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Creative Writing Track

An Overview of Creative Writing

Canadian Literature in MontrealThe Creative Writing track of the English major is designed for students who have a special interest in developing their skills as readers and writers of either poetry or fiction. The structure of the track is based on two beliefs held by the department. First, we believe that students who are serious about writing poetry or fiction must also be serious about reading and studying literature. Good writers have always cared deeply about and learned from the best that has been written in the past. For this reason, students who choose the Creative Writing track are required to satisfy most of the requirements of the English major. Second, we believe that students who write poetry and fiction can benefit from close involvement with others engaged in the same effort. Therefore, the Creative Writing track allows for students to read, critique, and nurture each other's work, and to meet occasionally with the published poets and fiction writers who are a part of our annual Visiting Writers Series. The Creative Writing track is demanding and rigorous, designed for a small but serious community of undergraduate writers.

 

Creative Writing Track Application

Requirements Checklist - Previous Major Requirements

Requirements Checklist - Revised Major Requirements

 

Aims of the Program

Students with a special interest in developing their skills at writing either poetry or fiction do an English major with a special Creative Writing track. The structure of this track is based on two beliefs that the department holds: 

First, it believes that students who are serious about writing poetry or fiction must also be serious about reading and studying literature; good writers have always cared deeply about, formed their standards on, and tested their ideas against the best that has been written in the past. For this reason, students who choose the Creative Writing track are required to satisfy most of the same requirements that other English majors must satisfy, particularly the distribution requirements for the study of literature from many different periods and from diverse cultures. 

Secondly, the department believes that students who write poetry and fiction can benefit from close involvement with other students engaged in the same effort, from reading and criticizing one another's work, discussing their common problems, and providing help and encouragement for one another.  The Creative Writing track is designed to support this kind of mutual involvement. 

Third, we believe that work in a different creative discipline can open up possibilities for interdisciplinary work and help students develop a stronger sense of their own creative processes.


It should be pointed out that the English major with Creative Writing emphasis is arduous. It requires more courses and a greater commitment of time, both in and out of the classroom, than the regular English major. 

Sequence of the Program

Students must specialize in either poetry or fiction and take all the required Creative Writing courses in the same genre.  Students may, of course, elect to take additional courses in other genres.

Creative Writing students throughout their years at Colorado College are expected to attend all events in the Visiting Writers Series. 

By Block 5 of the Junior year, students interested in the track must have taken or be enrolled in the beginning course in the chosen genre, EN282 Beginning Poetry Writing or  EN283 Beginning Fiction Writing.  EN 221 Introduction to Poetry is a pre-requisite for EN 282.

Students must apply for the Creative Writing Track in either poetry or fiction by Block 5 of the Junior year.

No later than fall of the senior year

students must take either EN 308 Advanced Poetry Writing or EN 309 Advanced Fiction Writing (normally offered either in Block 1 or 2).   In this course, students develop a plan for the Senior Project, as well as writing new poems and stories. 

Senior writers must enroll EN 480 Senior Seminar in Poetry or Fiction for Block 6, which is dedicated to the generation and workshopping of writing for the thesis.

Seniors must also enroll for EN 485 Senior Project in Block 7.  This block is dedicated to the completion of a senior thesis, which consists of a substantial collection of poems or short stories, or a novella. Students will be assigned a project advisor; students may request a specific advisor but staffing considerations will ultimately determine the assignments.  In some cases, a student may wish to work on a novel for the final project.  This requires the permission of the fiction faculty and a schedule of work to be established in Block 1. 

Seniors may elect to take additional blocks of EN 485 before Block 7 to allow additional time for independent work on the thesis. 

Seniors will organize and give group readings in Block 8.


Applying to the Creative Writing Track

In order to keep workshops at a productive size, the track will be limited to 12 senior poets and 12 senior fiction writers per year.

Interested students should submit an application form (available in the English Department) and a writing sample consisting of 8 pages of poetry or 15 pages of fiction.  Applications will be accepted in Block 5.  The Creative Writing faculty will make decisions in Bock 6, based on students’ class performance and the writing sample. 

Creative Writing Courses

  1. One of the following:  English 282: Beginning Poetry Writing (Prerequisite:  EN 221) or English 283: Beginning Fiction Writing. 1 or 2 units. 
  2. English 308: Advanced Poetry Workshop or English 309: Advanced Fiction Workshop. Prerequisite EN 283 and Consent of Instructor. 1 unit.  May be taken more than once for credit. 
  3. English 481  Senior Seminar in Poetry or Senior Seminar in Fiction.  Prerequisite:  EN 308 or EN 309 and Senior Standing in the Creative Writing Track. 1 unit. 
  4. English 485 Senior Project in Poetry or Fiction.  Prerequisite:  Senior Standing in the Creative Writing Track.  1 unit.  May be taken more than once for credit.

Other Required Department Courses

1) Gateway courses (2 units, both required):

a) EN221 Introduction to Poetry

b) EN250 Introduction to Literary Theory

2) Foundations and Transformations courses (3 units, 1 unit of each required; 1 out of 3 must be taken at the 300 or 400 level; may be taken outside the English department):

a) Western Tradition: Bible as Literature, Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Greek Drama, History of the English Language, Homer, Shakespeare (list is not comprehensive)

b) American Ethnic Minority Literature: courses in African-American, Asian-American, Latino/a, Native American literature

c) Anglophone and Other National Literatures: Caribbean Literature, Postcolonial Literature, African Literature, literature courses in Classics, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish (in translation or in the original language; list is not comprehensive)

 3) Historical Period courses (4 units, 4 out of 5 required; 3 out of 4 must be taken at the 300 or 400 level):

            a) Medieval/Renaissance (excluding Shakespeare)

            b) Shakespeare

            c) 18th Century

            d) 19th Century

            e) 20th and 21st Centuries

4) Required Course Outside the Department

1 unit in another art discipline (e.g. studio art, drama, dance, photography; the course must involve the practice, not strictly the analysis, of another medium).

Summer Coursework

Students may count no more than two units of summer independent reading in fulfilling their English major requirements. Students may apply for the Creative Writing Track in Fiction after completing one block of EN 283 Beginning Fiction Writing as a summer course, although the two-block version of the course is highly recommended.

Distinction in English

Distinction in English is awarded at graduation to senior majors who have done outstanding academic work in department courses, including the Senior Project.