This space intentionally left blank
The Mansion
English, Communication, and Philosophy
William Zander
*Bachelor of Journalism 1960, Master of Arts in English 1961,
University of Missouri at Columbia

*Graduate work at the Writers Workshop,
University of Iowa, 1961-62

*Poet, Journalist, Editor of The Literary Review

*Articles and poems in many periodicals, including Audubon, Connoisseur, Fly Fisherman, Yankee, Poetry Northwest, New Letters, kayak, New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Defined Providence, Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, etc.

*Book of poems, Distances (Solo Press, 1979)

     Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems. Tr. Willis Barnstone (review), The Literary Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, Fall 2004. 174-79.
     David Tucker, Days When Nothing Happens (review), The Literary Review Vol. 47, No. 4, Summer 2004. 160-61.
     "Hymn: Plain as Day" (poem from Old Sayings), The Louisville Review, Vol. 51, Spring 2002.
     "The broad-wingeds rise and circle on the thermal" (poem), Rattapallax 8, Fall 2002.

*Office: W20 (third floor,Mansion)
*Phone: (973) 443-8720
*Fax: (973) 443-8713

"Dearest of my life, hear me. I tell you this is Ned Harcourt of Cambridge, by the world; you see he has a sneaking college look."
      -- Wycherley,
The Country Wife

William Zander

Professor of English, Department of English/Communication/Philosophy


     ENGW 3003 31 Creative Writing: Poetry
MTh 11:20-12:35 p.m.

Required texts:

Addonizio & Laux, The Poet's Companion (PC)
Poetry magazine (January 2005 issue)

What does it all mean?

This is a course in how to write poetry. As in any art, there is some evidence that poets are born, not made; but I believe that anyone can get good enough to derive some satisfaction from it. I will never be a great fly fisherman like Lee Wulff or Dave Whitlock, but I'm good enough so that I can catch trout and other fish with a fly rod.

But what about my grade?

True, satisfaction is one thing, but if I make a lousy backcast that gets hung up in the bushes, I will at most suffer mockery from my friends if they happen to see it; it will not go on my transcript and ruin my chances of getting into law school. As most of you are getting graded for this course, you have a right to know my grading criteria. Here they are:

     Quality/quantity of your final portfolio of original poetry 35%
     Two short critiques
on Poetry magazine 20%
     Class participation
which includes attendance, speaking up in class (especially the workshops), doing both the in-class and out-of-class exercises, doing revisions, calling our attention to poetry-related news and URLs, meeting deadlines, etc. 45%

But a short answer to the question in boldface, above, would be that the only way to flunk this course is to do nothing, or way too little. You must be involved. Note that class participation counts the highest of any of the criteria, and note what this entails. If you're not prepared to do these things, you should drop the course ASAP and, perhaps, take a course in fly fishing.

But suppose that simply passing is not enough; you must have an A. Once again, if this is the case, I'd consider dropping the course. The thorny item on the list of criteria is, of course, "Quality," which always involves some subjective judgment. But you can get an "A" even if I don't think you're the greatest poet since Whitman and Dickinson; the key (in terms of your final portfolio) is quantity. How much is enough? A minimum of 75 lines. You can do more, but if you have a 2,000-line poem about King Arthur lying around, I probably won't have time to read it. (NOTE: If one of your exercise-poems turns out to be a "real" poem, a keeper, by all means include it in your final portfolio.)

And remember I do not want all your writings to appear like magic on May 9. I should get drafts during each deadline period listed on the syllabus. The workshop periods are when some of your own poems will be published (i.e., made public) and you'll receive feedback from the entire class. Then, you will use what you can from our suggestions to edit your poems for the final portfolio. Participation in the workshops is the most important participation of all; without a lively, vocal class (in person and on line), the workshops will be failures.

What is the format for work handed in to Poetry Writing?

