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gcsumfa


Sep 13, 2009, 9:01 PM

Post #1176 of 2090 (18546 views)
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Re: [sayno] Connecticut [In reply to] Can't Post

Nevermind--not worth it.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Sep 13, 2009, 9:04 PM)


gcsumfa


Sep 13, 2009, 9:25 PM

Post #1177 of 2090 (18533 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Connecticut [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don't know. The prevailing attitude here seems to be that if you post an opinion about a program, it must be a gushing well of positivity! Otherwise, kindly shut the fuck up.

I mean, civility's one thing. Certainly we should express our opinions with tact and care. But sometimes it was very hard for me to comb through the MFA boards and find something of value or that would help guide my decisions. Every single program was just the best thing ever!!!. Other times, when I had something to post about a friend's negative experience at one program or another (taking care to be very specific about what it was they disliked), people would respond as if I'd just skinned their dog. Even if it was just something concrete and simple you'd figure most applicants would want to know (like Your Favorite Writer doesn't prepare for / read student outside of class, or a TA leads the discussions, etc).

I think this is an incredible resource...but we're not doing anyone a favor by basically being PR reps for every single school.


Actually, I've acknowledged the funding situation at WMU.

I think the issue with the particular poster in question is how he introduced himself to the thread; like others, I don't buy that his motives are sincere, esp. when his account was registered two days before his UNL posts, his name is "sayno," and all of his posts are on this thread.


sayno


Sep 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Post #1178 of 2090 (18487 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Connecticut [In reply to] Can't Post

You still donít get it. The issue is not my name and registration date, but your attitude. Itís amazing to see how you and some others have changed after getting into a program. Itís become all about making a shameless plug for his or her program, which doesnít really help prospective applicants like Junior Maas said.


gcsumfa


Sep 14, 2009, 12:38 AM

Post #1179 of 2090 (18471 views)
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Re: [sayno] Connecticut [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You still donít get it. The issue is not my name and registration date, but your attitude. Itís amazing to see how you and some others have changed after getting into a program. Itís become all about making a shameless plug for his or her program, which doesnít really help prospective applicants like Junior Maas said.


Let's see...

*I posted that poetry would probably be tighter this year than fiction.

* I acknowledged the funding situation.

What else would you like me to post that's not rainbows and butterflies? Some info is probably not best conveyed out in the open, mr-everyone-has-the-right-to-post- anonymously.

There's this function called "personal message" that many folk use around these parts, and prospective applicants pm current students on this thread all the time for more specific information about programs that's best shared in private.

Luckily for you--since you're so concerned about their well-being--they haven't had a difficult time figuring this out.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Sep 14, 2009, 12:45 AM)


prothen


Sep 14, 2009, 1:20 AM

Post #1180 of 2090 (18445 views)
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random [In reply to] Can't Post

Shall I get out the dueling pistols or what?

In an transparent attempt to change the subject: Has any one considered PhDs with a creative dissertation (i.e., in fiction or poetry)? I think, Blair, you are? Just curious what people think. Do they have merit or are they a second-rate PhD in CW?

Also, any folks here at Univ of Milwaukee? Or Univ of Ill at Chicago? I'm curious about these programs.

PS, is it possible to post something here NOT as a reply? I can't figure it out...


Pir


sayno


Sep 14, 2009, 1:21 AM

Post #1181 of 2090 (18445 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Connecticut [In reply to] Can't Post

Most people who visit this forum daily donít even have Speakeasy accounts, so they donít even bother all that pm shit youíre so excited about. And read the thread again to see how you made a fool of yourself.


gcsumfa


Sep 14, 2009, 1:54 AM

Post #1182 of 2090 (18424 views)
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Re: [sayno] Connecticut [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Most people who visit this forum daily donít even have Speakeasy accounts, so they donít even bother all that pm shit youíre so excited about. And read the thread again to see how you made a fool of yourself.


I thought you were tired?


gcsumfa


Sep 14, 2009, 1:58 AM

Post #1183 of 2090 (18420 views)
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Re: [prothen] random [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Shall I get out the dueling pistols or what?

In an transparent attempt to change the subject: Has any one considered PhDs with a creative dissertation (i.e., in fiction or poetry)? I think, Blair, you are? Just curious what people think. Do they have merit or are they a second-rate PhD in CW?


Most of these programs are actually "PhD's with a creative dissertation;" PhD in CW is a little misleading.

For instance, at most places, you still have to take comp exams in 2-3 literary areas and take the same number of core lit hours.


__________



Sep 14, 2009, 5:05 AM

Post #1184 of 2090 (18392 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I was commenting on the board attitude in general..like those times when you post something like, My aunt found Syracuse kind of cold -- might want to bring a sweater! and then you log-on and find thirty death threats in your inbox.

