In Which We Give You An Education Pay Close Attention You May Even Want to Shut Your Eyes

julio cortazar

Good Will Syllabusing

by Alex Carnevale

Will won’t let me come to his class at NYU, probably because he’s afraid I will laugh at his interpretations of The Cantos. I have avenged this dick move on his part by stealing his class syllabus from his gmail. It won’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last.


your professor for today, WH

Will’s syllabus starts with two quotes. The first one is major, the second one is minor and like a party joke. Will once tried it out as a pick-up line, it got a good reception, and he went with it on the syllabus. Stephen Jay Gould also tested out his classroom material in this fashion.

Introduction to Creative Writing

Instructor: Will Hubbard

“The suffering we undergo when forms are preferred over spontaneous perception is called culture.”

MC Richards

“Damn your taste! I should like if possible to sharpen your perceptions. Your taste will then take care of itself.”

Ezra Pound

ezra pound = jaye bartell

Skipping ahead, Will does maybe the top attendance section of all time.


Attendance is expected at every class meeting, without exception. More than two unexplained absences will result in a 10% decrease in a student’s final grade. Two or more instances in which a student is significantly late to class will count as an absence. Absences owing to a medical or other emergency circumstance shall be accompanied by a doctor’s (or other official) note.

Sick stuff, I would not mess with this individual.


Here’s the syllabus proper:

January 23 W Introduction/Projection. Recording/Discussion: Olson.
Assignment: “Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson” (Walt Whitman); “Preface to the New American Poetry 1945-1960” (Donald Allen); “Projective Verse”, selected poems (Charles Olson); write a projective poem.

28 M Workshop.
Assignment: “A Retrospect”, “Treatise on Metre”, selected poems (Ezra Pound); “October”, “Those Winter Sundays” (Robert Hayden); selections from “If Not, Winter: Fragments from Sappho” (Anne Carson)

30 W Measure. Recording: Williams, Creeley.
Assignment: “Measure”; “Letter to Robert Creeley”, “Introduction to The Wedge”, selected poems (William Carlos Williams); “Centering as Dialogue” (MC Richards); write a poem in the measure of WCW.

February 4 M Workshop. Student Presentation: Denise Levertov.
Assignment: “I Am Given To Write Poetry”, “Interview with Robert Creeley”, “Poems are a complex”, selected poems (Robert Creeley); “Notes on Organic Form”, selected poems (Denise Levertov); selected poems (Lorine Niedecker)

wcw: where modernity actually began

6 W “some several causations” Recording: O’Hara, Spicer, Baraka.
Assignment: “Personism: A Manifesto”, selected poems (Frank O’Hara); “Excerpts from the Vancouver Lectures” (Jack Spicer); “Expressive Language”, selected poems (Amiri Baraka); write a personist poem.


11 M Workshop. Student Presentation: Derek Walcott.
Assignment: “Theory and Function of the Duende”, “(Poems)” (Federico Garcia Lorca); “Jack Spicer to Federico Garcia Lorca”, selected poems (Jack Spicer); selected poems, (Derek Walcott); selected poems (Rumi)

13 W From the French. Recording: Apollinaire, Ashbery.
Assignment: selected poems (Guillaume Apollinaire); selected poems (Arthur Rimbaud); selected poems (Stephane Mallarme); selections from Roof Slates (Pierre Reverdy); write three “roof slates” in the manner of Pierre Reverdy.

gwen is our girl

20 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Gwendolyn Brooks.
Assignment: “A Conversation with Kenneth Koch”, selected poems (John Ashbery); selected poems (Gwendolyn Brooks); selected poems (Anselm Berrigan)

25 M Sonnet. Recording: Berrigan, Berryman.
Assignment: selections from 77 Dream Songs (John Berryman); selections from The Sonnets, “Things To Do In Providence” (Ted Berrigan); “The Wall” (Donald Justice); selected poems (Edwin Denby); selections from “Nets” (Jen Bervin); write some sort of sonnet.

donald justice. there is nothing i hate more than teaching the wall, nothing!

27 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Elizabeth Bishop.
Assignment: selected poems, “When the Mode of the Music Changes the Walls of the City Shake” (Allen Ginsberg); selected poems, “The Fire” (Robin Blaser)

the waldrops…sickest house ever

March 3 M Litany/Anaphora. Recording: Mayer, Brainard. Student Presentation: Rosmarie Waldrop.
Assignment: selected poems (Rosmarie Waldrop); selected poems (Bernadette Mayer); “She Had Some Horses” (Joy Harjo); selections from “I Remember” (Joe Brainard); write a litany or anaphoric poem.

geoff hill

5 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Geoffrey Hill.
Assignment: “Statement” (Jackson Mac Low); selected poems (Lynn Xu); selected poems (Tao Lin); selected poems (Matthew Rohrer)

10 M Now. Reading: Lynn Xu, Tao Lin, Matthew Rohrer.
Assignment: “The Philosophy of Composition” (Edgar Allen Poe); “The Nearest Thing to Lyric Poetry Is the Short Story” (Frank O’Connor); write a poem in your own voice.


