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Elika619


Feb 6, 2007, 8:16 PM

Post #126 of 709 (7222 views)
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Re: [OneWriter] What did people write about? Can't Post

Thank you OneWriter!!! That is exactly what I need to hear as I'm biting my nails down to the quick, waiting to hear from schools. It's definitely a story I would like to expand into a novel.

And you're right, there's nothing like a good pineapple. Although, based on my research, they are NOT fun or easy to grow!


__________



Feb 8, 2007, 1:10 AM

Post #127 of 709 (7119 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] What did people write about? Can't Post

Good idea, malber...

So did these summaries kind of surprise anyone? I imagined stodgier stuff being sent; these are things I'd love to read.

And I know it's a small sample, but I wonder why the apparent disconnect between these lively critters and what the small journals publish from MFA grads and students. You know, those dry, meaning-infused tales of What It Means To Be Human. Don't get me wrong, I love those, too, but there's this lingering fear of homogeneity that's got me down...



six five four three two one 0 ->


Arkinese


Feb 8, 2007, 5:44 AM

Post #128 of 709 (7099 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] What did people write about? Can't Post

I forgot to mention my nonfiction summaries which I submitted to two schools. And I agree, Junior Maas, that sometimes the What It Means to Be Human pieces can be a little overwrought. I think everyone who's discussed their stories here has included some great plots and characters that stand out. And they run the gamut from historical fiction to character studies, which is great because you get all the diversity.

I hope my nonfiction avoids being overwrought because none of it is "My Whole Life Story and I Deserve Another Chance" (as one of David Sedaris's students wrote :) When I reflected on aspects of my life, I used a lot of humor to temper it (at least that's what my writing group said) so it didn't become melodramatic. I think it would be depressing to take myself so seriously that I couldn't see the "fun" in some of the situations.

1) Essay about a series of car accidents I had (some my fault, others not) all throughout a struggle with health. The accidents feature various good times including a lawsuit, a drug addict, a jackass, an unnecessary trip to the ER, and my car finally dying just when my insurance record was cleared. Good work, car.

2) Profile of an 80-year old baseball coach from my alma mater who's set all kinds of records in NCAA baseball and coached players like John Olerud and Mel Stottlemyre.

3) A one-page essay about feeling weird in college because I was 25 and still working on my bachelor's.

Anyone else apply to nonfiction programs who wouldn't mind sharing their essay topics?


EastCoastPoet


Feb 10, 2007, 6:31 AM

Post #129 of 709 (6963 views)
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Re: [Arkinese] What did people write about? Can't Post

I included a handful of form poems in my writing sample...does anyone think this is bad? good? I hate how form is frowned upon by a lot of poets today, especially editors. If I am not mistaken my second or third poem in every portfolio was a sestina. Any thoughts?


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Feb 10, 2007, 9:08 AM

Post #130 of 709 (6946 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] What did people write about? Can't Post

Form is having a bit of a revival. Some very fine poets(Marilyn Hacker, Annie Finch, Kathrine Varnes to name a few) are writing in form. And a sestina, is what I'd call a light form--because it doesn't involve meter. Almost every poet has done one--even Alice Fulton has one in her first book.


ghostracer


Feb 12, 2007, 1:00 PM

Post #131 of 709 (6848 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] What did people write about? Can't Post

I'm still waiting to hear back from schools and, having freaked out about sending a chunk of a novel as a writing sample, elected to write four new stories for the six schools I applied to. I don't think it was a very good idea. The un-workshopped element left me dangling nervously, and by the end I was just writing the stories because it seemed like the thing to do for the application. I think it was a really weird technique. I don't think I'm going to get into to any of my six schools. This was four new stories in one month, and they all strangely began to center around a similar theme of suicide. MFA programs brought me to the brink, I guess.


flyinghouses.blogspot.com




mlpurdy
Moriah Purdy

Feb 12, 2007, 1:18 PM

Post #132 of 709 (6831 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] What did people write about? Can't Post

I wouldn't worry about including form poems in our writing samples. We should take ownership of our work, regadless of its shape. As long as we have reason behind it, I think we'll be OK.
We take to much stock in the word "free" in free verse, and run the risk of our language coming across as haphazard and sloppy. I'll admit to being as guilty as the next person that this happens sometimes in my work.

