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Program Overview

Degree Requirements

Students graduating with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing earn a minimum of 36 credit hours.  The MFA degree requires a minimum of 32 hours of coursework, 4 hours of thesis research credit, and a written thesis. Only those courses in which a B or better has been earned may be applied to the graduate program of study. All courses must be taken for a grade unless offered for S/U only. The cumulative GPA must be at least 3.0 to receive a degree. Courses below 4000 will not count toward the degree nor will they be figured in the GPA, although they will appear on the transcript

 

Course Descriptions

 

Below you can find descriptions for recent representative courses offered by current faculty. Courses offered each semester vary.  Please check the Course Catalog for our range of courses, and the class schedule for current offerings.

 

Andy Fitch

CW 5540: Literary Citizenship

Course Description:

In this course you will design, pursue, reflect on, and present on a literary project relevant to your creative/career goals. You will be actively thinking through questions such as: “What are my overall aspirations for my time in this program? Alongside completing my thesis, what kinds of experiences and skills do I want to acquire?” You can answer those questions in a variety of ways, such as through:

  • A substantial research project.

  • A relevant professional internship.

  • A teaching internship, apprenticeship, or similar pedagogical experience (beyond the normal work expectations associated with your GA).

  • A publishing venture (the creation of a journal, blog, or other activity meant to foster the creativity of others).

  • A relevant community-service venture.


CW 5540: Small Press Publishing

Course Description:

Students in this seminar will make direct contributions to a series of literary-community engagements. In September, we will work to facilitate and to promote Wyoming’s first event for the 5x5 reading series. In October, we will help to coordinate the first annual CrossBorders symposium at CU-Boulder and in downtown Denver. During this semester’s second half, we will explore in depth Essay Press (as well as other small presses), and will work extensively on selecting Essay’s next print book. Throughout the semester, we will examine various practical stages of contemporary book production (both in print and digital media), from establishing a submissions process, to assessing and selecting manuscripts for publication, to editing and designing books, to marketing and promotion (both through traditional review and performance venues, and through social-media networks of distribution). Students will participate in Skype-based consults with small-press editors, publishers, and designers.


CW 5560: The Camera’s “I”: Experimental Film and Creative Nonfiction

Course Description:

In this workshop, alongside your own prose writing, we will consider one of the most dynamic forms of postwar creative-nonfiction: the essayistic, meditative, appropriative, and/or collage-based film. More specifically, we will examine the personal/impersonal, embodied/absent, authentic/artificial narrative “I’s” depicted by these films. Filmmakers we will study include: Marina Abramovic, Chantal Akerman, Chris Marker, Yoshua Okon, Martha Rosler, Agnès Varda, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.          


Alyson Hagy

CW 4050: Book Art

Course Description:

Sharing a studio with Art 3500: Book Art, this course introduces students to the history of the book as an object and the traditional crafts associated with book construction. A basic knowledge of technical processes pertaining to book construction (print-making, typography, binding, etc.) and a general knowledge of the history of the book will be gained through demonstrations, hands-on studio work, slide lectures, and visits to museums and archives. This course is appropriate for intrepid writers who wish to learn how to construct simple books and to analyze books as objects of artistic expression. Collaborations among visual artists and creative writers will be encouraged, but students should note this course is labor intensive.


CW 5560: Long Form

Course Description:

This course is appropriate for writers who are working on book-length projects in any genre or genres. We will read at least four books selected by the instructor (in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid form). Students will also nominate readings and lead or co-lead discussions of those readings. We will explore strategies for assembling story and essay collections, novels/novellas, and poetic sequences. We will discuss narrative strategies, narrative designs, what makes a novella a novella, new forms, old forms, and even market expectations. We will visit with other writers (in Laramie and beyond) to get their take on assembling manuscripts. Students don’t need to have a full book manuscript in hand. They only need to be interested in sustaining a project to chapbook length or beyond. We will devote plenty of time to workshops of new or revised work, even if it isn’t long form.


CW 5560: Narrative and Lyric

Course Description:

We have designed this workshop around the twofold premise that (a) the elements most typically taken to characterize lyric (musicality, voice, etc.) are also, and equally, constitutive of narrative, and (b) the elements most typically taken to characterize narrative (character, plot, etc.) are also, and equally, constitutive of lyric. This should generate the result that writers of lyric and writers of narrative, however different their impulses and processes may be, can help one another. Our belief that genres share elements leads us to conclude that dialogue across genres strengthens work within a given genre, and it is just such cross-genre dialogue that we hope to foster in this workshop.

Each student will work in her/his own preferred genre. All workshop members will participate in the critique of all work presented to the workshop. Shared readings will facilitate our communication and support across genre.


