Representing the Cretive Writing Department at Pitchfork

Representing the Cretive Writing Department at Pitchfork

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Last week, I had the privilege of going to Pitchfork and working in the Book Tent. There, I worked with a few students in the different programs in the Creative Writing department, and we represented Colulmbia College, talked about our graduate programs with festival-goers, and hosted readings for writers of small presses like Curbside Splendor and Wag’s Revue. Of course, we also had time to go see some great music acts, like Phosphorescent and Belle and Sebastian.

[flickr id=”9413883577″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]What you might not know is that we were also representing the new department. See, Fiction has merged with Poetry and Nonfiction under the title “Creative Writing.” The departments are still holding meetings to figure out what, exactly, this will entail, but I’ve spoken with a friend that works in the new department, and he gave me some answers as to what this might look like.

The theory is that money will be more evenly spread around the three programs, and opportunities will be available to all. One of the biggest things for Fiction students is that Graduate Student Instructorships will become available. Two students have already been selected for the upcoming semester to begin this process. This is a great thing. Most creative writing graduate programs have college-level teaching opportunities, and as the Fiction program was previously set up, students didn’t have something like this available to them. Writing and Rhetoric classes, the undergraduate freshman-level writing courses at Columbia College Chicago, are what GSI’s will teach, which will help diversify the abilities students have when they finish the program.

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Another issue that I’ve been told will come into play will be a bit of tweaking of the curriculum. This seems to be a bit of a point of contention, but I think that it can only be a good thing. I think that changing pedagogies and embracing different ideas can only help a student become a better writer in the long run. Also, incorporating different critique styles will help us as students learn different tools for revision that will be really helpful. After all, some of the most difficult work in the writing process is in revision.

Both of these things add up to helping graduate students when they are looking for teaching positions post-graduation. Plus, we will have more inter-mingling with the Poetry and Non-Fiction students, which is awesome. They are really great people, and from them, we can all learn different writing skills and tools.

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I hope that there will soon be more events incorporating all of the programs in the new department. Pitchfork was fun, but it was a work event and not a mixer amongst the students. Hopefully, we will see this intermingling soon!

That’s all for now, MarginAliens. Have a good one!