Academic Programs

Division of Languages and Literature

Written Arts

Overview

At Bard, writing is seen as a process that engages the student in an ardent investigation of the nature and varieties of art, so that the student’s work is understood in the context of the arts of the present and past. The careful study of literature and an awareness of critical theory are essential components of the curriculum. The Written Arts Program offers a supportive environment in which the works produced meet with response in workshops and tutorials led by professional writers who are also teachers. Respecting individual uniqueness, the program proposes to liberate students even as it insists on the importance of a growing awareness of intellectual and social concerns.

Every writing student is expected to investigate poetics and literary theory, and to invest substantially in courses in history, philosophy, and the arts. Writing workshops are offered every semester at several levels. Nonmajors and majors are encouraged to apply. Entry to fiction, nonfiction, and poetry workshops is by submission of writing samples to the teacher. Other workshops explore specialized varieties of writing, including translation and cultural reportage; entry to these workshops is by consultation with the instructor. Application deadlines are announced each semester.

Requirements

For Moderation, students must successfully complete at least one writing workshop; one course in the British, U.S., or comparative literature sequences; one interpretation of literature course; and one elective course in the division; and demonstrate a reading knowledge of a foreign language. A portfolio of original writing in one or more genres must be submitted, along with an analytical paper from a past or present course in literature.

Students who propose to do a Senior Project in writing must submit a substantial portfolio of recent creative work to a board made up of two members of the Written Arts faculty, who will determine whether the project seems appropriate and help the student find an adviser.

Recent Senior Projects in Written Arts

  • “The Plains of a River,” a biography of Manuel Altoaguirre
  • “A Rumor Has Spread that I Am Alive,” poetry, plays, and prose in response to works of Federico Garcia Lorca
  • “Stopgap,” a work of experimental fiction
  • “To Be Alone with Your Body,” a long poem about the death of a dancer

Courses

In addition to the courses listed below, students may find that other programs offer writing courses and workshops specific to their subjects. Examples include Film 211, Screenwriting I; and Theater 207 and 208, Introduction to Playwriting and Playwriting II.