Division of Languages and Literature

Written Arts

Bard’s Written Arts Program encourages students to experiment with their own writing in a context sensitive to intellectual, historical, and social realities, and the past and current literary landscapes. Writing so pursued then becomes part of a humanist education, in which the private effort of the writer addresses and becomes part of the world’s discourse. It is expected that Written Arts students are also passionate readers. The program is staffed exclusively by distinguished writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction who emphasize both innovative, experimental work and work that foregrounds the conventions of writing. Intellectual stress is placed on literary theory and literary history, making students aware of conscious and unconscious influences on their writing, and the reception their work is likely to find in the world.

Writing workshops in genres such as fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and translation are offered every semester at several levels. Nonmajors and majors are encouraged to apply. Entry to workshops is typically by submission of writing samples to the relevant professor. Application deadlines are announced each semester via e-mail and at writtenarts.bard.edu.

For Moderation, students must have excelled in at least one writing workshop; demonstrated a reading knowledge of a foreign language, typically through completion of a language-acquisition class; and completed five courses in the Division of Languages and Literature, including Literature 103, Introduction to Literary Studies, and one course in the British, U.S., or comparative literature sequences. A portfolio of original writing in the genre in which the student anticipates composing the Senior Project must be submitted, along with a revised version of an analytical paper composed in a past or present literature course. Students who have moderated into Written Arts must apply for permission to complete a creative Senior Project, generally in the second semester of the junior year; the program then evaluates whether recent work is of sufficiently high quality and whether the project seems appropriate; if those criteria are met, the student is assigned a Senior Project adviser.

Recent Senior Projects in Written Arts:

  • “Beautiful Young Female Maniac,” a collection of essays on celebrity, female suffering, and art
  • “Find a Woman You Loathe and Give Her Your House,” three short stories
  • “Kitab,” a fantasy journal whose narrator can record observations with touch
  • “The Nappy Lords of Uptown,” a novel about coming of age in the Chicago projects
In addition to the courses listed below, students may find that other programs offer writing courses and workshops specific to their subjects (e.g., Film 256, Writing the Film; Theater 107, Introduction to Playwriting: The Theatrical Voice).