Apr 30, 2008, 11:42 PM
Post #203 of 213
Are you kidding? An MFA from the right school can make all the difference. Of course, we might be just talking journal pubs, here. Some editors initially separate the MFA's from the non-MFA's. And a good percentage cull the ones from Iowa or Irvine and put them in a special pile. Doesn't mean they'll get published, but they do get special attention, whether it means a first read, or, at one college mag I worked for, any read at all.
Re: [Heroics Manias] Need to be published to get an MFA?
And I think with poetry, it's even worse. Think of all the post-post, post-avant, Langpo, experimental writers. Like abstract painting, some of it is so easy to produce, you need a degree to legitimize it. Think of all the experimental poets from UMass, and how their poems and books are mostly published by UMass alumni. For almost everyone else, the only way to get a poetry book published is through the university-sponsored contest system. And those are all judged by a very small number of MFA-embedded, careerist poets.
Dunno about agents and full length fiction, but I imagine an MFA from Iowa or Irvine would confer a small advantage, at least in the getting read department. But here, the experience of my friends and acquaintances has been the same -- the MFA didn't really matter.
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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Apr 30, 2008, 11:44 PM)