Creative Writing

 Lect. Rachel DeWoskin (right) leads students in a fiction writing course at Taft House.

Making its home south of Midway Plaisance in Taft House, The Program in Creative Writing is an intersection of imagination and critical inquiry. Creative Writing offers an array of writing-workshop-based classes in a variety of genres, from fiction and poetry to creative nonfiction and translation. In addition, MAPH students focusing in creative writing have the unique opportunity to inform their creative projects with rigorous analytic research in a variety of subjects, such as Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Comparative Literature, English Language and Literature, Gender and Sexuality, Philosophy, and Visual Arts.

Selected Faculty

Sample Courses

Most Creative Writing courses are application-based. MAPH students in the Creative Writing Option get priority in these courses, but all students are required to submit an application by the deadline set by the program to be considered for admission. Please visit the Creative Writing website for the submission form and information about deadlines and procedures.

CRWR 40002 - Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing About the Arts (Rachel Cohen)
By reading and practicing writing in a variety of forms—from lyric fragments and reviews to museum wall texts and criticism for readers outside the academy—this course explores how reflecting on the visual arts gives us ways to consider subjects such as the art object in space, history, war, friendship, education, material culture, aesthetics, and coming-of-age.

CRWR 40200 - Technical Seminar in Fiction: Characterization (Rachel DeWoskin)
This reading and writing seminar will acquaint students with one of the essential tools of fiction writers: characterization. Informed by both fictional and critical readings from a variety of authors, students will complete both creative and analytical writing exercises, reading responses, and a paper that focuses on characterization in a work of fiction.

CRWR 40201 - Technical Seminar in Fiction: Auto Fiction, Essayism, Truth (Will Boast)
By exploring the interestingly smudged line between factual and fictional texts, we will interrogate both genre categories and ways of perceiving and presenting what is true. This inter-genre readings course will be of special interest to student writers interested in both fiction and creative nonfiction.

CRWR 41500 - Advanced Translation Workshop: Prose Style (Anne Janusch)
Purple, lean, evocative, muscular, literary, exuberant, lucid, stilted, economical. These are all labels that critics and reviewers have used to characterize prose styles that call attention to themselves in distinct ways. Of course, what constitutes style not only changes over time, but also means different things in different literary traditions. How, then, do translators carry style over from one language and cultural milieu to another? And to what extent does style structure storytelling? We will explore these questions by reading a variety of modern and contemporary stylists who either write in English or translate into English, paying special attention to what stylistic devices are at work and what their implications are for narration, characterization, and world building. Further, we’ll examine the range of choices that each writer and translator makes when constituting and reconstituting style, on a lexical, tonal, and syntactic scale. By pairing readings with generative exercises in stylistics and constrained writing, we will build toward the translation of a short work of contemporary fiction into English. To participate in this workshop, students should be able to comfortably read a literary text in a foreign language. 

CRWR 49300 - Thesis/Major Projects Workshop in Poetry (Srikanth Reddy)
This course is an advanced seminar intended primarily for students writing a Creative BA or MA thesis, as well as Creative Writing Minors completing the portfolio. Because it is a thesis seminar, the course will focus on various ways of organizing larger poetic “projects.” We will consider the poetic sequence, the chapbook, and the poetry collection as ways of extending the practice of poetry beyond the individual lyric text. We will also problematize the notion of broad poetic “projects,” considering the consequences of imposing a predetermined conceptual framework on the elusive, spontaneous, and subversive act of lyric writing. Because this class is designed as a poetry workshop, your fellow students’ work will be the primary text over the course of the quarter.

A more comprehensive list of courses and descriptions is available at the Creative Writing course page

Creative Writing Option

Students who plan to do a creative writing thesis project in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction can choose to pursue the MAPH Creative Writing Option. Students who complete the following requirements will receive a Creative Writing notation on their MAPH transcript:

  • The MAPH Core course
  • One creative writing course in the student's chosen genre in fall quater
  • Creative Writing Thesis/Major Projects workshop in winter quarter
  • Three academic courses relevant to the student’s proposed thesis area
  • Two elective courses to be taken in any area of student interest

Two-Year Language Option for Creative Writing

MAPH's Two-Year Language Option is a great way for students to pursue advanced work in literary translation in their second year. Some possibilities might include advanced workshops on literary translation in various genres, upper-level undergraduate seminars and graduate courses in non-Anglophone literatures across a range of geographical regions and historical periods, and courses on translation theory.

Recent Creative Writing Thesis Projects

“The Intangible Illusion of Self, in a Solipsistic Romance”
Kyle Mangan, MAPH ’11
Advisor: Rachel Dewoskin

“What Will We Be: Stories”
Jessi Haley, MAPH ’13
Advisor: Vu Tran

The Harder Parts”
Korey Williams
, MAPH ’14
Advisor: Srikanth (Chicu) Reddy

Rabbithole: A Social Media Public Sphere”
Tyler Quick,
MAPH ’15
Advisor: Dan Raeburn