The Bread Loaf School of English


New Mexico Courses, Summer 2014


Group 1 (Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy)

7000a   Poetry Workshop/R. Forman/T, Th 2–4:45

In this workshop we will explore poetry of humanity and hope while incorporating tai chi, qi gong, and communal principles to bring a focused energy of flow to one’s writing life. Each session starts with centering, engages deep discovery, and ends with a clearer understanding of writing technique. We'll examine how and why we are moved and—in the best of cases—changed by the poems we read, and participants will be encouraged to enact similar strategies in their own work. Logistically, this course focuses on energetic flow and what this can bring to the page, the discussion of published poems, and critique of student work. Students will complete weekly exercises designed to generate new writing and will submit a final portfolio of revised poems at the end of the term.

Texts: Lucille Clifton, Blessing the Boats (BOA); Martín Espada, Alabanza (Norton); Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House); Kim Addonizio, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (Norton); Tao Te Ching: A New English Version, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Harper Perennial). Additional readings will be provided during the session.


7005   Short Fiction Workshop/S. Ortiz/M, W 2–5:00

"Stories, stories, stories are the stuff of life," an old friend named Doogie used to say. He was a man of stories who deserted the U.S. military in Mexico in 1915 and thereafter joined Pancho Villa's revolutionary army. Writing stories is an outgrowth of telling stories. Personal experience and the stories we tell about it are the resource for fiction, but writing fiction requires more than that: it's the use of our imagination, that wonderful, creative mental facility we all have that creates and empowers fiction. We'll read stories by several leading figures of American short fiction—Sherman Alexie, Simon J. Ortiz, Ralph Salisbury, and Ray Carver—but mainly we'll focus on writing our own short fiction. By the end of the course, we'll have an anthology of short fiction by Bread Loaf students.

Texts: Sherman Alexie, Blasphemy (Grove); Simon J. Ortiz, Men on the Moon (Arizona); Ralph Salisbury, The Indian Who Bombed Berlin (Michigan State); Ray Carver, Where I'm Calling From (Vintage).


7006a   Creative Nonfiction/P. Powell/T, Th 2–4:45

This course will explore the techniques and characteristics of creative nonfiction. Writers will workshop their works of autobiography, memoir, family history, biography, personal essay, writing about travel and place, and letters. Particular attention will be placed on research, historical reconstruction, truth versus memory, and the development of voice. 

Text: Brenda Miller and Susanne Paola, Tell It Slant (McGraw-Hill).


7116   Rhetoric, Writing, and Possibility: Digital and Print/C. Glenn/M, W 9–11:45

Writing—whether digital or print—holds possibility and power. It enables us to investigate issues; to challenge unjust systems; to cultivate and participate in a way of life that we believe in; to (re)invent ourselves as educated, engaged citizens; and, most important, to mobilize a future we all want to share. Writers have realized such personal, social, and pedagogical possibilities for millennia, using all of the available means at their disposal: the spoken and written word, visuals, images, sound, music, and digital media. We will explore the pedagogical, political, literary, rhetorical, and marketing power of digital media employed by several influential writers, including Lynda Barry (, Sherman Alexie (, and Alison Bechdel ( Students will study both digital and print texts as they develop rhetorical and digital expertise, which they will apply to the analysis and production of their own texts and pedagogies. Students will read across genres and media, gleaning ideas from various authors for developing an experimental essay or classroom project, one that includes text, visuals, video, hyperlinks, and other forms of multimedia.

Texts: Adrienne Rich, The Arts of the Possible (Norton); Lynda Barry, What It Is (Drawn and Quarterly); Cheryl Glenn, The Harbrace Guide to Writing: Comprehensive, 2nd ed. (distributed at Bread Loaf); Romy Clark and Roz Ivanič, The Politics of Writing (Routledge); Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Mariner); bell hooks, Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom (Routledge); Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown); Laura Tohe, No Parole Today (West End); Jimmy Santiago Baca, A Place to Stand (Grove); Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala (Little, Brown). 


Group 2 (British Literature through the Seventeenth Century)

7255   Shakespeare's Comedies/B. Smith/M, W 9-11:45

Shakespeare wrote great tragedies, but he began his career writing comedies (The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of the Shrew are reckoned by most scholars to be Shakespeare’s earliest scripts), and he ended his career with a series of romances that wrest happy endings out of tragic circumstances. This seminar will survey some of the highlights of Shakespeare’s journey from comedy through tragedy to comedy: The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the failed comedy Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. For purposes of comparison, we will also read and discuss a satiric comedy of the sort that Shakespeare did not write: Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World, My Masters. To help us get our bearings in the entire enterprise, we will refer throughout the term to John Morreall’s critical study Taking Laughter Seriously.

Texts: William Shakespeare, The Norton Shakespeare (one-volume complete works), 2nd ed., ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et al. (Norton); Thomas Middleton. A Mad World, My Masters, and Other Plays, ed. Michael Taylor (Oxford); John Morreall, Taking Laughter Seriously (SUNY).