By the way, Wilmabluekitty, don't you think Fulton's fractal verse is her own type of form? Just because it's not traditional doesn't mean she's not writing in form. It's at least a guiding structure. I think a lot of even traditional forms have become guiding structures rather than strict guidelines for more contemporary poets. We recognize them, but they are somehow revised.


SweetJane



Feb 12, 2007, 2:18 PM

Post #133 of 709 (6799 views)
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Re: [mlpurdy] What did people write about? Can't Post

mlpurdy,

Couldn't agree with you more on the form issue. When I was first applying (and also submitting work to mags), I sometimes felt like I was at a disadvantage because quite a bit of my poetry--including a 40 page senior thesis!--is prose poetry. In the end, my writing sample had a significant amount of prose poetry because I know it's something that I very well might be writing in graduate school, and I certainly don't want to misrepresent myself! If a school is uncomfortable with any sort of specific form, even a lack of form, I think it's better that they reject you based on a writing sample well before you arrive an an environment where you writing interests might not be welcome.



In Reply To
I wouldn't worry about including form poems in our writing samples. We should take ownership of our work, regadless of its shape. As long as we have reason behind it, I think we'll be OK.
We take to much stock in the word "free" in free verse, and run the risk of our language coming across as haphazard and sloppy. I'll admit to being as guilty as the next person that this happens sometimes in my work.



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


v1ctorya


Feb 12, 2007, 4:39 PM

Post #134 of 709 (6748 views)
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Re: [ghostracer] What did people write about? Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm still waiting to hear back from schools and, having freaked out about sending a chunk of a novel as a writing sample, elected to write four new stories for the six schools I applied to. I don't think it was a very good idea. The un-workshopped element left me dangling nervously, and by the end I was just writing the stories because it seemed like the thing to do for the application. I think it was a really weird technique. I don't think I'm going to get into to any of my six schools. This was four new stories in one month, and they all strangely began to center around a similar theme of suicide. MFA programs brought me to the brink, I guess.



My mantra has become, "eh, there's always next year" as a story I wrote the other day I already love way more than the ones I used, feels more honest and 'story-y" to me.

I had three that I picked and peiced together, all told they equaled 30 pages, but two made 25 exactly. Am I good or what? ;)

One was a last minute flash (500 words) addition because an editor gave it a positive review, just told me to tighten it a bit then resend, so I tightened then sent of to colleges. It's about a nurse on her first rotation through the terminal patients floor, and the man who forgets her name.

the main one was maybe too topical, the aftermath of a school shooting on one family, and how they end up choosing to live in delusion, at least for the time being, rather than the harshness of truth.


BlueVelveeta


Feb 12, 2007, 5:02 PM

Post #135 of 709 (6727 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] What did people write about? Can't Post

Well said, SJ.

I ended up submitting a portfolio consisting of only 8 poems, though I'd originally started out with about 20. The previous version included a lot of older work for which I'd received substantial validation, and thus I felt confident in its quality though not in its representation of the themes, focus and style of my current work. Ultimately, I decided I would be compromising my intent to find "the right school" if I applied only with work unrepresentative of where I am poetically now. To ease my mind, I included one of my older "safety" poems, but it fit in nicely with the other 7 (the overarching theme is location).

