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susanjoy
Susan Newell

Oct 12, 1998, 3:43 PM

Post #76 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Hello all! I started this topic months ago and have finally revisited
it. I went ahead with applying to Goddard and WW. Got into Goddard,
but not Warren Wilson. That's perhaps what I expected, I guess, after
hearing the acceptance percentages. I'm slightly disillusioned by an
old comment I saw over at another MFA topic which said Goddard accepts
whoever could afford it without student loans. This comment was from
someone who worked there. But I had the earlier comments from David
(if you remember?) and from other alumni and am now ready to get
charged up for the experience. I feel I have a hell of a lot to learn
with twenty years between my BA in English/Creative Writing and now.
Twenty years in technology services which I hope hasn't killed off too
many creative brain cells. There's so much snobbiness out there when
it comes to talk about these programs, I think you just have to decide
you want to do it and plow ahead. Hopefully your love of the written
word is what determines how much you get out of the experience. Susan
Newell


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Oct 12, 1998, 8:38 PM

Post #77 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Almost everyone I knew at Goddard was taking out loans. Including me.
dmh


otrouve
Olet Trouve

Oct 13, 1998, 3:23 AM

Post #78 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Rosemary--have you made your decision yet? Mary Jo--congrats on
Goddard. I echo your concern about the mentors. For five thousand
dollars, you deserve all the attention and direction and inspiration
that you need, far and above what you could ever do on your own. But,
ofcourse, not too much that you get waylayed, sidetracked, or
whatever. I haven't gotten in anywhere yet, though I applied in the
eleventh hour, but I'm already worrying about the cost/value ratio,and
wondering if I would do better buying thousands of dollars of books or
a plane ticket to some inspiring place. Not that I would. But I have
no desire to teach, I just want to learn as much as I can about
writing, and I know that writing in isolation is the long way to do
it, and that going to workshops every week and reading stacks and
stacks of student writing is...well, beginning musicians don't spend
twenty hours a week listening to other beginners practice.


susanjoy
Susan Newell

Oct 13, 1998, 3:21 PM

Post #79 of 2662 (22755 views)
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David, I didn't word that correctly. The "dig" from the other topic
was that if you have the money, you get in. It really doesn't matter.
Even if it is true, all schools want students with staying power - and
I have to believe that equates to a combination of financial resources
and aptitude/committment for the program. I'm psyched about Goddard,
really! Told the boss last night about this decision and how I'd love
part time work in January. He asked if this was definite and as soon
as I told him yes, I knew it was a done deal. I had a slight panic
attack on my way home from work. ("Agh! what have I done?") But it
faded and was replaced with elation. It reminded me of my stay at
Vermont Studio Center a few years ago. There, you were identified
either as a visual artist or a writer. The first time someone asked me
which I was and I said I was a writer, I had a whole new self image.
It was incredible. Olette, don't lose hope. I imagine that programs
like this can keep you hanging for a while yet. I went through that
indecision for a few years and just decided I couldn't do it on my
own. If for some reason you don't, you should make plans to do
something like Vermont Studio Center for a few weeks this winter. Mary
Jo, where else did you apply besides Goddard? susan


lexy
Alexis Adams

Oct 13, 1998, 6:32 PM

Post #80 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Hi all, Just found this discussion group and, as I'm thinking of
applying to low-res programs this fall, was elated with the discovery.
I have, however, some of the same concerns as Olette. For $5,000 per
semester, I think I'd rather do a full-time program where (I think)
I'm ensured more guidance, peer support and criticism and so on.
Problem is, I live far from such a program and am not in a good
position to move. So, I'm looking at Goddard, Vermont College and
Warren Wilson. Does anyone have further recommendations? I've also
visited the Website for Antioch in L.A., but I haven't heard mention
of it on any of these boards. I'm also looking at workshops,
conferences and retreats and, coincidentally, stumbled upon the
Website for Vermont Studio Center yesterday. Susan, I'd love to hear
of experience there. Also, has anyone here ever attended an AWP
conference? The one slated for April of next year looks fantastic.
Albany's a long way from my front door, but I'm giving serious thought
to making the trek. Again, would love feedback. Thanks, Alexis.


