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Taylor Brorby, Minneapolis, Published August 11 2013

Letter: Creating writing degree for ND?

For the past several months, I have been thinking about the writing life in North Dakota. With buttes, valleys, wetlands and scenic vistas, North Dakota, on the surface, is a writer’s paradise. Numerous writers have come from North Dakota – Eric Sevareid, Chuck Klostermann, Melanie Hoffert, Louis L’Amour, and Louise Erdrich. All of them left the state.

North Dakota is one of three states in the country without a graduate writing program in creative writing. (South Dakota and Hawaii are the other two.) For students ambitious enough to pursue the writing life, and want communities that foster writing, they learn one lesson early on in their writing development: get out. However, this can change, and it can change now.

North Dakota is in a unique position. With a boom occurring in the state, it would be prudent to invest in education, and education that leads to long-term change. Writing cultivates and creates a different means to see the world. By putting pen to paper, writers learn how to transcribe their thoughts, passions, and ideas onto the page in the hopes of sharing those ideas with others. In writing, we come to better know who we are.

North Dakota is a place rich with stories – Lewis and Clark explored this vast territory, Theodore Roosevelt roped cattle, and what about that time Aunt Betty shot her prized Holstein? There’s room enough for stories in North Dakota. Is there room enough for a graduate program in creative writing?