Nov 26, 2004, 1:49 AM
Post #4 of 8
Re: [ltrent] MFA to PhD
I'm in the PhD program in CW/Lit at Houston. I find quite a lot of time to write (I'm a poet, but also write nonfiction) though it's not an easy negotiation at all. The program here asks you to teach 2 sections (mostly Comp, though after my 2nd year I've been fortunate enough to teach literature classes and 1 introductory workshop) each semester, while you are enrolled in 3 classes. It's REALLY difficult to write 2 critical studies each semester (of 20-30 pages), and to fully participate in workshop (writing a poem every week, or 2-4 stories each semester). Other students also have other jobs at local community colleges; I take out loans. I think that's how I have time to write (and, well, the fact that I'm done with coursework and in the 4th year -- this helps immensely). So, yes, one still has time to write (though it doesn't feel that way the first year). But one is writing so many different things, under very different identities (lesson plans, creative work, critical work, etc).
The best thing to do is to check out each PhD program to see how each school forms the relationship between the critical and the creative writing. Some schools (Western Michigan comes to mind) seem to think of critical work as a precursor, as a kind of inspiration, to the creative work. Other programs really feel that, since most creative writing graduate degree takers find academic employment as literature professors (instead of as creative writing professors), the critical work is really the professional preparation one needs.
Good luck with your search!