Iowa State University’s three-year MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment emphasizes study in creative writing—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama—that encourages writers to identify and explore in their stories and lyric impressions the complex influences of place, the natural world, and the environmental imagination.
The human story finds its structure in geology and geography, in biology and chemistry—both natural and constructed—and in the complex and rapidly-changing cultural and natural landscape. With more people sharing our planet’s finite space, and with our planet and its systems imperiled, an educated attention to place in the broadest sense of the term is vital.
From Homer’s Odyssey to Melville’s Moby Dick, from Black Elk to Black Boy, from Virginia Woolf to Tobias Wolff, the literary arts acknowledge an inherent connection between the imprint of place and environment on the stories and images that shape the work of literary writers.
Through a program of study that includes a rigorous combination of creative writing workshops, literature coursework, environmental fieldwork experience, interdisciplinary study in courses other than English, and intensive one-on-one work with a mentor (‘major professor’), our MFA program offers gifted writers an original and intensive opportunity to document, meditate on, mourn, and celebrate the complexities of our transforming natural world.