7290   Teaching, Reading (and Enjoying) Poetry/B. Smith/T, Th 9–11:45

Anyone who likes music ought to like poetry; yet students (and sometimes, secretly, their teachers) often approach poetry with anxiety, if not downright hostility. This course is designed to change such attitudes. We will begin by locating sound and rhythm in the body. Grounding ourselves in those physiological sensations, we will proceed, period by period, to read, discuss, and enjoy some of the English language’s greatest designs on our bodies and imaginations. Participants in the seminar will be asked to carry out three writing projects: an essay in criticism, a plan for teaching one or more of the poems, and some poetry of their own devising. (This course can be used to satisfy either a Group 2 or a Group 3 requirement.)

Texts:The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter 5th Ed., ed. Margaret Ferguson (Norton); Robert Pinsky, The Sounds of Poetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).


Group 3 (British Literature since the Seventeenth Century)

7290   Teaching, Reading (and Enjoying) Poetry/B. Smith/T, Th 9–11:45

See the description under Group 2 offerings. This course can be used to satisfy either a Group 2 or a Group 3 requirement.

7360   The Social Character of the Victorian Novel/J. Nunokawa/M, W 2–4:45

In this course, we will read a range of more or less familiar works in a variety of theoretical, historical, and critical contexts. Our general aim will be to study the social character of the Victorian novel in ways that take full measure of literary form and affect. We will be guided by big and little questions such as these: How do Victorian novels transform the pursuit of economic interests into dramas of romantic and erotic desire? How do they transform dramas of romantic and erotic desire into stories of economic interest? How are fascinations and anxieties about foreign races brought home to the domestic scene? How are questions of social class and individual character handled? What is the relation between verbal facility and social class in the Victorian novel, and how is this relation represented? How does the form of the Victorian novel extend, intensify, and expose the systems of social surveillance that developed in the nineteenth century? Why and how does the Victorian novel labor to produce bodily discomfort, both for those who inhabit it and for those who read it? How does the culture of capitalism haunt the Victorian novel? How does the Victorian novel imagine its relation to other fields of knowledge, for example, to the social sciences emerging at the same period and, like the novel, taking society itself as their object?

Texts: Jane Austen, Emma (the one technically non-Victorian novel); Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair; Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend; Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White; George Eliot, Middlemarch (all in Penguin editions).


Group 4 (American Literature)

7505   Early American Autobiography/J. Alemán/T, Th 9–11:45

Spanning the colonial period to the end of the nineteenth century, this course examines the development of life writing in relation to the rise of the U.S. We’ll begin by reading the form’s colonial emergence from subgenres such as captivity, travel, and conversion narratives; we’ll then move to its quintessential expression as an American genre with Benjamin Franklin; and, finally, we’ll read its transformations via slave narratives and self-referential texts that play fast and loose with truth. We’ll work to understand the genre’s rhetorical conventions and its significance for articulating a sense of individual identity, but we’ll also focus on narratives that self-consciously construct the self in relation to the Indian question, U.S. independence, expansionism, slavery, and the Civil War, as a way to chart the simultaneous emergence of the genre and the nation. We’ll consider different theories of autobiography and explore the expressive limitations and possibilities life writing.

Texts: Mary Rowlandson, Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (any complete edition: Kindle, Dover, or in Norton Anthology of American Literature, 6th ed., Vol. B); Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography and Other Writings, ed. L. Jesse Lemish (Signet); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings, rev. ed. (Penguin); William Apess, A Son of the Forest, ed. Barry O’Connell (Massachusetts); David Crockett, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee (Nebraska); Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Kwame Anthony Appiah (Modern Library); Santiago Tafolla, A Life Crossing Borders, ed. Carmen and Laura Tafolla (Arte Publico); P. T. Barnum, The Life of P. T. Barnum (Illinois); Loreta Janeta Velazquez, The Woman in Battle, ed. Jesse Alemán (Wisconsin); selections from the Norton Anthology of American Literature, 6th ed., Vol. B, including: Sarah Kemble Knight, “Private Journal,” Jonathan Edwards, “Personal Narrative,” and Samson Occom, “A Short Narrative of My Life” (electronic versions of these readings will be made available to enrolled students before the summer session).


7650   Contemporary American Short Story/P. Powell/T, Th 9–11:45

This course looks at the major trends in contemporary American short fiction, with particular attention to the various strategies writers employ when designing the short story and the collection.

Texts: Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians (Grove); Andre Dubus, In the Bedroom (Vintage); Lan Samantha Chang, Hunger (Norton); Charles Johnson, The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Tales and Conjurations (Plume); Ron Rash, Burning Bright (Harper Collins); Mary Gaitskill, Don’t Cry (Vintage); E. Annie Proulx, Close Range, Wyoming Stories (Scribner); Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).


7670   Indigenous American Literature: Fiction, Poetry, Memoir-Autobiography/S. Ortiz/M, W 9–12:00

The course will focus on contemporary themes dealing with Indigenous issues largely having to do with the liberation and de-colonization in the twenty-first century. By reading Indigenous American literature, we're going to look at the realities of the U.S.A. with its substantial history of Manifest Destiny, discovery-invasion-occupation, violence, and the present-day threat its socio-industrial-political complex poses to the world at large. Much seminar-style discussion and dialogue will be conducted and expected. Two eight-to-nine-page essays will be assigned.

Texts: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (Penguin); Sherman Alexie, Blasphemy (Grove); Simon J. Ortiz, Men on the Moon (Arizona); Esther Belin, From the Belly of my Beauty (Arizona); Ernestine Hayes, Blonde Indian (Arizona); James Welch, Riding the Earthboy 40 (Penguin).


7674  Southwestern Literature and Film/J. Alemán/T, Th 2–4:45

This course focuses on environmentalism, environmental studies, and eco-criticism in Southwestern literature and film. We’ll lift the veil of painted landscapes and stunning sunsets to examine how the twentieth-century formation of the region pressured and transformed the natural environment, the distribution of water, the fall of cattle culture, and the use and abuse of mining mineral and chemical resources. We’ll begin with early forms of regional nature writing, move through a body of radical environmental critiques in fiction and film, and conclude with texts that combine the personal element of nature writing with the critique of environmentalism to imagine ways of personal survival and environmental healing. Along the way, we’ll chart the rise of environmental studies and eco-criticism with key secondary readings by leading thinkers in the field and learn to delineate among terms such as frontier, landscape, ecosystem, and the environment as they operate in cinema and writing. 

Texts: Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain (Modern Library); Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, We Fed Them Cactus, 2nd ed. (New Mexico); Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang (Harper Perennial); Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony, anniversary ed. (Penguin); Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge, 2nd ed. (Vintage); Jimmy Santiago Baca, Martín and Meditations on the South Valley and Spring Poems along the Rio Grande (both New Directions). Films include: Them (1954); Hud (1963); Milagro Beanfield War (1988); The Prophecy (1999); Gas Food Lodging (1992).


Group 5 (World Literature)

7784   Writing and Photography/K. Flint/M, W 2–4:45

Photographs are everywhere in daily life. This course invites us to look critically at writing about photography, at the major debates that this mode of representation provokes, and at the imaginative treatments that it receives. We will look at some classic writings about photography by such critics as Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag; we will read fiction and poetry that take photography and photographers as their subject, and we will watch several films that raise issues about photography, representation, and the gaze. We will explore what it means to write about the history of photography, and how one might critique contemporary art photographs. Among our general topics will be questions of authenticity and manipulation; identity, portraiture, and self-presentation; documentary work; the shift to digital and the role of photography in social media; news photography and the paparazzi; narrative photography; photography, trauma, and loss; and the place of the photograph within self-presentation, autobiography, and memory work. This is not a course in practical photography, but you should be prepared to take, upload, and share photographs on occasion during the course (a simple digital camera—even a decent cell-phone image—will be enough!).

Texts: Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (Hill & Wang); Charlotte Cotton, The Photograph as Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson); Annette Kuhn, Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination (Verso); Fred Ritchin, Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (Aperture); W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz (Modern Library); Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (Picador); Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf); Marianne Wiggins, The Shadow-Catcher (Simon & Schuster); website: Click! Photography Changes Everything; also available as book, Photography Changes Everything, ed. Marvin Heiferman (Aperture). Recommended Reading: Juliet Hacking, Photography: The Whole Story (Prestel); plus additional readings (which will be made available electronically) by Walter Benjamin, Julia Margaret Cameron, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortazar, Daphne du Maurier, Elizabeth Eastlake, Thomas Hardy, Ted Hughes, Rudyard Kipling, Philip Larkin, Adrienne Rich, George Szirtes, and others.


Group 6 (Theater Arts)

7807  Drama in the Classroom/C. MacVey/T, Th 2–4:45

This course is intended for teachers who want to use dramatic techniques in their English classrooms. You will learn how to explore texts by getting your students involved in some kind of performance—process drama, theater games, choral work, improvs, monologues, scenes, teacher-in-role—to name just a few. Every approach will involve being physical and being vocal. You’ll experience dramatic activities as both audience and actor and study approaches that will give you structure, technique, experience, confidence, and a set of skills with which to develop strategies for teaching various literary genres. We’ll work on Shakespeare scenes from Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet and on short stories, myths, poetry, nonfiction, and contemporary plays. Bring copies of texts you teach since you may want to include them in some of your activities. The final projects will be presentations, and all students must be present for them. No previous theater training is necessary.

Texts: Keith Johnstone, Impro (Routledge); William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet (any edition); Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater, 3rd ed. (Northwestern); Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, intro. Tony Kushner (New Directions, deluxe; this ed. required because of important introductory essay); Oedipus in Ellen McLaughlin, The Greek Plays (Theater Communications Group).