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Boston College Experience Program

Writers in the Making

Are writers made or born? This selective summer concentration will emphasize the making of skilled creative writers through practice, revision, and the lessons to be learned from literary models, mentors, and peers. Writers write, above all, and they get better at it by paying attention to how readers receive and understand what they’ve written, as well as by training themselves to discern how more experienced writers have practiced the craft.    

Concentrators will be placed in one of two craft workshops described below, where they will write and revise intensively in small groups.  Placement will be made on the basis of applicants’ writing samples, expressed preference, and seat availability—not everyone will get his or her first choice.  All concentrators will be members together of the seminar, Writing as a Reader/Reading as a Writer, and all will complete a revised body of work for chapbook publication. Participants will take home multiple copies of their own chapbook, as well as a set of the whole group’s works.  They will take advantage of the full range of BCE excursions, but also have additional concentration outings to evening readings in bookstores.


Supplemental Application Materials

Please submit a Boston College Experience application along with a writing sample of up to 6 pages of fiction, 4 – 6 poems of up to 6 pages, or a creative nonfiction essay of up to 6 pages. Be sure that your first and last name appears in either the header or footer on each page of your writing sample. These materials can be sent with the application to the Boston College Experience mailing address.


Course Descriptions:

ENGL100801  3 1 BCE: Writing & Reading

Reading and writing.  Chicken and egg.  Which came first, and which followed? This course will probe and encourage the inevitable connections between our reading and our own writing—and while we probably won’t answer the troubling chicken/egg question, we will think about the relationship between our reading and our writing—in fact, we will nurture that relationship through exercises and imitations, and, of course, by reading good stuff—lots of it.

We will read and write together. Stories, essays, poems, rants. Our experience as readers will impact the shape, direction, parameters, and intellectual daring of our writing. The readings will be short, and the writing you produce will be short as well.  Brief, but impactful! You will emerge from this course with a greater sense of style and substance.  And a full portfolio of short pieces of inspired writing. Plan on lots of writing, lots of play, dramatic readings, clever thinking, all while working in pairs, groups and as a friendly, supportive, and collaborative whole class.
June 23 - July 30, M W 1-4p.m. Prof. Eileen Donovan-Kranz

ENGL100601  3 1 BCE:  Short Fiction

How does one become a fiction writer? Where do you get your ideas, and how do you turn those ideas into short stories? This course is a fiction-writing workshop, which means that you’ll have the opportunity to write original short stories, share them with the class and revise them accordingly. We’ll also read stories by professional writers, some of whom you'll have the chance to meet in person. As the course proceeds, you’ ll gain an understanding of the short fiction form and learn how to sustain a writing practice which you can continue to cultivate long after the summer ends.
June 24 - July 31, T TH 1-4p.m. Prof. Chris Boucher

ENGL100701  3 1 BCE: Poetry & Lyrical Essay

“Poetry” (and perhaps any lyrical impulse that drives a writer to the page) is, according to British Romantic poet William Wordsworth, “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” What, exactly, makes one want to write a poem or essay about him- or herself? What does the writer do with all this feeling, to learn to communicate it, shape it and make it art (as well as something others want to read)? Wordsworth went on to say that poetry (and again, perhaps any creative written expression) “takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” It is that tranquility, that stillness, that helps the writer shape feeling and thought into something tangible.

In our workshop we will practice both poetry and the lyrical essay, learning how to harness the strong feelings a young writer wants to express, and finding the more tranquil space in which these words can find shape and meaning. We’ll read selections of both kinds of writing, but most of the work will come through the process of making: exercises designed to get at aspects of structure, sound, sense, movement, and design that make the words on the page do something new, something unexpected, and, hopefully, something fun to create.
June 24 - July 31, T TH 1-4p.m. Prof. Susan Roberts



Instructor bios:

Christopher Boucher received his MFA in Fiction from Syracuse University in 2002, and he published his first novel, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, in 2011. Chris teaches courses in creative writing, literature and magazine publishing at BC; he’s also the Managing Editor of Post Road, the English Department’s literary journal. Chris lives in Watertown with his wife and daughter. In his free time, he plays the five-string banjo.

Eileen Donovan Kranz
writes fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Eileen is an Associate Professor of the Practice of English at Boston College where the teaching of creative writing and composition are her intertwined interests. She enjoys using drama and new media to enhance the teaching of literature and writing, emphasizing “the active classroom.” She has over twelve years of experience as Associate Director of First Year Writing, most recently serving in the role from 2006-2009. For over ten years she has coedited Fresh Ink: Essays from Boston College's First Year Writing Seminar for use in the writing classroom. She loves teaching writing to students just entering the University, those in their first year.

Susan Roberts earned her MA in English at Boston College and her BA in Journalism at St. Michael’s College. She has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, and has had her poetry and non-fiction published in a variety of journals. She’s been on the full-time faculty of the BC English Department since 1996 and teaches courses in poetry, introductory literature, composition, creative writing, and non-fiction. A native of Vermont, she now lives in Boston with a small white dog who sometimes comes to her classes and three cats who do not.