WRIT 5001                                                                                                
Instructor: Amy England

Ekphrasis, or writing about art, has a long and fascinating history. This course is designed use the School of the Art Institute’s close relationship to the museum to explore this intersection.  Students will study and create texts based on pieces in the museum, in a variety of genres.  Every week, we’ll meet at six o’clock on Thursday in the lobby of the museum.  At seven thirty, we’ll take a fifteen minute break and regroup in our regular classroom.

The class is pass/fail; passing requires that the students have no more than two absences, and do all six of the creative assignments.  40% of the grade is based on knowledgeable discussion of the reading.  Creative projects will be discussed in workshop on Monday and should be emailed to the other members by 12 noon on Sunday.  

The final project, which is weighted equally with the other five assignments, is a contribution to a collection of writings on a single museum piece to be chosen by the class, and is due in class on Tuesday, Aug. 16, or by email on noon of Wednesday, Aug. 17.

BOOKS: The following texts are required for the class.

Julian Barnes: A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

Jonathan Saffron Foer: A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell

James A. W. Heffernan: Museum of Words: The Poetics of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery

Edward Hirsch, editor: Transforming Vision: Writers on Art


I         Monday, 7/11: Handout: Keats, Shelley, Williams, Auden

        Tuesday, 7/12: prose selections from Hirsch, especially Wilbur, Mitchell, Davenport, Gibbons, Stewart, Sontag, Hearon

        Thursday, 7/14: Museum: discussion of pieces from Hirsch, notes on subject of essay. Class: finish prose selections

II        Monday, 7/18: Workshop: Short impressionistic essay on piece from museum.  Hirsch: poems by Sandburg, Stevens, Loy

        Tuesday, 7/19: Finish workshop.  Hirsch: poems by Howard, Dove, Kunitz, Levine, Wright, Holub, Graham

        Thursday, 7/21: Museum: discussion of pieces from Hirsch, notes on subject of poem.    Class: finish discussion of poems in Hirsch.

III        Monday, 7/25: Workshop on poems.  Hirsch: stories by Yau, Simic, Baxter

        Tuesday, 7/26: Finish workshop, begin Barnes.

        Thursday: 7/28: Museum, choosing of subject for final project, notes on subject for story.  Class: Barnes.

IV        Monday, 8/1: Workshop: story.  First chapter of Heffernan.

        Tuesday, 8/2: Finish workshop.  Continue Heffernan.

        Thursday, 8/4: Museum: notes for essay. Finish discussion of Heffernan.

V        Monday, 8/8: Workshop: short academic essay.  Cornell anthology: especially Moody, Scott, Lauterbach, Caponegro, Waldrop, Davis, Yau

        Tuesday, 8/9: Finish workshop, continue discussion of Cornell.

        Thursday, 8/11: Museum: Cornell collection, notes for piece on Cornell. Class: final discussion of Cornell anthology.

VI        Monday, 8/15: Workshop: Cornell piece. Handout from Guy Davenport’s Objects on a Table.

        Tuesday, 8/16: Finish workshop, discussion of handouts.  Final project due.

        Thursday, 8/18: Museum, reading of final project

© 2014 Amy England, rights reserved