Concentration: Writing Practices: Poetics, Rhetorics, Technologies

This concentration combines the disciplined practice of writing with a rigorous course of study in the formal, institutional, and material frameworks for understanding that practice.

The area provides coursework in creative writing, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction prose, drama, and hypertext, as well as in various kinds of persuasive and argumentative writing. It also examines these writing practices in the context of poetics, rhetoric, technology, and performance as frameworks that are both productive and analytic. The study of poetics and rhetoric therefore provides the basis for shaping a writer’s own aesthetic or persuasive discourses as well as for reading and analyzing them. The technological or material framework serves both to comprehend the history of text production (whether illustrated manuscript, printed page, filmic cell, or digital image) and to test the limits of “written” communication through bodily performance or new media. These poetic, rhetorical, technological, and performative elements also pose diverse intellectual and disciplinary perspectives for studying the teaching of writing in its various forms.

Faculty researching and teaching in this concentration:

Jeffrey Berman
Ronald Bosco
Lydia Davis

Pierre Joris
Stephen North
Martha Rozett
Edward Schwarzschild

Lynne Tillman
Laura Wilder
Carolyn Yalkut


Examples of courses taught in this concentration:   


Creative Options:

Both M.A. and Ph.D. students have the option to write a creative thesis or dissertation, which combines work in a genre such as poetry or fiction with an investigation of the project’s poetic, literary, or theoretical stakes. For more information, see “Creative Thesis & Dissertation Options."