Aug 15, 2008, 1:12 PM
Re: [phillywriter] foreign language requirement
The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff.
Yes, this sounds horrible, but more than that, it just sounds totally insulting to the students. Write in the voice of a Henry James character that shows up in the world of Flanner O'Connor? Honestly, that sounds like one of those really pointless writing exercises my high school creative writing teacher would give us . . . I mean, is that really a requirement at Michigan? That sounds totally absurd. After all, that type of thing neither measures one's knowledge of these authors' work, not does it measure one's ability to write compelling fiction. At the most, it measures one's ability to mimic Henry James, and don't they expect that their students are a little bit beyond that by now?
That a student might be denied admission to an MFA program because they can't successuflly mimic a Henry James character living in 1950s rural Georgia seems beyond ridiculous. It's insulting.
I'm going to preface my response by saying that if Michigan offered me a spot in their program, I'd take it, hands down, no questions asked. That said, I guess I don't really see what the big deal is. At the end of the day, I don't think Michigan is giving out homework to their incoming students with the intention of kicking people out of the program. After all, they do give you entire summer to do what essentially sounds like a take home test. And if I remember high school correctly, take home tests were understood by everyone, including the teacher, as gimmes, an easy A. If you didn't get an A, well... you just didn't put the time into it.
Not that I don't agree with the fact that the exercises sound a little absurd, and maybe a little bit like busy work. But that's the point of homework, right? To prepare you for school and schoolwork and all that jazz. After all, what's an MFA if not reading, writing, reading, and more writing?
My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.
(This post was edited by moomoocow42 on Aug 15, 2008, 1:18 PM)