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fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 6:36 PM

Post #101 of 2090 (20530 views)
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Re: [gogogirl] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

True, I'll agree and say that it sounds authentic, maybe even earnest. But I have a hard time taking seriously anyone when they go out of their way A) to bash something and B) to be overly emphatic about it. The speaker just doesn't sound like someone I'd want to spend any time with, much less trust with decisions pertaining to my future.

How about this: I'll report back from FSU and you can believe everything I say once I'm there. Oh, but watch, I'll come back with these glowing stories that contradict everything else you've heard, just like how my personal experience contradicts everything you've heard about USM.



In Reply To
Fuzen, that was a blog comment. I don’t know, but it sounded more authentic than the carefully prepared comments I saw in that blog.


(This post was edited by fuzen on Mar 12, 2007, 6:39 PM)


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 6:54 PM

Post #102 of 2090 (20519 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen, you sound like a great contradictor with Chinese wisdom. Go for it, man.


In Reply To
True, I'll agree and say that it sounds authentic, maybe even earnest. But I have a hard time taking seriously anyone when they go out of their way A) to bash something and B) to be overly emphatic about it. The speaker just doesn't sound like someone I'd want to spend any time with, much less trust with decisions pertaining to my future.

How about this: I'll report back from FSU and you can believe everything I say once I'm there. Oh, but watch, I'll come back with these glowing stories that contradict everything else you've heard, just like how my personal experience contradicts everything you've heard about USM.



In Reply To
Fuzen, that was a blog comment. I don’t know, but it sounded more authentic than the carefully prepared comments I saw in that blog.



gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 8:24 PM

Post #103 of 2090 (20494 views)
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Re: [gogogirl] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Uh uh, gcsumfa is pissed off at my comments. I’m in no hurry because I have a cushy fellowship right now. FYI I am planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in literature and am considering adding a few CW Ph.D. programs to my list.


Then you should probably just apply to PhD Lit programs, because all of the other PhD CW programs (minus USC) aren’t housed at “prestigious” institutions, even though you would probably be rejected from a place like Tennessee that accepts one fiction writer per year.


In Reply To
I graduated from one of the top MFA programs you seem to have a lot of hostility towards.


That’s funny that you graduated from “one of the top MFA programs” I “seem to have hostility towards,” as the only MFA program I have spoken ill of on this forum is Columbia, and that was because of their lack of funding, not their faculty or students.

So I take it you graduated from Columbia and didn’t have a problem paying the 100K tuition bill? If so, kudos to you.

I have an MFA myself, and I loved every minute of it; many of my friends with MFA’s from places like Iowa and UVA also pursued PhD’s in CW. Are Iowa and UVA good enough for you?


In Reply To
Maybe I am just looking at the MFA programs you wouldn’t even consider, where most of CW teachers are writers with a MFA or no writing degrees.


You forgot to add the part about most of those teachers being hired when the MFA was still considered terminal, but nice try.


In Reply To
may look at different directions, you look for a job at an “out-of-the-way” university and I at other jobs at schools where I’d feel more comfortable.


Well good luck finding that job teaching Creative Writing in the Hamptons. Maybe you’ll run into Joan Didion and the two of you will drive into the city and shop along 5th avenue.


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 9:34 PM

Post #104 of 2090 (20480 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don’t know why gcsumfa is so angry. Everywhere she goes in this forum, she tries to pick a fight. No, I’m not a Columbia graduate. I won’t even place it in the top 10 because of its funding. I know you’re frustrated. I hope you get off the Texas Tech waiting list and finally hear good news. Or So Mississippi might take you if you applied there as you said you’d. You’re still confused. I wasn’t talking about the “prestigious universities” but highly ranked Ph.D. programs in literature. That’s why I was particularly interested in USC, and I wonder if there’s anything wrong with that. I’ll include a couple CW Ph.D. programs as a backup plan. Chill out, gcsumfa. Don’t froth at the mouth. Peace, gogogirl.


In Reply To

In Reply To
Uh uh, gcsumfa is pissed off at my comments. I’m in no hurry because I have a cushy fellowship right now. FYI I am planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in literature and am considering adding a few CW Ph.D. programs to my list.


Then you should probably just apply to PhD Lit programs, because all of the other PhD CW programs (minus USC) aren’t housed at “prestigious” institutions, even though you would probably be rejected from a place like Tennessee that accepts one fiction writer per year.


In Reply To
I graduated from one of the top MFA programs you seem to have a lot of hostility towards.


That’s funny that you graduated from “one of the top MFA programs” I “seem to have hostility towards,” as the only MFA program I have spoken ill of on this forum is Columbia, and that was because of their lack of funding, not their faculty or students.

