Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Department of English Course Descriptions

Fall 2022

Colin Criss; ENGLISH 109 [HUM] (Section 01); TR 9:10-10:25; Pullman

Course Theme: Poetry Writing

Description: Using contemporary poetry as our guide, we’ll think about the craft and nuance of poetry. You’ll write your own poems, and workshop them in front of the class.

Required Materials: A Boy in the City, S Yarberry, plus another book of contemporary poems, to be determined!

Jon Hegglund; ENGLISH 219 [HUM] (Section 01); TuTh 9:10-10:25; Pullman

Course Theme: Introduction to Environmental Humanities

Description: Ever feel like you’re the only one concerned about the worsening effects of climate change, the global addiction to fossil fuels, and the endless growth promised by cheerleaders of corporate profit? Do your friends and family sit idly by, like the dog in the above image, insisting that everything is just fine?

Writers, filmmakers, and artists from around the world have been thinking about the problems of the present age of human-driven planetary emergency (known as the Anthropocene) for decades. In this course, we will sample some of their work, discussing how imaginative responses to climate change can bring new possibilities, and livable futures–for all social classes and groups–into view.

We will read prose fiction, graphic novels, nonfiction,and philosophy, watch films, and look at artwork–all of which address the ecological, social, and political dimensions of climate change. Whether through essays by Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, fiction by Virgina Woolf, Jeff VanderMeer, Karen Tei Yamashita, Nnedi Okorafor, and Kim Stanley Robinson, or films such as WALL-E, Black Panther, or Annihilation, this course will get us thinking, talking, and writing about what kind of stories might best give us the imagination to confront an ominous and precarious future.

The course will be discussion- and project-based, with regular, weekly writing, a few short papers, and a multimedia project exploring a literary or artistic response to the contemporary ecological emergency. Please get in touch with me ( if you have any questions.

Michael Delahoyde; ENGLISH 205 [HUM] (Section 01); MWF 9:10 – 10AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Arts

Description: We read and watch Shakespeare plays voted onto the syllabus by the students. We experience Elizabethan-era art, music, and other interdisciplinary matters related to Shakespeare Studies.

Bryan Fry; ENGLISH 251 [ARTS] (Section 01); MWF 10:10-11:00AM; Pullman

Course Theme: The Three Genres

Description: This class introduces students to the three major writing genres—poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction—and their corresponding major craft elements. Students will learn to read their work—and the work of others—while paying particular attention to the elements that make up a writer’s voice and style: subject matter, diction, variation, and other patterns. Students will also examine their own voices as they utilize a variety of prompts (writing assignments) and write from their own experiences and imaginations. By the end of the semester, each writer will submit a sample of their work from two of the three genres along with a reflection letter that demonstrates how the portfolio represents their best work from—and what they were trying to accomplish in—the class.

Required Materials: Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry; Allice LaPlante, Method and Madness: The Making of a Story; Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz, Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction

Grant Maierhofer; ENGLISH 251 [ARTS] (Section 04); Global (Online); Pullman

Course Theme: Creative Writing: Exploring the Genres, focusing on popular literature

Description: This section of English 251 will survey popular contemporary forms of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, with readings from Rupi Kaur, Yung Pueblo, Jeff VanderMeer, Seanan McGuire and the author of WSU’s common read Robin Wall Kimmerer. We will also explore one another’s work through workshops that embrace more contemporary ideas of what the workshop can be as outlined by figures like Tony Tulathimutte, whose CRIT workshops are emblematic of a new wave in writing instruction.

Required Materials:

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Inward by Yung Pueblo
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

English 251 Flyer

Will Hamlin; ENGLISH 306 (Section 01); MWF 10:10 – 11AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Shakespeare

Description: In this class we’ll study the plays of William Shakespeare during the latter half of his career. This is when he wrote the extraordinary tragedies for which he’s most famous today, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. But it’s also a time when he reevaluated his practice of comedy, creating dark, complex plays such as Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well before turning, finally, to the wish-fulfillment realm of tragicomedy, with The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. In ENGL 306 we’ll read seven or eight of Shakespeare’s late plays, attending not only to questions of language, genre, characterization, and gender but to issues of performance – in film as well as onstage. As a student you can expect to write several short commentaries as well as a midterm and a final. You’ll also have the option to organize a performance group and to present a staged or filmed performance of a short scene from one of the plays we study.

Required Materials: The Norton Shakespeare, The Essential Plays and Sonnets, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, 3rd edition (New York: Norton, 2016). ISBN: 978 039 393 8630

Leeann Hunter; ENGLISH 332 [M] (Section 01); TR 9:10-10:25 AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Quests and Callings

Buddy Levy; ENGLISH 343 (Section 01); Online Global; Pullman

Course Theme: Introduction to Screenwriting

Description: Intro to Screenwriting is an introductory screenwriting course designed to guide students through the initial elements of the screenwriting process and move on to writing scenes, short scripts, then longer scripts. The course will be centered around writing half-hour teleplays for series but will also introduce you to the important aspects of feature-length screenplays (structure, narrative arc, plot, dialogue, character development, and theme). We’ll build from the idea/concept phase to writing scenes, developing characters, and creating strong story arcs. One thing I believe to be true of all writing is that reading widely in the genre is crucial to one’s development in that genre. For that reason, you’ll hopefully be doing as much (or even more) reading of great screenwriting as you will be writing it.

