Events
  • Shila Khatami

    Oct 04| Lectures
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    Though Shila Khatami’s paintings make use of pop cultural references—sometimes the titles quote Blondie or Cyndi Lauper lyrics—her works are ultimately about the tradition and material possibilities of painting. As the base for these works, Khatami uses readymade or manufactured objects found in common hardware stores, such as smooth sheets of aluminum, fiberboards, pegboards, and phonic isolation foam. Her painting process includes a wide range of non-traditional tools, like rubber bands and masking tape, and methods such as rolling, dripping, and scoring.

  • John Keene

    Oct 05| Lectures
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    John Keene is the author of the novels Annotations and Counternarratives, as well as several other works, including the poetry collection Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse, and a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer. The recipient of a Whiting Award, Keene has been a member of the Dark Room Writers Collective and a Cave Canem fellow. He has served as the managing editor of Callaloo and taught at Northwestern. He currently teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and lives in New York.

  • Leonardo Bravo is an artist, curator, and educator and the Founder of Big City Forum. Big City Forum is an interdisciplinary project designed to explore the intersection between design-based creative disciplines (Design, Architecture, Urban Planning, etc) that take into account public space and the built environment. Big City Forum facilitates the exchange of ideas through gatherings, symposiums, exhibitions, and special events that promote forward-thinking projects and the individuals at the forefront of this vision.

  • Chris Coy

    Oct 11| Lectures
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    Chris Coy is an artist and filmmaker. His work has shown at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Sundance Film Festival, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, the Netherlands Media Art Institute, and numerous international art festivals and exhibitions. He received his MFA from the University of Southern California in 2012. He is represented by Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles.

  • Professor Karen Tongson joined the USC faculty in English and Gender Studies in fall 2005. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to USC, Tongson held a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship in Literature at UC San Diego, and a UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Residential Research Fellowship at UC Irvine.

  • Artist Polly Apfelbaum in conversation with David Pagel, within Apfelbaum's exhibition Face (Geometry) (Naked) Eyes.

     

  • Patrick Jackson studied at San Francisco Art Institute (BFA) and the University of Southern California (MFA). In May 2017, Patrick Jackson will have a solo exhibition at The Wattis Institute, San Francisco.

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Graduate Writing

An emerging author today will work in many forms over the course of his or her career—Otis prepares its Graduate Writing students for a full range of possibilities.

Our students are free to write in any genre they choose without needing to declare a concentration, and our Workshops reflect this openness: Poets and fiction writers and essayists all gather around the same seminar table discussing each other’s work with two Faculty members who together offer a range of experience.

This team-taught interdisciplinary approach fosters experimentation, cross-pollination, and unexpected discoveries. Poets might encounter narrative forms they can then employ (or controvert) in verse; fiction writers may reconsider how they’re using language and think in new ways on the level of the sentence; and in some cases, new hybrid forms may emerge.

Develop your unique voice and figure out how to lead a sustainable writing life.
Along side the Workshops, one-on-one mentoring is written into the curriculum in the form of Tutorials: Each student is paired with a Faculty member who her or himself is working in that student’s area of greatest interest.

The Tutorial becomes what each student and Faculty member decide to make of it, which may include: directed reading related to the student’s current projects; manuscript preparation; practical counseling according to student needs (querying agents, finding the right publisher, entering chapbook contests, etc.).

Perhaps most importantly, the Tutorial can become the place where a student figures out how he or she will exit Otis with the momentum and skills to sustain a meaningful writing life.

Complete the program with a project that will become your first book.
Our MFA degree culminates with a creative thesis in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or literary translation. The goal is for each student head off with a manuscript that is well on its way to becoming a first book.

Collaborate with Faculty to design your seminars.
Unique to Otis are innovative Writing Colloquiums, reading seminars designed by Faculty in collaboration with graduate students.

Students are invited to suggest topics of special interest to them, from technical issues (like point-of-view or unreliable narration, etc.) to particular authors they want to study in-depth (Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, etc.) to currents in contemporary fiction and poetry (ethics in literature, political fiction, jazz and poetry, etc.). The faculty then takes these suggestions, adds them to their own on-going concerns, and puts together courses for the following semester (which like the Workshops are team-taught).

The end result is a curriculum that is dynamic and keyed in to what fascinates the collective Graduate Writing community.

Meet writers, editors, and translators from around the world.
Students will get to work consistently with dedicated Faculty, but it’s important that they also encounter a diversity of voices, methods, and alternate ways of inhabiting the literary world. Our biweekly Visiting Writers Series brings in writers, translators, and editors from around the country and abroad to meet and talk with students, sharing their work and expertise.

Work at a small press.
Housed in our writing program is our own small press, Otis Books, which is staffed by students and guided by Faculty. Each year we publish four to six titles, at least one of which is a work in translation. Student editors put out calls for new manuscripts, make selections, and then see the work through the editorial process and production. Alumni have gone on to start their own presses and work in independent publishing.

Build up your teaching resumé.
Our students regularly TA for courses offered in the Otis undergraduate department of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This becomes a great way to gain experience in the classroom and to make one’s CV attractive in a competitive academic market.

Study full- or part-time.
Though the program is full-residency, students have the option of enrolling on a full-time or part-time basis. Our small size and selective nature ensure an exemplary student/faculty ratio and allow us to guarantee all full-time students two years of partial fellowship support to assist with the overall tuition, as well as employment through the teaching and publishing practicums.


Thrive in a creative environment.
Studying writing in an art school means that as a writer you are taken seriously as an artist.

Inspiration is everywhere, and the other graduate and undergraduate programs at Otis—including those in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, Digital Media, Illustration, and Book Arts—offer the possibility for interdisciplinary projects.

Find community in Los Angeles.
Our program is enriched by the eclectic literary resources of Los Angeles, its book festivals, reading series, galleries and museums, small presses, legendary writers’ haunts, and independent bookstores.

We live in a complex sprawling city—but by being a part of the writing program at Otis, you have the chance to find your literary community and make connections that will last a lifetime.

 Apply Now

 

See our Otis Books page for information about our upcoming titles.