Director’s Note

Artist credit: Kristen Merola

This is an extremely exciting time for creative writing at Yale, as our newly developed Creative Writing Program provides a sense of community for writers and fosters an ongoing conversation about writing at Yale and beyond. Our presence within the Department of English ensures a close connection between the active practice of reading and the production of students’ own poems, essays, plays, screenplays, and stories.

Our award-winning faculty is comprised of some of the most influential authors writing today. All of our instructors are also extremely dedicated teachers who work closely with students on deepening an awareness of the tradition of creative writing as well as shaping a sense of craft. We offer students a diverse range of seminars and workshops in drama, fiction, nonfiction, translation, and poetry, from the introductory level to the advanced. Courses are not limited to only English majors. Creative writing classes draw students from all over campus: from anthropologists to mathematicians to economists. 

At Yale, literature is a living art, and for that reason a great number of visiting writers come to campus every year to give readings, to conduct master classes, and to meet with students in ourseminars and workshops. Recent visitors have included John Ashbery, Charles Bernstein, Lydia Davis, Adam Gopnik, David Mitchell, Susan Orlean, Sarah Ruhl, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Tretheway, and Chris Ware.

There is also a tremendous amount of possibilities for creative writing outside the classrooms, evident in a variety of student activities, including slam poetry competitions and student-run publications such as The Yale Literary Magazine and the Yale Daily News. And many Yale graduates have gone on to become successful journalists, poets, and novelists.

The Creative Writing Program is closely tied with other programs and institutions on campus, such as the Yale Journalism Initiative, The Yale Review, the Beinecke Library, the Working Group in Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and the Whitney Humanities Center, among others. These relationships provide rich opportunities for our students to become a vital presence on campus. Every year, there are departmental awards to which students can submit their work for consideration. English majors can also apply to become Concentrators so that their time at Yale culminates in a full manuscript that they develop one-on-one with a faculty member.

From the very beginning, Yale has produced writers of unquestionable talent, writers who have gone on to shape the very possibilities of literature and thought. Yet, it has always been as a human—and humanizing—concern that creative writing has brought such energy. The Yale Creative Writing Program, in various ways, gives students the tools and resources to help them become the writers they can be. 

Richard Deming Director of Creative Writing Department of English