About the Program

The Drew University Master of Fine Arts in Poetry Program is a two-year, low-residency program for poets and poet translators. Students hone and develop their talent, as well as gain knowledge of the craft and poetics of contemporary American writers, and writers from other eras and cultures. The program offers some of America’s most talented poets as faculty mentors who work one-on-one with our students.

The program is divided into short, intense residencies and mentorship semesters. During residencies, students and faculty come together on Drew’s beautiful campus in Madison, New Jersey. Residencies consist of ten days of public readings, lectures, workshops, as well as close work and planning between students and mentors for the mentorship semester. During the mentorship semesters students return home to complete the work agreed upon during their previous residency while under the watch and care of experienced mentor-poets. The program culminates in a fifth residency, at which graduating students participate in a panel discussion and offer a public reading of the work they have completed over the course of their time in the MFA Program in Poetry.

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Tracks

We offer three tracks, a track in Poetry, a track in Poetry in Translation, and a combined MFA in Poetry & Poetry in Translation (which requires an additional semester and an additional residency). The Drew MFA Program in Poetry is committed to making sure that all students, no matter which track they are on, are exposed to a broad range of poets and translators.

The MFA in Poetry

Requires the completion of four semesters and five residencies for a total of 64 credits. Students study the craft of poetry by writing poems, studying craft, reading extensively, and writing critically. During the fourth and final semester students complete a manuscript of original poems

The MFA in Poetry in Translation

This program is designed to teach students about the different models and schools of translation. Students receiving the MFA in Translation will translate into English. They will be expected to attend all lectures at the residency in order to understand the craft elements involved in writing poetry in English. The degree requires the completion of four semesters and five residencies for a total of 64 credits. During the fourth semester students complete a manuscript of translations.

The Combined MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation

This program is designed for poets who also want to study the art of translation. Given that many poets are, at sometime, drawn to translation, both for the desire to understand and get at the heart of poetry from another language, as well as to inspire and deepen their own work, the study of translation is an important endeavor for any poet. The mission of the Drew Program in Poetry in Translation is to bring to Drew students an awareness and knowledge of poetry from all over the globe. All students will be exposed at residencies to the lectures in translation as well as to guest translators. To attain the combined MFA students pursue their own writing at the same time that they study and practice translation. The combined degree requires that students complete five semesters and six residencies for a total of 80 credits. During the fourth semester students complete a manuscript of their own poems. During the fifth semester students complete a manuscript of translations.

Degree Requirements

The MFA in Poetry requires that each student working on an M.F.A. in Poetry or in Poetry in Translation attend five residencies and complete four mentorship semesters for a total of 64 credits in order to graduate. Students earning an M.F.A. in Poetry and Poetry in Translation attend six residencies and complete five mentorship semesters for a total of 80 credits in order to graduate.

Residencies

During the MFA program students and faculty gather twice a year for ten days to learn, listen, and write together. During the residencies, students will participate in poetry workshops, craft seminars, and readings. The residency is designed as an incubation period, an intense immersion into poetry.

At each residency students will attend workshops in the mornings, lectures in the afternoons, and readings most evenings. Students will also meet with their mentors to create their study plans for the coming mentorship semester.

Graduating students attending their fifth residency will give a panel presentation and a reading of their own work.

Housing for Residencies

MFA students will live in dormitories on Drew’s campus during their residencies. While housing arrangements may vary, students can expect to be housed in suite-style accommodations, with their own bedroom and a bathroom shared by other MFA students occupying the suite. Three meals per day are included during residencies.

Mentorship Semesters

During the semesters between the ten day residencies students return home and correspond with a faculty-mentor. Mentorship semesters offer periods in which students are engaged in the solitary work of writing poetry, and of reading and writing critically. Study plans devised at the residencies are fulfilled, and the challenge of sending packets back and forth between student and mentor creates excitement, energy, and growth. Requirements for mentorship semesters change as students progress through the program.