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 14, 1998, 9:19 AM

Post #81 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Susan, I applied to Vermont College and Bennington in Vermont, not
Warren Wilson, because I missed their deadline. Have you definitely
said yes? Did or will you apply for aid? (We may meet there! Want to
carpool?) alexis, Bennington runs ads in P&W, if you want to check
them out. Olette, which schools did you apply to? And, David, I'd love
it if my advisor threw out my reading list. I want someone to say --
Read this! Look what you've been missing!! And then I expect my own
work would just blossom as a result! --MaryJo


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Oct 14, 1998, 10:13 PM

Post #82 of 2662 (22755 views)
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It sure worked for me. Sarah Schulman made me read (among other
things) THE GHOST WRITER, by Philip Roth, and reading that book
transformed my own novel. dmh


jay313
Jay Johnson

Oct 15, 1998, 10:31 AM

Post #83 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Just looked up the Goddard site and saw that they required a teaching
practicum of one semester. This seems to assume all MFA candidates are
seeking to become teachers. I wonder why this is a set-in-stone
requisite, or if it can be waived? Thanks to David's info and
advocacy, I'd been leaning toward this program until I saw this. Does
anyone know off-hand?


smerwin
Shawn Merwin

Oct 15, 1998, 11:06 AM

Post #84 of 2662 (22755 views)
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I just wanted to step in here with some information. I carefully
researched the Warren Wilson, Vermont College, and Goddard programs. I
especially talked to people who had attended the programs. I want to
warn you that many (and by many I mean 50% or so) of the Goddard
attendees had less-than-glowing reviews of the program. This is not
saying that Goddard is bad, but the stories I heard about it pushed me
away from it. Vermont College got a much better response from the
people to whom I talked. A couple people had complaints about one of
the faculty, but otherwise it was some very positive feedback. Warren
Wilson got the most positive feedback, but I was only able to speak to
6 people who went there, as opposed to the dozen or more I spoke to
from the other programs. As far as the percentage of people accepted,
these are the numbers I got when i talked to each program's admissions
team. Warren Wilson accepts the lowest percentage of applicants, at
around 20%. Vermont College accepted between 20-25%. Goddard told me
that they accepted around 70% of their applicants. I'm not saying this
is necessary a positive or a negative, just that's what I was told
when I asked. If you believe the US News and World Report rankings,
then Warren Wilson is the best of the three, followed by Vermont
College, then Goddard. This is an admittedly subjective ranking
according to the source, so again take this with a grain of salt. In
the end, I think you get out of it what you put into it. I read some
works from the faculty of the three different programs, and I decided
to go with Vermont College. The faculty-writers there seem to be the
best suited to help me acheive what I want to acheive as a writer.
Find the program with the faculty and the "curriculum" that can best
help you, and dive right in. Good luck, Shawn


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Oct 15, 1998, 1:10 PM

Post #85 of 2662 (22755 views)
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When I spoke to Warren Wilson a couple of weeks ago, the director told
me that they were accepting 4 or 5 folks in poetry for the Spring
semester out of approximately 47 applicants. That makes around a 10%
acceptance rate for this term. The director also told me that they
would be making their decisions by the end of last week. I still
haven't heard from them yet. I've pretty much given up. I accepted the
offer at Bennington for the spring semester. I'm pretty excited about
the whole deal. Reb


susanjoy
Susan Newell

Oct 15, 1998, 6:08 PM

Post #86 of 2662 (22755 views)
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In response to Shawn's comments: I, too, spoke with people from
Goddard and WW. WW definitely got the most glowing reviews. I was
leaning towards Vermont until I heard (somehow, I can't remember) that
they are more studio then academic and allow established writers to
kind of float in and out of the program for the MFA part. That may not
be true, but I definitely needed the academic push. There were also
people at Goddard that transferred from Vermont. (The opposite could
be my safety net if Goddard doesn't work out.) I also had two Goddard
people pushing me hard. Still, if I'd gotten into WW I know I would
have gone. Mary Jo - yes, I've said yes. Deposit's in. It would be
nice to know someone other than a January graduating student before I
go! Keep me posted on your decision. Jay - the Goddard teaching
requirement put me off too but I understand it is fairly liberal - it
is not a "whole" semester's work but is measured in hours, which I
don't recall are that much. It doesn't have to be done in a formal,
school-system setting. Even though I don't plan on teaching, I don't
mind having that "teaching" credential as part of my academic record.
Lord knows I avoided it as an undergraduate for four years. Maybe
that's why I ended up so far afield. Alexis - Vermont Studio Center
was great! It was a first for me. At the time they offered two week
residencies and only a few longer ones. Now, they're mostly a month
with some two week opportunities. I voiced my objection to that
change, as did others that attended when I did, the year before it was
done. I wrote more new, fresh material than I ever had before. Was
surrounded by talent and genuinely warm and caring people from all
over the country. The feedback I received from Valerie Miner and Ann
Hood was what I needed to hear, having lacked a writers' group. I was
only one of two writers who was not in a writing job (ie. teaching,
publishing, etc.) which was strange. But I loved it! Okay - enough
wind for one entry. Susan


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Oct 16, 1998, 4:05 PM

Post #87 of 2662 (22755 views)
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I got my rejection letter from Warren Wilson today. Actually, it was a
bit of a relief. I waited as long as I could, but then I had to decide
between the other schools without knowing my status at WW. Now I don't
have to wonder if I would have made the same decision if I had also
been accepted at WW. Reb


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 17, 1998, 12:37 PM

Post #88 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Rebecca: I just heard today from Vermont College; I'm on their waiting
list for January and am guaranteed a spot for summer. They said they
had so many applicants, and my application was one of the late ones
received, not a comment on my writing package. I'd like to believe
that rather than that I was last pick.... I'm waiting on the
Bennington Writing Seminars. People here and in the other MFA topic
have said good things -- then I'll make my decision. I'm eager to get
started. I don't really want to wait until the summer program for
Vermont. I haven't replied to Goddard yet. So maybe I'll see you there
still... Shawn: didn't you research Bennington also? Or did you just
discount it from the beginning? --Mary Jo


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 17, 1998, 12:42 PM

Post #89 of 2662 (22755 views)
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or susan, maybe I'll see you at Goddard... --Mary Jo


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Oct 17, 1998, 4:38 PM

Post #90 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Mary Jo: Good luck with hearing from the rest of schools. Let me know
what you hear from Bennington. They said they're accepting 8 people
this term into their poetry program (better odds than Warren Wilson).
Reb


smerwin
Shawn Merwin

Oct 17, 1998, 11:20 PM

Post #91 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Mary Jo, I didn't come across Bennington in my research. It must not
have been on the lists of MFA programs that I was working from, so I
couldn't discounted it--I guess it was never counted to begin with. I
just surfed over there and it looks comparable to the other three, and
the faculty looks respectable--this is fiction that I am talking
about. Sorry I couldn't be of more help, but others have given good
advice as well. Write well, and it won't matter where you go! Good
luck! Shawn


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 18, 1998, 6:40 AM

Post #92 of 2662 (22755 views)
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I'm doing fiction. I will end up at one of these Vermont schools, and
it will be nice to be in touch with someone prior to arriving there.
Shawn, I may have missed it, but did you finish the program at Vermont
already, or are you in the middle of it, or just getting ready to go?
And, Rebecca and Susan, what kind of work are you doing now?
Continuing to work on your own? Aming for new stuff to offer during
the workshops? What reading are you doing? --Mary Jo


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 18, 1998, 6:41 AM

Post #93 of 2662 (22755 views)
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--uh, that's "aiming for new stuff..."


