Creative Writing

 

The Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia, offering both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D., is one of the most rigorous and aesthetically diverse in the country. The faculty, split roughly between fiction, creative non-fiction (Judith Ortiz Cofer and Reginald McKnight), and poetry (Ed Pavlic and Andrew Zawacki), are writers, critics, editors and translators whose work deliberately crosses generic boundaries. The CWP supplements its core faculty with professors (Jed Rasula, Susan Rosenbaum, Aidan Wasley) in related areas of modern poetry, poetics, literary theory, and avant-garde art movements. Consequently, workshops and seminars available to graduate students tend to combine elements of poetry, short fiction, prose poetry, the novel, creative non-fiction, literary theory and poetics, literary journalism, visual art, comics, music from jazz to rock, translation studies, and even film. Students are encouraged to study with each member of the extended faculty, in an effort to interrogate, as intensely as possible, eclectic and ongoing experiments in form, craft, theme, style, tone, semantics, and ideology. For doctoral students, the comprehensive exams, generally taken in the third year, represent a more extended and profound immersion in literary interpretation and history.  

Several important publications and a major university press are located at the University of Georgia, and graduate students take advantage of frequent openings to participate in their editorial life.  Verse, an international journal of poetry and poetics, translation and criticism, solicits several graduate students to assist at every stage of its production, while The Georgia Review, an award- winning literary journal, sponsors paid internships for advanced graduate students. The University of Georgia Press, which has published poetry under the imprint of its Contemporary Poetry Series for two decades, as well as fiction, likewise seeks the assistance of graduate students, who earn valuable editorial experience by serving in one of its on-site offices.  

Graduate students in writing are awarded substantial opportunities to garner teaching experience, too. Early on, they teach in the department's expository writing program, directing required undergraduate courses in outlining, drafting, and polishing non-fiction essays. Further into their studies, graduate students may apply to teach undergraduate workshops at the 3800 (Introduction to Creative Writing) and 4800 (Advanced Creative Writing) levels. Among the more exciting venues for such seminars are the annual spring study-abroad outposts in Costa Rica and in Cortona, Italy, where creative writing workshops are typically staffed by graduate students in the CWP.  

Every academic year sees a battery of readings in the department. Between the local VOX Reading Series (curated by graduate students in the CWP), the Lanier Series (spearheaded by Jed Rasula), the bi-annual Verse Festival (organized by Andrew Zawacki), and other events sponsored by the English Department, The Georgia Review, and the Georgia Poetry Circuit, a host of poets, fiction writers, and theorists visits campus each season. Recent visitors include Lydia Davis, Fredric Jameson, Heather McHugh, Adrienne Rich, Michael Hardt, Vic Chesnutt, Peter Gizzi, Forrest Gander, Mary Jo Bang, Tomaz Salamun, Nathaniel Mackey, Alice Notley, Robert Adamson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Lisa Samuels, Bernadette Mayer, Christine Hume, Eleni Sikelianos, Rusty Morrison, and Timothy Donnelly. Their participation has ranged from public readings and performances to specialized seminars.

Current and former students of the program have won the National Poetry Series and been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, among other honors.  They have published books with Coffee House Press, Ugly Duckling Presse, Ahsahta Press, Switchback Books, Saturnalia Books, Slope Editions, New Issues Poetry and Prose, Skanky Possum, Kore Press, Bloof Books, BlazeVOX, and Action Books. Our graduate students continue to place their work in some of America's foremost literary journals. The publication of one's work is among the many issues discussed during the course of a graduate student's stint in the CWP. For those aspiring to a career in academia, the faculty also helps in providing pragmatic advice concerning job applications, from the preparation of a dossier to MLA interviews and campus visits.