Sample Syllabus: If Art Could Speak

Proposed Creative Writing Course

If Art Could Speak: Ekphrasis and the Imagination

What would art say if it could speak back to us? What secrets can figures or landscapes reveal about our sense of self, our desires, and our engagements with the world? In this course, we will conceive of ekphrasis as a type of translation: as a movement between images and words, as well as between lived and imagined experience. We will have a special eye to how ekphrasis can help us narrate the problems of our present day, including but not limited to personal struggles, climate change, marginalized communities and histories, and political crises.

Each week, we will explore ekphrasis from a different thematic and craft approach, including but not limited to the persona poem, the nature/landscape poem, and the historical poem. We will read excerpts of ekphrastic collections and writing prompts will be inspired from those readings. Some writing exercises may ask that students find artwork in their hometown, but if students prefer, they also may look online for inspiration.

Each class will have a discussion and workshop component, but students will responsible for responding to their peers work outside of class. The instructor will also give weekly feedback. This course welcomes students of all levels.