John Howard

Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative and Fiction Writing
John Howard
Contact John

Mail Code IA
John Howard
Emily Dickinson Hall 16

John T. Howard is a Colombian American writer of poetry and prose.

He has served as writer-in-residence at Wellspring House Retreat and as assistant director for the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He has taught in the writing departments at Babson College, Grand Valley State University, Siena Heights University, and Hope College. He publishes all fiction as Thomas Maya, under his matrilineal surname, and all poetry under John T. Howard; his work can be found in the pages of Witness, Salamander, PANK Magazine, Saranac Review, Notre Dame Review, The Acentos Review, and elsewhere. He is at work finishing three manuscripts while raising a daughter with his partner in the greater Boston area. Howard received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Indiana University

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • The writer must explore the world to write about the world accurately and honestly. This course is designed to incorporate creative writing field trips around campus and the areas immediately outside of campus. These explorative trips will provide writers with creatively immersive experiences designed to help writers generate new material for prose, CNF, and/or poetry. Activities may include hiking, journaling, image gathering, sensory scrutiny, collaborative notekeeping, plein-air drafting, field guide development, and improvisational readings. Additionally, we will read work by writers who privilege the natural world in their writing. Through focused examination of these works, we will uncover strategies for privileging the natural world in our writing projects. Writers we may consider include: Sjon, Cormac McCarthy, Ernest Hemingway, Claire Vaye Watkins, Melinda Moustakis, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir. Keywords:Field trips, Excursion, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry

  • Hybrid creative writing and literature course examining the etymology and creative practice of Magical Realism in fiction. Our topics of discussion may include cultural perspectives on the preternatural, artistic dissemination, pathways to cultural production, ethnic commodification, as well as questions on race and power related the literary arts. We will read short stories, one or more novellas, and a single novel written by a recent practitioner of the form. Through focused examination of these works, we will grow our understanding of techniques writers of such works use to infuse realism with "magical" elements. We will use these lessons to cultivate our own skills for crafting magically real stories. Writers we may consider include: Franz Roh, Juan Rulfo, Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Laura Esquivel, Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Safran Foer, and John Manuel Arias. Keywords:Short Story, Novel, Novella, Fiction, Magical Realism The content of this course deals with issues of race and power.

  • When crafting short stories, a writer makes the crucial choice of what point of view to utilize. This decision is monumental as POV is the prism through which the world of the story takes form. When moving between POVs, any story is reconfigured, altering all other aspects of storytelling craft. Our class will experiment with writing short fiction as we wrestle with the following POV questions: Who's telling the story? How is it being told? How does that choice impact our understanding of the events? How does this illuminate or obscure the lives of our characters? We will read and discuss the work of accomplished writers of the short story form. To explore the practice, we will also engage in short writing prompts designed to help us write our first short stories, and we will share work together, to discuss our growing understanding and control of the craft. Keywords:Creative Writing, Fiction, Workshop, Short Story

  • Hybrid creative writing and literature course examining the short story form to understand the myriad of Latinx voices encountered in the U.S. populace. This examination will allow us to consider competing categorical terms (e.g., Hispanic, Latino/a, Latin@, Latinx), and how such terms relate to the lived experiences and fictions of storytellers who come from such varied backgrounds. Our topics of discussion may include immigration, migration, marginalization, race and power, and assimilation. In addition, there will be an extensive focus on craft-based reading and writing skills. We will read short stories using techniques working writers embrace when reading, to learn how accomplished practitioners of short story craft engage in their practice. We will use these lessons to cultivate our own skills and our own stories. Writers we may consider include: John Manuel Arias, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Rodrigo Restrepo Montoya, Bryan Washington, and Justin Torres Keywords:Creative Writing, Literature, Workshop, Latino/a Studies, Latinx