Creative Writing (BA)

Webster University English Department studentThe English Department's Creative Writing emphasis is a dynamic program featuring classes in poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, and translation supported by requirements and diverse electives in the study of literature. Creative writing is taught in workshops limited to 15 students by teachers who are themselves working, published writers.

The attendant Visiting Writers Series brings nationally prominent writers to campus for public readings and colloquia. Past visitors include Billy Collins, Philip Levine, C.K. Williams, Galway Kinnell, Constance Urdang, Li-Young Lee, Lucia Perillo, Lynda Barry, Fielding Dawson, Albert Goldbarth, Beth Ann Fennelly, Ron Carlson, George Saunders, Susan Perabo, Quincy Troupe, Michael Martone, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Each year students in the program edit and publish a literary magazineThe Green Fuse. Playwrights have opportunities to see their own work produced, as well as learn from the many productions on campus, which is home to the professional Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts.

The primary focus of the program is on learning the art of reading as a writer: opening up influences, gathering strategies, widening the range of what's possible in a student's own writing. Students will discover the precarious balance between the solitary, private act of writing itself and the communal, public act of passing written work before the unblinking critical eye of the world. Publication as an end in itself is not the ultimate aim here; however, a dedicated faculty who are constantly writing and publishing operate on the assumption that students also will be seriously committed to the development of their own work.

Small classes, high standards, and a congenial atmosphere combine to foster each student's individual growth as a writer.

In addition to the learning outcomes for all English majors, students who complete the emphasis in creative writing will be able to:

• Read from the perspective of a writer, analyzing and understanding the elements of good writing, conventions of the respective literary genres, and the strategic use of language, voice, form, and other instrumental aspects of the writer's craft. 

• Produce accomplished creative work that demonstrates a command of literary strategies appropriate to their chosen genre (fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, or translation).

For more detailed degree requirements, check out the degree emphasis in the undergraduate catalog.