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How can students with widely varied levels of literary experience learn to write poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama — over the course of only one semester? In Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief, David Starkey offers some solutions to the challenges of teaching the introductory creative writing course: (1) concise, accessible instruction in literary basics; (2) short models of literature to analyze, admire and emulate; (3) inventive and imaginative assignments that inspire and motivate.
Preface: A Few Words to Instructors
A Few Things You Should Know About Creative Writing
"Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing"
1. Writing Poetry
A Few Things You Should Know about Poetry
The Elements of Poetry
The Short Poem: Three Models
Gail White, "My Personal Recollections of Not Being Asked to the Prom"
Ruth Stone, "Winter"
Fanny Howe, " 9/11"
Lines and Stanzas
Meter and Rhythm
The Music of Poetry
Images, Symbols and Figurative Language
Diction, Syntax and the Language of Poetry
Getting Started Writing Poetry
•Kick-Starts: Beginning Your Poems
An Anthology of Short Poems
Sherman Alexie, "Postcards to Columbus"
Paula Gunn Allen, "Zen Americana"
Jimmy Santiago Baca, "Bells"
Charles Bernstein, "Frequently Unasked Questions"
Gwendolyn Brooks, "The Ballad of Rudolph Reed"
Lorna Dee Cervantes, "Poem for the Young White Man
Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could
Believe in the War between Races"
Wanda Coleman, "Brute Strength"
Billy Collins, "Nostalgia"
Elaine Equi, "A Quiet Poem"
Ray González, "Praise the Tortilla, Praise Menudo, Praise Chorizo"
Barbara Guest, "Noisetone"
Joy Harjo, "Santa Fe"
Allison Joseph, "On Being Told I Don’t Speak like a Black Person"
Galway Kinnell, "That Silent Evening"
Ann Lauterbach, "Boy Sleeping"
Naomi Shihab Nye, "Lunch in Nablus City Park"
Gary Snyder, "I Went into the Maverick Bar"
Gary Soto, "What Is Your Major?"
Adrienne Su, "The English Canon"
Virgil Suárez, "The Ways of Guilt"
James Tate, "Teaching the Ape to Write Poems"
Natasha Tretheway, "My Mother Dreams Another Country"
David Wojahn, "The Assassination of John Lennon as
Depicted by the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1987"
2. Writing the Short-Short Story
A Few Things You Should Know about the Short-Short Story
The Elements of Fiction
The Short-Short Story: Three Models
Isaac Babel, "Crossing the River Zbrucz"
Donald Barthelme, "The Baby"
Roberta Allen, "Marzipan"
Structure and Design
Setting the Scene
Deciding on Point of View, Developing Tone and Style
First-Person Point of View
Second-Person Point of View
Third-Person Limited Point of View
Third-Person Omniscient Point of View
Tone and Style
Getting Started Writing the Short-Short Story
• Kick-Starts: Beginning Your Story
An Anthology of Short-Short Stories
T.Coraghessan Boyle, "The Hit Man"
Ron Carlson, "A Kind of Flying"
Raymond Carver, "Popular Mechanics"
John Cheever, "Reunion"
Stuart Dybek, "Bottle Caps"
Merrill Gilfillan, "Near Michaelmas"
Amy Hempel, "Church Cancels Cow"
Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl"
Joyce Carol Oates, "Wolf’s Head Lake"
Annie Proulx, "The Old Badger Game"
Lois-Ann Yamanaka, "Dominate and Recessid Jeans"
3. Writing Creative Nonfiction
A Few Things You Should Know about Short Creative Nonfiction
The Elements of Creative Nonfiction
Short Creative Nonfiction: Three Models
Scott Russell Sanders, "News of the Wild"
Brian Doyle, "Joyas Voladoras"
Rebecca McClanahan, "Liferower"
Organizing Creative Nonfiction
Telling the Truth
Creative Nonfiction as Narrative
The Poetry of Creative Nonfiction
Imagery and Figurative Language
Sound and Rhythm
Writing Yourself into Creative Nonfiction
Ethics and Edicts
Getting Started Writing Short Creative Nonfiction
• Kick-Starts: Beginning Your Creative Nonfiction
An Anthology of Short Creative Nonfiction
Diane Ackerman, "The Mute Sense"
Marcia Aldrich, "Walkaways"
Edwidge Danticat, "Westbury Court"
Cecile Goding, "How to Tell One Bird From the Next"
Dinty W. Moore, "El Toro Rojo"
Bharati Mukherjee, "Two Ways to Belong in America"
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "The Witching Hour"
Reg Saner, "Late July, 4:40 A.M."
Mimi Schwartz, "Elegy for an Optimist"
Terese Svoboda, "Morning Glory Harley"
4. Writing the Ten-Minute Play
A Few Things You Should Know about the Ten-Minute Play
The Elements of Playwriting
The Ten-Minute Play: Three Models
David Ives, "Sure Thing"
David Henry Hwang, "Trying to Find Chinatown"
Tina Howe, "The Divine Fallacy"
Structuring the Ten-Minute Play
Creating Believable Characters
Writing Convincing Dialogue
Crafting a Theme
On Stage: The Elements of Production
Props, Costumes, and Effects
Getting Started Writing the Ten-Minute Play
• Kick-Starts: Beginning Your Play
Playscript Format: A Model
An Anthology of Ten-Minute Plays
Dan Dietz, "Trash Anthem"
Kristina Halvorson, "Now We’re Really Getting Somewhere"
Jeffrey Hatcher, "Tango Delta"
Elaine Romero, "If Susan Smith Could Talk"
A Few Words of Farewell