I haven't read through the current sayno debacle.


six five four three two one 0 ->


sayno


Sep 14, 2009, 9:52 AM

Post #1185 of 2090 (18367 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Junior Maas, guess who sends all those hate messages.


gcsumfa


Sep 14, 2009, 11:08 AM

Post #1186 of 2090 (18345 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] random [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yeah, I was commenting on the board attitude in general..like those times when you post something like, My aunt found Syracuse kind of cold -- might want to bring a sweater! and then you log-on and find thirty death threats in your inbox.

I haven't read through the current sayno debacle.


Ah, okay, yes...that's a bit over-the-top. I would never lie about how brutal the winters are up here...I was snowed in last Christmas! :)


klondike


Sep 14, 2009, 12:16 PM

Post #1187 of 2090 (18320 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] random [In reply to] Can't Post

So all bickering aside, I am still having trouble nailing down specifics about funding at PhD programs. This kind of information seems much harder to come by than funding info for MFA programs. Here is a list of programs I'm thinking about applying to. Does anyone see any red-flags, funding-wise? And if so, does anyone have specifics? Thanks!

USC
Texas Tech
Florida State
Utah
Ohio
U of Cinci
U of Illinois, Chicago
Missouri
Georgia
Denver


cantonioni


Sep 14, 2009, 12:38 PM

Post #1188 of 2090 (18310 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] random [In reply to] Can't Post

All right. I said I wasn't going to post anymore, but since we're all trying to make these sort of terminal statements to make it all stop, I'll throw one in.

There are a lot of things that I would change about Nebraska's program if I could.

I would ask them to accept fewer people and fully fund each of those people. For one, it's a better advertising scheme, as they'd jump to the top ten in Seth's rankings. I, like gcsumfa, am one of the lucky people who received full funding at my program, so yes, I'm probably rosier about it than someone who did not.

I would make the workshops smaller, and if it were not economically feasible for said workshops to contain only those obtaining Ph.D.s in CW, then I would have some sort of rigorous vetting process. I might even do away with workshops entirely and instead have CW Ph.D.'s meet with a series of advisors (which we do anyway, but I mean in lieu of the workshops entirely). My workshops during the MFA were generally smaller and contained only MFA students. I found that they were more productive than workshops have been at UNL.

I would do more to ensure course availability when those courses are listed as potential areas of academic concentration. The year I came in, no classes were being offered in my area of concentration, and I'd hoped to get my coursework out of the way right off the bat. Several have been offered this year, but I'm now focused on writing a novel, and I'm not going to switch gears on that.

These are wholly legitimate concerns and could be listed as "cons" with relation to UNL. I have no problem sharing them. I still love the faculty I'm working with; my peers are still publishing books and acquiring agents while engaged in the program, and that, TO ME, counts for a lot, since time to produce and someone to help push me toward publishing are what I wanted out of a program. Other people want other things. All well and good.

Nor do I really care if people think I might as well have earned a Ph.D. in underwater basket weaving. I didn't have time to write when I was working 60 hours a week. Now I do. I never felt like anything was "finished" enough to send out to potential publishers. Now I do. I'm a writer, which means I have to hustle for time, just like any other writer who isn't independently wealthy. I did it for the same reason I thought I went to get an MFA, only an MFA doesn't actually give a person the time to write that a Ph.D. program does. Or at least that has been MY EXPERIENCE in MY PROGRAM.

The reason I came out defensive earlier on was because the program was being attacked on inaccurate grounds. Had the program been attacked on legitimate grounds, such as those I have just mentioned, I would have commiserated.

I am sure that we all sound like our respective universities' booster clubs. Defensiveness is generally a reaction to attack.


sayno


Sep 14, 2009, 12:59 PM

Post #1189 of 2090 (18296 views)
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Re: [klondike] random [In reply to] Can't Post

If you consider only funding and donít care about location, here it goes:

USC (itís been said that itís hard to live with their stipend in LA)
Texas Tech OK
Florida State (no medical insurance, a 2-2 teaching load for about $10,000 per year)
Utah OK, I guess
Ohio (not sure whether it offers full medical insurance)
U of Cinci OK
U of Illinois, Chicago OK but remember itís in Chicago
Missouri ( if Iím correct, they didnít admit any outside applicants this year)
Georgia seems OK
Denver not sure but probably OK



gcsumfa


Sep 14, 2009, 1:40 PM

Post #1190 of 2090 (18279 views)
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Re: [klondike] random [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
So all bickering aside, I am still having trouble nailing down specifics about funding at PhD programs. This kind of information seems much harder to come by than funding info for MFA programs. Here is a list of programs I'm thinking about applying to. Does anyone see any red-flags, funding-wise? And if so, does anyone have specifics? Thanks!

