The Creative Writing Program at SUNY New Paltz operates as one of the tracks within the English major. Our faculty, all practicing writers with extensive experience in their fields, teach courses devoted to literary fiction, poetry, dramatic writing, and creative nonfiction. The Creative Writing Program offers a sequence of courses designed to develop the undergraduate writer’s imaginative, technical, and analytic skills within the context of a liberal arts education.
The Scope of the program
The Creative Writing Program offers rigorous training in the art and craft of writing as well as preparation for careers and graduate studies. In order to provide broad cultural and historical contexts for original work in the Creative Writing Program, students take foundation courses in American and English literature as well as upper-division courses in a range of specific topics. Students also complete general education requirements in foreign language, the natural and social sciences, and the humanities.
Admission into the Creative Writing Program is selective. In addition to completing introductory writing courses, students must pass a portfolio review before they are permitted to take the Crafts courses (in Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, or Dramatic Writing), which emphasize critical reading skills as well as breadth of exposure to exemplary works in the respective forms. After the Crafts course, students continue to a form-specific advanced writing workshop, which is the capstone of their program of study. Advanced students are also eligible for independent study as well as special courses, such as Writing the Novel and seminars. In general, upper-division courses emphasize extensive writing and revision, refinement of craft, critical reading and mastery of texts in a particular form or genre.
Student writers at New Paltz have the opportunity to contribute to student-run publications including the weekly newspaper, The Oracle, and the annual literary journal, Stonesthrow Review. Students also frequently coordinate internships with arts publications in the Hudson Valley and are a vital part of the regional arts community, participating in readings and “slams” organized regularly by the Poetry Board and the local community. Student plays are staged in regional venues and sometimes in New York City. The Creative Writing Program also administers the annual Vincent Tomaselli Awards for fiction and poetry writing.
Students may work closely with faculty, who are actively engaged in mentoring those who wish to pursue their craft beyond the classroom. The faculty engage in creative and scholarly activities related to their area(s) of specialization and interest, keeping abreast of trends in their particular areas of expertise.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact Jan Schmidt, Director of the Creative Writing Program.