Graduate Courses



001 M 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Andrew Malan Milward

This is a graduate level course in fiction writing, so it assumes that students signed up for it are pre-professionals who hope to make a career of it. The class will follow the workshop model, and therefore student work, and the intensive discussion of same, will be our main focus; however, we will supplement this with careful study of professional writers and craft essays. Students will be required to share at least two new pieces (with perhaps opportunity for more), as well as a revision and a paper about the revision process. Admission is open to MFA fiction students only.


ENG 607 Grad Wrtng Wkshp: Poetry

002 T 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm       

Julia M. Johnson        

An intensive graduate MFA workshop in the writing of poems. Admission open to MFA students only.


ENG 607  Grad Wrtng Wkshp: Nonfiction

003 T 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm       

Erik A Reece  

ENG 607 is a MFA workshop in nonfiction. Students will explore and work in the many manifestations of this genre. The emphasis will be on longer forms of nonfiction.



001 R 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm       

Ansel Elkins   

This craft class and workshop focuses on innovative forms of writing that blur genre boundaries. We will explore a wide variety of hybrid forms, including the prose poem, lyric essay, zuihitsu, flash fiction, erasure, letter, diary, fable, and Twitterature (the story- or poem-as-tweet). We will read works by Anne Carson, Jennifer Egan, Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson, Kimiko Hahn, Mattea Harvey, and others. Experimentation and risk are encouraged.


ENG 611 Literature Teaching Seminar

001 TR 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Matthew W Godbey  

This seminar prepares graduate students to teach literature classes at the University of Kentucky and elsewhere. It offers instruction and guidance in curriculum design, syllabus creation, reading and work exercises, and more. Students develop a portfolio of course materials and refine skills for teaching literature and film at the introductory as well as advanced levels of an undergraduate curriculum. This course is not a requirement for completing the Ph.D. degree, but it is required for graduate instructors to be approved to teach their own introductory- level literature and film classes in the University of Kentucky English Department curriculum.


ENG 622 Stds Renaissance Lit: 1500-1660: Staging Crime in Early Modern England

001 M 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Emily E Shortslef      

In this course we will read a selection of plays from late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England that feature criminalized forms of behavior: theft, forgery, or fraud; rape; witchcraft; and above all, murder. Texts include the anonymous play Arden of Faversham; Middleton and Dekker’s The Roaring Girl, and John Webster’s The White Devil. We’ll also read excerpts from the sources that these authors drew on, including accounts of the real-life events on which their texts are (often very loosely) based, and a handful of theoretical and critical essays. Likely topics of discussion and analysis include the recurring topics of gender and sexuality, marriage, and money; the relationship between art and life; representations of the law; and the question of how criminality is constructed in these texts and in early modern England more generally. In addition to the reading and vigorous participation, work will include a range of critical writing assignments, as well as an oral presentation.


ENG 651 Stds Amer Lit Bef 1860

001 R 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Andrew V Doolen

This seminar pursues two aims. We will survey a wide range of authors and writings from the early United States, which will provide everyone with an overview of the period. Our challenge will be to learn how to position such cultural production within the theoretical framework of settler colonialism. This specific form of power is characterized by an invasive settler society that replaces indigenous populations and confiscates their territory. Beginning in the early 2000s, settler colonialism emerged in US literary and cultural studies as an innovative concept for re-thinking traditional notions of national identity, race, gender, and place. We'll read a mix of canonical authors. But students can expect a heavy emphasis both on American Indian authors and on issues related to indigenous struggles for territory and sovereignty in North America. The course, if we get it right, may even take on the feel of a mini-seminar in American Indian literature.  Students will write weekly 1-2 page response papers plus a final paper. 


ENG 730 Seminar 18th Century Lit: The Eighteenth-Century Novel: Minds and Senses

001 F 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Lisa Zunshine

Focusing on the eighteenth-century novel, this course has a threefold goal: to provide students with a solid working knowledge of the literature and culture of the period; to introduce them to key critical discourses on the subject; and to help them formulate their own pedagogical strategies were they to teach an undergraduate course featuring this material. Topics to be considered: evolving cultural practices of novel-reading; the novel in history and the history of the novel; genre-bending representations of fictional consciousness; and “multi-sensory” Gothic novels. Primary texts include novels by Henry Fielding, Frances Burney, Samuel Richardson, Ann Radcliffe, and Jane Austen; requirements include short written responses, pedagogical practicums, final oral presentations, and final research papers.


ENG 753 Sem Amer Lit Since 1900: How to Write the Literary History of the Present

001 T 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Michael A Trask        

When does the contemporary start?  The journal "Contemporary Literature" (formerly known as "Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature") was founded in 1960, but few scholars these days are all that comfortable with that periodization.  For at least two generations, “contemporary” has formed something of a shifting horizon: the period after World War 2; the period since the sixties; the period since the economic crises of 1973; the period since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election; the period since September 11, 2001.  This class will look, first, at how recent criticism has handled the history of the present and, second, at texts that raise interesting questions about using “contemporary” as our heuristic. One of our emphases will be on studying not just representative contemporary texts but the methods and assumptions that academic readers of such texts bring to the table. Another will be putting together a research project that applies such methods to contemporary materials of your choosing. The first eight weeks of the term will be spent on a fixed syllabus of texts (through spring break); after break, there will be a one-week hiatus from class set for one-on-one meetings with me to discuss your project; the last four weeks will be given over to presentations of your research.  Note that this class requires a good deal of exploratory hustle and thesis formulation early on in the term; it is perhaps useful for you to come into the semester with some sense of what you might like to write about.  The goal of the course is to help students produce the blueprint for a publishable essay or dissertation chapter.  The course is not limited to or intended only for advanced PhD students, however.  Any graduate student interested in contemporary studies is welcome.  Critical frameworks will include “Postmodernism” (Jameson), “The Program” (McGurl), “Our Aesthetic Categories” (Ngai); primary texts will include Beloved (Morrison), Galatea 2.2 (Powers), Gilead (Robinson), Taipei (Lin), Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Fountain), The Sympathizer (Nguyen).        