USC
Texas Tech
Florida State
Utah
Ohio
U of Cinci
U of Illinois, Chicago
Missouri
Georgia
Denver


This might've changed since I applied, but IIRC, Denver doesn't guarantee a full four-five years of funding; I think it's only the first three years, and it's a private school.

But I could be wrong.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Sep 14, 2009, 1:40 PM)


sayno


Sep 14, 2009, 3:28 PM

Post #1191 of 2090 (18244 views)
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Re: [sayno] random [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If you consider only funding and donít care about location, here it goes:

USC (itís been said that itís hard to live with their stipend in LA)
Texas Tech OK
Florida State (no medical insurance, a 2-2 teaching load for about $10,000 per year)
Utah OK, I guess
Ohio (not sure whether it offers full medical insurance)
U of Cinci OK
U of Illinois, Chicago OK but remember itís in Chicago
Missouri ( if Iím correct, they didnít admit any outside applicants this year)
Georgia seems OK
Denver not sure but probably OK

I found Georgia doesn't offer full medical insurance. Here is the updated funding & medical benefits info for grad assistants at the Chronicle site:
http://chronicle.com/stats/stipends/


prothen


Sep 14, 2009, 5:21 PM

Post #1192 of 2090 (18211 views)
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Re: [sayno] random [In reply to] Can't Post

I lived in Chicago for 6 years (98-03) and unless the price of living has skyrocketed faster than in other cities, I didn't find it that expensive, at least not to rent. The condos were coming up like weeds and quite pricey. I moved to Richmond, VA to do my MFA (VCU) and found rent prices about the same as in Chicago (at least by 2006 or 07, they were the same). The condos in Richmond (also growing like weeds) were as expensive as I remember them in Chicago (i.e., Richmond had something of a NYC complex in these terms). Basically, Chicago doesn't compare with NYC or San Fran, at least in terms of renting, and your basic cost of living (at least as I remember it).

Here's something I wonder about Univ of Ill in Chgo, and about schools in other big cities: I have the suspicion that the largeness of the city could disrupt the intimacy that many of us may seek in (or around) a writing program. In Chicago, for instance, the neighborhoods in which your colleagues may reside could easily be so far apart that the only locus of community will be within the school's hallways (and it seems safe to say that few, if any, will be living in downtown Chgo). Not the worst thing in the world, of course, but in Richmond, for instance, the size of the city and proximity of neighborhoods (their proximity to the school, too) allowed colleagues a lot of casual contact, and I can't help but feel that this was beneficial on numerous levels.


Pir


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Sep 14, 2009, 10:45 PM

Post #1193 of 2090 (18173 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Thankful to see a cease fire has been called. Having recently started a relatively stable teaching gig, I'm scaling back my apps for the PhD, and thus, my list has shrunk. The last programs standing, for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: location, funding, faculty, duration, oh, and also whether or not they require the Lit. GRE (consider me a Lazy Susan):

Florida State
Southern Miss (best website of the bunch, for some reason, that matters to me)
Illinois-Chicago
Texas Tech
Utah
Wisconsin-Milwaukee

One or two of these may drop off the list. I'm starting to think I'm going to try 3 or 4 PhDs and a handful of the fellowships and see what pans out. Worst case scenario: I teach at a boarding school for another year, continue to publish, and try again next year. It's my understanding that the above programs offer at least some kind of tuition waiver + funding to at least some precentage of the students they accept. Truth or Dare?


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


sayno


Sep 15, 2009, 12:02 AM

Post #1194 of 2090 (18153 views)
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Re: [HollinsMFAer] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Florida State ( a huge program, heard some grumbling from current & former students, poor funding & heavy teaching loads, itíll get worse with the current statewide funding crisis.
Southern Miss (best website of the bunch, for some reason, that matters to me) Like Nebraska, admit many unfunded students, so the quality of students isnít that good, itís not what it used to be in the 80ís.
Illinois-Chicago (probably a better program for poets, ranked higher than the rest by the US News & World, although most of their job placements are in the comp/rhetoric area
Texas Tech (other than good funding, not well known)
Utah (one of the oldest, it used to be one of the top three, but not sure it still is
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (donít fund all admitted students, saw some people leave probably because of funding.


owenj


Sep 15, 2009, 12:39 AM

Post #1195 of 2090 (18131 views)
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Re: [sayno] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Some more info on Illinois-Chicago (if it's ok to disagree slightly with you, sayno, now that we're all being civil) - just curious what you're basing your info on re being a better program for poets (seriously, not to attack your opinion, just curious, because I don't know much about the poetry side) - Cris Mazza and Christopher Grimes are both pretty strong on the fiction side, and I know a number of talented folks there. I am not a student there, but I'd say even though it's off a lot of people's radars, it's a good fiction program (and guessing it's a good poetry program too, but don't know too much about it.) They've also got an awesome lit dept, at least by reputation.


