Course Descriptions

Spring 2015

All WRT courses are restricted to graduate students in the Michener Center’s MFA program or graduate students in our affiliated programs in English, Theatre or RTF, unless special permission is granted.  Click for other departments’ workshops in fiction, poetry, playwriting, or screenwriting.


Michael McGriff
Mondays, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
FDH Seminar Room

In this poetry workshop, students will share and critique new poems. As writers, we’re entangled in our obsessions. We’re guided by our personal literary playlists. We have faith in our impulses. We each have our own set of poetry gods. It’s my belief that the creative writing workshop is no place for proscription or homogeny. It’s in this spirit that we’ll approach each other’s work during the semester. We’ll also read and discuss three books by Larry Levis: The Afterlife, The Dollmaker’s Ghost, and Winter Stars. Please, purchase your books prior to the beginning of the semester. Though many of these poems are available in The Selected Levis, it’s essential to this class that you buy the individual books. One of the goals of this class is to have an ongoing conversation about the nuances of compiling and editing an individual volume of poetry. We’ll turn to these Levis titles and let them serve as touchstones for this conversation.

Required books:

The Afterlife, Larry Levis, Carnegie Mellon University Press

The Dollmaker’s Ghost, Larry Levis, Carnegie Mellon University Press

Winter Stars, Larry Levis, The University of Pittsburgh Press


Geoffrey Dyer
Tuesdays, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
FDH Seminar Room

description forthcoming


Stephen Harrigan
Tuesdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
FDH Seminar Room

The sole focus of this course will be on helping students either to finish a novel or to finish a substantial portion and have a confident understanding of where the story is going.  There will be no required reading other than material I may bring in to illustrate a practical story-telling point. We will meet once a week as a group to read and discuss work-in-progress, but from time to time I may use the classroom hours to meet individually with the students to talk about plotting, character development, etc. as it applies to their own projects. Because every novel is different, and every writer works in his or her own manner, I want to keep the structure of the course somewhat loose and open to improvisation. I will function less as a professor than as a hands-on editor, reacting to the work, suggesting changes, offering guidance about marketing and other practical matters. In addition, I anticipate inviting a few successful novelists or publishing professionals to visit the class and talk about their experiences, both in writing and in selling their work.