Graduate Course Listings - Spring 2014

Past Course Offerings

Reminder about Registration Procedures:

Please keep in mind that we will register you in the order in which you submit your course requests to us via the forthcoming Survey Monkey link. Please complete the survey as soon as possible, as we will not register you unless or until you have done so.

Dr. Adams or Dr. Witschi can begin registering you on

If you need advising about your course choices or program requirements, stop by 625 Sprau. Fall advising hours are Tuesdays from 12:00-4:00, Wednesdays from 1:00-4:30, and Thursdays from 11:00-2:00.

ENGL 5220: Studies in American Literature - Faulkner and the Southern Tradition ENGL 6300: Introduction to Graduate Studies
ENGL 5550: Studies in Major Writers - Dante and Late Medieval Culture ENGL 6330: Professional Writing - Form and Technique - Writing in the Sciences
ENGL 5660: Creative Writing Workshop - Fiction - The Prose Experiment: An Advanced Fiction Writing Class ENGL 6400: The Nature of Poetry
ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop - Poetry ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop - Fiction
ENGL 5770: Advanced Readings in Old Norse ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop - Poetry
ENGL 5970: Studies in English - Introduction to Comic Studies ENGL 6900: Scholarship and Writing in the Profession
ENGL 5970: Studies in English - Literary Forms - Fiction ENGL 6910: Research and Scholarship in English Education
ENGL 6150: Literary Criticism  


English 5220: Studies in American Literature: Faulkner and the Southern Tradition

CRN: 13114
Mondays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 2037
Dr. Philip Egan
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for “American Lit before 1865” (Literature and Creative Writing students); Ph.D. Literature requirement for English Education students; Literature elective for all Master’s level students

The course will treat works in the major strands of humor and fiction upon which William Faulkner drew as well as several of his own major works.  Students will do reports, short writing assignments, critical papers, and a major research paper.

English 5550: Studies in Major Writers: Dante and Late Medieval Culture

CRN: 15474
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 3030
Dr. Eve Salisbury
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for “British Lit to 1500” (Literature and Creative Writing students); Ph.D. Literature requirement for English Education students; Literature elective for all Master’s level students.

In this course we study the development of Dante’s poetic style and form, his innovations in vernacular poetry, and the making of a distinctive and influential poetic corpus. We will look at Dante’s interpretive methodologies, his construction of poetic authority, as well as the social, political, theological, philosophical, and literary traditions informing his work. By beginning with La Vita Nuova, the poet’s theory of interpretation and language use as outlined in his Letter to Can Grande, Convivio, and De Vulgari Eloquentia, and moving through the three canticles comprising the Commedia, we will be brought to an appreciation of Dante’s thought, the relationship of his life to his art, and the cultural forces and creative energy compelling it all. Featured also will be a number of illustrations from the works of William Blake, Sandro Botticelli, Gustav Doré, and others.

English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop—Fiction: The Prose Experiment - An Advanced Fiction Writing Class.

CRN: 12409
Thursdays, 4:00 – 7:30; Brown 2037
Professor Nelly Reifler
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D.; M.F.A. workshop requirement

In this class, we will explore the use of various structures and constraints to build compelling, surprising works of fiction. Students will work with writing assignments, play writing games, and do in-class exercises to generate stories. Each student will also design a writing constraint of his or her own. Well talk about using lists, footnotes, erasures, numbering, and omissions, as well as playing with verb mood and unexpected points of view, and any other formulae that can help us find our ways into our imaginations. We’ll read published fiction—historical and contemporary--that was created using such techniques, and we’ll discuss some theory around the writing process.


English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop—Poetry

CRN: 13514
Mondays, 4:00 – 7:30; Brown 4010
Dr. William Olsen
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D.; M.F.A. workshop requirement

This class involves extensive criticism of student poems, in a traditional workshop environment.

The workshop will also serve as a forum for discussions of aesthetics. Students may be encouraged to work with models, and the class will involve the reading and discussion of at least three books of contemporary poetry.

English 5770: Advanced Readings in Old Norse

CRN: 15342
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:30; Brown 4048
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. Language requirement (if taken with Engl 5760, “Introduction to Old Norse” and both courses are passed with a “B” or better).

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 5970: Studies in English - Introduction to Comic Studies

CRN: 15341
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 4045
Dr. Gwen Tarbox
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for “Contemporary” (Literature and Creative Writing students); Ph.D. Literature requirement for English Education students; Literature elective for all Master’s level students.

Currently, we are living through a golden age of comics production, in which works by author-illustrators such as Jeff Smith (Bone) and Ariel Schrag (Potential) adorn museum walls, and independent comics stores are filled with avid readers. The challenge for scholars of traditional prose-based literature involves gaining an understanding of the comics medium, learning the technical vocabulary for analyzing it (for instance, the terms comics, graphic novels, graphic narratives, manga, and sequential art co-exist uncomfortably in scholarly discourse), and developing a set of interpretative stances that take into account the interplay of text/image and the way in which image-only texts convey meaning.

Over the course of the semester, students will develop interpretative skills and learn to write effectively about comics. Assignments will include a series of short papers, a poster presentation, and a final exam. The cost of texts may be greater than they would be in a traditional prose-based course (appx. $190 for all new books). However, some of the additional comics we will read are available online, free of charge, and some critical essays will be read online, as well. Here is a list of required texts for purchase:

Primary Texts:

Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, Daytripper
Daniel Clowes, Ghost World
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen
Joe Sacco, Journalism
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Vol. I)
Art Spiegelman, Maus I: My Father Bleeds History
Shaun Tan, The Arrival
Gene Luen Yang, Sinners and Saints Boxed Set
Chris Ware, Building Stories (Note: this comic comes in a large box that weighs about 6 lbs) 

Secondary Texts:

Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.


English 5970: Studies in English - Literary Forms—Fiction

CRN: 15898
Fridays, 2:00 – 4:30; Brown 3037
Professor Thisbe Nissen
Fulfills: Ph.D. forms requirement (Creative Writing students); MFA forms requirements (either in- or out-of-genre, depending on genre); elective for all other graduate students.

Short-short stories: a course on the form. We’ll read a broad spectrum of flash, micro, sudden, mini, nano, quick and hint fiction, as well as theory of the form. Generative prompts and exercises will be developed into texts for workshop.


English 6150: Literary Criticism

CRN: 11716
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 3017
Dr. Christopher Nagle
Fulfills: Ph.D.requirement for Literary Criticism; M.A. (Literature) requirement for Literary Criticism; M.F.A. & M.A.E.T elective

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 6300: Introduction to Graduate Studies

CRN: 13115
Mondays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Cynthia Klekar
Fulfills: Literature Ph.D. prerequisite requirement; Literature M.A. prerequisite requirement; elective for all other students

English 6300 introduces students to the vicissitudes of professionalization in English Studies, including information about sub-fields, work of individuals in various aspects of English Studies, and expectations for a professional career both in graduate school and beyond. Most intensively, however, ENGL 6300 prepares students to conduct advanced research in English Studies, to recognize the conventions that govern such study, and to continue the life-long process of refining their academic prose.


English 6330: Professional Writing—Form and Technique: Writing in the Sciences

CRN: 15344
Thursdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Maria Gigante
Note: This course is for students pursuing graduate degrees in science. Interested English students please speak with Graduate Program Advisors.

“Writing in the Sciences” is a new course for students pursuing graduate degrees in science. Students will rhetorically analyze scientific discourse in their fields to inform their own writing practices. In addition to evaluating how scientists construct arguments within the scientific community, students will also learn about the importance of communicating science with non-experts, which is essential for securing grants, informing policy decision-making, and gaining the support of public audiences. Assignments in this course will revolve around students’ current research projects and will include the accommodation of scientific discourse for diverse audiences.


