The Millsaps English Department offers degree programs in Literature in English, Communication Studies, and Creative Writing. In each of these fields we have designed a curriculum which reflects both our respect for intellectual traditions and an appreciation of the way those traditions have been transformed by the inclusion of other voices.
The Creative Writing program pursues excellence in imaginative expression through written language in all its forms. As part of the English Department, we value the history of literature, especially as it bears upon writing craft. Creative Writing majors will learn to write within the major genres, with an eye to the key historical modes (comedy, elegy, pastoral, satire, and so on). Our curriculum encourages students to hone their style by studying diverse cultural inheritances and historical contexts. We offer students a number of formal and informal venues for sharing their work, including the Stylus, the Millsaps literary magazine.
Whether they center on essays, fiction, plays, or poems, our classes cast a wide net. No single aesthetic prevails among us. We embrace tradition and prize experimentation. Writers who seek inspiration in the past will find a welcome here, as will those who aspire to make it new.
We in the Creative Writing Program see the location of Millsaps, in downtown Jackson, as incredible good fortune. Just across the street, students will encounter communities which exemplify our commitment to blending old with new, tradition with experiment. To the east lies the Belhaven neighborhood, home to writers of international acclaim. Millsaps is especially fortunate to have a long association with Eudora Welty, whose house at 1119 Pinehurst Street is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continuing today through the Welty Foundation / Millsaps Partnership, this association offers students unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the life and work of a Pulitzer-Prize winning author.
Stepping westward, students will enter a resurgent Midtown, a neighborhood with close, historical ties to Millsaps. The Creative Writing program enthusiastically supports the College’s commitment to dialoguing with Midtown residents, in hopes of contributing in a respectful and responsible manner, to the renewal of this community. At present, our efforts center on collaboration with the Purple Word Center for Book and Paper Arts. Fostering vital, arts-based exchange between Millsaps and Midtown, Purple Word helps student writers become poets in the original sense of the word. At the same time as they participate in the Center’s community-focused initiatives, they learn to become “makers” whose vision for their work extends to the material objects that carry texts into the world.
Students will leave our program with a foundation for a life of creative work. They will be well prepared, if they choose, to pursue Creative Writing at the graduate level. Their Creative Writing major will serve, in combination with the Compass Curriculum, as a platform for contributing within any number of professions: journalism, marketing and communications, publishing, and law, to name a few.