Sep 15, 2009, 1:55 AM
Post #1197 of 2090
Nah, Mazza's a big deal in the innovative/experimental writing scene - she's also all over the map stylistically and very well published (Soft Skull, FC2, Red Hen, Coffee House), but you're probably not wrong to characterize UIC's program as leaning toward innovative writing (we could quibble about terminology, but 'experimental' is a bit dated.) Grimes is definitely an up-and-comer.
To press you a little further - what are you basing your Denver v UIC job placement data on? I'm really not trying to pick on you, but clearly you're researching this stuff, so curious. My impression of Denver is that it's not as rigorous as other programs - lit classes [edit - lit classes taken by creative writers] taught exclusively by CW professors, only 40 or so texts on comp exams, program can be completed in 3 years - not to say that those are the only criteria for the quality of a phd (or to correct me if I've misrepresented the program), so curious to hear from somebody at Denver. The faculty there are definitely top notch, and I'm sure if you asked twenty people whether UIC or Denver had a better reputation, I'm sure Denver would win out, but UIC's faculty, especially on the lit side, is huge.
As for innovative (experimental, whatever you want to call them, none of these terms are really spot-on) writers having a tougher time - I'm not sure this is the case. Based on my experience (admittedly not representative of the entire set of those on the job market) innovative writers have just as much success landing jobs (or difficulty landing jobs, if you want to look at it that way) - most of the people I know personally who have been placed fall into the 'innovative' category. Maybe I just know more innovative writers. Not sure, but I think there is something to be said for innovative writers falling into a minority as far as those on the job market, so when a school is looking for somebody with a more innovative/experimental/avant garde bent there are fewer applicants who fall into this category based on the volume of people writing 'traditional' (not meant to be derogatory!) fiction/poetry. But, maybe there are just more programs looking for traditional writers. BUT, in talking to directors of CW at a few schools with 'big' creative writing programs, what I'm hearing is that schools are looking for people who want to teach and believe that creative writing can be taught regardless of aesthetic. Obviously there's more to it than that (publications) but what I've heard from at least three people in charge of hiring at top CW programs is that they're less interested in a particular aesthetic versus the ability, desire, and experience to teach with a solid publication record.
(This post was edited by owenj on Sep 15, 2009, 1:59 AM)