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rooblue


Apr 26, 2006, 10:54 PM

Post #76 of 430 (8790 views)
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Re: [littlecities] Columbia Can't Post

I must say I find this rather dispiriting. I am not familiar with these two writers, but I know a number of writers with substantial publishing credits who teach comp at community colleges because that's what is available. Meanwhile positions in the Columbia MFA program are held by non-writers. Doesn't Columbia also have Ben Marcus, whose tastes are so rarified he doesn't even like Jonathan Franzen? So Franzen isn't worthy of consideration, but these no-names are? Maybe I'm missing something?


__________



Apr 27, 2006, 1:05 AM

Post #77 of 430 (8765 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Columbia Can't Post

Marcus just thinks Franzen is a boob...because Franzen is obsessed with popularity and making money--while also being obsessed about not appearing to have too big of an interest in those things. Franzen also has some wacky ideas about who reads in America, and is generally misinformed and condescending.

Marcus is probably also jealous of his success.

I don't think any of it really has to do with the style or talent of either.


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Clench Million
Charles

Apr 27, 2006, 2:24 AM

Post #78 of 430 (8758 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Columbia Can't Post


Quote
Maybe I'm missing something?


Well, here is the little that I know.
- Mark Slouka, the guy who wrote the article was given tenure at every level but then was denied at the top beurocracy. Which is to say, everone at the writing division and school of the arts wanted him, but the upper administration denied him.
- Ben Marcus used to just be a professor and is now a ficiton director, but he isn't he chair and isn't in charge of hiring, so whether he personally likes Franzen or not doesn't have much to do, I don't think, with whether Franzen would get hired over unqualified adjuncts.
- I can't pretend to know about Columbia's hiring and firing practices, but just looking at their website its clear all the full-time faculty members (at least) have solid publication and award records. Maybe Slouka was talking about adjunct non-writers? I dunno, but a quick glance on the Columbia website under adjunct faculty shows most of them with several books out.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 27, 2006, 2:38 AM

Post #79 of 430 (8757 views)
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Re: [littlecities] Columbia Can't Post

littlecities:
Sorry to hear about your bad undergrad experience. But just for the general record, neither Rapheal or Rose are listed as full-time or adjunct faculty in Columbia's MFA program. Currently at least. From my understanding, the undergrad creative writing courses (there isn't a major I don't think, right?) is quite seperate from the School of the Arts and the Writing Division.

Dewey:

Yes, it certainly does seem like a love it/hate it place.
As I've said before on this board, everyone I've met in real life who was a Columbia grad loved the program and talked fondly of it. Slouka and Sullivan are the first first hand accounts of people who disliked Columbia (although Slouka was a teacher, not a studnet) I've seen. Not that I"m saying they are the only ones, just saying most people I've talked to love it.

One thing I found odd in Sullivan's blog is she ends it saying something like "sometimes I wish I'd gone to the New School and not had all this debt." Just found it odd since a) I thought the new School cost just as much and had just as bad funding and b) if she hated her columbia experience so much, why would it be a "sometimes" thought? Wouldn't she always be wishing she went elsewhere?


Dewey


Apr 27, 2006, 10:04 AM

Post #80 of 430 (8728 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia Can't Post


In Reply To

One thing I found odd in Sullivan's blog is she ends it saying something like "sometimes I wish I'd gone to the New School and not had all this debt." Just found it odd since a) I thought the new School cost just as much and had just as bad funding and b) if she hated her columbia experience so much, why would it be a "sometimes" thought? Wouldn't she always be wishing she went elsewhere?


