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Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing

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The MFA of the Americas

While most Low-Residency MFA programs are distinguished by size, the Stetson MFA is unique in that it fills a particular cultural niche.

While instruction is in English, “The MFA of the Americas” seeks to draw upon Florida's multicultural heritage by rotating summer residencies throughout the Americas, employing writers working cross-culturally, and establishing ties with local and indigenous writers at summer residency sites.

Why an MFA from Stetson?

Why Stetson? Because we embrace all of the Americas, geographically and culturally, our faculty is nationally known writer-teachers, and we gather in beautiful places, and we offer instruction in both fiction and poetry in the expanded field.

Why this program? A Low-Residency MFA from Stetson University allows learning and life not only to coexist, but to coordinate, to consolidate, to coalesce around the reading and writing that informs and reforms your work. We gather twice a year for ten intense days of workshop, readings, and craft talks in a dynamic community of established and beginning writers. Between workshops, students exchange packets of original work with a faculty mentor. The program culminates in a book-length thesis.

Program Overview and Components

The Stetson Low-Residency MFA is a two-year hybrid program consisting of classroom and online work culminating in a master's degree focused on one of two genres: Fiction or Poetry in the Expanded Field. This degree encourages students to grow as both writers and global citizens. The program follows all guidelines and best practices outlined by AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, of
which Stetson University is a member.

Students attend four working residencies where, over the course of ten intensive days, they participate in workshops, craft lectures, readings and discussions. The program culminates in a fifth and final graduation residency. January residencies are held at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. June residencies are held abroad. The Hotel de Minas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, would host our first summer residency. Future summer residencies would include San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Rio de Janerio, Brazil; and Cartagena, Colombia. Between residencies, a student works directly with the instructor, exchanging four online “packets” of work and reading a book list established in concert with the instructor. In the final semester, a student completes a thesis-length project that is presented (via both a public reading and craft lecture) in their final residency. New cohorts begin the program at the January residency. Students are admitted to the program primarily on the strength of the writing sample submitted with the application.

Faculty

Terri Witek

Terri Witek is the author of:

  • Exit Island (2012)
  • The Shipwreck Dress (2008) - a Florida Book Award winner (pictured)
  • The Carnal World (2006)
  • Fools and Crows (2003)
  • Courting Couples (winner of the 2000 Center for Book Arts Contest)
  • Robert Lowell and LIFE STUDIES: Revising the Self (1993)

She holds the Sullivan Chair in Creative Writing at Stetson University.

Awards and Accolades

In 2000, she received the McInery Award for Teaching, and in 2008, she received the John Hague Teaching Award for outstanding teaching in the liberal arts and sciences.

Career Highlights

Throughout her career, she has worked with visual artists, and the reverberations between mediums is explored in much of her work. Her collaborations with Brazilian new media artist Cyriaco Lopes have been featured in galleries or site-specific projects in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Mark Powell

Mark Powell is the author of four novels, including:

  • Blood Kin, (pictured) which won the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel
  • The Dark Corner

and, most recently

  • The Sheltering, which received the bronze medal in the 2014 Florida Book Awards

Awards and Accolades

He has received fellowships from:

  • the National Endowment for the Arts
  • the Breadloaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences
  • the Collegeville Center
  • the Vaclav Havel Fellowship in Playwriting to the Prague Summer Program
  • Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovakia

In 2009, he received the Chaffin Award for contributions to Appalachian Literature.

Career Highlights

He is an Associate Professor of English at Stetson University. In 2013, he received the Hand Award for Scholarship, Creative, Active and Professional Service.

Patricia Engel

Patricia Engel is the author of Vida and It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris. Her new novel, The Veins of the Ocean, is forthcoming from Grove Press in 2016.

Patricia’s books have been translated into several languages and her short fiction has appeared in:

  • The Atlantic
  • A Public Space
  • Boston Review
  • Guernica
  • Harvard Review, among many other publications, and anthologies including
  • The Best American Mystery Stories

Awards and Accolades

She has received the Boston Review Fiction Prize, as well as fellowships from:

  • the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
  • Key West Literary Seminar
  • Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony
  • Hedgebrook
  • Ucross
  • the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs

Most recently, she is the recipient of a 2014 fellowship in literature from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Career Highlights

Vida (pictured) was:

  • the New York Times Notable Book of 2010
  • a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award, New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and Paterson Fiction Award
  • winner of the Florida Book Award, International Latino Book Award, and Independent Publisher Book Award.