There will be weekly writing exercises, workshopping of your pieces, and peer editing/discussion in groups I will assign you to.


Lauren Westerfield; ENGLISH 357 (Section 01); MWF 12:10-1PM; Pullman

Course Theme: Editing and Publishing

Description: This course is designed to introduce you to the literary, scholarly, popular, and multimedia worlds of editing & publishing via research, practical experience, and interaction with industry professionals. We will discuss the current state of publishing in conjunction with your own academic and professional interests and explore facets of publishing institutions and individual publications while practicing core writing & editing skills.

ENGL 357 is somewhat unique in that it is based on a flexible, interactive curriculum. Students will work on individual and group projects that will allow them to mold their experience to their specific areas of interest, and the first weeks of the semester will be spent sharing & assessing your ideas re: the trajectory of the term.

Required Materials:

The New York Times student subscription ($1/week).

All other readings will be provided by the instructor.

Jessie Padilla; ENGLISH 361 (Section 03); T & Th 12:05-1:20 PM; Pullman

Course Theme: The Rhetorics of Reality and Identity

Description: Move over, Aristotle; this isn’t your average rhetoric course!

In this course you will:
• Explore the rhetorics of reality and identity in everyday life
• Consider how rhetoric shapes reality, identity, and the human experience
• Participate in open discussions about rhetorical topics relevant to you
• Create a variety of artistic texts to communicate who you are and what matters to you (plus an essay, because college.)

By the end of the semester, you will:
• Recognize how rhetoric and composition work together
• Find meaning in the spaces of your everyday life
• (Possibly) question your own existence

Required Materials:

To be determined. Check website for updates and optional summer reading list.

Kirk McAuley; ENGL 371 (Section 1); TTh 10:35–11:50AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Contradiction – Gender, Racism, and the Dynamics of Resistance in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature & Culture

This version of ENGL 371 explores critical resonances between the dynamics of resistance in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature (& culture) and present-day political movements, including Me Too and Black Lives Matter. Unit One, for example, focuses upon “Nasty Women” – a term that we’ll use to describe women writers whose work deliberately challenges conventional gender codes and structures of oppression. Drawing upon eighteenth-century debates about novel reading, female education, marriage and divorce, as well as relevant secondary sources, including Mary Block’s history of rape law in England, 1660 – 1800, students will be invited to draw parallels between the gender injustices depicted in, say, Mary Wollstonecraft’s The Wrongs of Woman and the institutionalized oppression of women today. Unit Two focuses mainly upon issues relating to black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in pre- and post-Revolutionary America. We begin with Slavery and Abolition, including Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, and a handful of representative anti-slavery poems, which we’ll read in light of William Wilberforce’s Parliamentary efforts to abolish the slave trade in Britain. Especially close attention will be paid to Wheatley’s irony and Equiano’s remarkable rhetorical savvy, though certain curiosities, such as the limited emotional appeal of Equiano’s narrative, will also receive their critical due. Afterwards, we turn our attention to Native-Settler-Colonist relations, in an effort to contextualize Charles Brocken Brown’s postcolonial novel, Edgar Huntly; Or, Memoirs of a Sleepwalker – a remarkably powerful, Gothic whodunit that touches upon a number of relevant critical issues, from immigration and so-called ‘homeland security’ to frontier violence, racism, and the disenfranchisement of indigenous Americans.

Michael Thomas; ENGLISH 443 (Section 01); MWF 1:10-2:00PM; Pullman

Course Theme: Phonetics and Phonology

Description: This course will introduce you to the analysis of sounds in the world’s languages. The course will cover both the description and analysis of articulation, perception and measurement of linguistic sounds (i.e. articulatory, auditory and acoustic phonetics) as well as the organization of these sounds into systems in language (phonology).

English 443 Flyer

Buddy Levy; ENGLISH 451 [M] (Section 01); Tu/Th 1:30; Pullman

Course Theme: Creative Writing–Advanced prose fiction

Description: English 451 is a workshop-based/exercise-based writing course designed to expose students to a wide range of the finest work available in the genre, and to provide students with the tools necessary to conceive, draft, revise, edit, market and place their literary fiction. We will proceed under the assumption that good writing is a product of good reading, so at the outset we will read and discuss in class plenty of essays, articles, and literary fiction of the kind we aspire to produce ourselves. We will talk about what works, what fails, the themes and content addressed in the works, and certainly the styles employed by the writers to determine what has convinced editors of the most respected magazines and journals (and websites) in America to publish their fiction.

Required Materials: Many short stories by masters in the genre. Also intend to use a book by George Saunders called A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life.

Will include Substack sites of numerous well-known contemporary fiction writers.


Nancy Bell; ENGLISH 456 [M] (Section 01); Tu/Th 10:35-11:50AM; Pullman

English 456 Flyer