Sophomore Seminars

Sports Writing

ENGLISH 90Q

How do we write about sports? In what ways do our competitions and leisure activities reflect our personal and collective beliefs about nature, the individual, and our society? Why do sports distract us, and to what end do we cultivate and sustain that distraction? In this seminar, we will study and practice the many ways that creative writers frame and even critique an interest in athleticism, beauty, culture, gender, and achievement. From regional fans to the single adventurer, in sports as ranging as boxing and baseball to mascot dancing and freeskiing, creative writers continue to mine a rich vein of "sports writing" as creative nonfiction. In doing so, they demonstrate the creative and formal adaptability that’s required to write with excellence about any subject matter, and under the circumstances of any subjectivity. Throughout the quarter, we will read and talk with a wide range of popular and literary authors. We will discuss essays, book excerpts, and pieces of journalism. A variety of creative prompts and critical exercises will foster your understanding and appreciation of literature, as well as your growth as a creative writer.

Meet the Instructor(s)

John Evans

John W. Evans is the author of four books, as well as prose and poetry published widely. Part of his new novel, Spring Past, takes place in a dystopian future where his beloved Kansas City Royals still play baseball. His essay, “The Polish Prince,” about his great-grandmother’s love of pro wrestling, was a finalist for the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize. He has been celebrated as a “favorite professor” by the women’s basketball, water polo, and volleyball teams.