Clench,
I was wondering about that too. I just thought that it couldn't have been all that bad. And...I'm real big on getting the whole story and certainly that usually includes both sides of it. Don't believe that I'm saying I don't believe what she's saying...I don't know Sullivan...so...anyway. I get the sense from her "cocaine 'problem'" parenthetical that she's had that misrepresentation thing happen to her. And that's very damaging. However...
How is it that she "sometimes" wishes she had gone to NS, yet she can put six Profs under the category of "positive highlights" to her time at Columbia? And two of classes taken with two of those insturctors were workshops. Personally, I don't expect to like every prof or enjoy each workshop. Personally, I'd be happy with a 50% ratio of enjoyment. She lists nine friends she made there and other people she probably forgot. I don't know, I haven't even applied to any MFA yet, so I don't know how many friends made in a program is average, but that seems pretty fair. Even for a large program, which are probably more likely to form cliques (generalization). Anyway...it doesn't seem like a vast wasteland that she stepped into at Columbia. And as I noted above - I'm impressed by how someone who's unhappy with a program finds so many things to be happy with.
I can certainly understand being angry at a Prof who talks behind your back or to your face in the presence of others about personal issues. In fact, maybe that's why the admin hates her - because the rumor mill was spinnin' full speed with her in it. I have no clue. Maybe she's implying that in her context. As Sarandipity rightly pointed out, I missed the context of her "Agents? Editors? Authors? I met these fine people and friends MYSELF" statement, so I could be missing something else.
I still stand by what I said in that earlier post about other people's experiences - that was my point really, my point wasn't to slam on Sullivan - you really don't know for sure until you've had your own experience how the MFA experience (at any school) will be for you. You've heard that argument of "I know how you feel" responded to with "No you don't, you never been through this." Well, even if you've been through it, you may react differently. And I stand by my earlier statement about attitude - you'll probably get out of Columbia what you put into it. And I stand by what I said about your, Clench, personal attitude towards Columbia. It seems very positive. And that's what you want to do - go in high about a program, not full of doubt based on other people's opinions or experiences. I don't know Sullivan or Slouka or you, but I'd bet that all your personalities are different and that you'd all react differently to the same stimuli...anyway...whatever. It seems like you'll get on well at Columbia is all I'm saying.
I probably wouldn't. But I've already made my financial situation clear. And how I'm only applying to schools that can (and will) fund me. But I'm not you. Neither is anybody else. So, you're the one who's going, so you're the one who's feelings about the program you should worry about. It's good to stay informed and get a consensus about potential poison in a program, but it seems like you've met enough people who are happy enough with the school that you can give it a go in good conscience.
Good luck to you!


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 28, 2006, 2:33 PM

Post #81 of 430 (8656 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia Can't Post

http://www.columbiaspectator.com/.../04/28/4451c71991adc

"Defending the Writing Program", a response in the Columbia Spectator to Mark Slouka's piece a few days ago.


Clench Million
Charles

May 12, 2006, 2:04 PM

Post #82 of 430 (8526 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia Can't Post

Ben Marcus was named new head of the writing division. Yay!


sanssoleil
Chris

May 13, 2006, 10:59 AM

Post #83 of 430 (8485 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia Can't Post

His stock sure has risen these last couple of years. Marcus is already one of the most imitated writers around...curious to see if this amplifies the trend. I'd say Columbia just moved up a few slots in my convoluted "ranking" system.


__________



May 13, 2006, 12:49 PM

Post #84 of 430 (8470 views)
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Re: [sanssoleil] Columbia Can't Post

Interesting. So who do you consider to be a Marcus imitator? I can only think of Mathew Derby, who also went to Brown--his work is similar, but I wouldn't call him an imitator, really.


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sanssoleil
Chris

May 13, 2006, 3:20 PM

Post #85 of 430 (8456 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Columbia Can't Post

Matthew Derby and ShelleyJackson (certain stories) come to mind, though as you point out, they both attended Brown with Marcus (I think--so maybe it's all Coover's fault)...so who's to say who's imitating whom. But I check out 5_trope and Conjunctions and other supposedly avant-something journals now and again, and I notice a lot of Marcus-esque language-fantasy...although maybe Marcus simply inspires people to read Barthelme, since that's the guy who taught Marcus all of his tricks anyway. I also notice a Marcus-aping trend in a lot of fiction by people who no one here would know about--friends, aspiring writers, internet correspondents, etc. The problem is that the style is so seductive and also so easy to imitate.


harvardmfa


Dec 13, 2006, 7:07 PM

Post #86 of 430 (8301 views)
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When does Columbia notify its applicants? Can't Post

Any idea when Columbia notifies its applicants about acceptance/rejection?


