The Writer's Foundry M.F.A. in Creative Writing program at the College's Brooklyn Campus stands in Clinton Hill on the border of Fort Greene, two of the most vibrant and deep-grounded neighborhoods in all of New York City. We seek to attract writers who dedicate themselves to excellence in all areas of literary life.
As writers, we do not wish to imprint an unyielding or particular aesthetic onto each other, but rather aim to encourage and develop that which is individual. Creative writing students are regarded as working artists, intent upon practicing the promise of their craft. Our basic assumption is that all acts of writing are creative, a product of imagination and thought.
The structures of written language are our central concern. Clearly, the structures of literature operate at full strength only when submerged in the written work. It is there that they are organic to the virtual life of the work. Once a writer knows by experience the live literary structures submerged in what she has written, it is useful for her to separate them out, first to assent to them and second to imagine better ways to use them.
Prior to the proliferation of creative writing programs, it was not unusual for many writers to move with fluency and inter-assuredness between stories, novels, personal essays, travel writing, editorials, reviews, biography, memoir and of course the pulse, pattern and abstract energy that benefits all writing - poetry. At the Writer’s Foundry, varied literary genres are joined in the same classroom to provide inspiration, flexible expression and reciprocal generation, unhampered by the administrative convenience of concentration.
We recognize that rhetorical principles and forms for fiction and creative non-fiction are often the same, and it is not unusual for a student or a faculty member working on a project in one area to discover it really belongs in another. The Writer’s Foundry seeks to accommodate such discovery, with the same spirit that an author in previous centuries might write a poem, a play or a masque, while another writer might write a poem, a novel or a personal essay.
We favor an environment and pedagogical approach whereby competency can refine itself. Our purpose is to build inspiration relying less on correction of error, and more on discovery and discernment of strength that any human being demonstrates.
Many of our ideas on what a writing program should provide were articulated by two poets, Rosemary Deen and Marie Ponsot, the latter a graduate of St. Joseph’s College. They worked at Queens College in the mid-1960s, and in that season where CUNY launched open admissions they began to discuss better ways to teach writing to their incoming students. Over the years they experimented, and through diligence and practice developed ideas that would become the foundation for the program here at The Writer’s Foundry.
As a foundry, we are pleased to honor and maintain the alchemy of Deen and Ponsot, whom we recognize to be pioneering poets and professors. By adopting and adapting their methodology for usage in the graduate writing classroom, the generative nature of their ideas makes them an exciting method for fiction, poetry and literary non-fiction.
While we are a private college, our program strives to be affordable without compromise to that which is essential and exceptional. We recognize the value of keeping the classroom small and select, and that a foundry is not a factory.
We strive to arrange distinguished Master Lectures that focus on exceptional works of literary art, discussing them as creative acts, rather than through the analytic pressures and mandates of the social science, theoretical or historical classroom.
We offer teaching fellowships where students act not merely as teaching assistants to support a prominent professor’s classroom, but are actually trained themselves to be pedagogical practitioners.
By building our custom and practice on these principles, we strive to live up to St. Joseph’s longstanding motto: Esse non Videri - "To be, not to seem.”