The RC’s Creative Writing Program officially started in Fall 1970, growing out of a writing class Warren Hecht taught earlier that Winter. (He arrived in Ann Arbor in Fall 1969 with a writing grant and a degree in English from CCNY). Warren retired in December 2016 and is now Lecturer Emeritus.
Then as now, Program students combine disciplined writing with the study of literature, taking a minimum of four writing classes (seminars and tutorials) and a minimum of five upper level literature courses (including one studying either ancient or medieval writing).
The Program initially focused on fiction. Poetry was added in 1973 with the hiring of Andrew Carrigan, who taught English and writing for Ann Arbor Public Schools. Carrigan returned to the Schools in 1975.
Hired in 1999, RC Creative Writing alum Laura Thomas (right) replaced Hecht as head of the Program in 2003. Under Thomas’s direction the program has grown (from about 30 to about 50 students), and has expanded a focus on community involvement, including local internships (826Michigan, Dzanc Books, Midwestern Gothic), writers’ teas, writers’ workshops, and readings and “open mic” events.
Laura Kasischke (left), an RC Creative Writing alum, re-joined the RC faculty in Fall 2015 to teach poetry seminars. She is also Allan Seager Collegiate Professor of English at U-M.
Others who have taught in the Program include RC Creative Writing alum Elizabeth Schmuhl.