The author Margaret Atwood writes, “A word after a word/after a word is power.” At PNCA we believe there is a power in learning to craft self expression through considered use of language. To study writing is to study the very act of thinking and articulating ideas and feelings. Writing can find form in novels, poems and scholarly work, as well as in scripts, graphic novels, performance, reviews, the digital realm and other mediums. The Writing concentration within the Liberal Arts major is designed to help student writers find their voice and reach their potential, while offering a strong visual arts component alongside writing classes. Solving creative problems in parallel mediums develops an incisive relationship to audience, and an expansive, informed point of entry into the ongoing creative conversations.
In this program writing is taught through a variety of classes: workshops, literature seminars, writing studio courses, interdisciplinary studios like the graphic novel, and others, which grant students one-on-one time with faculty as well as exchanges within communities inside and outside the school. The program begins broadly, encouraging the study of short and long forms, poetry, prose, fiction, and nonfiction, and both narrative and associative work. This allows room for the developing writer to find his or her focus, which may be in a genre, or across genres, blending forms. As the student gains footing, there is increased room for the student to direct his or her own content under the guidance of faculty.
Portland is a great literary city producing writers as diverse as Ursula Le Guin, Chuck Palahniuk, Matt Groening, and lead faculty of the PNCA writing program, Monica Drake. Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the United States is within walking distance of the school and PNCA students benefit from national and international visitors drawn to Portland because of the many resources available. In addition, many aspiring writers will welcome the proximity to the artists, designers, musicians and scholars who make up the faculty and student body at PNCA.
“To study writing is to bring shape and rigor to the very act of thinking and self expression. As we wrestle with words, we learn to tell our stories, and find enriched meaning in the world. Our goal at PNCA is to invite student writers to reach their intellectual and creative potential, graduating with skills applicable to many fields, with a strong community, and with insights and discipline to fuel a lifetime of intellectual contributions. Writing is an art, a method, and a way of life.”