Instructor: Pittard, Hannah

001: T 2-4:30pm

This course will focus heavily on student writing. As such, students will be expected to write and workshop three wholly new short stories over the course of the semester, four if time allows. Note: This is not a workshop in novel or novella writing. This is a workshop whose focus is on The Short Story. Admission is open to MFA fiction students only.


ENG 607: GRAD WRTNG WKSHP: Nonfiction

Instructor: Eldred, Janet

002: T 5-7:30pm

A course for experienced writers who have some knowledge of contemporary American literature. Equal emphasis on students’ original work and outside reading. Each student will produce a chapbook of poems or stories [portfolio] and write a short introduction to it. May be repeated with the same subtitle to a maximum of six credits. Prereq: Consent of instructor.



Instructor: DaMaris Hill

401: W 5:30-8pm

An intensive workshop for MFA poetry students. Our focus will be on your own poems, and we will consider a selection of contemporary books of poetry and explore strategies for imaging new possibilities for your own work. This course challenges you to take risks as a poet and encourages you to experiment wildly. Admission is open to MFA students only.


ENG 608: CRAFT OF WRITING: Ekphrastic Writing

Instructor: Reece, Erik

001: M 5-7:30pm

The oldest human paintings we know of, those in the caves at Lascaux, France, are about 12,000 years older than the first written language. But at least since the time of Homer’s description of Achilles’ shield in the Iliad, poets and writers have been describing (ekphrasis) works of art. In this course we will examine a great variety of writerly responses to visual art. We will look at the three genres of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and we will consider many sub-genres within those forms. Our central command will be the UK Art Museum, and our primary source of inspiration will be the fall's Ralph Eugene Meatyard exhibit. Meatyard was a visionary Lexington photographer who has since gained international acclaim. In addition to other assignments, each student will create a written piece inspired by a particular work in that exhibit. We as a class will then compose and perform some as-yet-undetermined piece on the "Meatyard set" that will be housed in the museum. We will also produce some collective print artifact--again, to be determined by the class as a whole.



Instructor: TBD

001: W 3-5:30pm

A course in the theory and practice of teaching English composition at the college level. Required of first-year teaching assistants in the Department of English, the course is structured to match the ordering of English 101 so that the practical work of college writing and the theoretical considerations of English 609 will be mutually reinforcing.


ENG 638: STUDIES IN VICTORIAN LITERATURE: Bad Marriage and the Victorians

Instructor: Rappoport, Jill

001: TR 12:30-1:45pm

Critics (and film adaptations) have long been fascinated by the Victorian novel’s “marriage plot” and the cultural work it accomplishes: as a narrative resolution, it offers economic security and a form of vocation for many female characters who lack educational, professional, and financial resources. But numerous major texts from the period – novels such as A. Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Dickens’s Dombey and Son, Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right, and Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, poetry including Browning’s The Ring and the Book and Meredith’s Modern Love – turn the marriage plot on its head, disrupting readerly expectations in order to showcase domestic violence, sexual double standards, unjust custody laws, and the imbalances of social, legal, and economic power within marriage. By exploring the “bad marriage” of the period’s most canonical fiction, alongside some of the best critical work on Victorian family, gender, and law, we learn about the other forms of kinship the Victorians valued and rejected, about changing economic rights and opportunities for both women and men, and about the other kinds of narratives coexisting with and – made possible when we don’t read for – the telos of marriage.



Instructor: Nadel, Alan

001: T 5-7:30pm

This course will look at an array of American poets whose major work was done in the decades following WWII, with particular emphasis on the ways in which their work reflected and/or responded to the authors of high Modernism. The poets we examine will include: Richard Wilbur, Theodore Roethke, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, James Merrill, John Ashbery, Lucille Clifton, June Jordan, and Amiri Baraka. Requirements: three short papers and a long research paper.


ENG 751: SEM AMER LIT: 1800-1860: Feeling Through Texts: Affect Studies and C-19 American Literature

Instructor: Sizemore, Michelle

001: T 2-4:30pm

Amid the “affective turn” sweeping the humanities and social sciences, scholars have increasingly focused their attention on questions of emotion, affect, and feelings in the study of nineteenth-century U.S. literature. Despite being a recognizable part of the critical argot—the term “affect” seems to occupy a spot in nearly every recent journal issue and conference brochure—affect studies calls for more precise mapping. Our task as a class is to bring these discussions to bear on the study of literature. We'll focus especially on narrative shape, the loci of emotion in and around literary texts, the production of readerly affect, and literature as a site for theorizing emotion. Our investigations will range across pleasurable states such as happiness and enchantment and “ugly feelings” such as envy and paranoia. We will unwrap the nineteenth-century cult of sentimentality; we will unravel backward-looking feelings like nostalgia, melancholy, and regret. Authors include: Lydia Maria Child, Catharine Sedgwick, Maria Cummings, George Lippard, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Wells Brown, and Elizabeth Keckley. It is worth emphasizing that this is an interdisciplinary seminar; a considerable portion of our readings will come from fields and disciplines that inform literary studies, including political theory, religious studies, cultural anthropology, feminist and queer theory, and critical race theory.


ENG 781: SEM IN FILM: History, Memory, War

Instructor: James, Pearl

001: F 2-4:30pm

This advanced graduate seminar will explore how film makers represent history, specifically war, and how their films create and convey impressions of realism and authenticity.  We will watch a film every week.  There will be short assignments aimed at developing skills of film analysis and a final research paper.


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