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motet
Dana Davis / Moderator

Jan 21, 2007, 9:45 AM

Post #1 of 49 (14334 views)
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The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

This topic is for discussions about the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Michener Center's MFA in Writing has a multi-genre emphasis: students work in at least two areas--chosen from fiction, poetry, playwriting and screenwriting--exploring new voices and forms while developing a body of work in a primary field of concentration.

The MFA is a three-year, 54 semester-hour degree. Students are in residence and enrolled full-time.

The link above to their web site provides more detailed information.

(This post was edited by motet on Jan 21, 2007, 9:48 AM)


Lucianaf


Jan 21, 2007, 3:36 PM

Post #2 of 49 (14259 views)
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Re: [motet] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Anyone else having trouble checking if their materials got through to Austin? I mailed my stuff on 1.3, but their web site still says the grad school hasn't gotten my transcripts, and the writing program said they can't check to see if my sample got there. Yarg!!


v1ctorya


Jan 21, 2007, 4:16 PM

Post #3 of 49 (14244 views)
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Re: [Lucianaf] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

The site tells me everything is there, don't know about the transcript though - I mean, I delivery confirmed so know from that SOMEONE has it.

OH, but it took about a month for it all to show (I mailed everything by 12/15)


HopperFu


Jan 21, 2007, 4:40 PM

Post #4 of 49 (14240 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Could be the winter break effect, as well.... Schools are just starting up again in full swing.


Lucianaf


Jan 21, 2007, 8:21 PM

Post #5 of 49 (14188 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

HopperFu, you are likely correct -I just checked again on an obsessive compulsive whim, and my transcripts are now marked as received as of 1/8.

v1ctorya, if I ever have to do this again, I am totally springing for delivery confirmation; it would have been worth the peace of mind.


Ms. Mystery


Jan 22, 2007, 1:20 AM

Post #6 of 49 (14147 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Keep in mind that, with the Ice Apocalypse of 2007, mail has been a little slower here than usual. UT had two snow days last week.

By the way, I'm a current Michener student and will happily answer some questions-- PM me if you want to know about the program. And good luck to everybody! I remember freaking out about the application process last year & it was rough. Take care!

X
Sarah


wildmind1


Jan 22, 2007, 1:50 PM

Post #7 of 49 (14084 views)
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Re: [motet] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Does anyone know when MCW generally notifies its applicants or if there is a waiting list? I hear they are expecting hundreds of applications. I, too, applied and am keeping my fingers crossed.


Elika619


Jan 22, 2007, 2:06 PM

Post #8 of 49 (14071 views)
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Re: [wildmind1] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

I think, unfortunately, they notify people on the later side, around late March. I'm not sure if it's earlier if you are accepted....


renapoo


Jan 22, 2007, 6:07 PM

Post #9 of 49 (14018 views)
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Re: [Ms. Mystery] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post


In Reply To
By the way, I'm a current Michener student and will happily answer some questions-- PM me if you want to know about the program.

I think everybody would be interested to know about the faculty situation, since there's been some discussion about how iffy it seems. Are your classes mostly taught by visiting faculty that changes each semester? And, of course, how do you like the faculty, are they accessible, etc.?

oh, and you're in poetry, right?


Purple Frosting


Jan 22, 2007, 7:26 PM

Post #10 of 49 (13982 views)
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Re: [Ms. Mystery] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Dear All,
I had sent my transcripts in to Michener Ctr on Jan. 5 and they were still not showing up as having been received as of yesterday, so I phoned the graduate admissions office for U Texas Austin, and spoke with the person who had signed for receiving my packet (I sent it on an express mail service) on Jan. 9. She said that the university is dealing with thousands of applications and it may take a few weeks for them to update their online status information to reflect the reality of what materials have been received.
Not to panic.....
Best wishes to all.


