Writing & Literature

Students in the writing & literature department learn to write and read with sensitivity and precision, to appreciate literature and literary theory, and to produce work in a variety of genres. Our graduates leave Johnson State College ready for the demands of MFA programs in creative writing or for careers in publishing, journalism or education.

Creative writing majors, who specialize in poetry, fiction or the creative essay, sharpen skills in small writing-workshop courses. English students explore literature and language from critical, aesthetic, historical, linguistic and national perspectives. Journalism majors acquire both the practical skills and theoretical knowledge essential to print journalism. 

Across our department, we stress the interdependence between literature and writing, art and craft. Creative writing and journalism students must meet certain literature requirements, while English students are required to complete courses in the other two programs.

Learning About Literary Publishing

GMR Cover Spring 2011The three areas of study in the writing & literature department all involve internships that are not only experiential but also intellectually demanding. Creative writing, English and journalism students must meet high professional standards while gaining their hands-on experience.


Creative writing students, for example, enjoy superb internship opportunities that provide keen insight into their profession and promote a better understanding of the role of the literary magazine in today's writing world. A common path is to work at one of JSC's two literary publications, Green Mountains Review and The Gihon River Review.


Launched at JSC in the 1980s, the prestigious Green Mountains Review is a nationally distributed journal featuring poetry, fiction, essays and interviews. Contributors have included well-known writers such as Julia Alvarez, Robert Bly, Billy Collins, Galway Kinnell and Grace Paley. Our students usually hold editorial internships at GMR, and a select few have also been published in the magazine.


The Gihon River Review is a professional journal published entirely by JSC students and distributed regionally. GRR also solicits work from professional writers, but allots more space for our students and other young writers. Interning with GRR gives students valuable exposure to all aspects of publishing a high-quality literary magazine.