Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing

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Writing makes worlds.

Meet new possibilities and expanded geographies by joining our community of esteemed writers and artists and centering writing in your life.

Program Overview

The MFA of the Americas is a two-year, low-residency studio program in creative writing with degrees in fiction and poetry in the expanded field. Designed to fit into your already full lives, the program allows learning and life to coordinate, consolidate and coalesce around the reading and writing that informs and reforms your work. We gather twice annually for ten days of workshops, readings and craft talks in a dynamic community of writers. These residencies rotate between the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and various international locations in the Americas. Between residencies, students exchange original work with a faculty mentor; the program culminates in a student’s final project, reading, and craft studio showcase. 

Our program embraces all of the Americas, geographically and culturally, encouraging you to grow as a writer and global citizen. You are admitted to the program primarily on the strength of your application work sample. 

Courses

View our course requirements to see what we offer.

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We are a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Program and follow their recommended guidelines and practices.

MFA of the Americas and the Expanded Field

The MFA of the Americas is designed to bridge gaps between working and student writers/artists—across cultural and regional divides, geographic and political boundaries, artificial barriers of mode and genre, and individual and collective forms of expression. We both engage artistic traditions in the US and reimagine an America inclusive of all hemispheric experiences.

Our interdisciplinary curricula in Fiction and Poetry in the Expanded Field are critical to this mission. The program focuses on the rich narrative, aesthetic, and cultural traditions of the Americas, while challenging students to examine the relationship between the written word and other artistic modes: digital, cinematic, photographic, sculptural, performative, and sound.

Our students arrive from different disciplines and modalities, such as poetry, narrative prose (fiction & non-), visual art, sound, dance, social media, video, graphic design, and performance. Some are working on novels and others are creating multi-media performances, SnapChat and other social media poetics, installation and site-specific work, videos and photographs. They are self-motivated and challenge themselves to navigate between forms, genres, and modes of art, while also gaining a solid ground in literary craft and practice. They extend the scope of what literature can be and achieve.

Residencies: During and Between

Each residency is an intensive engagement—with your own writing and that of your peers. You’ll be attending small group workshops, individual mentoring sessions, craft lectures, and performances by faculty, guests, and students. There’s time for writing, cultural excursions, and talking about publishing, all while pushing you to go further and deeper with your own practice.

The Atlantic Center for the Arts

The Atlantic Center for the Arts is one of the most significant art residency sites in the United States—ideal for concentrated creation. 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—which you will have access to 24 hours a day.

The ACA is located in a beautiful natural preserve in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., just a short drive from the ocean. While you’re responsible for your own travel to the ACA, once there, room and board are included as part of your tuition.

International

Every June, we meet at an international location. To prepare, you’ll work with faculty to develop a reading list of practitioners from the host country, including those working in your specific field. During the residency, there are craft lectures and performances by local and indiginious artists and writers. There is also ample time to explore the area’s cultural and historical sites, sometimes as part of your workshop. It is intended that you use these experiences to question your work and expand your practice.

Students are responsible for covering their travel expenses, including food, during the international residences, but your hotel is included with your tuition. Enrolled students may apply for a scholarship through W.O.R.L.D.: International Learning at Stetson to help offset international travel costs.

Past and Future Summer Residencies

  • San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2016
  • Santiago, Chile, 2017
  • Río de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Cartágena, Colombia

Between Residencies and Beyond

Between residencies, you work directly with a faculty writer, exchanging four online packets of work and reading a book list established in coordination with the instructor. In the final semester, you complete a thesis-length project, which you’ll present during a final partial residency (3 days). The presentation includes a public reading and craft studio visit. Students may opt to attend either the ACA or the international residency to present their final work.

Note: International residencies are confirmed in the fall. Stay tuned for announcements.

Faculty

Our faculty consists of lively and engaged writers and artists who are well-known in their fields and excellent educators. Guest scholars have included world-renowned writers and artists, such as MacArthur genius Edwidge Danticat, Francisco Goldman, Patricia Engel, Ronaldo Wilson, Laura Mullen, Tracie Morris, Amaranth Borsuk, Jeffrey Renard Allen, Jessica Lee Richardson, Matt Roberts, Andrea Jeftanovic, Mike Wilson, Carlos Soto Roman and Ana María Briede.

Past and Present Faculty

  • Terri Witek
  • Teresa Carmody
  • Rosa Alcalá
  • Angie Cruz
  • Laurie Foos
  • Cyriaco Lopes
  • Uruyoán Noel
  • Jena Osman
  • Michal Lemberger
  • Juan Reyes
  • Chantel Acevedo
  • Mark Powell

What makes Stetson's MFA Program Unique?

The MFA of the Americas meets writers where they're at while challenging students to examine their aesthetic positions and habits. You’ll receive a lot of individual attention—in our small residency workshops (faculty-student ratio, 1:5), and over the course of the semester via written feedback and online meetings. A few distinguishing factors include:

  • One of the few low-residency programs that welcome experimentation, and the only program offering “poetry in the expanded field” as a concentrated focus.
  • June residencies abroad, including the chance to study and connect with writers/artists from the host country.
  • January residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts—designed by Charles Rose Architects—including full use of their studio facilities.

Obra/Artifact: Our Literary Journal

Obra / Artifact is a quarterly journal founded and is edited by students in the MFA of the Americas.

In the tradition of the bifurcated narratives of writers like Denis Johnson and Robinson Jeffers, Obra / Artifact exists in tandem with itself: Obra constitutes the online wing, with the best of each online issue and other material being co-opted for hardcopy Artifact postcards that include poetry, prose and visual media.