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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise, you’re merely repeating yourself, going nowhere because that’s always easiest.

—John Berryman

Welcome.

To begin with, we believe books matter. We believe poetry changes lives. We believe fiction makes our world larger and more intimate at once. And we believe that the act and art of writing is first a means by which the author comes to understand what she hasn’t yet understood about the world and the self, and second a gift back to the reader in an effort to share that understanding. Writing is finding the way to forge the poem or story or novel one doesn’t yet know how to write, and encountering there the language and courage and achievement needed to go on and write one’s next work of art.

The MFA in Creative Writing, a two-year program of graduate study for 12 students admitted annually for a total of 24 students, features separate Studio and Arts Management emphases. The program offers not only advanced degree training in the writing of poetry and fiction, but also opportunities to assist in the production of Crazyhorse. The backbone of the program will be workshops taught by writing faculty in the two genres, as well as training in the history and traditions associated with writing, theoretical and formal approaches to the craft, and intensive peer and faculty feedback. Students in both the Studio and Arts Management tracks will also gain reading, writing, and critical thinking skills valuable to such humanities-based industries as editing, publicity, marketing, and promotion in publishing and the arts; the Arts Management track emphasizes management, organization, decision-making, and problem-solving skills in preparation for jobs within the creative economy.

The College of Charleston, set in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world, is home not only to a cadre of nationally and internationally recognized writing faculty, but also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journals, Crazyhorse, published since 1960 and consistently ranked as among the top publishing venues in the nation. Students from across the country will be afforded the opportunity to study writing, literature, publishing and the arts at large on our campus, and to build a community of life-long relationships with the art of writing at its center. Write to us at cofcmfa@cofc.edu for more information.

Join us here in Charleston for an education in writing that will accompany and enlighten you for the rest of your life.

In writing, as in life, the connections of all sorts of relationships and kinds lie in wait of discovery, and give out their signals to the Geiger counter of the charged imagination, once it is drawn into the right field . . . What I do make my stories out of is the whole fund of my feelings, my responses to the real experiences of my own life, to the relationships that formed and changed it, that I have given most of myself to, and so learned my way toward a dramatic counterpart.

—Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings