This is a course for those who think of creative writing as serious pleasure--a particularly rich and rigorous kind of fun. We often think of poetry and creative non-fiction as forms for expressing one's innermost feelings. This course considers and complicates that model. Using a variety of strategic, formal and thematic experiments, we'll explore ways in which personal narrative--in prose and poetry--can be a sophisticated and excitingly destabilizing technique for complexity and charisma, rather than a purely confessional activity. And we'll use various methods like reportage, collage, research, collaboration, imitation and chance operations to write from the outside in with a goal of situating the personal in relation to public experience--and vice versa. We'll consider the ways in which a seemingly impersonal piece of writing can, in fact, be highly personal. We'll look for models and inspiration in modern and contemporary prose and poetry, which we'll read and discuss from a writerly rather than scholarly perspective. At semester's end, students will turn in a final portfolio of poetry and prose, and a letter which will serve as a critical introduction to the work.