PNCA is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by building an inclusive educational environment that utilizes both onsite and remote learning options.

The Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program is unique in that it considers language as one among many available materials. Situated in a school of art and design known for its strong support of interdisciplinary practices, our program encourages experimentation within and across writing forms, genres, and mediums along with a variety of publishing formats to include print, digital, sound, performance, and text-image works. This is writing as studio art.

The program offers tracks in prose, poetry, cross-genre, and literary translation. Portland-based residencies in winter and summer are supplemented with mentor-based independent work throughout the rest of the year.

Every three weeks, graduate students submit to faculty mentors creative work, brief essays on forms and methods, an ongoing reading list, and a letter addressing writing process and responding to substantive feedback from the mentors. This epistolary method is the oldest, most intimate and, perhaps, most intensive method of creative writing instruction. Writers, geographically distant from each other, exchange creative work and letters. Through this correspondence, writers come to see each other and feel seen while teasing out ideas about method and process along the way.

This balance between independent work and community immersion during the residencies helps graduate students develop the skills for sustaining reading and writing practices throughout their lives. It teaches graduate students to develop a rigorous, self-motivated discipline while periodically inviting them into supportive, non-competitive, generative spaces of community. This is a program deeply embedded in one of the country's most literary cities.


Low-Residency Model

In the low-residency model, students to attend two 14-day campus residencies then, beyond residencies, work one-on-one with mentors. This model offers community immersion and intensive instruction while helping students to develop an independent writing practice as preparation for their future work as successful writers.

Residency Dates

June 24 - July 3

Jan 2 - 12
June 24 - July 3

Writing in Portland

Our annual residencies are in the heart of Portland, Oregon where we are deeply integrated into its community of artists and writers who have made a real commitment to making art that is revelatory, experimental, and that advocates for social justice.

The program draws upon our existing strong relationships with partners in our burgeoning Portland literary scene—including Write Around Portland (WRAP), IN TRANSLATION Reading Series, Literary Arts, Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC), Regional Arts & Cultural Council (RACC), Mother Foucault’s bookshop, Powell’s Books, Passages Bookshop, Poetry Press Week, Tender Table, Street Books, along with a host of local, regional, and national small presses, e.g., Tavern Books, Gramma Poetry, New Directions, Wave Books, Hawthorne Books, among others.

Thanks to a Collins Foundation Grant, we are able to fulfill our envisioning principle of encouraging equity in race, gender, and sexual identification/orientation in American literary culture.

Learn more

For more information or for any questions about the program, email Jay Ponteri, Director of Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, or Graduate Admissions.

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