Program Overview

Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry is offered in conjunction with Syracuse University’s acclaimed Creative Writing Program. This popular summer program for high school students provides extensive practice in the writing of poetry and fiction through peer and teacher feedback, exposure to great literature, and helpful revision and editing techniques.

The two-week program focuses on grounding students in the essentials of poetry and fiction writing. Instruction is equally divided between the two disciplines. Students will have the opportunity to build a portfolio of creative work through in-class and out-of-class exercises, modeling, and workshop. Award-winning authors are invited to give guest lectures and respond to student work. The class culminates in a reading, where the students are invited to share some of the writing they have worked on in the class.

The sessions are designed to foster a sense of the individual voice of the student and to teach the building blocks of fiction and poetry through imitation of models. Narrative, voice, description, characterization, dialogue, image and metaphor, forms of poetry, and techniques of revision are explored. Students are instructed in all the stages of completing a creative work, including the generation of ideas, drafts, revision techniques, and editing.

Program Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze a poem and understand why and how it works
  • Articulate what moves them about a specific poem
  • Discuss some formal elements of poetry that are observed in poems read
  • Explore some of these elements in their own work, whether choosing to incorporate similar forms of content or style
  • Practice sharing vulnerably in front of peers
  • Learn to give and receive helpful critiques on the writing of their peers

Learn more about Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session III: July 27 – August 9, 2019
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: Non-Credit
Grading System: Pass/Fail

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

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Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $3,360*
  • Commuter: $2,566*

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

Program Requirements

What to Pack

Students will need to bring a notebook and will be assigned a packet of poems before the class begins.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to show up for class with notebooks and the poetry packets. Occasionally, they will be assigned some poems to read or write out-of-class. Mainly, students should be prepared to read, write and share in class.

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Students are expected to be in class Monday-Friday, from 9:00am-4:00pm for the duration of the two-weeks. The class will be split into two components focusing on fiction and poetry. During the poetry section, students will do a combination of poetry analysis, discussion of poetic content/form, and in-class writing and sharing. Students will also have workshops, visiting writers, a field trip, and opportunities to go outside to write and explore campus.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Field Trips

Students will take a field trip to the Everson Museum (tentative) on the first Friday, August 2. Students will be given several hours to roam the museum and experience some of the visual art and experiment with writing based on visual prompts. The day prior, students will have discussed a specific assignment/idea based on ekphratic writing, or ways in which they may be inspired by visual art.

End Event

The end event will occur on the final day of class, Friday, August 9, at 2pm. There will be a reading where all students can share their favorite pieces of work with one another. Parents are invited and snacks will be provided! Students will feel accomplished about their work and secure within the writing community that they have been immersed in for the two weeks.

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave on Friday, August 9 upon the completion of the end event. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Instructor Bios

Bridget O’Bernstein

Bridget O’Bernstein is a third-year poet from Brooklyn in the MFA Program at Syracuse University. Her poems and essays have been published in The Bennington Review, Sugarhouse Review, Glittermob, decomP Magazine, Foundlings Press, Fugue, and Forklift, Ohio. Her favorite poets include: Marie Howe, Frank Stanford, Linda Gregg, and Louise Glück, and she studies the mystical elements of poetry as closely as the practical ones. She is researching several poets, whose poetry and backgrounds have inspired her own writing, including Frank Stanford, and she is working on a collection of poems that examine the boundary between the underneath and the overt.

She has experience teaching writing and literature to undergraduate students. In the context of teaching, she considers poetry a way to connect with the self, others, the unknown, and the most ruthless and lyrical route to honesty. In her classes, students are encouraged to explore a breadth of different writers, voices, styles within the context of poetry that should encourage them to take risks in their own work. This work will be shared and discussed in class so that students have the opportunity to give and receive feedback on the writing.

The Syracuse University Creative Writing Program

Syracuse University’s Creative Writing Program is a close-knit community of writers committed to addressing the challenges of the literary process. The MFA program is the crown jewel of Syracuse University’s English department and concentrates on the craft and quality of literary writing.

During its nearly 50-year history, the Creative Writing Program has produced an outstanding array of writers whose work has been published by major presses and magazines and has won prestigious awards. Distinguished faculty include George Saunders (winner of the MacArthur “Genius” grant), Mary Karr, poet and bestselling memoir author, Michael Burkard, Arthur Flowers, Brooks Haxton, Christopher Kennedy, Bruce Smith, Dana Spiotta, and Jonathan Dee. Graduates include Tom Perrotta, Jay McInerney, Larry Levis and Claire Messud. Recent graduates are M.T. Anderson G‘98, Rebecca Curtis G’01, and Phil LaMarche G’03 and Adam Levin G ’03.