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 233 | Introduction to Creative Writing

Caitlin Scarano
Section 6 | TR, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

How does a piece of creative writing work? What does it do and how? We’ll grapple with these questions by considering specific elements of craft (for example: image, plot, character, setting, rhythm, structure, etc). We’ll also think about creativity and art at large: What is art? Why do humans make art? ENG 233 is a college-level introduction to creative writing. The first half of the semester we will focus on fiction (short stories and flash fiction), while the second half will be dedicated to poetry. Expect to read and write a lot, and share your creative writing with your classmates, who will offer you thoughtful verbal and written feedback. We’ll work together to build a supportive writing community in our class and grow creatively.

For more information, contact Caitlin Scarano at cscarano@uwm.edu.

ENG 305 | Survey of English Literature, 1900-Present

José Lanters
Section 1 | T, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

This course is an introduction to British literature written between 1900 and the present through a close reading of fiction, drama, and poetry. Placing the texts in a social and historical context, we will consider how the definition of “Englishness” has shifted in the course of the twentieth century, and how the changing position of Britain in the world is reflected in the literature.


  • The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. Vol. 6: The Twentieth Century and Beyond. Broadview Press, 2006. ISBN 1551116146.
  • Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust. Back Bay Books. ISBN 0316926051.
  • Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop. Penguin. ISBN 0140256407.


  • Two papers (25% each)
  • Midterm exam (20%)
  • Final exam (30%)

For more information, contact José Lanters at lanters@uwm.edu.

ENG 361 | The Development of Poetry

Four Modernist American Poets
Jason Puskar
Section 1 | MW, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

This course is an intensive introduction to the works of four modernist poets, each representing a very different kind of modernist poetry, and all most active between roughly 1910 and 1960: Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. The course will combine intensive close reading of individual poems with a more general consideration of historical and cultural issues relevant for each poet. These include Hughes’s participation in the “Harlem Renaissance,” Williams’s career as a doctor, Bishop’s residence in Brazil, and Stevens’s debts to several key philosophers. By the end of the semester, students will have gained skills and techniques for reading all poetry, a fuller sense of the development of modernist poetics in the first half of the twentieth century, and detailed knowledge of four influential writers.


      • Elizabeth Bishop, Poems, ISBN 0374532362 ($16)
      • Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes ISBN 0679764089 ($20)
      • William Carlos Williams, Selected Poems ISBN 081120958X ($17)
      • Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens: The Corrected Edition, ISBN 1101911689 ($18)

For more information, contact Jason Puskar at puskar@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 414 | Multiple Genre Workshop

Rebecca Dunham
Section 2 | TR, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

This workshop is for the intermediate- or advanced-level undergraduate writer who wishes to explore the full range of his/her voice, without the boundaries that genre expectations can impose. We will read texts that dip in and out of genres classified as short fiction, essay, poetry, drama, and the novel, borrowing what is useful and eschewing that which is not. There will be no required writing exercises or genre-based “units”—students will produce texts of their own design for full-class workshop. In any given week, the class might discuss a dramatic monologue, a lyric essay, or prose poem/short short story.

Students will be expected to workshop approximately 4-6 pieces of writing and compose brief responses (250 words) to the texts we read for class. Instead of a final portfolio, students will undertake a deep revision of one project of their choosing.

For more information, contact Rebecca Dunham at dunham@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 507 | Studies in Literature, 1900 to the Present

Theodore Martin
Section 1 | TR, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

This course will examine how the logic of conspiracy has shaped the contemporary novel. Through texts that are both formally and thematically concerned with conspiracies large and small, we will trace the literary history of conspiracy as it helps illuminate the questions and anxieties that come from living in an increasingly complex, connected, and corporatized world. Is interconnectedness a comfort or a threat? Is knowledge a form of power or a curse? What is the fate of the individual in an era shaped by larger systems and institutions? And how much, finally, can we really comprehend about the vastness of our globalized world? Taking up these questions, we will seek to understand how and why the logic of conspiracy—as a form of storytelling, as a strategy of interpretation, and as a theory of power—has become an essential feature of both contemporary life and the contemporary novel.

For more information, contact Theodore Martin at marti449@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.

ENG 616 | Advanced Workshop in Poetry

Rebecca Dunham
Section 1 | R, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

This capstone workshop is designed for the advanced undergraduate poet. Most of class time will be devoted to workshopping student poems, though we will make time to discuss several model texts, as well. Students will be expected to workshop approximately six pieces of writing and compose brief responses (250 words) to the texts we read for class. The final project will be a portfolio of revised and new work.

For more information, contact Rebecca Dunham at dunham@uwm.edu.

ENG 624 | Seminar in Modern Literature

Literature and Ecological Crisis
Theodore Martin
Section 1 | T, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

This course will explore how writers have responded to the increasingly incontrovertible evidence that we live in an age of ecological crisis. Starting from the premise that ecological crisis poses a crisis for narrative representation, we will consider how different literary forms—from bureaucratic satire to science fiction to conceptual poetry—help register key forms of environmental catastrophe: the toxic consequences of a newly interconnected world system; the human costs of ecological disaster; the corporate and capitalist logics of environmental destruction; and the long-term process of a changing climate. In addition to literature, we will consider how scientists, journalists, and cultural critics have worked to both document and narrate the crisis of climate change. Ultimately, our aim in this course will be, first, to develop a better factual understanding of the environmental challenges facing us today; and second, to think about how and why literature itself might remain a crucial way of responding to those challenges.

For more information, contact Theodore Martin at marti449@uwm.edu.

ENG 625 | Seminar in Literary History

Major Early Modern Women Writers
Gwynne Kennedy
Section 1 | M, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

We will read important works by women writers from 1400 to 1800, from England, France, Spain, Italian principalities, New England, and New Spain. The texts include defenses of women, plays, poetry, prose, romance, short stories, and novellas. No prior familiarity with the writers or their historical moments is required; secondary materials and criticism will help contextualize the readings. Among the authors we will read are: Christine de Pizan, Sor Juana de la Cruz, Aphra Behn, Maria de Zayas y Sotomayor, Anne Bradstreet, Louise Labe, Mary Wroth, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Several short writing assignments will build toward a final paper. Because this is a seminar, your participation in discussion is essential. This class satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

For more information, contact Gwynne Kennedy at gkennedy@uwm.edu.

ENG 626 | Seminar in Critical Theory

Contemporary Approaches to Literature and Culture
Gregory Jay
Section 1 | W, 4:30 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.

The study of literary and cultural theory can be an exciting adventure in intellectual discovery. Or it can be an alienating march through forests of impenetrable prose and incomprehensible ideas. The topics should be rich and engaging, including psychoanalysis, feminism, marxism, queer theory, postcolonial critique, visual culture, and critical race discourse (among others). Yet unless we connect these theories to real works of literature, film and, indeed, the way we make meaning out of our everyday lives, studying critical theory grows abstract and pointless. So
this class will strive to help students make those connections, and to translate theory into practice. The variety of approaches sampled should give everyone an opportunity to evaluate which theories they find most interesting and valuable, and to explore chosen ones in greater depth.

      • Seminar Discussion Format
      • Frequent Short Reading Responses
      • Final Essay


      • Robert Parker, How to Interpret Literature, 3rd edition. ISBN-13: 978-0199331161
      • Patricia Waugh, Modern Literary Theory, 4th edition. ISBN-13: 978-0340761915

For more information, contact Gregory Jay at gjay@uwm.edu.