Although all English courses at St. Mary’s emphasize writing skills, there are specific courses that strive to develop creative writing specifically.
Creative writing is often incorporated into other English courses along with critical writing components, such as Environmental Literature, Woman Word, and Cultural Journalism.
Course Options for Creative Writers
It is also possible to devise an Independent Study (ENGL 199, 299, 399, and 499) with any of the professors mentioned above that includes a creative writing component.
St. Mary’s Projects
St. Mary’s Project is a good way to explore creative writers.
Professors with a creative writing focus:
- Karen Leona Anderson
- Kate Chandler
- Jennifer Cognard-Black
- Jeffrey Coleman
- Jerry Gabriel
- Jeff Hammond
Creative Writing Courses:
- Intro to Creative Writing (ENGL 270)
- Topics in Writing (ENGL 395)
- Advanced Fiction
- Advanced Poetry
- Creative Non-Fiction
- Feature Writing
- Nature-Writing Workshop
- Advanced Writing Seminar (ENGL 495)
- ENGL 270 is a prerequisite for each of the advanced courses.
- ENGL 495 requires a 300-level literature course and
- ENGL 304, Methods of Literary Study, as prerequisites in addition to Intro to Creative Writing.
- Although the advanced courses share the same course codes, it is possible to take all the topics that are offered, as well as repeat a course with a different professor.
200-LEVEL WRITING COURSES
ENGL 270. Creative Writing (4E) This course will consider the nature of the creative process, introduce a variety of approaches to creative writing, and help students discover and develop their own imaginative and analytical resources for telling, through fiction and poetry, the stories they have to tell. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, NITZ 180, or CORE 301.
300-LEVEL WRITING COURSES
ENGL 395. Advanced Topics in Writing (4E) Designed to help students deepen their understanding of writing and develop distinctive writing voices, this course will enable students to explore the types of writing in which they are particularly interested. Various offerings of this course will help students develop skills in scholarly and expository writing, journalism, cultural journalism, fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, autobiographical writing. Prerequisite: one 200-level writing course or the permission of the instructor.
is an advanced course in the theory, practice, and reading of fiction. We’ll read a lot of (mainly) short fiction—both published work and our own exercises and short stories—for all the reasons people usually read: to be entertained, to be surprised or inspired, to learn about the world, to participate in our own print culture. But as writers of fiction, we will also be reading with one eye always peaking under the hood, attempting to glean what we can, to understood how and why an author employed a particular technique or device—and to what effect. Nobody, the truism goes, can teach you how to write: writers learn for themselves how to do it—from example (reading good work), from experiment and practice, and from feedback (listening to and responding to the comments of others). So, in a nutshell, those are things that will happen in this class.
The primary purpose of this course is to enhance the gifts you already possess with respect to creating and expressing poetry. Our class will be guided by the fact that most successful poets read poetry and prose, write on a regular and disciplined basis, keep notebooks for jotting down ideas or comments about poetry, observe the social nuances of the world around them, and share drafts with fellow writers. You, too, will cultivate these time-honored habits, in part by submitting poetry and participating in workshop poetry on a weekly basis. In doing so, you will become part of the informal community of active poets: students of life who relay their knowledge and experiences through carefully crafted lines and stanzas. In this intensive writing workshop you will learn to create, refine, and critique more constructively and deepen your relationship to the creative process. The majority of class time will be spent discussing assigned readings and writings and experimenting with creative and imaginative techniques.
, a relatively new and increasingly popular prose genre, is (as the name suggests) both “creative” and “nonfictive.” At root, creative nonfiction involves an imaginative engagement with the real. That is, it combines the shaping presence of the imagination with a deep and honest exploration of the factual. The imaginative element demands a strong and consistent point of view, which is why most creative nonfiction is autobiographical in mode. But in its factual dimension, creative nonfiction goes beyond memoir and autobiography in order to make a point, convey information, and/or deliver an insight.
The focus of this course will be on writing human interest or feature stories of the kind that would appear in a newspaper or magazine. By the end of the course, you will be able to identify interesting human interest stories, conduct fruitful interviews with strangers, research subjects, organize your material in effective ways, write compelling titles and leads, and conclude your essays in such a way that your readers will leave feeling they have learned something of significance. Because the course duplicates material that was taught in the English 201: Advanced Composition that Robin Bates taught in fall 2009, it is not open to students who took that course.
This course will provide an opportunity to develop and refine writing skills. You will have four months to immerse yourself in writing, reviewing, and reading what is re-emerging as an important and popular literary prose genre in America—the nature essay. While we will turn to books and essays as models for content, form, and style, this is a writing course; that means that you will write or rewrite for every class meeting. Writing will be our primary activity and the focus of our discussions. Since this is a workshop, you will also be expected to comment constructively aloud and in writing on each other’s pieces. And, since writing about the natural world must be based on your experience, past and continuing, you will keep a field journal of nature observations, working to discover the value of your own perceptions through writing.
400-LEVEL WRITING COURSES
These courses are usually conducted as seminars with students and professors sharing the responsibility to prepare and present materials. These courses will build on the knowledge and skills acquired in 300-level courses, allowing students to read widely and deeply in a more specialized area of study and to write using more sophisticated research and theoretical techniques. Students may be asked to turn their attention to a highly focused topic, such as the study of an individual author or a particular decade; or they may be asked to broaden their approach and concentrate on a theme, genre, or idea as it is manifested in several historical periods or across national boundaries. The writing projects will generally involve considerable research outside of the texts read in class. Prerequisites for all 400-level courses: ENGL 270, ENGL 304, and one 300-level literature course or the permission of the instructor. These courses may be repeated for credit if the topic or focus changes significantly.