Program Courses

Please note that course schedules may be amended due to low enrollment, faculty availability, and/or other factors.

Online Sync Sessions are an integral part of the online learning experience. Additional information about learning concepts and assignments may be discussed and sync sessions offer valuable opportunities for students to interact with their faculty and peers during the term. We encourage all students to attend live, but if they are unable to, sync sessions will be recorded and posted within Canvas to allow for an asynchronous model of success as well.

MCW 490-0 : Inventing Memory


To write about ourselves with insight and fidelity can be quite difficult given how fuzzy, fluid, and fleeting memory is. This task becomes even more challenging and risky when remembering and writing about other people. For writers whose work is rooted in and shaped by memory, particularly memories of unknown, estranged, or deceased family members, much of the writing process relies on invention—on cobbling together fragments of information, conducting research, forming impressionistic renderings of others’ lives, and conjuring into existence imagined experiences and histories. Given how impossible it is to truly know the inner worlds of others and the weight of their private worries, aspirations, and pains, writers must learn how to navigate uncertainty effectively—and remain aware of how our present identities, circumstances, perspectives, and desires influence our sense of others and their realities. In this multi-genre course, we will investigate imaginative strategies writers use to invent memories, while also navigating concerns about purpose, creative license, ethics, truth, appropriation, privilege, reliability, artfulness, responsibility, audience, and language. In addition to studying works by poets, novelists, and nonfiction writers such as Rita Dove, Tim O’Brien, Q.M. Zhang, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Ocean Vuong, Zeina Hashem Beck, Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes, Paisley Rekdal, and Toni Nealie, we will also produce new writing and revisit existing work as we strive to interrogate, diversify, and refine our own approaches to writing about memory.

(If you’re interested in having this class count as a poetry workshop toward your genre specialization, then please be sure you let the instructor know before the end of the first week of class. Please also notify your academic advisor in advance for approval so that the course may count as a poetry workshop toward your degree.)

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