Myra Goldberg

BA, University of California–Berkeley. MA, City University of New York. Author of Whistling and Rosalind: A Family Romance; stories published in journals, including The Transatlantic Review, Ploughshares, Feminist Studies, The Massachusetts Review and The New England Review, and in the book anthologies Women in Literature, Powers of Desire, and The World’s Greatest Love Stories and elsewhere in the United States and France; nonfiction published in Village Voice and elsewhere; recipient of Lebensberger Foundation grant. SLC, 1985–

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Writing

First-Year Studies: Two Lenses on Writing

Open, FYS—Year

The first semester of this FYS course will be focused on words and pictures, with its central lens on stories: how to find them, tell them, and make your listener, viewer, or reader come along with you. The course includes adding a visual element, photography, drawing, paste-ups, collage, animations, anime. We will read and then make a few of the following: a collective graphic novel, some children's books, adult books with pictures, illuminated manuscripts, comics. Your conference work will be a finished version of a project of your choice. The second semester of the course will be a class in episodes: pieces of a continuing story that follow a thread but may have different leading characters in each episode; or a frame, with many peoples' stories inside; or movement from one time, place, and set of characters to another. We will bring in and discuss episodes that we love in books, TV, podcasts. We will do exercises until we come upon something that engages us and then start our conference work, which will involve six episodes, more or less. In both semesters, we will have an extra meeting every other week to discuss whatever comes up: paper writing, social issues, food, procrastination. These sessions may be led by the professor, outside speakers, or a rotating group of students.

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Stories and Gifts

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Spring

In this class, we will tell, read, and listen to stories from everywhere—written, oral, for grownups or children. And we will collect them in many places, predominately at Wartburg eldercare but also in our families and elsewhere. Students will gather stories and be the scribe, editor, and anthologist. These story gifts may include tales of immigration, stories of Yonkers or Mount Vernon from long ago or from this moment, family stories, or moments of revelation. For conference work, we will make some stories into books or digital presentations to give back to the tellers and their families. The storytelling with children may involve practice in English literacy and a chance for them to hear their parents’ stories—and with elders, a tribute to the richness of the past and its gifts of meaning and perspective to both family and community. Community visits will be involved.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Writing

First-Year Studies: Forms and Fictions

Open, FYS—Year

This class explores the gift of form as it comes to us from writers from around the world. We will read and then write our versions of folk and fairy tales, epics, short stories, short plays, and anything else we care to try. Second semester will involve writing seven episodes of a fiction. In other words, we will learn how to use a short form to write a long work. Class may involve a discussion of literature, a sharing of our writing, an exercise, a collaboration. While we are exploring the boundaries and premises of various forms, we will step over other boundaries—between the real and the imaginary, this world and another, text and picture, and one form and another. Students will be invited to add visual and sound components to their work, if they wish. In addition to classes, students will have an individual conference every other week and a half-group conference on alternating weeks.

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Intensive Semester in Yonkers: From the Known to the Unknown: Getting to Know the World Through Writing

Intermediate, Seminar—Fall

This course is open for interviews and registration. Please visit Intensive Semester in Yonkers on MySLC for program information and application.

We will begin the semester by writing about the familiar—how it becomes beloved, despised, forgotten, lived within. We will explore how we experience the familiar at different ages while we take notes on the new, using words, photographs and sketches at our sites, on bus rides and walks, and in restaurants, parks, and churches. We will move from writing about the known to writing about how we get familiar with the new. We will pick five or more pieces to finish, revise, and edit for conference work and make chapbooks, using sketches and photographs to illuminate the world of our words. We will read other people’s explorations of their worlds, known and new, in an anthology that includes these writers, graphic novelists, and oral tale tellers: Dominican-American Junot Diaz, Iranian Marjane Satrapi, Malaysian Lat, Russian Isaac Babel, Italian Natalia Ginsberg, The Arabian Nights, African American folk tales, and poems from three languages—both ancient and modern.

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Our World, Other Worlds

Open, Seminar—Year

This is a writing course that explores the use of episodes in a world made of words. We read short stories, parts of novels, poems, newspaper articles, and essays from many times and worlds and occasionally watch episodes and films. We also do exercises designed to help practice character drawing, dialogue, pacing, composition, editing, and world building. Still, much of the work of the class involves writing episodes of a long work that becomes our conference work and can be completed in one or two semesters. These works are discussed in small groups, whose members become experts on each others’ creations. Many of the works take place in an imaginary world, some are memoirs, others go back and forth between worlds. The course is open but involves a willingness to enter sympathetically into someone else's work over time and to be an informed reader for that person. It also involves the ability to work on a piece of writing for at least a semester.

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The Episode: A Course in Connections

Open, Seminar—Spring

This will be a course in the episode, a flexible way of putting together content—fictional or nonfictional—in this world or another. The episodes that we know best are streamed online. We also read them, often without noticing their form. They are different from chapters or short stories. We will start by introducing each other to our favorites. Then we will do enough exercises to catch ourselves doing something right and continue until we have six episodes that connect, not necessarily conventionally. These will be supported and critiqued in small groups, while weekly exercises get presented to everyone. This course is a sneaky way to get people to write and revise something long over time. Students can write fiction or nonfiction, for adults or children, and include poetry, songs, or drawings in their work. 

Faculty

Words and Pictures

Open, Seminar—Year

This is a course with writing at its center and other arts—mainly, but not exclusively, visual—around it. We will read and look at all kinds of narratives, children’s books, folk tales, fairy tales, and graphic novels and try our hands at many of them. The reading tends to come from a wide range of times and places and includes everything from ancient Egyptian love poems to contemporary Latin American literature. For conference work, people have done graphic novels, animations, quilts, rock operas, items of clothing with text attached, nonfiction narratives that take a subject and explore it visually and in text, and distopian fictions with pictures. There will be weekly assignments that involve making something. This course is especially suited for students with an interest in some other art or body of knowledge that they would like to make accessible to nonspecialists. The spring semester will be similar in approach but with different assignments and texts. This course may be taken for one semester, either semester, or as a yearlong class.

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