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 15, 2006, 3:08 AM

Post #87 of 430 (8247 views)
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Re: [harvardmfa] When does Columbia notify its applicants? Can't Post

I was notified at the very end of Feb. The rejectios I think came later and in waves, though I'm not positive.


Aubrie


Dec 20, 2006, 11:51 AM

Post #88 of 430 (8165 views)
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Literary Reponse? Can't Post

How is everyone handling the Literary Response part of the Columbia app? I kind of take it to be a "workshopping" of sorts on a recently published book in your genre. Am I wrong in thinking this?

Any current applicants (or even current students... ahem...cough cough Clench?) that could offer some insight?


jobieh
Jobie Hughes

Dec 22, 2006, 1:23 PM

Post #89 of 430 (8086 views)
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In the Mail! Can't Post

Columbia is in the mail! Good luck to all who have applied, and also to those still finishing up their applications with celerity. And here's to hoping I'm one of the top eighty! ha. Man I need a drink...

Does anyone else drop their application in the mail and immediately have a strong sense of malaise?


(This post was edited by jobieh on Dec 22, 2006, 1:24 PM)


harvardmfa


Dec 22, 2006, 8:25 PM

Post #90 of 430 (8041 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

I'd be interested in an answer to this question as well.

Aubrie, I sent in all of my application, except the Literary Response, which I'm still working on at the moment. I'm writing about Mary Gaitskill's Veronica. It was a lot harder than I thought to find something written and published in the last 10 years that I wanted to write about for this essay. What did you end up writing about?

Good luck!


jobieh
Jobie Hughes

Dec 23, 2006, 8:38 AM

Post #91 of 430 (8010 views)
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Re: [harvardmfa] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

Hi Harvard. I think Veronica is a good book to do your literary response on, and there is plenty to write about on it. I wrote mine on Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. It's probably a more popular book than what most will write on but it was beautifully written and far more literary than I anticipated going in. I wrote about what made it so good, where it struggled, where it might have been improved. I did a short paragraph synopsis. And I also talked about the hype of this book and how Ms. Setterfield was compared to Dickens and the Brontes before it was even published. We'll see. Going to be a long two or three months...


(This post was edited by jobieh on Dec 23, 2006, 8:43 AM)


Elika619


Dec 23, 2006, 11:43 AM

Post #92 of 430 (8000 views)
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Re: [jobieh] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

Jobie,

I loved loved loved The Thirteenth Tale. Back during my old life I was the publicist for that book at Simon & Schuster. Diane Setterfield is amazing! I wrote my literary response on Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Interpreter of Maladies." I felt like mine was definitely more of a response than a book report or analysis. I hope that flies with them....I guess I"ll find out in March!

Elika


jobieh
Jobie Hughes

Dec 23, 2006, 6:17 PM

Post #93 of 430 (7970 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

Hi Elika. I have to agree with you on The Thirteenth Tale; I was pretty much blown away by it. It was the best contemporary book I read this year that was written in the past ten years, and that's why I chose to write my response on it. I don't really think it matters one way or the other what we chose to write about, and it was simply to see if we can intelligently talk about another writers work in a writerly manner, such as we'll be doing in workshops. I have merely heard of the book you mentioned and am always on the lookout for new reads; did you enjoy it? Anyways best of luck on Columbia! Come the end of February I hope we are both able to post the good news here!

--Jobie


(This post was edited by jobieh on Dec 23, 2006, 6:59 PM)


alishein


Dec 28, 2006, 3:06 PM

Post #94 of 430 (7903 views)
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Re: [jobieh] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

I wrote my literary essay on a story by Alexsandar Hemon. It was a short paper that I had written for one of my grad classes but it was sort of a mix of response to literary style (this particular story had a normal narrative and then a second one made up of footnotes) and a critical analysis. Now I'm a little worried based on all of your responses about doing a sort of 'workshop' style response (which makes complete sense now that I think about it). Oh well - it's in the mail... Also - I'm now very excited to read The 13th Tale.