Ms. Mystery


Jan 23, 2007, 12:34 AM

Post #11 of 49 (13927 views)
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Re: [renapoo] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

A few general answers and a caveat: this is only my second semester and I'm still getting the lay of the land, but the professors I've worked with so far have been helpful and available and all that good stuff. (And actually, I think I already know who I want to advise my thesis.) Of course, because of the visiting faculty model, there can be a great degree of variance from semester to semester--last semester, two of my three courses were taught by visiting writers, but this time around they're all with permanent faculty. Because the Michener Center shares resources with the UT's English department, there are more permanent faculty than it may seem at first. Also, because we have primary and secondary concentrations (mine are poetry and fiction respectively) some semesters will be heavier on one genre than the other. The big picture, though, is that I prioritized financial support, location, and teaching load (none!) over faculty, so this program is a great fit for me.

I hope that's helpful. I don't mind answering more specific questions, but I would rather answer them out of the public forum.

X
Sarah


steelcity


Jun 7, 2008, 1:38 PM

Post #12 of 49 (13382 views)
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Question for Michener Alum or Current Students Can't Post

For any past or present Michener students out there:

I'm a prospective applicant to the program (Fall 2009, poetry & undecided about secondary genre). I have a couple of questions about the program that I'm hoping someone can shed some light on. The excellent funding situation at Michener seems unparalleled -- my only concern is that the lack of TA experience may not bode well on the academic job market down the road, both for the resume and more importantly because of the lack of teacher training. Have people found this to be the case or is it really a non-issue? Do people feel that experience working in the Writers in the Schools program served as adequate preparation for undergraduate teaching? I know of course that publication is paramount on the job market, but do people feel that the lack of a TA component to funding has affected their preparation for teaching at all?

Second question: Michener is also unique in that there is the 2nd MA Creative Writing program in the UT English department. Can any current or past students speak to the relationship between the two programs? As Michener seems better funded and more prestigious than the MA program, I wonder if this leads to any tension between students and faculty?

Basically, Michener looks like a dream program (3 yrs, excellent funding, cool town, etc.), but before I send off my application this fall, it would be helpful to delve a bit deeper than the website.

*K



__________



Jun 10, 2008, 4:38 AM

Post #13 of 49 (13256 views)
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Re: [steelcity] Question for Michener Alum or Current Students Can't Post

I am not a current or former Michener student. I can share the experience of a friend: he did something similar to the writers in the schools program and felt he was better-prepared for teaching than those who just did a wimpy TA. He also reports that each school had different feelings concerning the whole TA issue.

My own feelings are that the pope has a better chance of catching AIDS than either one of us has of (1) getting into Michener and then (2) finding a solid teaching job with no book or PhD. We should be worrying about more productive things -- like lightning, or whether that one co-worker is a terrorist.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jun 10, 2008, 4:39 AM)


sarahc


Jun 18, 2008, 1:35 PM

Post #14 of 49 (13115 views)
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Re: [steelcity] Question for Michener Alum or Current Students Can't Post


In Reply To
For any past or present Michener students out there:

I'm a prospective applicant to the program (Fall 2009, poetry & undecided about secondary genre). I have a couple of questions about the program that I'm hoping someone can shed some light on. The excellent funding situation at Michener seems unparalleled -- my only concern is that the lack of TA experience may not bode well on the academic job market down the road, both for the resume and more importantly because of the lack of teacher training. Have people found this to be the case or is it really a non-issue? Do people feel that experience working in the Writers in the Schools program served as adequate preparation for undergraduate teaching? I know of course that publication is paramount on the job market, but do people feel that the lack of a TA component to funding has affected their preparation for teaching at all?

Second question: Michener is also unique in that there is the 2nd MA Creative Writing program in the UT English department. Can any current or past students speak to the relationship between the two programs? As Michener seems better funded and more prestigious than the MA program, I wonder if this leads to any tension between students and faculty?

Basically, Michener looks like a dream program (3 yrs, excellent funding, cool town, etc.), but before I send off my application this fall, it would be helpful to delve a bit deeper than the website.