It's hard to not overanalyze retrospectively, though, isn't it. Is a portfolio of 8 poems enough; the poem that I'm now certain is my strongest ended up being fourth in the set, and might never be read if the first three aren't attention grabbing; the first poem, though tightly revised linguistically, houses a logical flaw that somehow escaped the notice of myself and my readers until, oh, two weeks ago; and the final poem is an adaptation of a form developed by Irving Layton, whom many poets view (reasonably) as a misogynist. : /


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Feb 12, 2007, 5:50 PM

Post #136 of 709 (6696 views)
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Re: [mlpurdy] What did people write about? Can't Post


In Reply To


By the way, Wilmabluekitty, don't you think Fulton's fractal verse is her own type of form? Just because it's not traditional doesn't mean she's not writing in form. It's at least a guiding structure.



Oh, absolutely. I don't know poet who pays more attention to language and form than Fulton does. Unfortunately, fractal verse is not recognized as "formal" by the vast majority of formalists. And newer forms like fibs are looked at with suspicion by traditionalists.


(This post was edited by wilmabluekitty on Feb 12, 2007, 5:56 PM)


mlpurdy
Moriah Purdy

Feb 12, 2007, 8:08 PM

Post #137 of 709 (6650 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] What did people write about? Can't Post

I feel like traditionalists should be open to the entry of new forms, though that would make them less traditional, now wouldn't it! But they're right in a way, less "formal" in the sense that Fulton's poems don't fit a predetermined mold, so fractal poetics is more like a method in some senses.


Quote
Unfortunately, fractal verse is not recognized as "formal" by the vast majority of formalists. And newer forms like fibs are looked at with suspicion by traditionalists.



ajholtz


Feb 16, 2007, 5:23 AM

Post #138 of 709 (6538 views)
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Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

Hey guys, I'm desperate to read some people's writing submissions - everyone is very cryptic about it on here, but perhaps I just haven't found the forum entitled 'Submissions'
I'm not applying till next year, so I'm definitely not competition, just genuinely curious about the styles, stories and voices people have.
If anyone is willing to let me read their application piece please let me know.

Amy


malber


Feb 16, 2007, 8:22 AM

Post #139 of 709 (6513 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

well... people may be hesitant to comply with this request, methinks.


renapoo


Feb 16, 2007, 8:26 AM

Post #140 of 709 (6508 views)
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Re: [malber] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

Some people this year & last have had their application stories published in lit mags, so you can search the forums for the specifics and then check out the journals. Otherwise, I think you're going to have to wait until you find people applying next year who are willing to do a trade off---I proofread yours, you proofread mine kind of thing. Also, if you know anyone who teaches in a graduate program (or undergrad), or if you have a friend in an mfa workshop, you can ask them to read one of your stories and tell you if it's way off the mark.


ajholtz


Feb 16, 2007, 9:03 AM

Post #141 of 709 (6497 views)
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Re: [malber] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

i think it's slightly ridiculous that no one wants someone else to read their submission. we writers have got a serious ego/paranoia thing going on.
i'm happy for anyone to read my stuff, but if no one wants to read it i'm back at square one.
i find it hard to believe that NO ONE wants to share.

i would be perfectly capable of going to a bookstore and getting a journal, but i live in england until next year, and it's pretty impossible to find those publications here, at least under $20. besides, they're not always the best indications of the writing trend.


malber


Feb 16, 2007, 9:11 AM

Post #142 of 709 (6487 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

i sent you a message, ajholtz, re: this topic.


BridgetB


Feb 16, 2007, 9:32 AM

Post #143 of 709 (6472 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

Hey ajholtz,

I wouldn't call this an issue of ego or paranoia; personally, I just don't get your request. If you want an example of great writing that comes out of MFA programs, check out a book by a writer who's graduated from one, or do a search for lit mags with stories posted online (Missouri Review has a number of stories posted on their site). I'm not sure how reading a sample by someone who hasn't yet been accepted to an MFA program will help you. For me, my writing style is my own; reading someone else's sample will only muddy the waters and make me question what I'm doing. So write on with your bad self. Be confident in your own style. And if there's any question in your mind about whether or not your work will get your admited to an MFA program, well, there's only one way to find out: by applying.

