The "Message from the Chair" that welcomes new visitors to our department website begins by stating that "Great literature, literary study, and writing are at the heart of the Department of English’s mission." This focus is evident in our course offerings, the scholarly work of our faculty and graduate students, and, more recently, in the arrival of the headquarters of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers in our department. The ALSCW's work "to ensure that literature thrives in both scholarly and creative environments" is not only harmonious with our departmental goals, it has also invigorated our department as a place of both scholarly and creative activity.
As Dr. Ernest Suarez noted in last month's newsletter, we are working on formalizing the Department's emphasis in creative writing through a Minor in Creative Writing & Editing that we hope to begin offering next year, but that is just one of many exciting new initiatives we have planned.
Our department is well positioned to meet student demand for more creative writing offerings with two accomplished poets on the faculty and a focus on literary history and aesthetics that has attracted graduate students with a strong record of creative publications, including recent books of poetry by Wes Rothman and Andrew Calis and a forthcoming novel by Fletcher Bonin. Graduate students in the department independently organized The Graduate Creative Writing Group, which meets every other week to discuss works-in-progress. The group is run by current student Emily Grace with Dr. Amanda Auerbach serving as faculty advisor.
Since CRUX ceased to be published by students there hasn't been a regular venue for showcasing creative writing at Catholic U. However, beginning this fall, the English department will be publishing a new online magazine for literature and the arts, advised by a faculty editorial committee and run by undergraduate students. The call for submissions will be announced later this semester and students who wish to join the staff will need to enroll in ENG 220: "Literary Magazine Production" this fall. To enroll, students can apply via this online form. The work of the class will include the practical work of planning and publishing the online magazine, producing publication-quality creative work as writing assignments, engaging in class writing workshops and editing sessions, and planning and executing events related to the magazine. In addition, students will meet with a variety of professionals who work in the fields of creative writing and publishing.
Additionally, this fall Dr. Amanda Auerbach will be offering a new course, ENG 300: "Introduction to Creative Writing," and Prof. Ryan Wilson will be teaching his popular course ENG 302: "Creative Writing - Poetry."
There is also a new opportunity for undergraduate students to gain professional experience in fields related to creative writing and publishing: a program for Internships and Research Apprenticeships. Dr. Taryn Okuma will be directing this program in the department, which will offer course credit for internship work. The English department is formalizing relationships with CUA Press, the ALSCW, Dappled Things, the Library of Congress, and other organzations. Students who are interested in internship opportunities can contact Dr. Okuma for more information. (Note: Internship or Research Apprenticeship credit cannot be counted towards completion of the English major.)
As this month's newsletter makes evident, the English department is thriving as a "scholarly and creative environment" and we're excited about finding ways to encourage and support our writers.