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MFA Feature

 

Tom Bissell

Tom Bissel

Paul Collins

Paul Collins

Charles D'Ambrosio

Charles D'Ambrosio

Craig Lesley

Craig Lesley

Michael McGregor

Michael McGregor

A. B. Paulson

A. B. Paulson

 

CAN GOOD WRITING BE TAUGHT? “The answer is yes and no,” says Michele Glazer, director of creative writing and a professor in the discipline's Master of Fine Arts, which began in the fall of 2009 at PSU.

“Good writing can certainly be encouraged, and you can learn the craft and make it your own,” she says. “But like music or any other art form, writing requires considerable dedication, and you have to have talent.”

An MFA in creative writing is long overdue, considering Portland's rich literary scene and its existing talented writers. Students in the new program select from fiction, nonfiction, or poetry tracks, taking a rigorous curriculum of core workshops and seminars, as well as literature classes and electives. Ultimately, they produce a book-length thesis under the guidance of a faculty adviser.

Those advisers include a cast of talented faculty who are writers themselves. Glazer has three books of poetry, including On Tact, & the Made Up World, which will be published by the University of Iowa Press in 2010. Professor Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of the award-winning novels Crescent and Arabian Jazz. Her latest novel, Origin, was published in 2007.

Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber

“‘I'll never get to see him grow up,' she says in her terrible, transparent voice. ‘I'll never throw a birthday party for him, never cut his hair, never meet his girlfriend….' As she speaks, her voice begins to toll inside of me. It changes shape, taking on substance: like an old memory—as if she was someone I used to know a long time ago, and for me that sort of ancient recognition is rare and disturbing as waking to the sight of a ghost.”

– From Origin, Diana Abu-Jaber

Professor and journalist Michael McGregor has been the editor of three magazines, and his writing appears in The Oregonian, The Seattle Review, and Poets & Writers magazine. Professor A.B. Paulson's short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists.

Longtime Writer-in-Residence Craig Lesley is the author of four critically acclaimed novels and a memoir, including Winterkill and River Song.

The rest of the faculty include some familiar names in the national literary scene.

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