Admission

Requirements for Application

Applicants to the MFA must posses a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. All applicants must submit the following:

  • a completed application form
  • two letters of recommendation
  • a personal statement
  • resume or c.v.
  • official transcripts of all academic records, whether at the college or graduate level
  • a ten-page manuscript consisting of examples of your work
  • a critical essay demonstrating your ability as a critical writer
  • $35 application fee

Please see application form for a more detailed explanation of requirements for application.

International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores that are not more than two years old.  Additionally, applicants who have received their Bachelor’s degree from a foreign university, even if English was the language of instruction, must submit TOEFL scores that are not more than two years old.  Students from the following countries are exempt from this requirement: Canada, UK, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, and Australia.

Application Time Line

Applications to the MFA are reviewed on a rolling basis, for the January and June start terms. The priority dates are November 15 for the January start term, and May 1 for the June start term. Applications may be accepted after these dates on a space available basis. Merit scholarship funds may be limited for those who apply after the priority dates.

Download the M.F.A. Application

Get the M.F.A. in Poetry Application

The Adobe Acrobat version of the file is as close to the real application as you can get without requesting a print copy. Once you download the application, and open it using Adobe Acrobat Reader, you will be able to print the application.

In order to view this file, you will need Adobe’s Acrobat Reader installed on your computer or its corresponding plug-in installed in your browser. Many computers and browsers come with this software already installed. Acrobat Reader is a free program, and if you don’t have it, you can get it from Adobe’s Website. Get the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Costs and Aid

Cost of Attendance

Tuition and Fees for M.F.A. in Poetry can be found on the Business Office’s site.

The residency fee will be charged for each residency the student attends, and is inclusive of all costs associated with the residency, including but not limited to room and board.

By New Jersey law, students who do not have their own health coverage are required to purchase coverage from the university at an additional cost. The Drew University Insurance plan runs yearly from August 15 through August 15. First-year students in the MFA program who do not already have insurance must, therefore, purchase a rider so that they will be insured during the time of the January and/or June residencies. Read more about the health insurance plan for students offered by Drew University.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financial aid comes in two forms, academic merit scholarships, and need-based aid. Applicants for scholarships and aid must fill out the Drew Supplemental Financial Aid Form and return it to the Office of Financial Assistance.

Academic Merit Scholarships are competitive and range from 10% to 50% of tuition. The application for admission serves as an application for merit scholarships.

Need-based aid takes the form of loans and work-study. In order to be considered for need-based aid, an applicant must fill out the federal FAFSA form and return it to the processor. To have the report sent to Drew, please use School Code 002603.

Learn more about financial aid in the graduate school.

Courses

Course Descriptions

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Courses in Poetry

MFA 800 - Formerly 800 - Poetry Workshop I (3)
At the residency the student will attend six poetry workshops. Each workshop will be comprised of 4-5 students and one faculty poet. The student is required to submit 4-5 poems for the Residency Anthology prior to the residency. During each two hour workshop one poem by every student will be discussed by the mentor and by fellow students. The workshop may include writing exercises. Two of the required workshops may include being assigned to the New Work Workshop in which each student will start new work under the guidance and prompting of the faculty.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 805 - Formerly 805 - Poetry Writing I (5)
Student sents approximately 16-20 poems over the course of the semester to mentor for critique.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 810 - Formerly 810 - Poetry Workshop II (3)
At the residency the student will attend six poetry workshops. Each workshop will be comprised of 4-5 students and one faculty poet. The student is required to submit 4-5 poems for the Residency Anthology prior to the residency. During each two hour workshop one poem by every student will be discussed by the mentor and by fellow students. The workshop may include writing exercises. Two of the required workshops may include being assigned to the New Work Workshop in which each student will start new work under the guidance and prompting of the faculty.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 815 - Formerly 815 - Poetry Writing II (5)
During the mentorship semester each student will be writing original poems as well as working on revisions of poems. A minimum of 4 poems and 2-3 revisions will be included in every packet sent to the student's mentor.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 819 - Formerly 819 - Poetry Workshop III (3)
At the residency the student will attend six poetry workshops. Each workshop will be comprised of 4-5 students and one faculty poet. The student is required to submit 4-5 poems for the Residency Anthology prior to the residency. During each two hour workshop one poem by every student will be discussed by the mentor and by fellow students. The workshop may include writing exercises. Two of the required workshops may include being assigned to the New Work Workshop in which each student will start new work under the guidance and prompting of the faculty.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 823 - Formerly 823 - Poetry Writing III (5)
During the mentorship semester each student will be writing original poems as well as working on revisions of poems. A minimum of 4 poems and 2-3 revisions will be included in every packet sent to the student's mentor.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 827 - Formerly 827 - Poetry Workshop IV (3)
At the residency the student will attend six poetry workshops. Each workshop will be comprised of 4-5 students and one faculty poet. The student is required to submit 4-5 poems for the Residency Anthology prior to the residency. During each two hour workshop one poem by every student will be discussed by the mentor and by fellow students. The workshop may include writing exercises. Two of the required workshops may include being assigned to the New Work Workshop in which each student will start new work under the guidance and prompting of the faculty.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 900 - Formerly 900 - Residency V
Student will give a senior panel presentation and a senior reading.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.

