Sep 7, 2004, 3:02 PM
Post #2 of 76
Dear Joy --
Re: [joysan] Best Poetry MFA & MA Programs
I don't know much about that program, but I do know it's rare to get full funding anywhere. Especially in this economy. But no use second-guessing choices; I'm one of those people who believe things turn out.
The 2 programs I've been to I've really liked. I did an MFA at Bennington's low-res Writing Seminars. The faculty includes April Bernard, Ed Ochester, Liam Rector, Jason Shinder, David Lehman, Amy Gerstler, Henri Cole, E. Ethelbert Miller. (I thought Jane Hirshfield was still teaching there too, but she's not listed on the site; Thomas Sayers Ellis was teaching there when I was in the program, and he was awesome). I studied with Thomas, Ed, April, and Jane. A very fulfilling experience.
I'm doing a creative phd at Houston now. Faculty are Mark Doty, Tony Hoagland, Claudia Rankine, Nick Flynn, Adam Zagajewski, Kimiko Hahn (beginning Fall 2005), and Bob Phillips. I'd recommend the program, now. (When I entered, it was restructuring and I had a really bad workshop experience -- it was hell, but things have changed).
The best thing to do is to go to the AWP site (www.awpwriter.org) and check out the huge list of MFA programs. Do some research on the faculty. Talk to students in those programs.
Anyone's list of top MFA programs in this country will vary. People tend to say programs like Iowa, Houston, Brown, UF, FSU, Western Michigan, Utah, Warren Wilson, UVA, Maryland, Hopkins.....even this tiny list here makes me uneasy.....it's subjective, and the most competitive programs don't necessarily mean they're the best for you. There's a blog I secretly adore and read of an Iowa grad who says his 2 years there were "a wash."
Maybe most competitive is what you need as a poet. But that's a bit alien to me, so maybe my advice isn't so good....And, I think you'll find, especially among younger poets, EVERY program has its competitive edge. It's good that programs are nurturing and supportive too.
In any event, good luck!