If we were to quantify visually how much people know about literature, you can see me there at Number 5. Number 4 is Harold Bloom. Three is God, or Allah, whichever you prefer. 1 is an elm tree, and 2 is Charles Simic. Will isn’t pictured, but he’s up there in the God-range most probably. I’d have to ask him some important questions, like whether or not he’s purposefully ignoring James Baldwin because he’s a racist.


12 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Wisława Szymborska.
Assignment: selections from “Tenohira no Shosetsu (Palm of the Hand Stories)” (Kawabata Yasunari); watch “Late Spring” (Yasujiro Ozu); write a palm of the hand story.

24 M Effect. Kawabata. Workshop.
Assignment: “The Importance of a Single Effect in a Prose Tale” (Edgar Allen Poe); “Technique in Writing the Short Story”, “The Bet” (Anton Chekhov)

mishima. this syllabus is totally our suicide list all over again

26 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Yukio Mishima.
Assignment: selections from “The Poetics of Space” (Gaston Bachelard); “A Rose For Emily”, “Spotted Horses” (William Faulkner); “A Sense of Place in Faulkner’s Spotted Horses” (Eudora Welty)


31 M Space. Cortazar, Kafka. Workshop. Student Presentation: Franz Kafka.
Assignment: “Blow-Up” (Julio Cortazar); watch Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni); “The Metamorphosis” (Franz Kafka); “Some Reflections on Kafka” (Walter Benjamin); Story #1.

April 2 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Manuel Puig.
Assignment: “Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story”, “Death in the Woods”, “Hands” (Sherwood Anderson); “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” (Flannery O’Connor)

a good man is hard to find is overrated, but that is small potatoes, you still have to teach it

7 M Narration. Stein, Faulkner. Workshop.
Assignment: “Narration: Lecture 2”, selections from “Lectures in America”, selections from “Three Lives” (Gertrude Stein); “A Rose for Emily” (William Faulkner).

9 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Salman Rushdie.
Assignment: “Notes on a New Prose”, selection from The Gold Diggers (Robert Creeley); “The Courter”, “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers” (Salman Rushdie); “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

14 M Time. Joyce, Beckett. Workshop.
Assignment: “The Dead”, selections from “Ulysses” (James Joyce); Story #2.

JWint, as we call her

16 W Workshop. Student Presentation: Jeanette Winterson.
Assignment: selected short prose, selections from “Molloy”, “Krapp’s Last Tape” (Samuel Beckett); Response #11.

going to contemporary writers and then going back in time is a boss move, it really shows your students you’re in control

21 M Other Realities. Barthelme, Barth, Pynchon. Workshop. Student Presentation: Grace Paley.
Assignment: “The School” (Donald Barthelme); “Lost in the Funhouse”, “Honoring Barthelme” (John Barth); “Entropy” (Thomas Pynchon).

23 W (non)fiction. Sontag, Miller, Paley. Workshop.
Assignment: “The Way We Live Now” (Susan Sontag); “A Conversation With My Father” (Grace Paley); selection from “The Collossus of Maroussi” (Henry Miller).

gracie paley

28 M Workshop. Student Presentation: Vladimir Nabokov.
Assignment: “The Vane Sisters” (Vladimir Nabokov); “Reading Blind” (Margaret Atwood); “Girl” (Jamaica Kincaid) “Daylight Come” (Amy Hempel)

30 W Now. Saunders, Moore, Hempel. Workshop. Student Presentation: Haruki Murakami.
Assignment: “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk” (Lorrie Moore); “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” (George Saunders); Revise.

Mazel tov! Except for a bizarre Auden omission, this is a wonderful collection of writing, but I have a feeling Will is going to find himself a bit more notorious for his acting skills. Molly provided the illustration below.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He lives in New York City.


12 M Portfolio Due in Instructor’s box, Basement, 58 W. 10 th Street


“Curtains (Elton John cover)” – Jeff Buckley (mp3)

“Gypsy Woman” – Brian Hyland (mp3)

“Suffragette City” – David Bowie (mp3)

“Low Side of the Road” – Tom Waits (mp3)


Danielle Collobert

Philip Guston/Bill Berkson

Raymond Carver

Richard Brautigan

Paul Zindel

Christopher Isherwood

Bob Dylan


Diane Williams


Lorine Niedecker

Giorgio De Chirico

Rae Armantrout

James Tate

Christopher Hitchens

John Cage

Dieter M. Graf

Alice in Wonderland

Robert Creeley II III IV V

William Carlos Williams

John Ashbery II


ashbery, rushdie, jamaica kincaid

The Interstitial Library

Paris Hilton

Sharon Olds

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Sol LeWitt

W.S. Merwin II III IV

Jaye Bartell

Will Hubbard

Lisa Flaherty

pasolini on the set


Get used to hell being other people.

Learn something new about yourself nowsy.

Bob Dylan for fun.



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