The age-old search for the Divine, the Sacred, the Great Spirit, the Source, the Goddess, the Ancestors, among other names, has been the subject of countless literary texts, whether it is the Buddhist-inspired poetry of the Beats, the gothic Catholicism of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, the visions of Black Elk, the confessions of Augustine. In this analytical and creative writing course we'll examine varieties of spiritual experience as they are represented in both past and present literature, including poetry, fiction, memoir, and biography. You'll be asked to do all sorts of writing pertinent to the topic: close readings and literary analyses of texts, personal essays and memoirs based on your own spiritual encounters, and out- in-the-field non-fiction pieces.
This course will explore the work of scholars, essayists, and creative writers in order to use their prose as models for our own. We'll analyze scholarly explication and argument, and we'll appreciate the artistry in our finest personal essays and short fiction. Students will complete a series of critical essays in the humanities and natural sciences and follow with a personal essay and a piece of short fiction. Students will have an opportunity to submit their work for peer review and discussion; students will also meet individually with instructor. Frequent, enthusiastic revision is an expectation. This course is intended largely for first year students, though third semester/fourth semester students struggling with writing issues are welcome.
Co-Director of Writing Program & Senior Faculty Associate
Mail Code WP
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002