*K




sarahc


Jun 18, 2008, 1:36 PM

Post #15 of 49 (13113 views)
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Re: [steelcity] Question for Michener Alum or Current Students Can't Post

Hey steelcity. I'm a current Michener fellow in fiction. Question One: hard to say, since I haven't tried to get a teaching job yet, but what everyone here says is what you've already said in your question--publishing books will get you teaching jobs. The Michener Center doesn't purport to prepare future teachers. It's all about turning out working writers. If you want to prioritize teacher training in the MFA, this program might not be a good fit.

Question Two: yeah, there's some tension. It's too bad, since there's really no difference between the writing going on in the MA and MFA programs. There are MA writers I don't think I've met. MCW is in a weird position in that respect, but not weird enough that it's not worth it to come here for the money, time, and connections. Anyway, the tension between the MA and MFA programs hasn't gotten in the way of my writing or workshops.

Good luck with your application!

Sarah


Ms. Mystery


Jun 20, 2008, 6:39 PM

Post #16 of 49 (13029 views)
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Re: [sarahc] Question for Michener Alum or Current Students Can't Post

Hi there. I'm also a current Michener Fellow (poetry). You've certainly hit on two of the biggest questions applicants and prospective students ask about the program. As far as teaching experience goes, I'm not particularly worried about it and I don't get the sense many other students are, either. Then again, I taught in a poets-in-the-schools program as well as an arts charter school for a year before I moved here so I already had some experience and was honestly kind of tired of teaching, so I saw the no-TAing thing as a boon. We have two great writers-in-school organizations here, Badgerdog which is well-established, and Austin Bat Cave, which is just starting out. Also, one recent grad arranged to team-teach an undergraduate workshop with one of the poets on faculty, which worked wonderfully well--she got an excellent teaching job right after she graduated. But generally, the Michener Center works from the logic that publications are more likely to help writers land teaching jobs.

As far as tension between the MA and MFA programs go, it sort of varies from year to year but it's definitely a presence. Often more of an elephant-in-the-room kind of presence. There was a lot of camaraderie my first year, and seemingly less last year, but it really depends on the people, and sometimes on the genre. I get the sense that MA and MFA poets are closer than MA and MFA fiction writers. (What do you think, Sarah? Oh, and hi there!) Like Sarah says, it's not such a weird dynamic that it should keep anybody away from either program. It's never been an issue in my workshops or regarding any other collaborative efforts between programs (such as the Bat City Review.)

Usually, the third question about the Michener Center has to do with the visiting faculty situation and whether it gives us enough mentor support to work with. Happily, that question is moot (for poets anyway) because Dean Young will be teaching here as a permanent faculty member starting in the fall (YAY), and as I understand it, plans are in the works to hire a permanent fiction professor soon.

Hope all of this helps!


Raysen


Aug 5, 2008, 8:53 PM

Post #17 of 49 (12878 views)
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Multi-genre Can't Post

Does the multi-genre requirement help or hinder your writing and workload?

I personally haven't thought much beyond fiction but, in my mind, if I had to pick a secondary genre, I'd be pissed. One could argue that one genre helps the other genre because exposure to different forms can only enhance your writing.


twoheadedboy


Oct 9, 2008, 1:41 PM

Post #18 of 49 (12714 views)
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Re: [motet] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Does anyone have information or advice about choosing screenwriting as your primary concentration at the Michener Center? I studied fiction as an undergraduate, so I am really excited about the multi-genre emphasis.

How many screenwriters do they take per year? On average how many apply? It seems like the overwhelming majority of students there are studying fiction or poetry. Is there any kind of community for screenwriters?


(This post was edited by twoheadedboy on Oct 9, 2008, 1:48 PM)


rivera



Jan 12, 2009, 3:16 PM

Post #19 of 49 (12430 views)
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Re: [Raysen] Multi-genre Can't Post

I sort of have the same question.

