Creative Writing Minor
Opportunities for students with a Creative Writing Minor include participation in the monthly Afternoon Salon: A Student Reading Series and the University’s student art and literary magazine, Three to Four Ounces. See below for more details. The Creative Writing Minor complements all major fields of study. Some students pursue graduate work in creative writing to write a first book and further prepare for careers in teaching, publishing, professional writing, and other fields that emphasize creativity and the literary arts. Our minors and master’s students who concentrate in creative writing have been admitted to top master of fine arts programs in creative writing, such as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and to top PhD programs in creative writing, such as the one at the University of Denver. Faculty mentoring is provided to students who are interested in applying to MFA and PhD programs in creative writing.
Download our Brochure for the Creative Writing Minor for more information.
For more information about the Creative Writing Minor, contact the Director of Creative Writing, Eric Wilson.
Creative writing courses are open to minors and non-minors. Students who declare a Creative Writing Minor receive first preference in enrolling in creative writing courses in the English department during pre-registration periods.
The Creative Writing Minor requires five courses (15 hours), including one 300-level literature course offered by the English department. The remaining four courses consist of creative writing workshops offered by the English department (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) or cross-listed with the minor (playwriting and screenwriting); at least two of these must be at the 300 level. English majors may earn a Creative Writing Minor by taking four creative writing courses (at least two at the 300 level) exclusive of courses used to complete the major.
Creative Writing (CRW) courses that fulfill the minor:
CRW 100 Introduction to Creative Writing
CRW 285 Poetry Workshop
CRW 286 Short Story Workshop
CRW 287 Creative Nonfiction Workshop
CRW 300 Topics in Creative Writing
CRW 383 Theory & Practice of Poetry Writing
CRW 384 Playwriting
CRW 397 Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop
CRW 398 Advanced Fiction Writing
Electives that fulfill the minor:
COM 316 Screenwriting
Visit the English department’s Course Listings to see full descriptions of recent Creative Writing courses.
Creative Writing Faculty
Amy Catanzano, MFA
Associate Professor in Creative Writing (Poetry)
Poet-in-Residence and Co-Director, Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series
Amy Catanzano is a poet and cross-genre writer who explores the intersections of poetry, art, and science. She is the author of three books. Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella received the Noemi Press Book Award for Fiction. Multiversal was selected by Michael Palmer for Fordham University Press’ Poets Out Loud Prize and the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry. iEpiphany was published by Anne Waldman’s independent press. A digital poem has been exhibited at the Rotterdam International Poetry Festival and elsewhere. Her work has appeared widely in literary journals such as Conjunctions, Colorado Review, and New American Writing. Her work has been anthologized in #NODOS, a Spanish anthology on art, literature, and science; Naropa University’s Hydrogen Jukebox: 40 years of (Dis)Embodied Poetics; and elsewhere. Her essays on quantum poetics appear in Jacket2, Poems and Poetics, among others. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is an Associate Professor of English, the Poet-in-Residence, and Co-Director of the Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series at Wake Forest University. Prior to teaching at Wake Forest, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa, where she also served as the Administrative Director of the Writing and Poetics Department and Managing Editor of the literary journal. She has received multiple awards from Wake Forest to conduct research at scientific research centers such as CERN in Switzerland. As the recipient of the Reynolda Conference Award granted by the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest and funded by the Andrew K. Mellon Foundation, she is convening “Entanglements: A Symposium on the Intersections of Poetry, Science, and Art” with 10 distinguished invited participants in May 2019.
Eric Ekstrand, MFA
Associate Teaching Professor, Writing
Eric Ekstrand is the author of Laodicea, recipient of the 2013 Omnidawn Books 1st/2nd Poetry Book Prize, selected by Donald Revell. His poems can be found in Poetry, jubilat, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Catch Up, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. He was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2009 and has been the recipient of an Inprint/Brown Foundation Fellowship and a Houston Writing Fellowship. He was poetry editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts from 2009 to 2010 and was the founding conference administrator for Boldface: A Conference for Emerging Writers. An Assistant Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, he teaches freshman writing and poetry workshops. His interests include modern and contemporary poetry, poetry writing, religious studies in literature and art, aesthetics, and practical pedagogy. He has a BA in English Literature from Wake Forest University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.
Joanna Ruocco, PhD
Associate Professor in Creative Writing (Fiction)
Co-Director, Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series
Joanna Ruocco’s books include The Mothering Coven (Ellipsis Press), Man’s Companions (Tarpaulin Sky Press), A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (Noemi Press), and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych (FC2). A Compendium of Domestic Incidents won the 2009 Noemi Press Fiction Chapbook Contest judged by Rikki Ducornet, and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, judged by Ben Marcus. She also works pseudonymously as Alessandra Shahbaz (Ghazal in the Moonlight, Midnight Flame) and Toni Jones (No Secrets in Spandex). Her stories have appeared in numerous literary journals including NOON, Conjunctions, The Black Warrior Review, Caketrain, Bidoun, Quarterly West, Western Humanities Review, The Fanzine, Marginalia, and Harp & Altar. Her work has also been included in several anthologies, including Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web, It’s Always Been a War: American Writers on Class, Pushcart Prize XXVIII, and The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility & the Avant-Garde, forthcoming from Nightboat Books. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the innovative fiction publisher FC2 (Fiction Collective 2), which houses its editorial operations at Wake Forest, and co-edits the annual fiction journal Birkensnake with Brian Conn. She has an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a PhD in Fiction from the University of Denver.