sayno


Sep 15, 2009, 1:35 AM

Post #1196 of 2090 (18102 views)
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Re: [owenj] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Theyíre both experimental writers, both from Brooklyn College, probably students of Baumbach, I think, but they are no players in the avant-garde scene, so it seems they donít have much power and connection. In my opinion Denver has been doing a little better job than Illinois-Chicago in terms of job placement on the fiction side óthey both have experimental fiction programsóalthough itís really tough for an experimental writer to find a teaching job these days. But I might be wrong. So I meant that a poet has a much better chance of landing a job with a CW Ph.D. from Illinois as is the case in many other CW Ph.D. programs. And I didnít mean they have a weak fiction program.


owenj


Sep 15, 2009, 1:55 AM

Post #1197 of 2090 (18100 views)
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Re: [sayno] random [In reply to] Can't Post

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)


owenj


Sep 15, 2009, 2:39 AM

Post #1198 of 2090 (18077 views)
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Re: [owenj] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Another thought - does anybody choose an aesthetic based on marketability? For example, does anybody decide to write a particular way because they think that might lead them to a job? Not being combative, but curious - the thought that what I'm writing might be a hindrance to getting a job has never entered my mind, and if it had, I'm not sure I could switch - I've published both what you might characterize as 'traditional' short stories as well as 'innovative' stories and poetry, but that aesthetic decision's based on what I'm working on, not a perception of what will land me a job. I'm wondering if anybody does this, and then, in an effort to further marketability choose a PhD program based on an assumption on that aesthetic? I'd think if that were the case, we'd all be writing romance or mystery or science fiction, OR going into some other field entirely (a more 'marketable' field). I mean, we all know that the job market's a shitstorm right now, so why go into this field at all if we're not pursuing our own thing based on what we're passionate about - I'd guess most people write what they write and then find PhD programs that are willing to help them out, meaning the programs select applicants based on whatever criteria they elect but it would be a mistake to try to cater to a particular school based on aesthetic. I'm in a lit-heavy PhD with writers from all aesthetic stripes - sure, some schools have reputations as being 'experimental' or 'traditional' but it seems to me it might be a mistake to only apply to schools based on this perception - write what you write, apply to as many schools as possible, and see where you get accepted and who will give you money because as much as we try to guess a school's prevailing aesthetic, I'm not sure that's in reality how schools choose applicants. Thoughts?


gcsumfa


Sep 15, 2009, 2:49 AM

Post #1199 of 2090 (18075 views)
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Re: [owenj] random [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Another thought - does anybody choose an aesthetic based on marketability? For example, does anybody decide to write a particular way because they think that might lead them to a job? Not being combative, but curious - the thought that what I'm writing might be a hindrance to getting a job has never entered my mind, and if it had, I'm not sure I could switch - I've published both what you might characterize as 'traditional' short stories as well as 'innovative' stories and poetry, but that aesthetic decision's based on what I'm working on, not a perception of what will land me a job. I'm wondering if anybody does this, and then, in an effort to further marketability choose a PhD program based on an assumption on that aesthetic? I'd think if that were the case, we'd all be writing romance or mystery or science fiction, OR going into some other field entirely (a more 'marketable' field). I mean, we all know that the job market's a shitstorm right now, so why go into this field at all if we're not pursuing our own thing based on what we're passionate about - I'd guess most people write what they write and then find PhD programs that are willing to help them out, meaning the programs select applicants based on whatever criteria they elect but it would be a mistake to try to cater to a particular school based on aesthetic. I'm in a lit-heavy PhD with writers from all aesthetic stripes - sure, some schools have reputations as being 'experimental' or 'traditional' but it seems to me it might be a mistake to only apply to schools based on this perception - write what you write, apply to as many schools as possible, and see where you get accepted and who will give you money because as much as we try to guess a school's prevailing aesthetic, I'm not sure that's in reality how schools choose applicants. Thoughts?


Honestly, I haven't even thought about it. I agree with your previous post that what matters most is the desire and willingness to teach and a solid publication record (1-2 books to teach in an MFA program).

Also, as has been mentioned on this thread, there are more creative writing jobs at undergrad programs than at the Iowa's and Brown's of the world. I don't think St. Blah College in ND really cares if I write like Raymond Carver or Michael Martone.


sayno


Sep 15, 2009, 9:21 AM

Post #1200 of 2090 (18056 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] random [In reply to] Can't Post

Here goes again, gcsumfa and owenj stroking each otherís balls late at night!

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