The Creationists

Theses run the gamut from poetry collections to original dance performances

Krane began taking creative writing classes his freshman year, starting with a nonfiction creative writing workshop taught by lecturer Darcy Frey. Next Krane took a poetry workshop taught by Professor Jorie Graham, who is now his thesis advisor.

Krane noted that the application process, specifically the outline of the project, is somewhat difficult to apply to poetry. “It seems like in a way you can’t know where you’re going before you start it,” Krane says. Still, he does have a loose framework in mind for his collection—Krane’s poems will take fairy tales and myths and rework them to reflect personal ideas and events from his past. One particular myth that interests Krane is a Japanese folk tale entitled “The Crane Wife.” He plans on including anywhere between 50 and 100 poems in his collection.


Junior English concentrator Ethan G. Loewi ’15, an inactive Crimson magazine editor, was awarded a creative thesis in fiction. Like Krane, Loewi came into Harvard with creative writing as one of his primary interests; taking creative writing classes while here only cemented that. “The fact that I’m not doing a critical thesis in no way suggests that I did not enjoy the more critical English classes that I have taken,” Loewi says. “But for me the difference is between something that interests me and something that I am really profoundly passionate about.”

Loewi says he would like to write about the Internet, exploring the ways in which it can connect people but also cut people off from one another and amplify loneliness. “The process I have to go through now is taking my broad, general vision and passing it through a million filters to wean it down to a number of specific divisions for individual stories and worry about how they interlock,” Loewi explains. “It’s just a very long process of refinement, but I love my subject material and the act of writing so much that I really don’t mind the grunt work.”

Not all students who end up writing creative theses come to Harvard intending to pursue creative work. Prior to his freshman year, Kevin Sun ’14, an active Crimson magazine editor, had never done serious creative writing. Though Sun started writing for Fifteen Minutes early in his college career, and enjoyed doing so, he envisioned himself writing a critical thesis, possibly focusing on Joyce.

But then Sun decided to take Frey’s creative nonfiction workshop in the fall of his junior year to keep the option of applying for a creative thesis open. The class had an impact—early in the spring, Sun applied to write a creative thesis.

A year later, Sun’s leap of faith manifested in his completion of a collection of creative nonfiction essays. The narratives address his experiences as a young musician learning how to improvise and being on the jazz scene. A jazz saxophonist enrolled in the joint program between Harvard and the New England Conservatory, Sun drew on his experiences during his summers in New York City to write his thesis.


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