Philip Brady has taught at University College Cork in Ireland, as a Peace Corps Volunteer at the National University of Zaire, in the Semester at Sea Program, in the Wilkes University Low-Residency MFA Program, at the Chautauqua Institute, at San Francisco State University, the University of Delaware, and SUNY Binghamton. Currently he is a distinguished professor of English at Youngstown State University, where he teaches creative writing and literature.
Stories That Happen: The Craft and Theory of Memoir
Once the purview of celebrities and literary figureheads, the memoir has burgeoned over the last ten years. In fact, USA TODAY claims that publication of memoirs now outpaces debut novels. In this course, we will survey the expanding field of creative non-fiction and delve into its literary and historical origins. We will explore the boundaries between memoir and autobiographical fiction, and we will develop our abilities to write and critique life stories in prose and narrative poetry. Ultimately, we will address the new phenomenon of memoir-writing in relation to the genres of fiction and poetry to discover how memoirs redefine the complex and quasi-contractual relationship between reader and author, and between world and word. Course texts include William Zinnsser’s Inventing the Truth; Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes; Thomas Lynch’s The Undertaking; Carol Moldaw’s The Widening; and Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory. Students will make a presentation based on assigned reading; write a journal of thirty pages based on class assignments; write two short essays/stories of five pages and one term paper of at least ten pages.
Issues in Publication
In this web-based asynchronous course we will survey the landscape of current literary publishing in the United States. We will consider publishing models and the various roles played by publishing professionals. We will look at literary periodicals, both print and on-line. We will describe the skill-sets needed by publishers, producers, writers, editors and agents, and the challenges they face. We will discuss editorial vision and styles. We’ll discuss funding, budgets, book design, and production. We will review organizations, programs, and the role of academia. We will offer an overview of the historical, cultural, political, and sociological roots of literary publishing. We will consider the publisher as writer. We will include screenwriting, film making, and Spoken Word. Finally, we will speculate—and even theorize—on the future of this dynamic industry.
British Literature II: Not Your Grandad’s Brit Lit
In “Not Your Grandad’s Brit Lit” we will read, hear, and discuss nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century poetry, drama, non-fiction, and fiction from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, as well as former colonies of Great Britain in Africa, Asia, North America, and the Caribbean. We will also listen to music and view films, TV, and even stand-up comedy. We will regard “Great Britain” as a multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural matrix of traditions. We will explore ways our own cultural and literary world both reflects and diverges from the periods under consideration. We will also delve into ways that historical movements shape literary norms.
By Heart: The Bardic Tradition from Ancient to Modern
This course will consider poetry as an oral art. We will delve into the sources of literary poetry as orature in prime cultures, and we will trace ways in which the oral tradition survives today in children’s verse, anecdote, joke, and ritual speech. We will consider how the Bardic tradition shaped and continues to shape poetic forms. We will attempt to stimulate and nurture our aural imagination. Drawing on studies in ethnopoetics, we will explore the tension and interplay between literary and oral art, considering the impact of education, technology, and modernity on the place of poetry in our lives.
This is a student-centered class; the most important text is your own work. We will consider poetry as “an aesthetic experience of language” avoiding limiting definitions and rigid practices; at the same time we will focus on poetry as a formal art, and we will work in a varied of traditional and experimental modes. The class will frame conversations about student poems in terms of each poem’s arc from inception through completion. Where does the poem come from? Where is it going? How does it relate to other poems, both by the author and by other poets? These questions will be addressed in recorded lectures, in student and instructor responses to your work, and in process essays you will append to the poems you submit. In addition to form, we will engage issues of idiom, identity, and tradition, and share ways that poems come together to compose a body of work. We’ll also explore the mysterious and potent connection between sound and meaning, delving into poetry’s pre-literary source as utterance. We’ll invite and encourage one another to consider poetry as a life-sustaining and life-examining art.
Introduction to Literature
“In dreams begin responsibilities,” says an old proverb, quoted by the modern Irish poet W.B. Yeats; and later, by the American short story writer, Delmore Schwartz. So the epigram, sourced in dream, is handed down through generations and cultures as a responsibility. Literature courses are poised between dream and responsibility. By reading, we plunge into the dream. By gathering to discuss our dreams we take on responsibilities—to ourselves, to our classmates, and to the intellectual and cultural traditions created by the dreams we read and the relationships we cherish. This course will offer the chance to read a wide variety of poetry and prose, from the 6 th century B.C. to modern time, and to respond to those works, in writing and discussion, to enhance our appreciation and understanding of the double-world, of dreams and responsibilities, in which we live.