Creative Writing

If there‘s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ― Toni Morrison

Upper-level creative writing students participate in panel presentations to discuss the role of form, suspense, process, and inspiration for ENGL 409, Advanced Creative Writing Portfolio. (Left to right: John Preville, Dan Motz, Genevieve Smith, Jenny Clark, and Michael Oakes)

photo of creative writing students

Department News

The BA program in Creative Writing has been selected as a “Most Affordable Creative Writing Program” by

Two poems by Prof. Tyler Dettloff have been published in the Spring 22 issue of ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment). The poems are titled “in which i rescue a basil plant from the grocery store aisle end cap” and “white spots.”

Program Description

As a major or minor in creative writing, you’ll be part of an intimate program with enthusiastic faculty. We give undergraduate students opportunities to get publishing experience before graduation. Unlike larger programs where your work may be lost in large workshop classes, our faculty are excited to work one-on-one with undergraduate students. To encourage innovation and experimentation as students develop their voices, all majors complete coursework in prose, poetry, and performance writing. A junior course lets students refine their voices and practice their craft in their preferred genre in a class where they will get feedback from students of multiple genres. Seniors take the Creative Writing Portfolio course, a capstone class in which students write a unified collection of publication-ready work in their preferred genre, working with the instructor of their choice on an independent study basis. Student publication is encouraged in Snowdrifts, an annual publication produced by creative writing students. You can also get involved in publication production through our internships with Border Crossing, LSSU’s teaching journal.


Creative writing students learn to communicate effectively, to understand the history and power of words, to think critically and creatively, and to recognize and balance several points of view. The study of literature and creative writing provides you a better understanding of human nature, your community, and your place in the world. The writing and critical thinking skills developed in English coursework will make you competitive in many fields. In addition, you can learn professionalism through publishing experiences on campus, where you can work on undergraduate and professional literary journals and learn from the editing process.

Alumni News

  • Leah Mockridge (Creative Writing/Communication, ’21) has accepted a position as Director of Marketing at Red Dog Logistics. She is also pursuing a Master’s in English at Grand Canyon University.
  • Genevieve Smith (Creative Writing/Communication, ’19) has published her short story, “The Thereminist Takes Requests,” in Boston University’s Clarion Magazine. She is currently working as a Creative Marketing Assistant doing writing and design work for Jefferson Lines in Minneapolis.
  • Sydney Rain (Creative Writing, ’17) has published her debut novel, Well of Vengeance, with her publishing and editing company, Midnight Owl Publishing. In addition to working on the rest of the Lunen Kingdom Series, she works as a freelance editor.
  • Clay Winowiecki (Creative Writing ’17) has accepted a position as a Reporter for the Chronicle-Tribune in Marion, Indiana!
  • Jana Tahtinen (Creative Writing ’17) has been accepted to the Vermont College of Fine Arts and Lesley University MFA Programs in nonfiction!
  • Ana Robbins (Creative Writing ’17) has been accepted to the Creative Nonfiction program at Bay Path University!
  • Charlotte Mazurek (Creative Writing ’16) has accepted a position as an Audio Describer with CaptionMax.
  • Maxwell K. Cleary (Creative Writing ’14) had his debut original play, Remember Me, produced at Issue Box Theater in Toledo, Ohio!

“My studies at LSSU helped prepare me to be an effective graduate school candidate because of how small of a campus this is and how incredibly talented the professors are in my department. I was able to work multiple internships, which most undergraduates can hardly dream of working at bigger schools. I was able to work at a deep level on my writing with professors whenever I desired to, which often translated to weekly meetings. I was able to have wonderful classmates in my department who meticulously edited me and kept my head straight to keep my writing tight. There’s so many incredible things about the English department at LSSU. I cannot thank the professors and my classmates enough!”

Clay Winowiecki, 2017

POETRY MONTH RECEPTION – A reception featuring the work of Lake Superior State University creative writing students opened National Poetry Month at LSSU on April 3, 2019. The exhibit Lost & Found features visual erasure poems by ENGL 223 students Leah Bartz, Ky Dubeau, Elizabeth Garavaglia, Daraka Hudecek, Amy Lehigh, MaKaila Marrison, Leah Mockridge, Rachel Tallon, Michaela Titus, and Wayne Thompson. The class applied a literary form of erasure, also called blackout poetry, to substitute visual elements for words or sections removed from printed text in a book. Students chose to erase texts from Virginia Woolf, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, J.K. Rowling, Arthur C. Clarke, a hymnal, and a book of quotes. The show was a class project with Prof. Mary McMyne. Writing students Brianna Boyer (foreground, left) and Michaela Titus chat in this picture. (LSSU/Mary McMyne)

Most Affordable Creative Writing Program emblem
Follow us @lssuCWP

Creative Writing Degrees

BA Degree Requirements

Required Courses (48 credits)

  • ENGL180 Introduction to Literary Studies 3
  • ENGL221 Introduction to Creative Writing 3
  • ENGL223 Creative Writing II 3
  • ENGL301 Creative Prose Writing 3
  • ENGL302 Poetry Writing 3
  • ENGL303 Performance Writing 3
  • ENGL409 Advanced Writing Workshop 3
  • ENGL480 Creative Writing Portfolio I 3
  • ENGL482 Creative Writing Portfolio II 3

Select one sequence from:

  • ENGL231 American Literature I 3
  • ENGL232 American Literature II 3
  • ENGL233 English Literature I 3
  • ENGL234 English Literature II 3

Select two additional literature courses at the 300/400 level

Select two additional professional writing skills courses from:

  • ENGL222 English Grammar and Language in Context 3
  • ENGL306 Technical Writing 3
  • ENGL398 Community Workshop Internship 3
  • ENGL399 Publishing Internship 3
  • JOUR211 Newswriting 3
  • CSCI106 Web Page Design and Development 3

Select one theatre course from:

  • THEA251 History of Drama and Theatre I 3
  • THEA252 History of Drama and Theatre II 3
  • THEA333 Studies in the Drama: The Genre and Theater in Context 3
  • THEA309 Theatre Studies: (Topic) 3

English Cognate

  • USEM101 University Seminar I:  Foundation Success 1

Minor (minimum 20 credits)

General Education: All LSSU bachelor’s degree candidates must complete the LSSU General Education Requirements.

Bachelor of Arts degree (8 credits): One year of a modern language other than English.  If taken at LSSU, this would be CHIN151-CHIN152 or CHIN251-CHIN252; FREN151-FREN152 or FREN251-FREN252 or SPAN161-SPAN162. One-half year of two different languages will not meet this requirement.

A minimum of 124 credits (at the 100 level or higher) must be earned for graduation with a cumulative gpa of 2.00 or higher.  A gpa of 2.00 or higher is also required in your Major, as well as in your General Education Requirements.

Minor Degree Requirements

Total Credits Required: 24

  • ENGL180 Introduction to Literary Studies 3
  • ENGL221 Introduction to Creative Writing 3
  • ENGL223 Creative Writing II 3
  • ENGL231 American Literature I 3
  • ENGL232 American Literature II 3
  • ENGL233 English Literature I 3
  • ENGL234 English Literature II 3
  • ENGL409 Adv. Creative Writing Workshop 3

Select two from the following:

  • ENGL301 Creative Prose Writing 3
  • ENGL302 Poetry Writing 3
  • ENGL303 Performance Writing 3


Prof. Julie Barbour, MFA, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, specializes in poetry and is the author of the poetry collections Small Chimes and Haunted City. She edits poetry for Border Crossing.

Prof. Tyler Dettloff, MA, Northern Michigan University, writes poetry and lyrics. He is the author of “Belly-up Rosehip:  A Tongue Blue with Mud Songs” a poetry chapbook as well as the songs on the albums The Way the Hook Bends and Dynamite Honey.

Career Paths

  • author
  • editor
  • freelance writer
  • technical writer
  • public relations director
  • audio describer
  • reporter
  • teacher
  • professor

Median Salaries

  • editor: $56,010
  • technical writer: $70,240
  • public relations director: $56,770
  • audio describer: $55,810
  • reporter: $43,640
  • teacher: $60,320
  • professor: $72, 470