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Department of English: Creative Writing & Literature

The Department of English teaches writing from a basis of consciousness, nurturing the full creative potential of developing poets and writers so it can flourish. All of our students practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique, which gives them direct access to the source of creativity within. At the heart of our teaching is a unique emphasis on the creative process, an approach that places the writer at the center. We don’t just give reading and writing assignments, we offer techniques and mentorship to support students to break through writer’s block and develop the healthy, sustainable creative routine of the professional writer. In all of our classes, we create a safe space to help students grow in skill, self-confidence, and direction.

Our faculty are credentialed, working creatives with strong backgrounds in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, literature, and/or cartoon studies. We take mentorship seriously and are committed to bringing out the best in our students. We believe that a nurturing, inclusive, and socially aware learning environment inspires students to find authentic material and develop an authentic voice. Our classrooms are creative laboratories where students can unguardedly experiment with subject matter and craft; if students feel comfortable making mistakes and trying new things, they are bound to discover new frontiers, finding themselves energized with the possibilities and power of creation.

From this basis of deep respect and creative flow, we delve into a rigorous academic exploration of craft and technique. Our faculty offer copious, supportive, and critically astute feedback that makes the revision process exciting. Our writing classes include hands-on assignments, readings, discussions, workshops, and masterclasses. We invite visiting poets, writers, and publishers to speak to our students about creativity and the life of the writer in the world. All of our programs strongly emphasize real-world adaptation and professional preparation.

For the past twenty years, our BA in Creative Writing has been one of MIU’s most successful and popular programs. Our graduates have been accepted to prestigious graduate programs in Journalism and Creative Writing, including the University of Minnesota, U.C. Berkeley, the University of Iowa, the University of Montana, Boston University, Northern Arizona University, The Foundry, Columbia College of Chicago, and Kingston University London. Others have gone on to successful careers as magazine editors, copywriters, freelancers, educators, administrators, web designers, therapists, social media experts, and more. Our graduates have published novels and children’s books, sometimes to national acclaim, plus have published essays, stories, and poetry in a great variety of anthologies, literary journals, and regional or national publications such as The Iowa Source, The Rumpus, The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, The L.A. Times, The American Journal of Poetry, The Washington Post, Lonely Planet Travel Guide, River of Earth & Sky: Poems for the 21st Century (Blue Light Press), and more.

In short: it is our aim to stimulate our students’ personal growth along with their academic accomplishment and professional development and success. We warmly welcome students to culture their literary abilities within our unique and dynamic creative community.