Courses in Poetry in Translation

MFA 801 - Formerly 801 - Translation Workshop I (3)
Student attends 6 translation workshops
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 806 - Formerly 806 - Poetry in Translation I (5)
Student sends approximately 15-18 translated poems over the course of the semester to mentor for critique
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 811 - Formerly 811 - Translation Workshop II (3)
student attends 6 translation workshops
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 816 - Formerly 816 - Poetry in Translation II (5)
Student sends approximately 15-18 translations over the course of the semester to mentor for critique
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 820 - Formerly 820 - Translation Workshop III (3)
student attends 6 translation workshops
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 824 - Formerly 824 - Poetry in Translation III (5)
Student sends approximately 15-18 poems over the course of the semester to mentor for critique
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 828 - Formerly 828 - Translation Workshop IV (3)
student attends 6 poetry workshops
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 901 - Residency V Final Residency Poetry in Translation
Student gives a senior panel presentation and a senior reading.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.

Courses in Poetry & Poetry in Translation

MFA 803 - Formerly 803 - Poetry & Translation Workshop I (3)
Student attends 4 poetry workshops and 2 translation workshops.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 804 - Formerly 804 - Craft Seminar & Residency Essay I (4)
It is required that each student attend all the lectures as well as all the readings at the residency. These lectures will be on various topics, such as craft issues, particular poets or movements, and translation. Craft issues are wide ranging and include use of music, meter, rhyme, voice, diction, forms, etc. Shortly after the residency each student will be required to turn in a residency essay. This essay should be an engaged response to three of the lectures, one workshop, and one reading, and should discuss things learned as well as topics the student would like to follow up on.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 807 - Formerly 807 - Poetry & Poetry in Translation I (5)
Student sends approximately 8-10 poems and 6-10 translated poems over the course of the semester to mentor for critique
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 808 - Formerly 808 - Critical Writing & Reading I (4)
During the mentorship semester each student will have a list of 20-25 books to read that will include poetry and essays on poetry. The student will be expected to write two short papers (3-4 pages) for each packet. The student will also respond to the reading in a letter to the mentor included in each packet.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 812 - Formerly 812 - Poetry in Translation Workshop II (3)
student attends 3 poetry workshops and 3 translation workshops.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 814 - Formerly 814 - Craft Seminar & Residency Essay II (4)
It is required that each student attend all the lectures as well as all the readings at the residency. These lectures will be on various topics, such as craft issues, particular poets or movements, and translation. Craft issues are wide ranging and include use of music, meter, rhyme, voice, diction, forms, etc. Shortly after the residency each student will be required to turn in a residency essay. This essay should be an engaged response to three of the lectures, one workshop, and one reading, and should discuss things learned as well as topics the student would like to follow up on.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 817 - Formerly 817 - Poetry & Poetry in Translation II (5)
Student sends approximately 8-10 poems and 6-10 translated poems over the course of the semester to mentor for critique
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 818 - Formerly 818 - Critical Writing & Reading II (4)
During the mentorship semester each student will have a list of 20-25 books to read that will include poetry and essays on poetry. The student will be expected to write two short papers (3-4 pages) for each packet. The student will also respond to the reading in a letter to the mentor included in each packet.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 821 - Formerly 821 - Poetry & Translation Workshop III (3)
student attends 3 poetry workshops and 3 translation workshops
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 822 - Formerly 822 - Craft Seminar & Residency Essay III (4)
