Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
Writing makes worlds.
Expand and develop your creative practice by joining our dynamic community of writers and artists.
The MFA of the Americas is a two-year, low-residency studio program in creative writing with degrees in Prose 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 an energizing 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 talk.
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.
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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 engage artistic traditions in and beyond the US while reimagining an America inclusive of all hemispheric experiences.
Our interdisciplinary curricula in Prose 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 and non-), visual art, sound, dance, social media, video, graphic design, and performance. Some are working on novels and others are creating multi-media performances, social media poetics, artist books, 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, translation workshops 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.
Every June, we meet at an international location. To prepare, faculty develop a program-wide suggested engagement list of practitioners from the host country, including writers, visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, choreographers and more. During the residency, there are craft lectures and performances by local and indigenous 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
- Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2019
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2018
- Santiago, Chile, 2017
- San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2016
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 final project, which you’ll present during a fifth partial residency (two nights). The presentation includes a public reading and craft studio visit/installation. Students may opt to attend either the ACA or the international residency to present their final work.
Note: Degree Requirements provides more information.
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, Ana María Briede, John Keene, Karen Tei Yamashita, Sergio Bessa, Erica Baum, Leonora de Barros, Ana Paula Maia, URCA Institute, Samuel R. Delany, Pola Oloixarac, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs and Sergio Vega. Our experimental translation workshops are taught by writer-translators, such as John Pluecker and Poupeh Missaghi.
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. Our Prose option allows focus on fiction, creative nonfiction and everything in between.
- 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.
- An exploratory option, where students take courses in Poetry in the Expanded Field and Prose before deciding which they'd like to concentrate on for their final project.
Obra/Artifact: Our Literary Journal
Obra / Artifact is a quarterly journal founded and edited by students in the MFA of the Americas. The journal has published such esteemed writers as Mark Powell, Chantel Acevedo and Tracie Morris, and its inaugural prose contest was judged by MacArthur genius John Keene. The Obra/Artifact blog publishes writing by current MFA students, including reflections on their writing practice and MFA experiences.