Jan 30, 2009, 1:14 PM
Post #58 of 79
Re: [eet2] MFA programs in Arizona
i'm not sure i know where to start, without a more specific question, but i'll see what i can do!
from my own experience: as far as nonfiction and poetry, alison hawthorne deming is amazing, and manuel muñoz (fiction) is incredible, too. (he's new here). there are a lot of great faculty members in both creative writing and literature.
i can't tell you too much about the atmosphere in the mfa program, because there's really very little interaction between grad and undergrad (unless they're teaching a class...i took an introductory fiction workshop with a great grad student teacher). but i know there's a lot going on in the department in general (housed in the english dept). the poetry center always has something going on, readings etc. i've been to one of the separate grad student readings at casa libre and it seems like those are really fun and intimate.
as far as tucson goes, the biggest downside for me is just the heat. it's oppressive. it's nice here in the winter, great in the spring, but summer is definitely the longest season. also, unless you live right on campus, (or you really love biking, even in 115 degree weather), you probably want to drive. the bus system is crap. you can make it if you live on a bus route that heads straight to campus without transfers, but it's confusing and it's a pain.
there's some fun stuff to do around town. we have the loft, a little indie/arthouse cinema, and they always have all kinds of crazy/interesting things going on. there's definitely stuff to do at night, a pretty good selection of restaurants and bars (but nothing like you'd get in a more metropolitan kind of city...tucson kind of feels more like a really big town). 4th ave, university ave and a few places downtown are the main areas for going out, all really close to the university. there's a drive-in movie theatre here too, which i love.
honestly speaking, you want to live as close to campus as you can. it's not hard to find a relatively affordable place, especially if you're sharing. campus feels homey. you'll probably spend most of your time in the modern languages building, which is close to the student union (the food court is there, unfortunately we don't have a traditional dining hall) and the library. i have to say that i don't understand why there are metal benches all over campus--you definitely don't want to get anywhere near those in the summer.
if you love the desert, you'll love tucson. (i kind of don't love the desert. i grew up in arizona and all i want is greenery). we're surrounded by mountains and you don't have to drive far at all to get to "the desert"--saguaros and all. there's also mt. lemon pretty close by, when you want to get out of the heat. the monsoons are always fun, when they come. lots and lots of rain. bisbee is a really fun daytrip.
well, that was incredibly long and i don't know how helpful it was. let me know if there's anything specific you're wondering about.