English 6400: The Nature of Poetry

CRN: 15345
Thursdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 3017
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn
Fulfills: Ph.D.-level prerequisite requirement in genre specific course; M.A. prerequisite requirement; M.F.A. (fiction & playwriting) out-of-genre forms course requirement; M.A.E.T elective.

In this course we will read and discuss selected poetry of the sixteenth, seventeenth and late twentieth centuries. We’ll have a chance to explore the relationship between lyric and narrative modes, the influence of Renaissance writers on contemporary poets, and expressions of sexuality and spirituality in verse. First, we’ll establish our sense of the lyric voice and its relation to poetic form by considering the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. Next we will read four influential poetic works of the English Renaissance. Sonnets by Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare will begin our conversation about the expression of desire and the extension of the lyric voice into narrative shapes. George Herbert’s The Temple will allow us to consider the language of spiritual, as distinct from erotic, desire and to see how a collection of lyrics may make use of non-narrative sequence. John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which we will read over three weeks, will conclude our look at the Renaissance and begin our examination of narrative verse. After discussing Paradise Lost, we will move to a twentieth century epic poem, Derek Walcott’s Omeros, followed by Vikram Seth’s verse novel The Golden GateLove, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons, a narrative sonnet sequence by Marilyn Hacker, leads us back to a consideration of the relationship between lyric and narrative, as well as that between the Renaissance and the present. Louise Glück’s The Wild Iris, our next reading, links thematically to Paradise Lost and shows the influence of Herbert, as does the poetry of Bishop. At the end of the course, therefore, we will return to Elizabeth Bishop, taking into account Hacker’s queer sonnet sequence to consider the much debated question of queer sexuality in Bishop’s poetry. Some selected poems by Adrienne Rich and John Ashbery will round out this conversation. Assigned readings will also include critical and theoretical works throughout the semester.

Requirements include weekly contributions to a class discussion board, one oral presentation on an issue in literary criticism, and a long (15-20 pp.) seminar paper. Students unfamiliar with Paradise Lostmay wish to do an initial reading over the summer. Please email with any questions.


English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop—Fiction

CRN: 13575
Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 4030
Professor Nelly Reifler
Fulfills: Ph.D. CW workshop requirement; MFA CW workshop requirement

The most delicate choices a writer makes significantly affect a story or novel.  In this workshop we'll take a closeup look at your fiction: we'll focus on precision of language, explore the mysteries and mechanics of point of view, and talk about building a stable world with words.  We'll treat our stories as laboratories of the imagination that accommodate daring and complex experiments.  In workshop discussions we'll cultivate articulate critiques that always keep the writers' intentions in mind.  The authors whose work we may read include Gary Lutz, Denis Johnson, Ann Beattie, Katherine Anne Porter, David Ohle, Anton Chekhov, Junot Diaz, Barry Hannah, Joy Williams, Steve Almond, and Haruki Murakami; we'll also read essays and other nonfiction.


English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop—Poetry

CRN: 13677
Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 4035
Dr. Nancy Eimers
Fulfills: Ph.D. CW workshop requirement; MFA CW workshop requirement

Muriel Rukeyser wrote that "All things change in time; some are made of change itself, and the poem is of these. It is not an object; the poem is a process." Ideally, our workshop will be a place to consider the poem as it is poised between what was intended and what might possibly be. Our task as a workshop will be to help instigate that change, or help the writer to imagine her/his way to the poem's next, ever more crucial version. Our discussion will be informed by collections by at least three contemporary poets.


English 6900: Scholarship and Writing in the Profession

CRN: 11717
Thursdays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 3045
Dr. Margaret Dupuis
Required Course for all M.A. and M.A E.T. students

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 6910: Research and Scholarship in English Education

CRN: 15343
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 3045
Dr. Karen Vocke
Fulfills: Ph.D. English Education requirement; M.A.E.T. requirement

In English 6910 we will examine English Education-related research studies that support current best practices in the teaching of reading, writing, literature, and language.  An overview of the research process will focus on the literature review, human subjects protocols, developing and refining research questions, developing a proposal, data collection, and data analysis.


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
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