APPW

Area Program in Poetry Writing

Program Director - Professor Lisa Russ Spaar, lrs9e@virginia.edu

APPW Graduates

This area concentration of the Department of English allows talented undergraduate writers to pursue serious study of the craft of poetry writing and poetics within the context of the English major. The Area Program in Poetry Writing (APPW) encourages its participants to shape an interdisciplinary curriculum that nurtures and inspires each student’s particular work and developing aesthetic. Many of our students double major or minor in another discipline that relates to their poetic projects and inclinations.

In addition to taking upper-level English literature courses, students in the APPW will take at least 12 hours of upper-level poetry writing courses (ENCW 3000, 4000, and 5000-level) and two 3-hour poetics seminars (ENCW 4820) designed especially for poets in the program (these are offered every term), and, in the second semester of the fourth year, a required capstone class (ENCW 4920), a one-semester project which culminates in the creation of a manuscript of original poetry.

The Poetry Writing Area Program is a two-year course of study. The Program is small and admission is competitive. Students apply in the spring semester of their second year. After the student is admitted, she or he must declare a major in English, though the requirements for the Poetry Writing concentration differ from the requirements for a standard major.

Committed to the conviction that close reading and creative writing are inextricably and essentially linked, the program requires its students to complete

  • the pre-requisite to the English major (completion of an ENGL 2000-level course with a grade of “C” or completion of two (2) ENGL 3000-level courses, with the average grade between the two courses being a “B”)

As well as 30 hours of upper-level course work in English, including:

  • ENGL 3001 and ENGL 3002 (formerly 3810 and ENGL 3820)
  • Twelve hours of upper-level poetry writing (ENCW) courses or independent studies in creative writing (3000-level or above)
  • Two (2) Poetry Writing Area Program seminars (Poetry Program Poetics, ENCW 4820)* (formerly ENPW 4820) on various topics of interest to students of poetry writing (students may take more than 2 of these classes if they wish)
  • One pre-1800-level course in English at the 3000-level or above (Medieval, ENGL 3100/4100; Renaissance, ENGL 3200/4200; or 18th-century, ENGL 3300/4300) (formerly ENMD, ENRN, ENEC), including any Shakespeare course at the 3000-level or above)
  • The Capstone course (ENCW 4920), culminating in an original manuscript of poetry

*The Poetry Writing Seminars (Poetry Program Poetics):

These ENCW 4820 seminars are readings courses for poets, designed to foster intimate experiences of texts, creative work, reciprocal conversation about and discovery of mutual interests, enlargement of students’ understanding of language and its capacities, and collegial community among students in the poetry writing program. Topics might include “The Poetic Sequence in Contemporary American Poetry,” “Ecstatic Poetry,” “Dramatic Monologue: The Mask in Verse,” “Negative Capability and its Heirs,” “Terrorizing and Creating Reality: Language & the Surrealist Poets,” “Order and Disorder: The Lyric Impulse,” “Brilliant Corners: Jazz & Poetry,” “Poetry and the World,” or “Poets’ Prose.” Or these seminars might focus on a particular poet or poets. These seminars are offered to APPW students each semester; the APPW student is required to take two while matriculating in the Program, and may take more than two if he or she wishes.

The Capstone Course (ENCW 4920):

Area Program in Poetry Writing students are required to participate in a capstone course in the second semester of the fourth year, an exciting, semester-long endeavor in which students consider their aesthetic influences and begin to think across the single poem, curating their own poems into intentional constellations and culminating in the in the creation of a collection of original poetry. The course involves a combination of independent work and peer manuscript reading meetings, including the opportunity to work with an MFA student mentor.

How to Apply:

Applications for rising third-year majors interested in the poetry writing area program are due to Director Lisa Russ Spaar (hard copy, in her faculty mailbox in Bryan Hall) by 5 PM on Monday, March 18th. To apply, students must complete the required application form, accompanied by no more than ten pages of original poetry, a one- to two-page personal statement, and one letter of recommendation from a professor who knows well the student’s work and potential for success in a small, focused program of study. Students should include a local telephone number and e-mail address with their submissions. All materials should be submitted in duplicate, except for the recommendation letter.

For Further Information: Contact Program Director Lisa Russ Spaar in Bryan Hall 407, or by phone at 434-924-6625, or by e-mail at LRS9E@virginia.edu. Application forms may also be found in Bryan 236.

You can download the APPW application here. Deadline is March 18, 2019.

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