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Oct 18, 1998, 5:28 PM

Post #94 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Mary Jo: I'm doing mostly poetry. I was in an MFA program until August
when I decided to switch. Since then, I've been doing some new writing
and editing old stuff on my own, but mostly reading. I'm in the middle
of Jane Hirshield's book of essays on writing poetry "(Nine Gates")
and I just finished a bunch of poetry books ("The Simple Truth" Philip
Levine, "The Book of Nightmares" Galway Kinnel, "Lower-Class Heresy,
T.R. Hummer to name a few off the top of my head.) Last month I went
to the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival and spent about $150 on books,
so I have a huge pile that I'm trying to get through. I also am doing
some more research on the faculty at Bennington so I can figure out
who I will request to be paired up with this coming semester. Reb


smerwin
Shawn Merwin

Oct 18, 1998, 8:25 PM

Post #95 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Mary Jo, I will begin the Vermont College program in December. I speak
based on the experience of others and not on my own. Shawn


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 22, 1998, 9:05 AM

Post #96 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Reb: The Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival -- is that the one in
Waterloo, NJ? I used to live up there (still have a house near there,
as a matter of fact.) I've been reading poetry a bit lately. Not to
your in-depthness (I'm a writer? What kind of word is that?) Poetry
invigorates my (fiction) writing so much. I read fiction (s.s. and
novels) to see the mechanics of the work, but poetry for the
inspiration. Right now, I'm flipping through Bloom's Best of the Best
American Poems, and the 1998 Best Poems. Some wonderful things in
both.... Still no word from Bennington, and I'm leaning towards
Vermont. But I have to wait for a spot to open...Is it terrrible to
wish someone drops out? (Not you Shawn :-) ) Not for tragic reasons,
of course, I'll just hope they can't come up with the tuition this
term....


smerwin
Shawn Merwin

Oct 22, 1998, 9:11 AM

Post #97 of 2662 (22755 views)
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I hope to see you in Montpelier in December! Keep me (all of us)
posted. Shawn


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Oct 22, 1998, 6:39 PM

Post #98 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Mary Jo: Yeah, that's the festival. It was wonderful. Thousands of
people were there. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. You
might want to send an e-mail or make a telephone call to Bennington.
It seems like a response is a little overdue by now. If your choice
ends up being limited to Vermont, that's still good news. My friend up
there absolutely loves it and I've talked to several very satisfied
alumni. Reb


lexy
Alexis Adams

Oct 22, 1998, 8:18 PM

Post #99 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Most of the postings I've read here refer to Bennington, Vermont,
Goddard and Warren Wilson. I'm going to make a leap over to the Left
Coast and ask what (if anything) folks have heard about Antioch LA's
low-residency program. Also, has anyone heard anything about
Southampton (NY) University's brand new MFA program? I spoke to the
department's secretary and learned that they offer a very flexible
low-residency option, but I don't know much beyond that. Thanks in
advance!


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Oct 24, 1998, 10:48 AM

Post #100 of 2662 (22755 views)
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Alexis, I haven't heard anything about the programs you mention -- but
I think Antioch LA has a home page. And, it's about time other schools
starts offering the low residency option. As a strategic marketing
move, it makes so much sense for them. As for us, it only makes sense
if the programs offer quality writers/instructors. New programs will
need a few years to work out the kinks. Reb: I'm envious you were at
the poetry festival! Autumn is a melancholy time, anyway, and missing
home adds to it. Plus, waiting out these
acceptances/rejections...yikes, I'm a basket case. I did e-mail
Bennington, and was curtly answered along these lines -- "we said we'd
get back to you at the END of Oct. That's not yet." Hmmph. I'm sure
they're waiting for others to accept or decline their first offers,
before they eliminate the rest of the list. A letter to that effect
(like Vermont sent) would have been so much more polite! (I worked in
a private school. I know it's not nice to piss off potential
students.) -- Mary Jo

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