Imagine the Unimaginable, Say the Unsayable
"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." – Anaïs Nin
- Thrive creatively, professionally, and personally in our close-knit, inclusive literary community.
- Learn to use meditation and self-care as tools to access your creative imagination.
- Choose from emphasis options in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or dual genre.
- Discover new frontiers by unguardedly experimenting with language and craft.
- Complete a book-length manuscript of publishable quality with professional support.
- Build the necessary professional skill set to succeed as a working poet/writer.
“What a wonderful rarity, an MFA that puts creative process before product, focusing on the writer before the creative work. I’m excited about MIU’s new program!”
Writing as a process of discovery
Poets and writers point to new ways of seeing and, as Ursula Le Guin put it, “other ways of being.” Our program starts with you – your vision and creative process as a poet/writer. We, as faculty, offer stimulus, sustenance, and encouragement as you journey into the wilderness of your creative imagination where writing finds its pulse. Our workshops and mentorships nurture the unimaginable so you can say the unsayable. We support you to birth images, metaphors, and stories with power to move, transform, and bring change.
Meditate & create
“Go within and scale the depths of your being from which your very life springs forth.”
What sets our program apart is that we use meditation and self-care as tools to access the creative imagination. At the start of our program, you learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, which settles your mind and body as you experience the dynamic silence of your own consciousness. From this deep connection with yourself, creativity flows like a river. Writing becomes play. It’s easier to problem-solve, leap to surprising, fresh associations, stay in the flow, and adopt a sustainable writing routine. Accessing the most profound layers of yourself fuels your creative process.
“When I started the TM technique, it felt like the most natural thing ever, so deeply right. It rang true. It makes a huge difference in my personal life and in my writing. Sometimes when you’re writing you hit the stuck spots and you just don’t know which path to take. And after meditation, an idea will come up and it’s resolved. Or it doesn’t come up as a conscious thought – but when I sit down to write, something has cleared and I’m ready to move on. It’s not even an issue anymore, it gets sorted out. I see this happening more when I keep a good writing routine as well as a good meditation routine. In my dreams sometimes I can see whole paragraphs and pages shifting around. Sometimes I get the syntax down, and it’s a perfect sentence. And other times, I see conceptual structures. I wake up and what has come to me in my dreams is good. It has never been wrong when it comes to me like that. It feels magical, like a gift. When this happens, writing becomes a real joy.”
Transform & thrive in our creative community
Our program revolves around human connection. We foster an inclusive, nourishing family feeling among faculty and students and emphasize writing that is emotionally connected and authentic. Our faculty are highly credentialed, accomplished working poets and writers who offer nourishment, challenge, and inspiration while holding a safe space for your process. Our mentorships spur unguarded experimentation with language and craft, pushing you into new approaches that will make your work stand out. We want your education to be a transformational experience – creatively, professionally, and personally.
How the low-residency model works
Unable to relocate? No problem. Our 2-year, 48 credit program is low-residency, which means that we pair stimulating on-campus retreats and intimate one-on-one mentorships with distance learning, providing both the nurturing literary community and the solitary discipline of writing that working poets and writers require. In this way, you can complete the requirements of a high-quality MFA while balancing life and work commitments in your home community. Our 10-day residencies are held in quietly beautiful rural Iowa.
“If you or anyone you know wants to dive into creative writing and periodically drop in on a fascinating, artsy little meditation town in Iowa, check out this unique low-residency MFA in Creative Writing!”
Write a book with professional support
In this MFA, you will complete a book-length manuscript of publishable quality with professional support, a unique opportunity to launch your writing career. Though our program centers on literary writing, we welcome students interested in speculative fiction. We stimulate cross-genre work, experimentation, and the stretching of boundaries, tailoring mentorships to your particular interests and needs. We’re here to help you fulfill your unique vision as a poet/writer.
Reading & literature
The best way to learn about the craft of writing is to read widely and analyze the works of great poets and writers as examples. The study of literature is an essential part of our MFA. Our mentors introduce you to relevant readings from the contemporary literary canon to stimulate you to explore your own creative possibilities. In mentorships and classes, you examine through different literary lenses the genre(s) in which you yourself write. You also reflect upon your creative process in craft analysis essays, contextualizing your creative work.
“Read a thousand books and your words will flow like a river.”
We’ll guide you from writer to author
We take a pragmatic approach to the writing life, strongly emphasizing professional skills that help you prepare for a career as a working poet/writer. Our curriculum includes courses in writing pedagogy, editing and publishing, social media marketing, plus a writing outreach that cultures social awareness. You will not only graduate with a book-length manuscript of publishable quality, but also with a teaching portfolio, an online social media platform, and a solid marketing plan for your book.
What can you do with your MFA?
The MFA is a terminal degree in the field that not only prepares you for the writing life, but also for a variety of possible supporting careers, including college and university teaching, freelance writing, magazine or book editing, publishing, coaching, advertising, public affairs, and more. Your MFA can also serve as a stepping stone for a PhD in creative writing, literature, or a related field.