It is required that each student attend all the lectures as well as all the readings at the residency. These lectures will be on various topics, such as craft issues, particular poets or movements, and translation. Craft issues are wide ranging and include use of music, meter, rhyme, voice, diction, forms, etc. Shortly after the residency each student will be required to turn in a residency essay. This essay should be an engaged response to three of the lectures, one workshop, and one reading, and should discuss things learned as well as topics the student would like to follow up on.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 825 - Formerly 825 - Poetry & Poetry in Translation III (5)
Student sends approximately 8-10 poems and 6-10 translations over the course of the semester to mentor for critique
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 826 - Formerly 826 - Critical Writing & Reading III (4)
During the mentorship semester each student will have a list of 20-25 books to read that will include poetry and essays on poetry. The student will be expected to write two short papers (3-4 pages) for each packet. The student will also respond to the reading in a letter to the mentor included in each packet.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 829 - Formerly 829 - Poetry & Translation Workshop IV (3)
student attends 4 poetry and 2 translation workshops
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 830 - Formerly 830 - Craft Seminar & Reading IV (4)
It is required that each student attend all the lectures as well as all the readings at the residency. These lectures will be on various topics, such as craft issues, particular poets or movements, and translation. Craft issues are wide ranging and include use of music, meter, rhyme, voice, diction, forms, etc. Shortly after the residency each student will be required to turn in a residency essay. This essay should be an engaged response to three of the lectures, one workshop, and one reading, and should discuss things learned as well as topics the student would like to follow up on.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 831 - Formerly 831 - Poetry Manuscript (5)
During the final mentorship semester the student will complete a manuscript of original poems (approximately 48 pages) compiled from the four semesters of work.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 832 - Formerly 832 - Poetry in Translation Manuscript (5)
Student completes a manuscript of poems in translation (approximately 35 pages)
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 833 - Formerly 833 - Poetry Manuscript (5)
No description is available for this course.
MFA 834 - Formerly 834 - Critical Writing & Reading IV (4)
During the mentorship semester each student will have a list of 20-25 books to read that will include poetry and essays on poetry. The student will be expected to write two short papers (3-4 pages) for each packet. The student will also respond to the reading in a letter to the mentor included in each packet.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 835 - Formerly 835 - Poetry & Translation Workshop V (3)
Student attends 6 translation workshops.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 836 - Formerly 836 - Craft Seminar & Residency Essay V (4)
Student attends all craft lectures & Poetry readings Student turns in a written journal/essay covering specific events during the residency.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 837 - Formerly 837 - Critical Writing and Reading V (4)
Student reads approximately 20-25 books, writes a publishable book review, prepares for the senior panel and senior reading.
Graded Pass/Unsatisfactory.
MFA 904 - Formerly 904 - Residency VI (Final Residency and Graduation)
Student gives a senior panel presentation and a senior reading.

Our Students

Meet Our Students

Darla Himeles

Program | Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

"Most of my poetry comes from reading other poets. Their works spur ideas and images in me that I otherwise would not consider." - Read more
David Crews

Program | Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

"Sometimes I come home at the end of the day with a stockpile of random thoughts in my pocket. Then on the weekends, when it's nice and quiet, I like to sit down with my dog and sort things out." - Read more
Lynne McEniry

Program | Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

"The faculty is amazing. During the residences, they are with you 110% of the time. They are always open to new ideas and new words in our poetry" - Read more
Monica Hand

Program | Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

"At Drew, I became part of a community of writers that nurtured me and inspired me to create new work." - Read more
Rebecca Gayle Howell

Program | Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

"The alumni are organized and provide important institutional support. Newsletters. Facebook. Residency reunions. Conference reimbursement. AWP. But the truth is all that comes out of a more grassroots thing called ‘liking each other.’" - Read more