Area Program in Poetry Writing

Area Program in Poetry Writing

Program Director - Professor Brian Teare, [email protected]

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 Area Program in Poetry Writing 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 prerequisites for the English major, which are one ENGL 2500-level course (except ENGL 2559) with a grade of C- or better, or any two upper-division courses in the department (3000-level or above, in literature not creative writing), with an average grade of B across those courses

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

  • ENGL 3001 and ENGL 3002
  • 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)* 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


These ENCW 4820 seminars are reading-focused courses for poets, though they also include critical writing and generative creative prompts. Their dialogue-centered pedagogy fosters collaborative engagement with texts, discovery of mutual enthusiasms, enlarged understanding of poetic language and its capacities, and increased community among APPW students. The topic changes each semester according to faculty staffing. Topics most recently offered include "Animal Print (or, Poems that Bark, Chirp, Buzz & Squeak)," "Modern :: Postmodern," "Return to Grounds," "Cutting Up: Collage, Play, & Resistance," "This Is Not My Beautiful House," and "Mystery and Clarity." 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.


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 beyond the single poem, curating their own poems into intentional constellations and culminating 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.


Applications for rising third-year majors interested in the poetry writing area program are due to Director Brian Teare (by email to by 5 PM on Friday, March 15th. 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.

How to Declare for the APPW

If you are admitted to the APPW, you should complete a Declaration of Major form using DocuSign. See the College forms page for the link. Please list Brian Teare ([email protected]) as the department major contact. The form should indicate a major in English, Area Program in Poetry Writing. You should only list courses that are required as part of the APPW concentration. Please do not list every English course you have taken or will take. The purpose of the declaration form is to demonstrate that you understand the requirements of our concentration and have a curricular plan in place for your future semesters. Your plans can change and you do not need to resubmit a major declaration. The APPW director will review your form, and if they agree with your plan, they will approve the form and route it to the college registrar for coding into SIS. Please ensure that you see the new major appear in your SIS record.

For Further Information: Contact Program Director Brian Teare at

You can download the APPW application here. These forms may also be found in Bryan 236.