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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 an essential cultural niche.

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.

Two-Year Hybrid Program

  • Classroom and Online Work
  • Culminates in a master's degree focused on one of two genres:
    • Fiction
    • Poetry in the Expanded Field

Students are admitted to the program primarily on the strength of the writing sample submitted with the application.

To start each term, students attend working residencies where, over the course of ten intensive days, they take part in workshops, craft lectures, readings and discussions.

January Residencies
Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida

June Residencies- Abroad
The Hotel de Minas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico hosted our first summer residency.

Future summer residency locations include:

  • Valparaíso, Chile
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Río de Janerio, Brasil
  • Cartágena, Colombia
  • Montréal, Canada.

Why an MFA from Stetson?

Why Stetson? Because we embrace all of the Americas, geographically and culturally, our faculty is nationally known writer-teachers, 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, consolidate, coalesce around the reading and writing that informs and reforms your work. We gather twice a year for ten intense days of workshops, 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 project.

  • You will develop a body of work that challenges and surprises you. While we accept all kinds of excellent writers, we especially encourage depth and experimentation throughout the two years of coursework.
  • Faculty consists of lively and engaged writers and artists who are well-known in their fields and excellent educators.
  • You will work closely with world-renowned writers, such as MacArthur genius Edwidge Danticat and Francisco Goldman, whose The Ordinary Seaman was named one of the 100 Best American Books of the Century by The Hungry Mind Review. Patricia Engel, Ronaldo Wilson, Laura Mullen, and other talented guests have also graced our January and June residencies.

This degree encourages students to grow as both writers and global citizens. The program follows all guidelines and best practices outlined by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), of which Stetson University is a member.

Poetry in the Expanded Field

Poetry in The Expanded Field is one of the few low-residency MFA curriculums committed to experimentation. It is interdisciplinary in nature. MFA students in Poetry in the Expanded Field arrive from different areas of artistic endeavor such as poetry, visual arts, sound and performance. They are self-motivated and challenge themselves to navigate between forms and modes of art. MFA students in Poetry in the Expanded Field have worked in dance, photography, video, social media, short prose forms, and graphic design. The multi-modal and multi-genre form encourages experimentation between the textual and the visual, exploring the relationship between the form and beyond it.

Residency

The Atlantic Center for the Arts

The site of our January residency, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, is ideal for concentrated creation. It is not by chance that the ACA is one of the most significant art residency sites in the United States. For 10 days in January, its award winning architecture belongs exclusively to Stetson MFA students. The site includes a sculpture studio, a painting studio, a music studio, a library, a computer studio, a dance studio, and a black box theater—students have access to all these facilities 24 hours a day. The ACA is beautifully located in a natural preserve in New Smyrna Beach, FL, a short drive from the sea.

International

In June we meet abroad. In June 2016, we converged for our first international residency in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the June, 2017 residency will take place elsewhere in the Americas. Students will develop reading lists that include practitioners from host countries and become internationally educated in the respective fields. It is our intention that these cultural experiences will be used by MFA candidates to question their work and expand their practice.

In January and June, students are invited to show or read from their projects on performance evenings at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and at our international residency. While presentations are directed at our own MFA community, they are also open to the general public. At the two-year program’s end, graduating students will return to the ACA for an evening of performance and celebration of their completed projects.

Between Residencies

Between residencies, a student works directly with an 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 for presentation (via public reading and craft lecture) in their final residency. New cohorts begin the program at the January residency, and the program culminates in a fifth and final graduation residency.

Curriculum

The low-residency format unites the best of two worlds. During the 10-day intensive workshops in January and June, MFA candidates attend morning classes, enjoy intimate conversations with internationally known visitors in the afternoons, and gather for readings and lectures by those same guests in the evening. During the semester, students meet their professors via Google hangout once a month (4 times a session) to talk about their work and its progress. Then we all meet again in June at an international location for a similar experience. The summer encounter holds as many classes, but fewer and different activities to allow students the time and breath to experience their surroundings and immerse themselves in a new culture.

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.

Faculty

Past and Present Faculty

  • Terri Witek, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
  • Cyriaco Lopez
  • Mark Powell
  • Jena Osman
  • Chantel Aceved

Past and Present Visiting Faculty and Readers

  • Laura Mullen
  • Patricia Engel
  • Ronaldo Wilson
  • Edwidge Danticat
  • Julia Elliott