Clench Million
Charles

Jan 5, 2007, 5:38 PM

Post #95 of 430 (7803 views)
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Re: [alishein] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

I wouldn't worry to much about the essay. I honestly was so busy with everything that I didn't do it till very late the night before I had to send it out. It was nothing special, and I was accepted (and it has been a great experience so far.)

Good luck.


jobieh
Jobie Hughes

Mar 5, 2007, 2:24 PM

Post #96 of 430 (7591 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

Any current or former students care to chime in about the Columbia experience? I've just been accepted there without funding and am a little apprehensive about it all. There have been some great discussions though, notably this one:



"Congrats to all who got into Columbia--it's a very, very strong (i.e. top 15) program, and getting in says a lot about your talents. There's nothing anyone could ever say which would take away from that amazing accomplishment. Period.

That said, the funding is an absolute scandal. If you have outstanding student debt (like from another graduate degree) you're not going to be able to go. If you have bad credit you're not going to be able to go. If you're anything other than a) fabulously wealthy, or b) willing to suffer crippling debt for the next fifteen years--and as a lawyer, I'm learning now how devastating a high debt burden can be to your credit (want a mortgage? A car? A personal loan?)--you're not going to be able to make the numbers work. Five years from now, when the Michigan and Cornell grads have zero student debt and the Columbia grads $110,000, what's Columbia's justification going to be? That Michigan grads don't excel in the marketplace? Please.

Columbia made sense pre-1990, when there were only a handful of decent programs and when few programs were (as maybe half of the top fifty programs are now) free or close to free.

Now there are roughly 20 programs who have the same or close to the same reputation as Columbia (by "close to the same," I mean something less than $110,000 worth of difference) in the field of creative writing who also offer outstanding funding packages and don't suffer from the sort of homogeneous workshop environment engendered by only allowing rich kids to matriculate. Columbia's goal is to scare you into thinking that if you're not living in New York City for the next two years--two years, out of a writing career which might span 50!--you're not going to make it as a professional writer. Sorry, but I think Iowa, Michigan, Cornell, Brown, Texas, Irvine, Washington, Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Florida, Arizona, Wash U, Houston, and Indiana grads do just fine and have ample support post-graduation from their school's alumni. Not to mention that their reputations are--in this field at least, which is all that matters--on par with Columbia's or so close to on par that we can accurately say the following: provided you write well (always a prerequisite), nothing about going to __________ instead of Columbia will do anything but help you enormously in your career as a writer.

I say all this so that for those of you with strong offers elsewhere--i.e., top twenty schools which actually offer funding--you'll take those offers seriously. I've only recently learned how debt catches up with you, and I'm 30. Those of you who are younger and who still have time to make a different choice (so long as you're still going to a program with a similar reputation: and yes, Virginia, there are such programs!) are the ones I direct this comment to. Columbia is one of the only MFA programs left in the country which could accurately be described as a "cash cow," and from the looks of their website (just go to the FAQ and look up "financial aid," you'll be amused) they don't intend on changing a damn thing anytime soon.

And no, this isn't some sort of Ivy League envy. I've been to two Ivies and both actually funded their students properly."



Anything at all you can offer up is greatly appreciated. And also, is it possible (and by possible I mean realistic) to go there without funding and without being independently wealthy? Also, what has the experience been like? If you could do it over again would you? Is the financial burden so great as to diminish an otherwise top program?



Glinda Bamboo


Mar 5, 2007, 3:52 PM

Post #97 of 430 (7551 views)
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Re: [jobieh] columbia funding Can't Post

You know, Columbia is not for me because of the funding, but that doesn't mean you should automatically listen to someone else's complaints and doubt your decision. That was the only school you applied to (there must have been a good reason for that) and you were surely aware of the funding situation in the beginning. Columbia seems to work well for people. Until I read some of the posts that appeared within the last few hours, I always had the impression that Columbia had a very strong program, and that most students were happy. Is it more accessible for the rich? Well, yeah, it would seem so. But if you feel this is the place for you, then do it.

