Jeanne Lyet Gassman
Feb 12, 2009, 10:06 AM
Post #1869 of 2683
Re: [Roxaboxen2] Low-Residency MFAs
[In reply to]
Yep, I'm deep into my 3rd semester now. I'm working on my crit. thesis--The Seduction of Evil-- as we speak. I'm writing about the appeal of the really evil protagonist--the rapist, the serial killer, the pedophile. It's uh, a *tough* topic.
As far as I know, the scholarships are limited for Vermont. They are offering a new paid fellowship for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd semesters this year, I think. It's a position that is sort of an Internet/PR liason for their various arts programs. I thought about applying (could definitely use the financial break), but I suspect the deadline has slipped by while I dug through my thesis work.
I've never gone to Slovenia (not enough moola here, as we have three people in college at the same time), but those who have say it's wonderful. It's a more relaxed residency in some ways than the Montpelier one because you are given the opportunity to explore some of the historical/cultural sites in the area. And the food is supposed to be fabulous (not so much so at Montpelier). The group in Slovenia is usually very small, so they all meet in an interdisciplinary workshop. I think it would be a great way for fiction writers to learn more about poetry and poets to learn more about fiction, etc. However, they are also offering mixed genre workshops at the residency in Vermont now, too. Last residency, you had the option of participating in a workshop composed of fiction and CNF. I understand the discussions were quite energetic as people explored the demarcation point between fiction and CNF.
Melissa and Louise are terrific, aren't they? They will do anything, it seems, to help you get the most from the program. Oh, we had a new presentation workshop (conducted by James Nave) that was outstanding. It was all about how to read your work in public, and Nave was amazing. We've also had several small informal talks with some of our visiting writers. Last residency, I was in a session with Rosellen Brown, who was fascinating.
I can honestly say that the VCFA program has changed my life and my approach to my writing. I am a *thinking* writer now, very aware of my relationship with the reader and with the text. Last semester, I worked with Diane Lefer, and I finished a solid draft of my novel. It was a race to the finish line, but we did it, and I felt great about what I produced. This semester, I will be writing my crit. thesis (working with a different advisor) and writing a few short stories. I've already written one flash (totally new for me) that evolved from a writing exercise. That's going out on sub in a week or so. Next semester--my 4th--I will go back to the novel for a final polish to prepare it as my creative thesis. Then, it's off to query agents. Can you tell I'm excited about the future??
Oh, if you decide to go to Vermont, there is a large community of us on FaceBook. Just put my name in as a "friend," and that will link you to a whole bunch of us who are out there, both current and former students, and a few faculty members.
Good luck to you and congrats on your acceptance to Vermont!