The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Goddard College (BFAW) is an undergraduate degree program comprised of a community of learners, students, and faculty who aspire toward innovation, creativity, and experimentation within the realm of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, other poetic and prose works, all hybrids, and any genres we can’t even conceive of yet! We see creative writing as an art and craft done individually and with others, an engaged study of literature, an understanding of language and the social context, and reflection on the role of the artist in the world. The program is low-residency and grounded in the principles and practices of student-centered, emancipatory education.
The BFA community values experimentation and innovation and encourages students to write in hybrid forms, across genres, and between art forms: visual art / creative writing hybrids are encouraged, for example, as are academic and theoretical works mixed with the creative. Students are invited to produce an experimental thesis. This program is non-tracking and genre-bending. BFAW students, in concert with faculty, design a program that aligns with socially engaged art-making and a foundation of transgressive makership that is the basis of Goddard College.
Students will also have access to practices in publishing, support around lo-fi and established publishing practices, alongside an interrogation of the practices of producing and sharing work.
The BFA in Creative Writing Faculty are writers who have been published and produced internationally, and are recognized in their fields. Faculty members work one-on-one with students as faculty advisors throughout the semester, as well as facilitating group studies, teaching workshops at residency, and acting as second readers to students’ final projects. Our faculty is comprised of national and international scholar practitioner with extensive experience supporting students taking charge of their learning. Faculty members’ work with students is focused, clear, and rigorous.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is for students who will develop, or are developing, a significant practice as a creative writer in one or more of these literary genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, dramatic writing, or hybrid forms.
Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.
At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.
Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.
Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.
This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor.
All students must satisfy General Requirements for the BA/BFA at Goddard College. In addition, students pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing will demonstrate a particular competency in the arts and humanities.
Example Workshops/Group Studies
- “Divination and The Document” a nonfiction group study that will explore divinatory poetics/writing as it relates to documentary modes: how can relationships to chance and randomness function as a mechanism for makership? How do practices of divination (somatics, astrology, tarot, bibilomancy, chiromancy) relate to “the document”–particularly when “documents” often functions as tools of white/western bureaucracy & supremacy? Can we use these practices to rebuild a radical kind of makership? We’ll look at Bhanu Kapil, M NourbeSe Phillip, and others who use these kinds of practices on behalf of nonfiction & we’ll make some things together! All are welcome!
- “Magical Realism as a tool for Social Justice” In this group study we will explore the world of magical realism, its origins, and contemporary usage. Students will be given a number of writing prompts designed for the student to produce magical realist fiction. We will read a variety of short stories and novel excerpts by writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Etgar Keret, Aimee Bender, and others. Students will write short responses to the readings, and we will meet via Zoom during the semester in a workshop format.
- “Decolonizing Craft: Methods and Material” this group study explores and reconfigures the colonial gaze of craft techniques belonging to other cultures that is rampantly primitivized, fetishized, appropriated, stolen and stripped of their original context.
- “WTF is Workshopping?” The intention of this workshop is to provide artists and writers of all genres (including hybrid, experimental modes) a supportive space to share work and receive feedback during the semester. At the same time, we will engage in a philosophical inquiry about the structure of feedback giving and receiving in the arts and creative writing worlds: what actually is “workshopping”? What’s the point? Can we dismantle the hierarchical (racist, classist, cisheterosexist, colonialist, ableist etc…) structures that rule these environments? We’ll do it together, try different techniques, and share work.
The Creative Thesis/Senior Study
You will present your Senior Study in the form of:
- A manuscript of 25-100 pages of creative work. Hybrid and experimental manuscripts are welcome as are hybrid visual art and written manuscripts.
- A 15-30 page reflective critical paper on the subject of craft, integrating literary criticism and explication of the writer’s own work.
- A reflective essay on the cultural/societal responsibilities of the writer.
- Bibliography and annotated bibliography.
- A reading of your senior study manuscript work to the residency community, followed by a question and answer period facilitated by members of the BFAW faculty.
You will leave the program with a complete draft of a creative manuscript that has gone through a number of revisions. At the same time, you will have gained a deep connection to your writing peers, many of whom will continue to sustain you as the work of writing continues.