Wish we'd stop putting literature and creative writing programs in these weird silos, where one is only academic and one is only studio-based, with zero overlap between. Creative writing requires research. Academic writing requires creativity. Storytelling is universal.
CW students are sometimes uncertain how to integrate research into their writing, just as academic students are unsure how to pursue creative models, and many students in-between wonder about taking their writing in different directions--we need more departmental overlap.
Splitting departments also splits resources in many ways. Colleges, polytechnic universities, and teaching-centred schools in particular feel this burn--it can be difficult to sustain a small department of full-time, permanent staff without the resources of a larger department.
It also keeps both communities from really understanding each other. English departments see creative writing as something that isn't research-based, while MFA programs may see research as something that doesn't fit within a studio model--but both are connected.
One of the unique things about my own program is that we offer hybrid classes. Students in the creative stream workshop in different genres, but the academic-stream students can workshop essays, and even try their hand at some low-stakes creative writing.
It's really illuminating to have a mixed group of writers work-shopping both creative and academic work, because they can immediately see the connections between the two--how an academic argument might focus on character, for instance, or metaphor.
And it's particularly lovely to see academic-stream students slowly develop a desire to write creatively, because they didn't feel intimidated by that mixed space--they saw others doing the same thing. While the CW students get to work on research strategies as well.
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