Western’s MFA and M.A. program in Poetry cultivates poets who feel compelled to speak to our moment, to be relevant to our times. Yet we believe that it is impossible to speak effectively to the present moment without understanding the past. That is why students in our program not only study contemporary poetry and learn to write in the freer forms that are widespread today but also study the history of their art and master traditional poetic forms. We want our students to use their knowledge of the poetic tradition to forge the future of poetry.
Western’s MFA and M.A. in Poetry is a low-residency program, meaning faculty and students interact online and through conference calls during the academic year and then gather for two weeks in July on the Gunnison campus for classes, lectures, readings, discussions, and of course, writing.
- MFA students attend three summer residencies: one prior to the first semester, one between years one and two and one in the third summer.
- During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These six-credit courses make use of videoconferencing and Blackboard for online work.
- To complete the MFA, students work on a thesis throughout their final year. Completed theses are bound, registered and placed on the shelves of Western’s Leslie J. Savage Library.
- M.A. students pursue an identical curriculum to MFA students, but only come for two summers and one academic year. M.A. students do not write a thesis.
Opportunities and Partnerships
- Students have the opportunity to get experience in the world of publishing by working with “THINK: A Journal of Poetry, Fiction, Essays, and Reviews.”
- Students and alumni are invited to give readings at the Gunnison Valley Poetry Festival, held in late summer, and at other public events during the year.
- Students are able to take a course from the program’s other concentrations: Genre Fiction, Screenwriting for Film and Television, Nature Writing and Publishing.
- Many students add a second concentration to their degrees, allowing for unique combination degrees, such as Poetry and Nature Writing or Poetry and Publishing.
Reach out to Lisa Swarts for more information.