Good luck!
BB



v1ctorya


Feb 16, 2007, 9:33 AM

Post #144 of 709 (6471 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post


In Reply To
i would be perfectly capable of going to a bookstore and getting a journal, but i live in england until next year, and it's pretty impossible to find those publications here, at least under $20. besides, they're not always the best indications of the writing trend.



Except, they can be. People have mentioned their stories used for the MFA application being published in Tin House, etc. You can pick up those issues or go to the websites and for free read a snippet, which gives a good indication of the writing style. Some have full stories online anyway.


ajholtz


Feb 16, 2007, 9:44 AM

Post #145 of 709 (6454 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

Much as i love the unconstructive debate on this, that's not why i wrote the question. I simply want to read someone else's work, whether you've got in or not, without searching the web and having to pick up a load of journals. If no one wants to, then tough for me i guess.


renapoo


Feb 16, 2007, 9:51 AM

Post #146 of 709 (6437 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

You might have more luck later this year, when people are getting ready to apply rather than having just applied. Not to be rude, but what's in it for us? For those who are waiting to hear from schools, exchanging writing samples at this point is kind of moot. If you post a similar message this summer you might get a different answer.


bighark


Feb 16, 2007, 9:55 AM

Post #147 of 709 (6430 views)
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You must chill Can't Post

AJ,

You've been here for two days. Five of the six posts that you've made on this site involve seeing other people's work. You may be anxious to see how you measure up as a writer, but you need to realize that we're in the middle of notification season. People are feeling really vulnerable right now, and sharing their work with some internet stranger who may reveal some weakness (real or imagined) in their writing sample is not exactly the most appealing thing in the world.

When you're in the second and third weeks of February next year, you'll feel the exact same way.

I'm sorry that you're meeting some resistance right now, but I assure you that you'll find this a very helpful and friendly forum once things calm down. If you stick around and let people get to know you , I'm sure you'll have no shortage of offers to swap stories and statements of purpose.


lculli18


Feb 16, 2007, 10:02 AM

Post #148 of 709 (6417 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

I think you may have better luck in about a month-- once applicants have been notified (and hopefully accepted). I haven't let anyone read my final submission (not even my husband... or come to think of it, myself) because I know that there is NOTHING I can do to change what I submitted, but there are probably a ton of changes I could have/should have made. Even if you wouldn't offer any feedback, as I writer I know you'd have plenty stored up in your mind-- and knowing that is enough! I'm kind of trying to avoid cognative dissonance as best as I can, I guess.

In a month- once acceptances are pretty much set, those of us who got in will probably be willing to share to help others, and those of us who didn't would be willing to share to help ourselves and help strengthen our applications/submissions for next year as well.

Right now, at least for me, I prefer to lock it up and temporarily throw away the key (in a marked spot in the landfill) until I know my fate. I'm already WAY too neurotic about this process to add additional fuel to the fire!


ecphraticknolls


Feb 16, 2007, 10:02 AM

Post #149 of 709 (6416 views)
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Re: [ajholtz] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

Well, I’m applying in poetry… but you should consider where most applicants are at the moment—we are at a point of anxiety. We don’t know where we have gotten in, or where we have the potential to get into. Very few people have gotten the head nod saying that they are actually “good enough” to actually attend a top rated MFA program. I suppose there are some well published poets/authors out there who are applying this year… but most of us, I think, aren’t. The current period is the worst, since we are all waiting daily to find out. We are all stressed. We are all nervous. (on some level anyway) I’m sure you’ll have better luck with people who applied last year/ after people get in places this year.


ajholtz


Feb 16, 2007, 10:11 AM

Post #150 of 709 (6402 views)
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Re: [ecphraticknolls] Can SOMEONE let me read their piece?? Can't Post

all right, sorry, everyone for being insensitive...i know i'll be in the same place next year (of course, you know for me, this all starts about now!).

good luck, i'll try again in the summer.

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