Poetry Concentration

WR: Beneath a tree

Poetry with a Focus on Versecraft Requirements

"Writing in a new form every week challenges my growth as a poet, and immersion into the history of form and innovation constantly renews my sensibilities about what a poem is - and does."
- Laura Stuckey, MFA Student, 2010

  • Study in the only program that teaches a full range of versescraft, including free verse.
  • Learn under highly acclaimed poets.
  • Connect with prestigious editors and publishers.

Students come to Western with something to say. The curriculum of the M.F.A. poetry concentration helps poets master how to say it.

Verse is not only a way of saying something; it is also a way of doing something that prose cannot. That is why, in this program, students study the greatest possible range of how to do these things, from meters to stanzas, sonnet to ghazal, aubade to serenade, verse drama to verse satire.

Inspired by the vision of award-winning poet, David Rothman, this concentration strives for a level of excellence rare in many graduate creative writing programs. Through exhaustive study of the masters and of multiple styles, forms, and rhythms, students are able to realize their own unique voices, exploring new ways to compose and inspire the art of poetics.

As a poetry-concentration student, you can expect to achieve demonstrable mastery of a wide range of poetic forms and techniques, while acquiring historical and analytical knowledge about them. You learn how to compose language, utilizing multiple forms and techniques, from stanzas to free verse. You participate fully in the literary world, sharing your vision through public speaking and relevant prose. You learn how to write for your audience, how to communicate your vision and voice in a way that will be shared and remembered. And, finally, you learn how to live as a poet, how to turn your passion for language and your love of these forms into your career.

The MFA Concentration in Poetry requires 60 credits:
CRWR 600     Summer Orientation 3 credits
CRWR 631     Scansion Immersion 2 credits
CRWR 632     Public Performance 2 credits
CRWR 633     Poetry and Music 2 credits
CRWR 636     Metrical Traditions  & Versification I 6 credits
CRWR 638     History of English Language/Studies in Translation 6 credits
CRWR 641     Metrical Traditions  & Versification II 6 credits
CRWR 643     Historical Foundations of English Prosody 6 credits
 

During second fall term, choose one of the following two:
CRWR 646*   Narrative Forms in Poetry 6 credits
CRWR 647*   The Satirical Tradition and Dramatic Verse 6 credits

During second fall term, choose one of the following two:
CRWR 608     Craft and Practice I  6 credits
CRWR 665     Screenwriting Genre  6 credits
CRWR 651     Advanced Poetry Genres in Particular Forms 6 credits
CRWR 653     Poetry Bookk Reviewing/Poetry, Literacy, Pedagogy 6 credits
CRWR 694     Thesis 3 credits

Poetry as a Second Area of Emphasis

Students pursuing this concentration as a second area of emphasis must earn 30 credits within the concentration as follows.
All four of the following:
CRWR 600     Summer Orientation 1 credit
CRWR 636     Metrical Traditions  & Versification I 6 credits
CRWR 646     Narrative Poetry, or CRWR 647 Dramatic Poetry/Verse Satire 6 credits
CRWR 694     Thesis 3 credits
Supporting courses in consultation with advisor, 12  credits
One of the following:
CRWR 631     Scansion Immersion 2 credits
CRWR 632     Public Performance 2 credits
CRWR 633     Poetry and Music 2 credits

Students may count CRWR 646 if taken already to fulfill the out-of-concentration course required by the primary area of emphasis.