Kidd Course Components
Sections meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00 – 3:50 p.m. (all three terms):
- Workshops: Students are encouraged and challenged in their writing all year long, workshopping stories, poems, or essays with the support of their peers and graduate tutors. Although the classes are not solely workshop courses, workshops are the main component throughout the program. Students generate new work in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction—both assigned and self-directed—and respond constructively to their peers’ writing. In this way, we build a creative community to help students grow as writers.
- Reading: Learning to read closely and critically is an essential life-long skill for all writers. Just as a musician studies other musicians and a visual artist studies other visual artists, writers examine how authors have put together a story, poem, or essay; what craft choices they have made; and why they made those choices and to what effect. Students read widely and deeply throughout the year from core texts (as well as from texts their tutors assign) and respond, both through reading logs and class discussion, with a rigorous and analytical mind.
- Inquiry and Research: The process of inquiry—a close examination of a question in search for truth—is a cornerstone of the Kidd Workshops. Asking questions—analyzing, probing, digging deeper into texts—is how writers identify and clarify issues at stake in their own work. Students submit a proposal in the fall that describes their creative preoccupations and the readings they will study to extend and investigate those concerns. Winter term focuses on reading and research for an annotated bibliography. In the spring, students present their findings to their peers and write a Line of Inquiry (LOI) essay that is both scholarly and craft-driven.
- Student Anthology: In Spring term, all students contribute a selection of their work to be included in The Walter and Nancy Kidd Creative Writing Workshops Student Anthology, which they also help edit. At the end of the year, they read from this selection as part of a literary reading to celebrate their work.
- Final Creative Project: Completion of the Kidd Workshops culminates in a significant body of work, the equivalent of an undergraduate thesis, consisting of 15–20 poems, 3–4 short stories, a novella, or, on occasion, essays in creative nonfiction. Many students go on to take advanced courses in their genre with Creative Writing faculty, often in preparation to apply for graduate study.
- Craft Talks and Visiting Writers: Students attend all of the evening readings by visiting writers who come to campus as part of the Creative Writing Program’s annual Reading Series. In addition, visiting writers and Creative Writing faculty give 50-minute talks to the students in an intimate setting. These talks vary from lectures about craft elements to discussions about the visiting writers’ work. Students then have an opportunity to personally engage with the visiting writers and faculty during a Q & A session. Former students have frequently named these craft talks as one of the highlights of our program.