class will familiarize students with the complex use of metaphorical, emotional, and visual threads in long form screenplay writing. Analyzing examples of international, independent, and classical structures, students will be exposed to the rhythms and demands of the process of conceiving and writing a long form narrative film. Prerequisite: Introduction to Screenwriting and by application. Instructed by: Staff

CWR 405 Advanced Screenwriting: Writing for Television (also
VIS 405
) Fall/Spring LA

This advanced screenwriting course will introduce students to the post 1990's "golden age of television" and outline the differences between writing for film and a scripted TV series. Students will be required to watch a television pilot each week and engage in an in-depth discussion about its structure, pacing, character development, etc. Each student will formulate and pitch an original series idea and write their own pilot, (50-60 pages) due by the end of the semester. Instructed by: A. Homes

CWR 448 Introduction to Screenwriting: Adaptation (also
VIS 448
) Fall LA

Introduction to screenwriting adaptation techniques, focusing primarily on the challenges of adapting "true stories" pulled from various non-fiction sources. The class will address the ethics of adaptation, questions and techniques surrounding the need to fictionalize truth for dramatic purposes, as well as touching on the differences between fictional and nonfictional original materials. Students will be exposed to various contemporary non-fiction adaptations, and will write a short film and one longer project. By application. Instructed by: C. Lazaridi