Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #10

New MFA in Poetry at Gunnison

A new low-residency MFA program in poetry with emphasis on formal verse has just been accredited at Western State College of Colorado at Gunnison.

This is, as Director David Rothman, Director of the poetry track, says, “one of the very few MFA programs to foreground the study of poetic craft in this way.” The program includes three two-week summer residencies in Gunnison and two full years of on-line coursework.

Mark Todd is the overall Director who spearheaded the creation of the program. Todd says both he and Rothman “still love (and write) open-form poetry, but the renaissance in and renewed experimentation with form has reinvigorated my own work, and David already had a strong grounding in formal verse. It seemed the perfect choice to focus on this niche as our contribution to the MFA market.”Asked about the low-residency delivery idea, Todd said there were a couple of reasons.

“First, it allows a wide range of students to pursue the degree from across the country while only having to be on campus physically for a couple of weeks during the summer for three years. They don't have to give up their day jobs or their lifestyles to complete a serious program of studies. And second, the low-residency approach also lets us to involve and engage potential faculty from across the country for the same reasons. This low-demand on facilities and campus resources was also one of the factors that prompted our college to approve a new program during an otherwise national trend toward fiscal conservatism in education.”