WRITE202-23B (HAM)

Creative Writing: Voice and Image

15 Points

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The University of Waikato
Academic Divisions
Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts Office
English and Writing Studies


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: em.pooley@waikato.ac.nz

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What this paper is about

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This course explores the basic elements of imaginative writing – image and voice – concentrating the student’s attention on the central writing practices of ‘seeing’ and ‘saying.’ The emphasis is on deepening and honing perception, exploring concrete and energetic imagery, and developing awareness of the cadence and impact of voice.
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How this paper will be taught

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Each lecture will discuss techniques and structures central to vital imagery and compelling voice, examining these techniques in action through close analysis of selected poetry and prose. Workshop exercises will then stimulate the student to apply these discoveries to their own writing, challenging them to experiment with aspects of image and voice through direct engagement with the page. Work-in-progress generated by these exercises will be presented weekly for constructive critique online and within workshop sessions, producing a portfolio for final assessment.

Lectures will be delivered simultaneously in real-time face-to-face and online. For lectures face-to-face attendance is the desired mode, but students can find links that enable their participation online on the Moodle page for this paper.

Lecturer-delivered content will also be video recorded and made available to anyone who cannot attend lectures in real time via Moodle.

Students who need to attend Workshop online should enrol in Workshop A, the Wednesday 4-6pm session, which will be delivered online.

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Required Readings

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Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club

Course Reader: available for purchase from Campus Copy, containing selected poetry and prose extracts from the following:


Billy Collins, ‘Introduction to Poetry.’

Zbigniew Herbert, ‘Five Men.’

Adrienne Rich, ‘Diving into the Wreck.’

Archibald McLeish, ‘Ars Poetica.’

Olivia Macassey, ‘Outhwaite Park.’

Emma Neale, ‘Confessional Poem.’

Ruby Solly, ‘tūī.’

Tayi Tibble, ‘Identity Politics.’

Shivani Agrawal, ‘Notes on my tongue.’

Rhegan Tu’akoi, ‘to be brown / not brown.’

Miriama Gemmell, ‘off the endangered list.’

Hana Pera Aoake, ‘The bigger the burn the tougher you are.’

Olivia Macassey ‘A & E.’

Rae Varcoe, ‘How Can I Tell You This In 30 Minutes?’

Honor Moore, ‘Mourning Pictures.’

Lynn Emanuel, ‘Frying Trout While Drunk.’

Vincent O’Sullivan, ‘Surfacing.’

James Brown, ‘The End of the Runway.’

Philip Larkin, ‘This be the Verse.’

Wallace Stevens, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.’

Alice Te Punga Somerville, ‘Rakau.’

Dinah Hawken, ‘Talking to a Tree Fern.’

Anna Smaill, ‘Apples.’

Beverley Farmer, ‘Figs.’

Sylvia Plath, ‘Mirror.’

Craig Raine, ‘A Martian Sends a Postcard Home.’

Sonja Yelich, ‘1YA.’

Sonja Yelich, ‘writing desk.’

Lynn Emanuel, ‘Single Girl. One Room Flat.’

Hone Tuwhare, ‘To A Maori figure cast in bronze outside the Chief Post Office, Auckland.’

Trixie Te Arama Menzies, ‘Maui Steals Time.’

Ben Brown, ‘I am the Maori Jesus.’

Louise Erdrich, ‘Painting of a White Gate and Sky.’

Jayne Anne Phillips, ‘Wedding Picture.’

Gregory O’Brien, ‘Walking Woman.’

Sonya Yelich, ‘whangaparoa – on the sundeck.’

Sharon Olds, ‘I Go Back to May 1937.’

Anne Sexton, ‘Baby Picture.’

Helen Chasin, ‘The Word Plum.’

Mark Strand, ‘Eating Poetry.’

Donna Masini, ‘Cherry Ice.’

Denise Levertov, ‘O Taste and See.’

Sharon Olds, 'Sex Without Love.'

Sharon Olds, 'I Cannot Forget the Woman in the Mirror.'

Natasha Saje, ‘Creation Story.’

Emma Neale, ‘Four and Seven’ and ‘The Artist’s Models Reply.’

Hone Tuwhare, ‘Inconspicuously Sensual.’

Rachel McAlpine, ‘Burning the Liberty Bodice.’

Emily Dickinson, ‘It Was not Death,’ ‘The Soul has Bandaged moments’ & ‘I felt a Funeral in my Brain.’

John Donne, ‘Holy Sonnet XIV.’

Philip Larkin, ‘The Trees.’

Steven Cramer, ‘Villanelle After a Burial.’

Sylvia Plath, ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song.’

Dylan Thomas, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.’

Mary Stanley, ‘Sestina.’

Dan Lechay, ‘Ghost Villanelle.’

Bill Manhire, ‘Erebus Voices: The Mountain’ and ‘Erebus Voices: The Dead.’

Alice Te Punga Somerville, ‘mad ave.’


Lorrie Moore, 'How to Become a Writer.'

Michelle Rahurahu, ‘whakarongo.’

Alice Tawhai, ‘Old Ways.’

Patrick White, 'Down at the Dump'

Anne Enright,The Gathering

Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries

Maurice Duggan, ‘Along Rideout Road That Summer’

Ronald Hugh Morrieson, The Scarecrow

Luke Davies, Candy

Tim Winton, The Turning

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the


Helen Zahavi, Dirty Weekend

Ernest Hemingway 'Hills Like White Elephants'

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Airana Ngarewa, ‘Pātea Pools’

Don de Lillo, Underworld

Rick Moody, The Ice Storm

Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain

Handouts detailing workshop exercises will be circulated during each lecture.

CONTENT NOTE: The readings on this paper engage with the embodied world and may touch on sensitive and confronting material, such as violence, sexuality and suicide. Some of this content could be emotionally and intellectually challenging. I will do my best to signal more specific content warnings for relevant texts, and to engage with difficult content empathetically and sensitively within our class discussions, but if you think that reading and discussing these texts might present extra challenges for you please let me or your tutors know so that we can identify strategies to support you.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an ability to revise and proofread their creative work, responding to constructive critique from workshop feedback, and developing an awareness of substantive and structural editing
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Demonstrate awareness of key structures of imaginative writing – such as characterisation, setting, dialogue, point of view, pacing, sound, form and style – and an ability to target and strengthen these facets in their own creative writing
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major genres of imaginative writing, including poetry, short fiction, prose poetry and the novel.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Demonstrate workshop skills for peer review, and an ability to critique their own and others’ work in progress
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Exercise an ability to ‘read like a writer,’ working closely with selected texts to identify and analyse creative techniques central to generating dynamic imagery and powerful voice
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Exercise their own imaginative energy through interaction with creative prompts, tasks and models based on connected texts
    Linked to the following assessments:
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How you will be assessed

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All assessments may be submitted online. Instructions for submission will be provided via Moodle. In the event of Covid-19 Alert Levels rising, assessment structure may be reviewed to meet changing student needs.
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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assessment One: Poetry
14 Aug 2023
4:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Online: Upload to Moodle Forum
2. Assessment Two: Prose
25 Sep 2023
3:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Online: Upload to Moodle Forum
3. Workshop Submission, Attendance & Participation
4. Final Portfolio
23 Oct 2023
4:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Online: Upload to Moodle Forum
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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