I agree that Columbia's funding issue is an overwhelming one (and is why I didn't even consider applying) but I also don't get the sudden hostile tone some of the threads are taking.

(This post was edited by Glinda Bamboo on Mar 5, 2007, 10:41 PM)


jobieh
Jobie Hughes

Mar 5, 2007, 4:06 PM

Post #98 of 430 (7535 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] colubmia funding Can't Post

Thanks a ton Glinda, and I agree. Columbia is certainly where I want to go and where I will go come September, and yes I was aware of the funding issues, but now that I'm in it seems the reality has smacked me square in the face. I'm not wealthy, far from it, but somehow I'll make it work. I've already talked to financial aid and am emailing back and forth now with Alan Ziegler, the person who called me, and my anxiety has assuaged a bit.

But thanks a lot for the post. Sometimes it takes hearing someone else reiterate the things we know to realize we have made the right decision. I think that is why therapists are so damn popular...

--Jobie


In Reply To
You know, Columbia is not be for me because of the funding, but that doesn't mean you should automatically listen to someone else's complaints and doubt your decision. That was the only school you applied to (there must have been a good reason for that) and you were surely aware of the funding situation in the beginning. Columbia seems to work well for people. Until I read some of the posts that appeared within the last few hours, I always had the impression that Columbia had a very strong program, and that most students were happy. Is it more accessible for the rich? Well, yeah, it would seem so. But if you feel this is the place for you, then do it.

I agree that Columbia's funding issue is an overwhelming one (and is why I didn't even consider applying) but I also don't get the sudden hostile tone some of the threads are taking.



piratelizzy


Mar 5, 2007, 4:19 PM

Post #99 of 430 (7524 views)
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Re: [jobieh] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

jobie,

It's worth looking around to figure out a way to afford it. I'll agree with Seth that debt has a way of catching up with you quickly, and of becoming crippling. On the other hand, now you've been admitted, here's an opportunity to storm the castle. Life in NYC and its environs is expensive, no matter what some people say. I work two jobs (and have to live in NJ) and barely make ends meet at a very basic level of middle class existence. No luxuries here. You might be able to get by on some aid, some loan plus a part-time job and a lot of budgeting. At least look into the possibilities. It's probably going to take a lot of planning and PB&J sandwiches, but it's not impossible. I say go for it.

[edit]After tuition[/endedit] your biggest single expense will most likely be rent, followed by food. If you can find a good deal on a place (say $400-500/month in Queens, with roomie), I'd say that's half your battle. Maybe Columbia can help with housing. Housing in NY ain't cheap, but you can save on food. Near NYU there are tons of places to get really cheap food ($5-7), and I imagine it's the same in Columbia's neighborhood.


'sup?!

(This post was edited by piratelizzy on Mar 5, 2007, 4:36 PM)


umass76


Mar 5, 2007, 4:33 PM

Post #100 of 430 (7508 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Literary Reponse? Can't Post

Jobie,

I hope no one misunderstood my comments; if someone has applied to one school because it's where they want to be more than anywhere else--as is the case with you, I think you've said--I say more power to them. It's incredibly brave to apply to one school and incredibly awesome that the gamble paid off and you got in. My hat is off to you, totally. I have every confidence you'll find a way to make this work; it's a challenge, but obviously you'll embrace that challenge with the same spirit and determination as you did the challenge of getting into a top school like Columbia in the first place! While I'll cop to some hostile feelings toward Columbia, it's not because the program is anything other than top-shelf--it's big, yes, but some like that about it; it's unfavorably reviewed by some graduates, but so are many, many other top programs--rather, it's because the funding makes it tougher for folks like you to realize their dreams there. So if I'm angry, I'm angry "on your behalf" (so to speak; I hope that doesn't sound patronizing, I think you know what I mean!). I'm totally pulling for you, man, and as I said, I'm certain you'll make it work and will have a good experience there (and hey, even if you don't, you still have a Columbia degree, dude, buck up!).

Best wishes,
Seth

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