It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris won the Elle Reader’s Prize, and was a recommended summer read by:

  • the Los Angeles Times
  • Time Out New York
  • Flavorwire

It also received an International Latino Book Award.

Jena Osman

Jena Osman received an M.A. in poetry and playwriting from Brown University and a Ph.D. in English from the Poetics Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a Professor of English at Temple University, where she currently directs the MFA Creative Writing Program.

Her books of poems include:

  • Corporate Relations (Burning Deck, 2014)
  • Public Figures (Wesleyan University Press, 2012)
  • The Network (Fence Books 2010 - selected for the National Poetry Series in 2009)
  • An Essay in Asterisks (Roof Books, 2004)
  • The Character (Beacon Press - winner of the 1998 Barnard New Women Poets Prize)

Osman was a 2006 Pew Fellow in the Arts, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Howard Foundation, and the Fund for Poetry.

She has been a writing fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, the Djerassi Foundation, and Chateau de la Napoule.

Cyriaco Lopes

Cyriaco Lopes’ work has been seen in the U.S. at:

  • the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore
  • El Museo del Barrio
  • ApexArt America’s Society in New York
  • the Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis
  • among other venues

In the same period his work was also seen in Turkey, Armenia, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Chile and Portugal.

In his native Brazil, the artist has shown at:

  • the National Museum of Fine Arts
  • the Museum of Modern Art of Salvador
  • the Museum of Art of São Paulo
  • among other institutions

His work was curated into exhibitions by artists such as Janine Antoni, Luciano Fabro and Lygia Pape, as well as by curators such as Paulo Herkenhoff.

Awards and Accolades

Lopes was the winner of the Worldstudio and the Prêmio Phillips of a trip to Paris. A recent project, Crimes Against Love, was featured on the cover of The Advocate.

He is an assistant professor of Photography at CUNY-John Jay. AIGA and RTKL awards, the Contemporary Art Museum Project award (Saint Louis).

 

Course Descriptions

Fiction

ENCW 612 Fiction: Intro Course (1) Fiction cohort meets in the U.S. for introductory 10-day workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently develop individual reading lists, choose exemplary models, and produce original work (short fiction or novel chapters). Four individual online packets (each the equivalent of 20-25 pages of prose) exchanged with instructor over the six-month session.

ENCW 614 Fiction: Intermediate Course (2) Fiction cohort meets abroad for a 10-day cross-cultural workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently add cross-cultural reading to their reading lists and continue to produce original fiction. Four individual online packet exchanges with instructor over the six-month session.

ENCW 616 Fiction: Advanced Course (3) Fiction cohort reconvenes for a second U.S. 10-day workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently add new reading in a chosen direction and begin to outline final project (either a collection of stories or a novel). Four individual online packet exchanges with instructor over the six-month session focus on refining skills and revision.

ENCW 618 Fiction: Final Project Course (4) Fiction cohort meets for a final time abroad for a 10-day cross-cultural workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently complete cross-cultural work and concentrate on moving their original material through revisions. Four individual online packet exchanges with instructor over the six-month session, culminating in the equivalent of a novel or story collection presented at the next in-country residency.

Poetry in the Expanded Field

ENCW 613 Poetry in the Expanded Field: Intro Course (1) PIA(E)F cohort meets in the U.S. for introductory 10-day workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently develop individual reading lists, choose exemplary models, and experiment with different ways of poetic making/writing. Four individual online packets (each the equivalent of 8-10 pieces) exchanged with instructor over the six-month session.

ENCW 615 Poetry in the Expanded Field: Intermediate Course (2) PIA(E)F cohort meets abroad for a 10-day cross-cultural workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently add cross-cultural reading to their reading lists and begin to choose and implement individual methods of poetic production. Four individual online packet exchanges with instructor over the six-month session.

ENCW 617 Poetry in the Expanded Field: Advanced Course (3) PIA(E)F cohort reconnoiters for a second U.S. 10-day workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently add new reading in a chosen direction and begin to outline final projects. Four individual online packet exchanges with instructor over the six-month session focus on extending poetic skills and revision.

ENCW 619 Poetry in the Expanded Field: Final Project Course (4) PIA(E)F cohort meets for a final time abroad for a 10-day cross-cultural workshop and immersion experience. Students subsequently complete cross-cultural work and concentrate on moving their original material through revisions. Four individual online packet exchanges with instructor over the six-month session, culminating in the equivalent of a book-length poetic project presented at the next in country residency.