Welcome to the information page about the first-year writing course in the Tisch School of the Arts!
All first-year students at Tisch take two semester-long writing courses. In the first, Writing the Essay: Art and the World, you will learn the skills necessary for writing at the college level while learning to write essays. The second semester course, Writing the Essay: the World through Art, will build on the foundation of these skills while teaching you to write more complex, research-based essays.
The readings and plenary presentations for the course provide a wide variety of ideas from an equally wide variety of writers about what it means to be an artist in the world. You’ll encounter ideas about what motivates the creation of an artwork, and the kinds of materials that feed this creation; the challenges that confront artists no matter what medium they practice, and the controversies they may find themselves entangled in whether they want to be or not; and how artists, by developing strong voices, make important contributions to the world. Sometimes, you will borrow or build on what these writers have to say and other times, you will question their ideas in order to create your own. You will also consider as evidence works of art, with questions such as: how does the form of a work—its style, materials, genre, structure—entwine with and create its meaning?
As you will soon discover, you have entered a community rich in artistic and intellectual resources. As an important part of that richness, you’re likely to encounter work that’s not to your taste and viewpoints that clash with your own.These may become vital resources in helping you generate your own creative work. In the face of such situations, we encourage you to suspend quick judgments: on one hand, learning what you don’t value (and why) is an important aspect of artistic development; on the other hand, allowing yourself to pay attention to works you don’t initially like may allow you to discover new ways of seeing.
The faculty who teach your writing courses are all artists in their own right. They are poets, playwrights, visual artists, writers of fiction and nonfiction, librettists and lyricists, filmmakers and more. The creative and scholarly work they do outside the classroom informs the way they design the classes you attend. Each teacher designs and leads their classroom in their own style, while still working to create continuity and community across all of EWP Tisch through the use of the shared texts in this reader and shared learning course objectives.
Throughout the year, you will be asked to make connections between the plenaries, the writing course, and your own essays. If it is not clear to you how these are connected, you should ask, either in the plenary, or in your writing class. If you are still confused about how the class is being conducted, you should have a conversation with your teacher. If you still have issues or concerns, you should contact Normandy Sherwood (EWP’s Assistant Director for Tisch).