ENGL 3081 Intermediate Nonfiction Workshop


Reed Underwood

Email: underwor@colorado.edu


I’ve subtitled this class “The Art of the Archive”. Of all the kinds of creative writing, creative nonfiction is most openly about taking materials that have already been given and transforming them into art. Whether the writing comes out of history, the world, or your own past, writing creative essays is art of the archive. In this class we’ll explore this idea through a variety of writings. This will give us a sense of the different kinds of creative nonfiction, but also will help us to conceptualize our own archives and our own writing art. We’ll also talk about each other’s writing, trying to get a sense of what makes for effective creative nonfiction, and how we can grow a writing practice.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Identify different genres of creative nonfiction.
  • Conceptualize the idea of an archive and how it relates to creative writing
  • Apply these ideas of genre and archive to develop your own sensibility of your own writing
  • Write your own works of creative nonfiction involving historical archives, experiential archives and personal archives
  • Respond to your classmates’ work to develop, for them and for yourself, a stronger sense of what is effective in creative nonfiction


Wisconsin Death Trip, Michael Lesy

How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell

I Remember, Joe Brainard

The Next American Essay, ed. John D’Agata


Reading Responses/Peer Comments 12.5%
Exercises 12.5%
Workshop Drafts (3) 30%
Workshop Feedback 10%
Final Portfolio: 35%

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado