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Home >  MUM Home >  Academics >  Academic Departments >  English: Literature & Creative Writing >  Why Study Creative Writing or Literature at MUM > 
Two Reasons Why    

 Why Study Creative Writing?

  • Art, whether the visual arts, music, architecture, or creative writing, is the expression of those ideas and forms that civilizations have held to be most profound. John Keats perfectly expressed this position in his great poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn”: 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' Keats has reduced all that is valuable in life to truth and beauty, which is ultimately the same thing. Along these lines, to study creative writing is to learn to say something important but also to say it well.
  • Creative Writing also has practical as well as a self-expressive application. Creative Writing offers a unique preparation for future courses of study in most occupations, especially since writing is so prevalent and essential in all that we do. Being able to eloquently articulate our observations, experiences, ideas, thoughts, feelings and beliefs in writing is a boon, and one that will serve us each day of our lives, in any endeavor we face.
  • Creative Writing offers students a solid background in all aspects of craft, from literary techniques such as sound devices and figurative language to narrative techniques such as plot construction, character development, and point of view. Students also hone basic language skills including grammar and usage. Different classes emphasize different tools any writer should have in his or her toolbox. Classes on offer include: Poetry, Poetry and Transcendence, Screenwriting, Fiction Writing, Memoir Writing, Personal Essay Writing, Writing for Profit, Travel Writing, Photo Journalism, Graphic Narrative, Creative Process, Writers on Writing, and advanced writing classes.
  • The Creative Writing Program holds students to professional standards with publication as the primary goal. Students receive constructive feedback is keen and specific, though never crushing in respect to their personal interests. Students are taught to examine their own and each other’s work objectively, with an analytical eye, and always with the aim to improve and inspire.
  • Creative Writing track seeks to prepare students in a practical manner for careers involving writing, editing, or publishing. The program offers on-going opportunities for students to participate in contests and to publish in local and regional magazines. The program has an ongoing relationship with a local publishing house; if a student writes a high-quality children’s book on the topic of fearlessness, this work might be selected for publication. Local professionals regularly visit classes to talk about the publishing world, journalism, children’s book writing, songwriting and other aspects of the field. M.U.M.’s Creative Writing program encourages and facilitates student internships. 

    Why Study Creative Writing at Maharishi University of Management?

  • The environment at Maharishi University of Management’s Creative Writing classes is nourishing and non-competitive. At the same time, a high standard of quality is upheld at all times in a positive and supportive manner. Such support stimulates students to do their best work. At M.U.M. faculty carefully nurture the writer’s voice, helping students to build confidence. If a student wants to develop into a serious writer, faculty are there to help the student realize this aspiration. A number of our students have come into the program feeling shy about their abilities, only to leave with a letter in their pocket to a graduate Creative Writing Program.
  • Maharishi University of Management takes a Consciousness-Based approach to learning, relating all knowledge and experience back to the Self of the writer/reader/student. Being aware of the full scope of your own Self adds vast dimension to anything you write. Students learn to keenly attune themselves to the world of images and sensory perception, then dive deeply into mind, intellect and feeling, exploring their personal self as well as the Cosmic Self at the root of their own consciousness. MUM’s writing classes encourage students to access themselves in their creative expression, bringing out a depth, a scope, and an uncommon sincerity to the world we inhabit.
  • Because every student and faculty member practices the Transcendental Meditation technique at M.U.M., students regularly access the source of their own inner creative intelligence twice daily. Students report that their experiences during the TM practice make the creative process all the more effortless and enjoyable. Students learn to trust the inspiration they gain during TM is readily available at any time from within.
  • M.U.M. Creative Writing classes help students develop invaluable creative habits that help a student to among other things circumnavigate writers’ block, so that students write and respond to writing assignments freely and eloquently. Students experience dramatic breakthroughs in their creative process at M.U.M. as one student noted: “Ever since I took the Creative Process class nearly two years ago, I cannot stop creating. I had no idea that when I walked through the classroom door how many other doors would then open up. I am eternally grateful.”
  • Students report that their favorite aspect of M.U.M.’s Creative Writing program is the absolutely unique environment of support and acceptance on campus where students and faculty are all part of a meditating family. This makes it safe and comfortable for students to share profoundly and honestly things about themselves that truly matter, from a deep place within themselves. There is no need for gimmicks, shyness, holding back, nervousness, or worry about ridicule. The Creative Writing classes have an exceptionally warm and intimate feeling, prompting students who took classes together to seek each other out in writing groups of their own, to organize reunions, or to participate together in creative projects outside of or after class, even after graduation.
  • With the required 24 units of credit in the Creative Writing minor, students have a solid foundation that will enable them to create a portfolio of work and apply for graduate programs in the discipline. A number of former Literature and Creative Writing students have been accepted to top Creative Writing programs across the country, such as the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; The University of Montana in Missoula; San Francisco State University; the University of Arizona in Flagstaff; UC Berkeley; and the University of Iowa School of Journalism in Iowa City. Others have gone on to pursue careers involving editing, copy writing, journalism, grant writing, teaching, etc.
  • As a footnote, Maharishi University of Management’s creative writing courses, taught by the head of the writing program—Nynke Passi—are among the most popular courses taught at this university.
  • The Creative Writing program is half creative writing and half literature. Our faculty are often asked, “why half literature?” The simplest answer is that literature is creative writing. It only becomes literature when it is read. The other answer is that all good writers read, and they read a lot. Reading what others have read increases our knowledge of what is possible, gives us models of excellent writing, and introduces us to techniques that we need to know. Reading is simply an invaluable part of the process of becoming a good writer.
Why Study Literature
  • The study of literature is arguably the most universal of all the traditional disciplines. A primary reason is that it encompasses all other approaches to knowledge. When we read we naturally take in history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, art, and even the sciences. However, more than that, literary studies has made human beings and life itself the central focus of its attention. It addresses the great questions of life: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? How should I live? Is there a coherent intelligence that governs the universe? Everything about the essential nature of human life has been asked and considered in the great literary works, those from the beginning of time up to and including the literature being created at this very moment.
    Literature, moreover, doesn’t offer pat answers but rather places readers in the stream of human interactions as ancient as time itself. When we read the life of Odysseus, of Hamlet, of Hester Prynne, or Mrs. Dalloway, we are not given an explanation for their behavior, a lesson on the meaning of life, or a simple formula on morality. What we are given is an experience forged out of the act of living. Rare is the text that claims the whole truth, but each of the great literary works from antiquity to the present day contains a significant slice of that truth. And as we navigate the wealth of knowledge contained in the literary canon, our minds naturally grow not only in truth but in the other virtues espoused in the world’s finest literature, including beauty, love, compassion, human dignity, and universal fellowship.
    Some skills and competencies one can expect to acquire through the study of Literature:
    • Cultural literacy – This is the mark of an educated human being. It signifies an exposure to the most important ideas of history and the best aesthetic artifacts. Dictionary.com defines cultural literacy as “knowledge of history, contributions, and perspectives of different cultural groups, including one’s own, for the understanding of reading, writing, and other media.” It is this area of knowledge that the study of literature satisfies so well.
    • Reading with depth and profundity – Most go through life with the ability to read only the surface of a text, and by text we mean not only literary works, but art, music, film, information from popular and serious media, and even the general category we call life. But in the study of literature, a student naturally acquires the ability to absorb a work’s finest detail, to understand its ideas on numerous levels, and to express those ideas coherently to others. This skill in reading is one that translates to every field of life.
    • The ability to analyze – It is one thing to take in information, another to evaluate it and find what is useful and what is not. A regular part of the literary education is to examine the elements of a text from every possible angle so that the skill of analysis becomes second nature, an ability that places the literature graduate at home with almost any field of knowledge. The study of literature naturally develops critical thinking and active learning through these processes.
    • The ability to write well – Literary studies trains students to discover elements in a text that need additional attention, to convert such topics into an academic argument, to research and support that argument, and to defend it in a comprehensive and convincing manner.

    Why Study Literature At Maharishi University Of Management?

    The advantages of studying literature at Maharishi University of Management are many.
    • The Missing Element. The literature program at MUM examines the spiritual element of literature often overlooked at other universities. An example is easily found in the writing of the European and American Transcendentalists, such as Wordsworth, Shelley, Emerson, and Thoreau. Modern scholars tend to either misinterpret the experiences of these profound poets or treat them simply as metaphor. At MUM, we go deeply into the spiritual experience found everywhere in literary texts. Moreover, MUM students access the state of transcendental consciousness—the foundational state of the spiritual experience—in their own self-referral awareness twice daily, and as a result the spirituality they read about in literature actually verifies what they are experiencing in their own consciousness.
    • Transcendental Meditation (TM). Numerous studies have proven that the practice of Transcendental Meditation greatly enhances the ability to acquire knowledge. It increases brain coherence, it reduces stress and anxiety, it produces calmness and a sense of well-being, and it has even been demonstrated to improve IQ. All students and faculty on campus practice TM.
    • Group Coherence. Students not only gain a receptivity for acquiring knowledge through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, but living and operating in an environment where a large number of students, faculty, staff, and families practice TM provides a field effect that sustains learning and other life-supporting activities.
    • Healthy lifestyle. An organic diet, an emphasis on rest as the basis of activity, and the opportunity for advanced programs to elevate the experience of consciousness during the TM practice support a life that is more peaceful and well-adjusted, which in turn supports academic achievement.
    • The Block System. In other universities on the semester or quarter systems, students take several courses simultaneously that compete with each other for the student’s time and energy. These systems can be particularly stressful at the end of the term when students must face several papers and several exams at the same time. MUM students study one course per month. All the students’ focus is on that one course, and there is no academic completion for the students’ attention.





 
 
 
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