Harvey Hix

CW 5540: Black Men’s Stories

Course Description:

A Washington Post article from July 2016 reports that “Of all of the unarmed people shot and killed by police in 2015, 40 percent of them were black men, even though black men make up just 6 percent of the nation’s population.” This is a complex social problem, to the causing of which surely many factors contribute. One factor, though, among those many is a broad, perduring public failure (manifest sometimes as an in-the-moment individual refusal) to hear black men. In this class, we will all of us (as a group and as individuals, whatever our own gender and racial identities) listen to black men: black men’s stories, black men’s voices, black men’s words. Our shared reading will consist of recent/contemporary fiction and nonfiction works, but other assignments will create means for our introducing one another to older historical works, works in other genres, works by black critics and theorists, and so on.


CW 5560: Narrative and Lyric

Course Description:

We have designed this workshop around the twofold premise that (a) the elements most typically taken to characterize lyric (musicality, voice, etc.) are also, and equally, constitutive of narrative, and (b) the elements most typically taken to characterize narrative (character, plot, etc.) are also, and equally, constitutive of lyric. This should generate the result that writers of lyric and writers of narrative, however different their impulses and processes may be, can help one another. Our belief that genres share elements leads us to conclude that dialogue across genres strengthens work within a given genre, and it is just such cross-genre dialogue that we hope to foster in this workshop.

Each student will work in her/his own preferred genre. All workshop members will participate in the critique of all work presented to the workshop. Shared readings will facilitate our communication and support across genre.


Frieda Knobloch

Course Description:

CW 5540: The Letters of Science

This seminar will explore the letters of science—scientists as writers, writing about science, and literary features of scientific method, imagination, and explanation. How does science change? How deeply do we understand the promises or performances of “modern science”? We will focus on geology and geologists for part of the semester as a case study. Our aim throughout is to engage letters (and images) of science as a lively fund of questions and inspiration about narrative habits and possibilities, and dynamic structures of knowing.


Jeff Lockwood

CW 5560: The Classical, Noumenal, and Phenomenal 

Course Description: 

 

Standard (with a Twist):

In this version, you’d bring to workshop pieces that you’re already producing. The “twist” is that along with each piece you’d also provide a complementary reading (essay, short story, poem, etc.) that provides a basis for comparison, contrast, or contemplation of your work. Then during the workshop, we’d discuss your work on its own—and in context of the complementary reading. 

 

Spiritual Writing:

Much of what is confronted in the personal essay constitutes a reformulation of perennial questions regarding the meaning of existence, the nature of goodness, and the nature of freedoms and duties. An exploration of the tradition of spiritual writing (Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, Mohandas Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hahn, Anthony de Mello, Teilhard de Chardin, etc.) will help contextualize your work. 

 

Constraints:

One of the most potent methods for catalyzing creative work is the use of constraints. In this workshop, we’ll explore evocative constraints for non-fiction. For example, a piece that must: begin with a description of pain, use “fear” in the first/last sentences, have only sentences of 1, 5 or 10 words, be read in 2 minutes, incorporate line breaks, be exactly 400 words, include 10 footnotes, involve only dialogue, etc. 


CW 5560: Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Course Description:

By preference of the students in a survey, this is a somewhat traditional writing workshop with the basic structure of having each student provide their own writing for critique, along with complementary writing from an author of the student’s choosing (essay, short story, poem, etc.). This complementary piece should provide a basis for comparison, contrast, or contemplation of the student’s work. During the workshop, we’ll discuss each student’s work on its own—and in context of the complementary reading.

The workshop may include other aspects of critique, including some more structured elements chosen by the students. These might include a focus on individual words, sentence-level analyses, the functionality of paragraphs, the entry/exit of the piece, the point of view, the sensory qualities, the ordering of parts, the efficacy of dialogue, the pacing/tempo of the work, the narrative arc, etc. The inclusion of this “additional” approach and any other ways of structuring the critique will be negotiated at the first meeting and will be revisable on a continuing basis.


Kate Northrop

CW 4050: Making Multi-Genre Work

Course Description:

In this multi-genre class we will experiment with making and reading creative work which mixes and switches and grows a new tail. What happens, in a creative work, when poems meet up photographs? When story incorporates passages of poetry? Or veers into film clips? What happens when essay breaks and breaks again into recorded instrumental or song? We don’t know. You will have to write your way in – to find something out. Students should expect to fully draft several free-wheeling writing exercises and produce, by the end of the semester, a substantial hybrid creative work.

Contact Us

Creative Writing Program

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-3269

Fax: 307-766-3189

Email: cw@uwyo.edu

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