2019-2020 Course Catalog

Master of Arts in Creative Writing

The Master's in Creative Writing is a broad program of study (two years, 36 credits) designed to prepare students for careers as writers or other positions requiring similar professional skills, such as editing, publishing, and content development for the web; to enable students to improve their writing in more than one genre through interaction with our faculty and other writing students; and to become experienced critics of literary works.

Most full-time students will be able to complete the program in two years. This program is distinct from the MFA in Creative Writing in that no thesis is required. Except for the thesis, the program is exactly the same as the MFA in Creative Writing.

Learning Outcomes

Students in the Chatham MA program will:

  • Develop and hone skills in writing, editing, and revision in the student’s primary literary genre.
  • Recognize and write within the literary genres of nature, environmental, or travel writing.
  • Develop a nuanced sense of place and the ways in which place is important to the student’s work.
  • Demonstrate a good reading knowledge of modern and contemporary literature and how the student’s own work fits within a literary tradition.
  • Analyze and write with care about literary texts of considerable difficulty.
  • Recognize critical positions and literary arguments, including the student’s own critical and aesthetic position.
  • Demonstrate the ability to read and respond thoughtfully and critically to work by other MFA students.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to effectively perform in both online classroom and residential workshop settings.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the theory and practice of literary publishing, including the practice of submitting work to literary journals and/or to quality trade book publishers.
  • Cultivate a professional identity in terms of self-presentation in both written and oral forms to include reading their work aloud at public venues, interviewing other writers, attending outside readings, writing book reviews, and organizing literary events.

Curriculum

+Degree Requirements

Complete 36 credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the BA or BS. Students who have not completed an undergraduate major in writing, or in English with a writing focus, may be required to take a basic core of 3 course before registering for the advanced curriculum.

One craft course in your primary genre [3 credits]
ENG523 The Craft of Creative Writing: Multiple Genres

This course may substitute for any other craft course for students specializing in any genre. Students will be introduced to the craft of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and will also be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending out work for publication.

3
ENG581 The Craft of Fiction

This is a required course for MFA students specializing in fiction. Students will experiment with creating scene, sense of place, summary, dialogue, framing, flashbacks, and transitions. Students will be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending work out for publication.

3
ENG582 The Art and Craft of Narrative

Readings and writing in this multi-genre course will focus on constructing narratives in fiction, nonfiction, poetry or writing for children. Students will be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending work out for publication.

3
ENG583 The Art and Craft of the Lyric

Readings and writing in this multi-genre course will focus on writing lyrically in poetry and prose. Students will be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending work out for publication.

3

Primary genre craft course must be taken during the fall of student's first year. Craft courses are

Prerequisites(s): for all workshops of any genre.

One readings course in student's primary genre (3) chosen from the following:

ENG531 Readings in Contemporary Lyricism

This course is a graduate seminar focusing on the close reading of text from various genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children's writing) that use lyricism as a primary craft device. Designed to complement the craft workshop, this course or Readings in Contemporary Narrative is required for all MFA students.

3
ENG532 Readings in Prose and Poetry

This course is a graduate seminar focusing on the close reading of prose and poetry drawn primarily from the modern and contemporary periods. Designed to complement the craft workshops, this course is required of all MFA students.

3
ENG533 Readings in Contemporary Narrative

This course is a graduate seminar focusing on the close reading of narrative texts from several genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's writing), drawn from modern and contemporary periods. Designed to complement craft workshops, this course or Readings in the Contemporary Lyric is required of all MFA students.

3

Readings in prose

Two advanced writing workshops (6 credits) in your primary genre chosen from the following:

ENG535 Writing Poetry: Form

A poetry writing workshop to focus on form. Pre Requisite: ENG583

3
ENG539 Writing Creative Nonfiction: Memoir

A creative Non-Fiction workshop focusing mainly on the memoir. Pre requisite: ENG582

3
ENG537 Writing Poetry: Literary Movements

A poetry workshop focusing on readings from a particular poetic movement, and writing poetry that models or responds to movement. Pre-requisite: ENG583

3
ENG548 Writing Creative Nonfiction

This course is designed to teach the techniques and practice of creative nonfiction through participation in a process of peer review and commentary, reading and discussions of selections of other writers and stories, and regular submissions of original creative compositions. The course is taught in a workshop format. Pre-requisite: ENG582

3
ENG551 Writing Fiction: The Short Story

This course furthers one's technique and practice of fiction writing via focusing on the short story. Classic models are read and analyzed for variety of P.O.V., character development, story structure, etc. Students are expected to participate in ongoing discussions and weekly peer review. This course is taught in a workshop format.

3
ENG553 Writing Poetry

This course is designed to teach the techniques and practice of poetry writing through participation in a process of peer review and commentary, reading and discussions of selections of other poets and poems, and regular submissions of original creative compositions. The course is taught in a workshop format.

3
ENG554 Writing Fiction

This course is designed to teach the techniques and practice of fiction writing through participation in a process of peer review and commentary, reading and discussions of selections of other writers and stories, and regular submissions of original creative compositions. The course is taught in a workshop format. Pre Requisite: ENG581

3
ENG557 Writing Fiction: Story Collections/Novel-in-Stories

This course furthers one's technique and practice of fiction writing via studying book length story collections and/or story cycles. Contemporary models are considered for their creative melding of varied themes. P.O.V.'s structures, etc. Students are expected to participate in ongoing discussions and weekly peer review. This course is taught in in a workshop format. Pre requisite: ENG581

3
ENG589 Creative Writing: Multi-Genre

A multi-genre craft course that includes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, children's writing and hybrid genres. This course fulfills the craft requirement for all genres.

3
One of Environmental Imagination or Travel Writing:
ENG584 The Environmental Imagination

This is a multi-genre course that focuses on the art and craft of nature and environmental writing. Students will read and study contemporary nature and environmental writing, and will be expected to generate creative work that illustrates a deep understanding of the literary tools available to writers in this genre.

3
ENG585 Travel Writing

This course focuses on the art and craft of travel writing. Students will read and study contemporary travel writing, and will be expected to generate creative work that illustrates a deep understanding of the literary tools available to writers in this genre.

3

Four content courses (12 credits), at least 2 of which must be literature-based courses.

Sample courses include:

ENG546 Wildness and Literature

Students read poetry, nonfiction and fiction that explore the relationship between wilderness and humans as well as the relationship between wilderness and culture. This seminar will trace the idea of wilderness in American literature through the twenty-first century.

3
ENG552 Ecofeminist Literature

This course brings together theoretical, non-fictional, and fictional approaches to the study of women and the environment. This course focuses particularly on how representations of women and environment can help students rethink and re-imagine their relationships to the Earth.

3
ENG562 Children's Literature

Designed to complement "Writing for Children and Adolescents," this course surveys the best of children’s fiction and nonfiction and encourages the student to examine issues of plot, story development, character, setting, and creative use of language.

3
One elective (3) from any course in the MFA program that does not require pre-requisites
ENG710 Summer Community of Writers

Summer Community of Writers

6

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