Coleman Fellows


Interim report, January 2012


Submitted by Sara Lamers, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication; Lawrence Technological University

Course: CRW3113: Special Topics in Creative Writing: Compiling a Chapbook: From Drafting to Polishing and Publishing

This is a traditional Creative Writing course in which students work intensively to draft, revise, and polish original poetry. Further, we’re examining a specific type of publication: the poetry chapbook. I’ve modified this course by adding a module in which we explore the various publication avenues available. At the end of the semester, students are required to submit polished poems to literary journals and self-publish a chapbook featuring their work.

One of the challenges, inevitably, has been fitting the module into an already-packed course. This meant cutting some topics as well as shortening the amount of time students will spend in formal workshop (that is, class time devoted to the oral critique of the students’ writing). Whether or not this was a wise decision remains to be seen.

At the time of this report, the course has met only twice. It’s been difficult to gauge the students’ receptivity to pursuing publication. Because this is an intermediate course, all students have had instruction in Creative Writing via our introductory course. However, for all intents and purposes, many of them are still beginning writers. To this end, the module may be more effective in our advanced Creative Writing course. It’s possible, too, that a more effective approach would have been the creation of a new course, rather than the insertion of a module into an existing course. Further, enrollment in the course is quite low. This was not surprising as the primary cohorts for this course are English and Humanities majors – degrees sought by very few students at our University. However, I’m eager for the course to unfold.

I’m curious to discover which notions concerning the business aspect of the arts are presented at the SEA conference. I stress to students that the creative component of the writing process and the publishing aspect can, in my view, be at odds with one another. My hope is that I’ll be able to impart information I glean from the conference to the class.