Since all material will be submitted on line, formatting is easy for your instructor. I will bring poems for discussion to class, but the brunt of your work may be on line, depending on how vocal you are. The work of all poets (including myself) that are reproduced for our workshops (online or in class) will be anonymous, though there is no law against a poet talking about his or her own work.

What if I'm having a case of "writer's block"?

Every writer suffers from time to time from this malady. Obviously, to do well in this course, you cannot simply "loaf and invite your soul" (Whitman) and wait for inspiration. I have assigned a section from PC on this subject for April 14, but if you find yourself in the throes of writer's block, I suggest you consult it well before that time.

P.S. Creativity and cheating are, of course, contradictory terms. However, you should be aware of the university's policy on plagiarism &c. (v. the FDU Student Handbook).

Use of the Blackboard Website

This is neither a DL nor a "blended" course, so it will not fulfill one of your DL requirements. It's what FDU calls a "Web-enhanced course," meaning that I plan to meet every class, but, this being winter (at least as we get under way), classes may well have to be cancelled, in which case all assignments can be submitted on line and, what's more, I can even open a discussion board for a substitute class discussion.

The syllabus for this course may be found on the course's Blackboard site.

      ENGW 4001 31B Senior Writing Project
MTh 12:45-2 p.m. & on line (blended course)

Required texts:

One or two issues of The Literary Review, FDU's international literary journal.
      (We will start with the Summer 2003, Vol. 46 No. 4, issue. I will
     bring some to the first class and sell them to students for an
      inordinate discount.)
Stories, chapters of novels, poetry, non-fiction, etc., by students in this course

Also required:
An FDU Webmail account so that you can get into our Blackboard site, which you can enter via the "WebCampus" link on the "Inside FDU" page cited above.

This is a so-called "blended" course and will meet very little in the classroom. (Yes, it will fulfill one of your DL requirements.) Creative Writing majors will appreciate, I think, having this extra personal time to do their own writing. The longest period of in-class time will be during the first few weeks, in which we will get to meet each other live and in person. After that, our class discussions will be almost exclusively online.

The course is limited to students who are senior creative-writing majors who must complete their senior writing projects prior to graduation. Students will prepare their final portfolios of writing in the genre of their focus. (Note that I have no expertise whatsoever in drama or script writing and will have to get help from someone in Performing Arts to offer a meaningful experience for the student). Students will read and discuss published works in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry (all from The Literary Review), but the emphasis will be on student writing. Students' work will be published and discussed in workshops on line and one-on-one with the instructor in conferences.

Writing project:
This will be a prose manuscript of no less (and preferably not more) than 7,000 words or a poetry manuscript of no less than 150 lines (that would be about 11 sonnets). You may choose to revise previous work in your chosen genre, but you must also include at least one piece of new work in your portfolio. The project must focus on a genre that you have previously studied in a course at FDU. The portfolio should also include an essay of at least 900 words, explaining your aims in the final pieces and also describing what you have learned from the writing process thus far, including a discussion of the writers who have most influenced you.

Attendance policy:
There is no attendance policy because there will be very few classes, though it would probably be a good idea for you to attend the first few so we can all get our bearings. You will be required to participate in all the workshops (mostly on Blackboard's Discussion Board) that feature work in your genre, and I would strongly encourage you to participate (with your final grade being a carrot hanging from a stick) in the workshops from other genres. We will constitute a small group, and I know for a fact that a poet, for example, relishes intelligent commentary from readers who are not themselves poets.

Writing assignments:
These will be submitted at three regular intervals before the final portfolio comes to me by the Friday of final-exam week (May 9-14). All written work in the course (except the final portfolio, where it's your choice) must be submitted on line, either via the "Digital Dropbox" in Blackboard (be sure to hit "send" rather than "save") or as an MS Word attachment to me at the e-mail address above.

Links of interest:

The Literary Review

Email address:

Copyright © 2005, William Zander, except images copyright Fairleigh Dickinson University, used with permission.
This page originally created with FDU Pagetoaster. Click to see how'd they do that?
Click if you are the owner and you wish to edit this page.