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Iowa Writers' Workshop



The Iowa Writers' Workshop, long distinguished as America's premier program in creative writing, was founded in 1936. It was the nation's first creative writing degree program, a result of the University of Iowa's pioneering decision in 1922 to accept creative work as a means to fulfill graduate degree requirements. The following is excerpted from the Workshop's Web site (   Verse-Making, the first creative writing class at Iowa, was offered in the spring semester of 1897. In 1922, Carl Seashore, dean of the Graduate College, introduced a new model for the academic study of the arts when he announced that the University of Iowa would accept creative work as theses for advanced degrees. The School of Letters began to offer regular courses in writing in which selected students were tutored by resident and visiting writers. The Workshop as an entity began in 1936, with the gathering together of poets and fiction writers under the direction of Wilbur Schramm. From the outset the program enjoyed a series of distinguished visitors, among them Robert Frost and Robert Penn Warren, who would lecture and stay for several weeks to discuss students' work. John Berryman, Robert Lowell, and others came to teach for a full year.   One of the first students to receive an M.A. in creative writing was Paul Engle. He offered as his dissertation a collection of poems, Worn Earth, which won him the Yale Younger Poets prize. Paul Engle assumed the directorship of the Workshop in 1941 and held it for 25 years, a period which saw it flourish and become a significant force in American letters. During World War II enrollment was no more than a dozen students, but after the war it grew, attaining in a few years a strength of over a hundred students, and dividing into the fiction and poetry sections which exist today.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Iowa Writers' Workshop Records

Identifier: RG06.0012.008
Scope and Contents The Records of the Iowa Writers' Workshop consist of thirteen series.Series 1. Student Coursework, consists of photocopies of students' works arranged by semester and class section within each semester. It is the largest series in the collection, dating from Fall 1965 to the present. Note that a few of the semesters are filed out of chronological sequence. Restricted Access.Series 2. Award Competitions, consists of writing entries from individuals vying for scholarships and other awards. Restricted Access.Series 3. Students and Alumni, consists of files containing correspondence, applications, and other material, arranged alphabetically by name of individual within each accrual. Note that accrual dates cover academic years, for example 1986-91 covers the 1986-87 to 1991-92 academic years. Restricted access.Series 4. Faculty, is arranged alphabetically by name of individual. Restricted accessSeries 5. Director's Files,...
Dates: 1965 - 2019