Coe offers Creative Writing majors a range of ways to develop professional skills and prepare for life after college as a writer, whether vocationally or avocationally:
Creative Writing students work on many publications, among them:
- The Coe Review
Creative Writing students are central to the publication process for The Coe Review, a national literary journal published by the English Department. The Coe Review focuses on experimental writing and publishes a poetry issue and a fiction issue each year.
Coe Review editors are eligible to take a partial-credit course, Editing a Literary Magazine, om which they learn all aspects of magazine publication: selecting, editing, design, layout, publicity, finance, printing, correspondence, and personnel management.
Colere is a poetry, fiction, and non-fiction journal emphasizing cultural issues.
- The Pearl
Sponsored by the Rhetoric Department, The Pearl publishes the best of student non-fiction prose: memoirs, essays, travel writing, academic essays, and more. It also features photography by students.
- Coe Cosmos
Coe’s weekly campus newspaper.
Coetry publishes the winners of a poetry competition held each semester; submissions may be on any topic involving classes or professors at Coe.
Babel, published triennially, is a bilingual journal of poetry written in languages taught at Coe, and illustrated with photography from study-abroad experiences in countries where those languages are spoken.
A journal of writing by students in the fantasy section of Topics in Creative Writing.
In recent years a number of Creative Writing students have landed their first professional publication while still at Coe, including:
- Jason Bradford ’10, Remembering the Future (chapbook of poems), National Federation of State Poetry Societies, 2010. Winner of the NFSPS 2010 Edna Meudt Memorial Award.
- Catherine Butzen ’10, Thief of Midnight (novel), Stark House 2010. Publishers Weekly wrote, “Butzen's strong debut livens up some common urban fantasy tropes with witty dialogue and fun monsters.”
- Andy Johnson ’10, "Winter Fruit" (poem), The Talking Stick 19, 2010
- Taylor Eagan ’11, "one by one, becoming shade" (poem), Hot Metal Bridge: A Literary Magazine (University of Pittsburgh), Spring 2011.
The English Department sponsors readings by prominent and emerging writers each year. The Paul Engle Poetry Series brings a major poet to campus annually. Students have the opportunity to meet informally with visiting writers in various venues. Among Coe’s distinguished visitors are Marvin Bell, John Updike, Z.Z. Packer, Jorie Graham, T.C. Boyle, Chris Offutt, James Tate, Eavan Boland, Mark Doty, Marge Piercy, Ted Kooser and Major Jackson.
There are multiple opportunities for students to present their work in public. The Creative Writing program emphasizes oral presentation as an important skill for creative writers, who need to develop "ears" for fine writing as well as skills of oral interpretation.
- Students in the advanced levels of the workshops read at a Creative Writing Workshop reading at the end of each semester.
- All senior Creative Writing majors are required to give a senior reading before they graduate.
- Senior thesis writers generally give their senior reading at Coe’s Senior Research Symposium.
- The student-organized Fireside Reading each fall is an informal opportunity for students and faculty to share excerpts from their own writing or from something they’ve read recently.
- Blindspot is a student-run occasional performance series.
The English Department awards two prizes to graduating seniors each spring: the Engle Prize for the best senior thesis in creative writing and the Distinguished Achievement in Creative Writing.
Coe students compete in the Nick Adams Short Story Contest, sponsored each spring by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
The English Department encourages all of its majors to study off-campus and Coe provides many ways to do so. This includes exchange programs at international universities; programs run by the Associated College of the Midwest (ACM) in which a group of American students travel and study with an American college professor; Coe’s own off-campus programs in New York, Washington D.C., and Southeast Asia; May Terms all around the world; and Coe’s Wilderness Field Station in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota.
Among these options, Creative Writing students often choose the ACM’s London/Florence program, Coe’s Asia Term, and, especially Coe’s New York Term. A major component of New York Term is an internship which writing students frequently do with publishing houses, editors, and literary agents, in many instances leading to a permanent position after graduation. A favorite May Term is Writer’s Colony in which students and a professor travel and write; travel sites have ranged from England’s Lake District to Route 66.