Whereas Art of Fiction is a course that teaches the study of fiction, the Fiction Workshop course teaches its production. Brendan Mathews works with his students in order to heighten their craft through weekly exercises and large projects. Additionally, all students edit the work of their peers so that by the end of the class each student has received not only professor critiques, but those of their talented classmates as well
Art of Fiction: Short Story travels through a series of works (generally around ten pages long) written from the early 19th century to the modern day. As is common at Simon’s Rock, each story is read outside of class then discussed in depth during the period. This discussion can be about an array of aspects, such as a technique the author used, a theme that interests you, or even just an element of the story that you couldn’t quite understand
Art of Poetry is a class that meets twice a week to discuss poetry, how it affects a reader, and what methods are used to achieve this. It is discussion oriented, as most classes at Simon’s Rock are, and delves into the devices and vehicles poetry can utilize or provide.
The course list is understandably intimidating. How can someone, especially a student new to the school, identify the courses that are right for them? If they have a concentration in mind already or if they want to get requirements out of the way, then the choice is easy. Yet, if you’re trying to pick between, say, five courses that all sound interesting and insightful, and one of those courses is taught by Professor David Baum, the choice is, to my mind, obvious.
Basically, Guest Writers is the raddest book club ever. You read, you discuss, then you meet the person who wrote what you’ve been analyzing. You and your class get a private Q & A with him or her and then attend a reading in Blodgett House where your book can be signed. Also, photos with the authors are also allowed if you ask them first.