Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Peter Pietrangelo of Sault Ste. Marie presented a research paper at the 2010 John Burroughs Nature Writing Conference and Seminar held during the summer at the State University of New York in Oneonta. The conference, "Old Lessons for a New Millennium: Nature Writing and Environmentalism in the 21st Century," focused on the work of writers who contributed to the early conservation movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the work of contemporary writers who are exerting an influence on the development of early 21st century environmentalism. Read more

Peter Pietrangelo ('10)
Liberal Studies, concentrations in both English and professional communication

Department of English

Creative Writing

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 of the English Club. You can also get involved in publication production through our internships with Border Crossing, LSSU's teaching journal, which may publish the very best student work alongside that of emerging and established writers. Annual Creative Writing Contests encourage students to write the best fiction and poetry they can. We host a Visiting Writers Series for which nationally recognized, award-winning writers and poets are invited to campus to give readings and master classes (pictured right are National Book Award Winners Jaimy Gordon, top, and Nikky Finney, bottom, who visited in 2012). We also organize trips to other literary events, and collaborate with LSSU’s fabulous theater program in providing students with opportunities for public readings and performances. Our creative writing courses were recently featured in the Soo Evening News!

Courses Offered

In addition to our creative writing major, we also offer a creative writing minor.  Detailed descriptions of creative writing courses and their prerequisites are listed in the LSSU course catalog. Below is a list of the courses and semesters offered:

  • ENGL 221 Introduction to Creative Writing (3, FALL, SPRING, and sometimes SUMMER)
  • ENGL 223 Creative Writing II (3, SPRING)
  • ENGL 301 Creative Prose Writing (3, SPRING)
  • ENGL 302 Poetry Writing (3, FALL)
  • ENGL 303 Performance Writing (3, AS NEEDED)
  • ENGL 409 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop (3, AS NEEDED)
  • ENGL 480 Creative Writing Portfolio (3, AS NEEDED)

Publishing Internships

Once you've earned credit in ENGL 221, you can apply for a publishing internship at Border Crossing or Snowdrifts by permission of the instructor in either fiction or poetry. Please note that you must perform satisfactorily during the fall internship in a genre in order to progress to the internship in that genre for the spring, and the internship series must be taken in sequence:

Fiction Internships

  • ENGL 399 Internship in Fiction Journals (1, FALL)
  • ENGL 399 Internship in Fiction Editing (2, SPRING)

Poetry Internships

  • ENGL 399 Internship in Poetry Journals (1, FALL)
  • ENGL 399 Internship in Poetry Editing (2, SPRING)

Recommended Reading

Creative Writing Faculty in prose and poetry have compiled recommended reading lists for creative writing students. How many have you read?

Recommended Reading List: Prose
Recommended Reading List: Poetry

Creative Writing Faculty

 


Julie Brooks Barbour teaches creative writing and poetry and edits Border Crossing, the program’s journal of art and literature, with Mary McMyne and Jillena Rose. She earned her MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author of Small Chimes (forthcoming from Aldrich Press in 2014) and a chapbook, Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Other honors include being endowed with an artist enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her poems have appeared in The Greensboro Review, The Louisville Review, Waccamaw, Kestrel, diode, Prime Number Magazine, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, The Rumpus, storySouth, and on Verse Daily, and anthologized in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems and The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works. Her book reviews have appeared in The Rumpus, Barn Owl Review, and storySouth. Before joining the LSSU faculty, she taught writing at the University of Kentucky and creative writing at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. She was one of the founders of LSSU’s creative writing program, and a founding editor of Border Crossing. 10/13

 

Eric Gadzinski has taught English at LSSU since 1995. One of the founders of LSSU’s creative writing program and of the literary journal now called Border Crossing, he teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. He holds a PhD in English from Temple University, where he wrote his dissertation on American soldier poetry of the Vietnam War. His own poetry has been published widely in a variety of online and print journals, and one of his poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006.  He has been invited to give public readings locally, in public schools and at several universities, and has been a regular workshop leader at the annual Creative Writing Festival held at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. 1/13

 


Mary McMyne teaches creative writing and fiction and edits Border Crossing, the program's journal of art and literature, with Julie Brooks Barbour and Jillena Rose. She received her MFA in fiction from New York University after studying English and creative writing at Louisiana State University. She has been the recipient of the Faulkner Prize for a Novel in Progress and a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation for her fiction. Her stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, Word Riot, New Delta Review, and American Book Review, as well as the anthologies The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works and The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss. Her poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in summer 2014. Before joining the LSSU faculty, she taught at New York University, New Jersey City University, South Louisiana Community College, and in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system. For more information, please visit her website: www.marymcmyne.com. 11/13

 

Janice Repka teaches creative writing and children’s literature and organizes LSSU’s Visiting Writer Series, which brings literary authors and poets to the Eastern Upper Peninsula.  Her short stories and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Antietam ReviewPotomac Review, Writer’s Journal, The Louisiana Review, and the anthology The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works. Her novels for children include: The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco, a Junior Library Selection and 2008 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Honor Book, which was also nominated for the Sunshine State Young Reader Award, the Young Hoosier Book Award, the Great Stone Face Award, and the Keystone to Reading Book Award; and The Clueless Girl’s Guide to Being a Genius, a Scholastic Book Club feature, both of which were published by Dutton Children’s Books.  She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and a Master of Arts degree in English from McNeese State University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. She received the Antietam Review Literary Magazine Award from the Washington Arts Council in 2001 for her short story, “Love’s Final Selection.” Before joining the LSSU faculty, she taught at McNeese State University and was a guest speaker and presenter at creative writing conferences, schools, and libraries across the county.  For more information, go to www.janicerepka.com or http://libraryofmichigan.state.mi.us/Authors. 1/13

 

Jillena Rose teaches creative writing and poetry and edits Border Crossing with Julie Brooks Barbour and Mary McMyne . She earned an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College in 2006. One of the founders of LSSU’s creative writing program, she serves as a liaison between the program and the local, regional, and academic creative writing communities, and organizes publicity and publication opportunities for Michigan and Eastern Upper Peninsula Writers. She has worked with the community to establish the Cabin Fever Writer's Group and the Superior Cafe Poetry Reading Series, which brings both regional and nationally known poets to Sault Saint Marie. Her poems have appeared most recently in The Bijou Poetry Review, Third Wednesday and PigeonBike. She has work forthcoming this Spring in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry Series. She was a founding editor of Border Crossing. 12/11



Jim Zukowski teaches creative writing and poetry. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he wrote his dissertation on the Eighteenth-Century English Novel in relation to the period's literate practices. He obtained his M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College.  Some of his work appears in Provincetown Arts, Northwest Review, Water Stone Review, and Nimrod. 1/13

 

English...

Jessica Hirt

"One of my favorite things about LSSU is its size. The classrooms, especially as you get to the upper levels, get smaller, so you not only have a chance to discuss your ideas in an honest, supportive manner, but you also get to know your professors and classmates. The upper level courses really allow you to focus on what you love, and the small class size allows you to have time to share and to discuss your ideas." [ more ]

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