Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2016

ENG 233 | Introduction to Creative Writing

Siwar Masannat
Section 2 | MW, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

This course introduces students to the craft of writing poetry and fiction. Students are expected to share their creative work and engage as part of a collaborative and supportive community of writers.  We will read past and contemporary authors whose works exhibit a variety of themes, styles, and sensibilities. Class time will blend workshop, discussion, and writing for the purposes of crafting original pieces and critiquing elements of craft in both students’ and authors’ creative work. At every stage of the workshop, we will discuss the writing, not the writer.

For more information, contact Siwar Masannat at masannat@uwm.edu.

ENG 233 | Introduction to Creative Writing

Peter Burzynski
Section 3 | MW, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Introduction to Creative Writing exposes students to the craft of reading and writing short fiction and poetry, and provides them the opportunity to experiment in both genres. We will read several short stories and poems by past and contemporary writers and analyze them with an emphasis on craft. Through close-readings and analysis, students will acquire elements of craft, which they will implement in their own work. The first half of the class is devoted to fiction writing; the second is for poetry. The course satisfies 3 credits towards the GRE requirement. There is no textbook to buy, only a course reader. You have a chance to tell your own story in an artful way. What will your story be?

For more information, contact Peter Burzynski at pgb@uwm.edu.

ENG 414 | Literary Journal Production

Valerie Laken
Section 1 | W, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

Ever wonder how a literary journal or arts magazine comes into being? In this course we’ll learn the process step by step, working as a collective to produce a literary and arts journal showcasing writing and artwork by Milwaukee-area undergraduates in UWM’s own Furrow Magazine. Starting from square one, we will research the design, content, and production of other journals and decide which approaches will work best for us. Dividing the work load, we will develop a budget plan; solicit, select, and edit content; develop a design scheme and promotional campaign; manage page layouts and copyediting; and work with a printer to publish a volume of work we can be proud of.

For more information, contact Valerie Laken at laken@uwm.edu.

ENG 416 | Poetry Workshop

Brenda Cárdenas
Section 1 | T, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

When we write poems, we often explore various means of working within, stretching, and transcending boundaries vis-a-vis our attention to particular aspects of craft and approaches to writing. With this in mind, students will draft and revise poems outside of class, as well as engage in various in-class writing exercises. Assignments will involve experimenting with patterns of sound and repetition, line and syntax, metaphor, persona, formal verse, ekphrasis, and collage, among other approaches. Students will also read, analyze, and discuss both published contemporary poems and their peers’ poems-in-progress, paying attention to what the poem aims to achieve or evoke and how the poet has constructed and crafted the poem toward this end. Students will critique each other’s work, offering suggestions for how their peers might alter various aspects of the poem to achieve the desired effect. Our culminating project will be a portfolio of revised poems with a reflective introductory essay.

For more information, contact Brenda Cárdenas at cardenab@uwm.edu.

ENG 439 | Information Design

Dave Clark
Section 1 | W, 5:30 p.m. – 8:10 p.m.

This course provides a practical and theoretical overview of information design. We will begin with examinations of design theories and conventions coming from graphic artists, usability experts, cognitive psychologists, and technical communication scholars, and then critique those theories and conventions as we apply them to the analysis and creation of a wide range of documents and data displays.

Topics include typography, color, text and page layout, and diagrams and illustrations. Throughout, we will focus on usability for print and online production. This course is appropriate for all students with an interest in information production or who see themselves producing professional documents for a future workplace. Students from all plans and majors are welcome.


  • To analyze and produce information designs for a variety of professional contexts
  • To become familiar with the history, conventions, vocabulary, and theory of information design
  • To become familiar with and practice basic usability testing of documents
  • To gain familiarity with important genres of professional communication
  • To gain proficiency in using computer-mediated communications


  • Document redesign and analysis
  • Infographic
  • Research/technology report
  • Major project:
    • Proposal and Specification
    • Progress Report
    • Test Plan and Test Report
    • Deliverable

For more information, contact Dave Clark at dclark@uwm.edu.

ENG 523 | Studies in U.S. Latino/a Literature

Mauricio Kilwein-Guevara
Comedy in Performance
Section 1 | M, 11:00 a.m. – 1:40 p.m.

This is a designated General Education Requirement (GER) cultural diversity course.
Please check PAWS for further enrollment information, including prerequisites.

In the first week we will begin with an overview of the U.S. Latina/o population by the Pew Hispanic Center. Next, we’ll watch the documentary The Bronze Screen, which looks at the history of Latinos in Hollywood. This will help us lay down a foundation for the analytical/critical conversations we’ll have as we view or listen to works of Latina/o comedy in performance.

We’ll approach comedy in performance with a wide lens that includes, among other genres: film, TV, the web, stand-up, sketch, and improv. We’ll start by looking at the legendary Mexican comic actor Mario Moreno, known popularly as “Cantinflas.” We’ll discuss his roots in the rascuache tradition, historically popular among the working people of Mexico.

From there, the remainder of the course will focus on artists of Latino descent working in the United States of America. My goal is to represent multiple frames of diversity: of geography, history, gender, sexual orientation, race, as well as of individual artistic styles and genres. Although I haven’t made the final text selections, we may view films such as Born in East L.A. and The Story of Juan Bago. We’ll look at sitcoms such as I Love Lucy, Chico and the Man, George Lopez, and Modern Family. In the realm of sketch and short film, we’ll likely to check out House of Buggin’ Culture Clash, and Carmelita Tropicana. As we move to theatre, we’re likely to view, for example, Rick Najera’s Latinologues <https://youtu.be/n3uiB_HtvOk> and one of John Leguizamo’s monologue-based theatre works. In stand up, the list is long and righteous: Felipe Esparza (US/Mexican), Freddie Prinze (Hungarican), Andrew Kennedy (Colombo-Americano), Lisa Alvarado (U.S. Peruvian), Gabriel Iglesias (Chicano), Pablo Francisco (U.S. Chilean), Cheech & Chong (Chi/no/cano). In performance poetry there are figures such as Michele Serros and UWM’s own Brenda Cárdenas (English). Also, Alvaro Saar Rios (Theatre/Playwriting at UWM) has agreed to be a guest artist in our class!

For more information, contact Mauricio Kilwein-Guevara at maurice@uwm.edu.