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THE UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST MFA PROGRAM FOR POETS AND WRITERS is dedicated to the creation of new and important writing. For almost half a century, it has been a place for writers to concentrate on their work and to write their books.


The program also provides opportunities for writers to gain experience in the fields of literary publishing, scholarship, arts administration, and the practice of teaching. Our writers make significant contributions to contemporary letters through the publication of their work and in their roles as publishers, editors, educators, and in various fields in which writing and imagining are central.

Through the Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action, the program is a dynamic hub for readings, festivals, summer writing workshops, forums, and other literary activity. In addition, MFA candidates run a lively reading series and an online literary journal providing writers with opportunities to exchange new work.

New England's literary history is profound. Many people find the Connecticut River Valley a wonderful place to live. Throughout the region there are vibrant art, music, and dance venues, used and new bookstores, working farms, and restaurants. Within easy driving distance of New York and Boston, our community is abundant and varied. In addition to the many events sponsored by the MFA Program, the area is rich with other literary offerings. We're fortunate to have as  neighbors a dynamic range of institutions and organizations devoted to supporting the literary arts including Flying Object, Amherst Books, Smith Poetry Center, The Montague Bookmill, Grey Matter Books, the Jones Library, the Odyssey Bookshop, and Broadside Books, among others.

On June 7, 2012, the Library of Congress appointed Natasha Trethewey (MFA ’95) as the next United States Poet Laureate. Ms. Trethewey is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of three collections of poetry and is currently a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more about this event and listen to interviews on NPR at the links listed below:

Read the Library of Congress Press Release here, the New York Times article here. Listen to interviews with her on NPR and here.