I currently teach creative writing at the College of William & Mary; previously, I've taught at Oberlin College, Portland Community College, the Writers in the Schools Program in Portland, Stanford University, and the University of Iowa. Some of my recent courses:
Intro to Creative Writing
An exploration of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and their trans-genre interstices. Readings for spring 2017 included Citizen by Claudia Rankine, fiction from the Junot Diaz–edited Best American Short Stories 2016, and poems by Cathy Park Hong, Terrance Hayes, Wallace Stevens, Evie Shockley, Tyehimba Jess, Frank O'Hara, Layli Long Soldier, Ari Banias, and others.
A 300-level course that focuses on the fundamentals via a multiplicity of lenses and forms. Readings the fall 2016 students cited as influential: "The Flower" by Louise Erdrich, "Orientation" by Daniel Orozco, "Sorry Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea" by Helen Oyeyemi, "Sportsman" and "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" by Amy Hempel (who came to deliver an incredible reading), "North Country" by Roxane Gay, "Begin with an Outline" by Kaui Hart Hemmings, "Sea Oak" by George Saunders, "Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying" by Alice Sola Kim, "A Temporary Matter" by Jhumpa Lahiri, and "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie.
Writing the Novel/la
Students each write a single sustained work of fiction of 15,000-30,000 words (though some go longer--the record so far for a completed project is 46,000.) Readings in spring 2017: Hunger by Lan Samantha Chang, Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra, Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, "Gloss..." from Counternarratives by John Keene, and "The Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. Lately this has been one of my favorite courses to teach--the novella is such an adventurous and flexible form, and turning in 1500+ words per week, no matter how rough and raw, proves to be a transformative practice for the students.
A course in narrative nonfiction, particularly literary longform nonfiction suited to magazine and journal publication. Some student favorites of fall 2016: "Trouble in Lakewood" by Joan Didion, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" by Gay Talese (and the annotated version!), "The Really Big One" by Kathryn Schulz (and her discussion of it on the Longform podcast), "Girl" by Alexander Chee, "Grand Thefts" by Tom Bissell, "Fog Count" by Leslie Jamison, "To Scratch, Claw, or Grope, Frantically or Clumsily" by Roxane Gay, and "Netherland" by Rachel Aviv. My fall 2016 class selected and edited the best of their criticism, personal essays, and narrative journalism to create a single-edition online magazine, which they named The Loose Brick. The fall 2017 crew is currently at work on their own edition, to go live in December.
A deceptively staid title for a freewheeling exploration of nonfiction: memoir, the lyric essay, the meditation, autotheory, hybrid forms. Readings include Hilton Als, James Baldwin, Roland Barthes, Jo Ann Beard, Eula Biss, Brian Blanchfield, Edwidge Danticat, Kiese Laymon, Yiyun Li, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Matthew Salesses, Luc Sante, Zadie Smith, David Treuer, and Dubravka Ugresic, among others.
Advanced Nonfiction Workshop
A workshop in writing the permutations and cross-pollinations of speculative, fabulist, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy fiction. Readings include Jorge Luis Borges, Octavia Butler, Dan Chaon, Ted Chiang, Cathy Park Hong, Nalo Hopkinson, Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, and David Mitchell, among others.