Elisabeth Whitehead, MFA
Associate Teaching Professor
Elisabeth Whitehead has work in a chapbook sampler, A Third Instance (Instance Press, 2014), which also features poetry by Rosa Alcalá and Craig Watson. A second chapbook, a pilgrim’s traveling kit, was published by Cosa Nostra Editions in 2008. Her poems have been published in literary journals such as American Letters & Commentary, Aufgabe, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, and Quarterly West. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Helsinki, Finland. An Assistant Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, she teaches freshman writing and poetry workshops. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Eric Wilson, PhD
Director, Creative Writing Program
Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English
Eric Wilson is the author of numerous books, including Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), My Business Is To Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing (University of Iowa Press, 2011), The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace (Northwestern University Press, 2010), and Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008), translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Croatian, Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese. Against Happiness appeared on the bestseller lists of the L.A. Times and the Calgary Herald, was featured on national and international media venues including NBC’s Today Show, UNC TV’s Bookwatch, TVO’s The Agenda, NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, the BBC’s Today Programme, and CBC’s The Current, and received coverage and reviews in Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, the New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Charlotte Observer, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, Booklist, Bookforum, the Globe and Mail, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Playboy.com, Publisher’s Weekly, the Raleigh News and Observer, and America: The National Catholic Weekly. Additional books by Eric Wilson include The Strange World of David Lynch (Continuum, 2007), Secret Cinema: Gnostic Vision in Film (Continuum, 2006), The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines (State University of New York Press, 2006), Coleridge’s Melancholia (University Press of Florida, 2004), The Spiritual History of Ice (Palgrave Macmillan), Romantic Turbulence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), and Emerson’s Sublime Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). The Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University, he teaches British and American Romanticism, creative nonfiction, film and literature, and cultural studies. He has a PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
L. Lamar Wilson, PhD
Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (Poetry)
L. Lamar Wilson, a multi-genre writer and filmmaker, is the author of Sacrilegion—the 2012 selection for the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series, a 2013 Independent Publishers Group bronze medalist, and a 2013 Thom Gunn Award finalist—and co-author of Prime: Poetry and Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), with Phillip B. Williams, Rickey Laurentiis, Saeed Jones, and Darrel Alejandro Holnes. The Gospel Truth, a musical adaptation of Sacrilegion, was performed in Miami and Tallahassee, Fla., in 2014 and 2017, the latter time with a troupe that honors artists with cognitive and physical differences. The Changing Same, a collaboration with Rada Film Group that aired in PBS’s POV Shorts series this year, was a special jury prize winner at the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival. Vinyl nominated the poem at its center, “Resurrection Sunday,” for a Pushcart Prize. Other poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, African American Review, Black Gay Genius (2014), Bodies Built for Game: The Prairie Schooner Anthology of Contemporary Sports Writing (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (Northwestern University, 2019), jubilat, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia (UGA Press, 2019), The New York Times, The 100 Best African American Poems (2010), Oxford American, Race and Utopian Desire in American Literature and Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), The Root/The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Wilson, a Florida A&M alumnus, has received fellowships from, among others, the Cave Canem, Ragdale, and Hurston-Wright foundations. He holds an MFA from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in African American and multiethnic American poetics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wilson’s recent work centers the voices and experiences of black and brown folk thriving in the rural South despite relentless, centuries-long homegrown terrorism. After nearly 18 years of award-winning editing in several of the nation’s top newsrooms, including the Times and the Post, Wilson joined Wake’s creative writing faculty in fall 2018. He also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Mississippi University for Women.
On the last Thursday of each month of the semester (if holidays don’t conflict), the Creative Writing Program and the English Student Association hold a literary salon in the form of a student reading series in the A.R. Ammons lounge, A107 Tribble Hall. Up to ten students sign up to read their poetry, fiction, or essays on a first-come basis. Refreshments are served, and students socialize before and after the readings. This very popular event fosters the literary community across the Wake Forest campus and offers a supportive space for students to share their creative work. We encourage all Creative Writing minors to attend regularly and hope they bring along friends who are prospective minors. Look for upcoming Salon events on the Department Calendar.
Three to Four Ounces
Three to Four Ounces is the student art and literary magazine founded on the original Wake Forest campus in 1883, where it was first entitled The Student. The magazine has undergone many changes since its inception, including a name change in the early 1990s to Three to Four Ounces, but has continued to serve as a creative forum in the Wake Forest University community and the Department of English for student visual and literary arts. The magazine is published once a semester by the students of Wake Forest University. Art, poetry, and prose submissions are accepted from the student body and chosen for inclusion in the magazine through a blind selection process.