The Creative Writing Program at the University of La Verne challenges all students — majors, minors, passersby — to develop their craft, examine the culture around them, and expand readers’ understanding of what it means to live.
Our Major and Minor programs offer students the opportunity to practice literary creative writing through a careful study of the modes and theories of the art, as well as contemporary and historical applications. Our courses encourage students to learn and employ techniques common to the traditions of creative writing while simultaneously helping them to understand the literary and cultural contexts of their writing.
Students graduating with a Creative Writing major will be fully prepared to enter and excel in graduate creative writing studies, particularly at the MFA level. Students will also have professional experience which may help prepare them for work in publishing and advertising — for example, working on our literary journal Prism Review (through our WRT 305: Literary Magazine Staff course). Students also get a chance to meet and speak with both up-and-coming and established contemporary writers — in the last several years, our visitors have included poets Victoria Chang, Amy Newlove Schroeder, Jessica Piazza, Michelle Detorie, Brent Armendinger, Genevieve Kaplan, Karen An-Hwei Lee, Jen Hofer, Tony Barnstone, Ralph Angel, and Maggie Nelson, and fiction writers Matt Sumell, Amelia Gray, Michael Jaime Becerra, Bryan Hurt, Richard Lange, Aimee Bender, and Larry Fondation.
Taken together, all of this immerses students in the life of writing: it gives them models to aspire to, prepares students for teamwork, instructs them in editing and assessing manuscripts, and gives them the chance to create a current, relevant literary publication. Beyond careers in writing and writing-related fields, all our creative writing classes stress the need for analytical thinking: to be successful writers, students must learn and be able to integrate abstracts concepts, learned knowledge, and reflections on everyday life, and they must integrate all of this into small and self-contained systems.
October 14, 2014, ULV’s Creative Writing program was visited by the amazingly friendly, thoughtful, and talented Victoria Chang, author of The Boss – a tremendous book of poetry published by McSweeney’s and recipient of both the PEN Center literary award and the California Book Award for poetry. For both her wonderful reading and the intelligent Q&A, Ms. Chang was introduced by our own undergraduate prize-winning author Guadalupe Robles – and, of course, the reading was situated in the ULV Chapel.
On Cinco de Mayo 2015, the ULV Creative Writing program welcomed, of course, a native Long Islander: Matt Sumell, author of the amazing collection Making Nice, a screaming balancing act of anger and sorrow. Sumell visited with a fiction writing class taught by Matt Nelson (below, bearded), who introduced Mr. Sumell for his excellent reading of his story “Rape in the Animal Kingdom,” fantastically appropriate in the setting of the school chapel.