Thanks for your interest in Creative Writing at Reed College! Here you'll find some general information about what we do and what we hope for our students.
The first thing you should know is that we are not an official department. Rather, we exist within the English Department, which we think of as a good thing. The more you know about the larger world, literary history, Shakespeare or Faulkner, for example, the better your writing will be. That's a fact.
Practically, it means there is no "Creative Writing Major" at Reed. Rather, there are a series of courses that we hope will offer you a forum in which to hone your craft, experiment with new ways of writing and in which to participate in a larger, writing community. We offer ten Creative Writing courses a year. And because of Reed's Group Requirement structure, most Creative Writing courses do not fulfill any Group, Divisional or Departmental requirement. So our classes are taken by people who really want to be in them.
Courses are taught as workshops by practicing writers. Students write works of poetry and fictional and non-fictional prose, which are then distributed to other participants in the workshop for review and critique. In addition to discussions of your own work, many of our courses entail some degree of reading the work of published authors. Additionally, when possible, we try to offer students the opportunity to participate in workshops, discussions and meetings with visiting writers. And, students are encouraged to participate in literary events both on and off campus and to create such events of their own.
Admission to creative writing courses requires consent of the instructor based on a writing sample. Each of our classes is capped at fifteen students to insure that the creative work environment remains a space wherein student work is the primary focus.
Creative theses are possible when faculty supervision is available and when the student's work gains approval from the creative thesis committee. Although, the Creative Thesis option is only available to English majors, we highly encourage students from other disciplines to participate in the Creative Writing Studios.
If you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact one of us. We'll be most happy to talk with you.
The Creative Writing Faculty