I am purely a fiction writer but found this program to otherwise be a great fit. I have some experience with screenwriting and only a little experience in poetry (beginners creative writing where I wrote and workshopped, a writing course where I'm writing fiction but workshopping lots of poetry, and a 20th century poetry course I'm taking now). After a lot of soul searching I decided to select poetry as my secondary genre on my application. I figured I would work hard to learn from poets in my classes and read as much poetry as possible. If I am accepted, I will of course write as much poetry as I can over the summer. I'm just worried that I made the wrong choice, since I don't exactly feel confident as a poet. But then again, I don't feel confident in other genres either so maybe I made the correct and only choice.

Thoughts anyone?


germericanqt


Jan 12, 2009, 7:35 PM

Post #20 of 49 (12375 views)
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Re: [rivera] Multi-genre Can't Post

If they were that worried about our expertise in our second genre, they would have had us submit samples from both genres. I think that the second genre is supplemental to the first in many ways--studying another form of writing in order to help us flesh out the first, give us new ways to solve problems, and help us explore different aspects of our creativity. I'm sure that if they are impressed with your sample they'll be perfectly willing to help you develop and polish your abilities in your second genre.


(This post was edited by germericanqt on Jan 12, 2009, 7:36 PM)


rivera



Jan 12, 2009, 10:29 PM

Post #21 of 49 (12343 views)
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Re: [germericanqt] Multi-genre Can't Post

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks. Makes me feel considerably better, actually. :)


Raysen


Jan 13, 2009, 5:24 PM

Post #22 of 49 (12241 views)
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Hurricanes Can't Post

What effect, if any, did the huge hurricane in Texas from this past summer have on the program? Did everyone have to evacuate?


jamescho


Jan 13, 2009, 8:00 PM

Post #23 of 49 (12206 views)
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Re: [Raysen] Hurricanes Can't Post


In Reply To
What effect, if any, did the huge hurricane in Texas from this past summer have on the program? Did everyone have to evacuate?


No affect at all. Austin is around 200 to 300 miles inland. Ike mainly affected the coastal cities surrounding Galveston and Houston.


(This post was edited by twiloite on Jan 13, 2009, 8:05 PM)


IrisAnn


Feb 20, 2009, 4:18 PM

Post #24 of 49 (11968 views)
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Re: [Ms. Mystery] Question for Michener Alum or Current Students Can't Post

I am playing the waiting game.

I submitted to about 7 schools, but in my heart of hearts it is only the Michener Center. I want to drunk dial them every night and leave messages proclaiming my love, how its the only one for me, how I wish it could just see what I see, how I want us to be together someday... I don't mind the lack of teaching experience, I mainly want to be there to write and work on manuscripts and publishing. I love the multi-discipline work too.

The worst part (and I mean best part) lately for me is the visiting faculty. It is just... too perfect. I was considering going to Tin House's summer conference this year (for my second time) just to work with Marie Howe. And I heard an interview with Antonya Nelson on NPR and she blew me away. I resolved then and there to buy everything and read her immediately. Then I log onto the Michener website to see what is going on with their faculty list, and oh my god, everyone I love is there. It is so scary to want something this much, and to see all these signs of how appropriate it would be for me to be there right now! Ah!

I keep hearing that late March is when I can expect an acceptance/rejection. I'm assuming that's accurate. I know some people who get waitlisted may not hear till June! Till then: positive visualization, deep breathing, etc. I keep telling myself SOMEONE has to be the one to get in. It could be me.

This isn't so much of a question I guess. It's more of a rant. My non-applicant friends are sort of sick of hearing all of this. We'll be having a nice dinner somewhere and I'll just blurt out something about the faculty, program, or city. It's gotta start coming out somewhere else.

So thanks, Michener thread.
And if you find it in you, pray for me.

-- Iris


twoheadedboy


Feb 20, 2009, 4:54 PM

Post #25 of 49 (11914 views)
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Re: [motet] The Michener Center for Writers Can't Post

Today, at last, my manuscript and personal statement have been listed as received on the graduate school's website. I'm so nervous that this means they have made decisions, at least in my genre, and are getting things in order with the graduate school to admit and deny people.

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