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The MFA in Creative Writing launches in the Fall of 2018. It’s designed for students interested in pursuing the art of writing fiction or poetry, and is especially tailored to students who are interested in exploring a variety of career paths.  

While the creative writing workshop is a central component, his new MFA also emphasizes a service-learning component. In their second year, students will take a two-course sequence entitled “The Writer in the World.”  The first course will be classroom-based, introducing students to theories and pedagogies related to service learning and community-based learning. They will explore ethical questions and practical matters, crafting a creative writing program or curriculum which they will then implement in the second semester’s practicum. 

During this semester, writers will take the coursework or programs that they’ve designed in the classroom out into the field, and partner with community organizations like hospitals, schools, libraries, detention centers, and elder-care facilities to bring creative writing into those communities (for example, having residents in eldercare facilities write memoirs, or having patients in hospitals write poems about their injuries, traumas, or illnesses).  They will gain invaluable experience in arts programming, literacy advocacy, and writing in a not-for-profit context. 

This sequence will be central to this MFA experience.  Their experiences thinking about themselves as writers in the world – how does one’s writing shape one’s community and vice versa? – will inform their final year of study and the completion of their exit project.  Service learning will allow them to experience ways to have careers and lives in which writing is the central component. 

The flexibility of the elective and literature offerings allows students to pursue a host of interests, from literary publishing to creative writing pedagogy to contemporary literature. Students will also have the opportunity to gain invaluable editing skills by working with Sou’wester, one of the oldest continually-published literary magazines in the country.

The MFA won’t just better equip our students to write and live in the world, but will allow them to share the transformative influence of poetry and fiction, language and story, into their personal and professional worlds.  It will also help them gain qualifications for a broad range of job opportunities upon completion of the degree.

Please contact program director, Geoff Schmidt (geschmi@siue.edu), with questions regarding the MFA.

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