ABOUT THIS BOOK
The publication in 2009 of Mark McGurl’s The Program Era provoked a sea change in the study of postwar literature. Even though almost every English department in the United States housed some version of a creative writing program by the time of its publication, literary scholars had not previously considered that this institutional phenomenon was historically significant. McGurl’s groundbreaking book effectively established that “the rise of the creative writing program stands as the most important event in postwar American literary history,” forcing us to revise our understanding not only of the relationship between higher education and literary production, but also of the periodizing terminology we had previously used to structure our understanding of twentieth-century literature.
After the Program Era explores the consequences and implications, as well as the lacunae and liabilities, of McGurl’s foundational intervention. Glass focuses only on American fiction and the traditional MFA program, and this collection aims to expand and examine its insights in terms of other genres and sites. Postwar poetry, in particular, has until now been neglected as a product of the Program Era, even though it is, arguably, a “purer” example, since poets now depend almost entirely on the patronage of the university. Similarly, this collection looks beyond the traditional MFA writing program to explore the pre-history of writing programs in American universities, as well as alternatives to the traditionally structured program that have emerged along the way.
Taken together, the essays in After the Program Era seek to answer and explore many of these questions and continue the conversations McGurl only began.
Seth Abramson, Greg Barnhisel, Eric Bennett, Matthew Blackwell, Kelly Budruweit, Mike Chasar, Simon During, Donal Harris, Michael Hill, Benjamin Kirbach, Sean McCann, Mark McGurl, Marija Rieff, Juliana Spahr, Stephen Voyce, Stephanie Young