So I take it you graduated from Columbia and didn’t have a problem paying the 100K tuition bill? If so, kudos to you.

I have an MFA myself, and I loved every minute of it; many of my friends with MFA’s from places like Iowa and UVA also pursued PhD’s in CW. Are Iowa and UVA good enough for you?


In Reply To
Maybe I am just looking at the MFA programs you wouldn’t even consider, where most of CW teachers are writers with a MFA or no writing degrees.


You forgot to add the part about most of those teachers being hired when the MFA was still considered terminal, but nice try.


In Reply To
may look at different directions, you look for a job at an “out-of-the-way” university and I at other jobs at schools where I’d feel more comfortable.


Well good luck finding that job teaching Creative Writing in the Hamptons. Maybe you’ll run into Joan Didion and the two of you will drive into the city and shop along 5th avenue.



gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 9:59 PM

Post #105 of 2090 (20475 views)
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Re: [gogogirl] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don’t know why gcsumfa is so angry. Everywhere she goes in this forum, she tries to pick a fight. No, I’m not a Columbia graduate. I won’t even place it in the top 10 because of its funding. I know you’re frustrated. I hope you get off the Texas Tech waiting list and finally hear good news. Or So Mississippi might take you if you applied there as you said you’d. You’re still confused. I wasn’t talking about the “prestigious universities” but highly ranked Ph.D. programs in literature. That’s why I was particularly interested in USC, and I wonder if there’s anything wrong with that. I’ll include a couple CW Ph.D. programs as a backup plan. Chill out, gcsumfa. Don’t froth at the mouth. Peace, gogogirl.


Peace, dude.


fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 11:44 PM

Post #106 of 2090 (20452 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, another program to throw out there - UNLV. Over three years, you get a $50,000 stipend, $25,000 in graduate teaching support, and full tuition waiver. Good luck though, they accept one person in each genre. I didn't apply. I guess I never will.


gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 12:16 AM

Post #107 of 2090 (20438 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

UNLV's Lit program doesn't have enough prestige. I'd have to turn down their offer of 75K + a tuition waiver.

But seriously, I didn't even waste my time applying there, though I do think they accept more than the Schaeffer Fellow. For instance, you can get accepted into their program with the regular TA'ship, which is a tuition waiver plus a (relatively) modest stipend. At least I think that’s right. Maybe I’m wrong.

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are PhD programs that seem more like “oh, we’ll allow you to write your cute little creative dissertation,” and then there are PhD programs where the creative writing at the PhD level is an integral component of the department. I made the mistake of applying to some schools that fit the former. The schools that have responded favorably to my application fit the latter. If I had to do it all over again, I’d replace UGA with Western Michigan.

I'm just going to sit tight with Ohio and Texas Tech for now, and if I don't get into either one, I'm going to try again next year, including applying to USM. Right now I'm just too burnt out on the process to apply anywhere else.


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 12:33 AM

Post #108 of 2090 (20432 views)
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In Reply To
UNLV's Lit program doesn't have enough prestige. I'd have to turn down their offer of 75K + a tuition waiver.


Hahahahaha...

But seriously, good luck with Ohio and TTU. I am well familiar with the burnt out thing. By the end of my application process I was ready to throw myself in front of a truck just so everything would be over. My writing sample suffered. Soon after mailing off my last application I put together two stories that were much stronger than what I'd already sent out. I wanted to mail those to everyone anyway, and say, "Please read these instead." I probably should've.


(This post was edited by fuzen on Mar 13, 2007, 12:38 AM)


gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 12:38 AM

Post #109 of 2090 (20426 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

From the Grad Cafe, about OU:


In Reply To
called and was informed I was 11 on a waitlist of 35; apparently the 2 people they extended offers to already accepted. :(


http://thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?PL=C

Well damn. Please tell me that those "2" offers were in Poetry or CNF.

Fuzen, let me ask you something about USM. You said that the PhD was completed in three years. How does one complete a PhD in three years without dying, ha. I just can't imagine finishing a PhD in three years, but USM definitely intrigues me. I've heard great things about the Barthelme Bros.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 13, 2007, 12:41 AM)


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 1:46 AM

Post #110 of 2090 (20413 views)
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My friends are typically done with primary coursework after the first two. They pretty much just take workshop and maybe readings classes in the last year. Comps are taken in the second semester of the third year. It's common for people to stick around here during summer and take classes then, squeeze in a lit class to satisfy a requirement, and take a workshop as well.

A short answer to your question is probably the fact that this program is more focused on CW than it is on lit. The lit students take longer than three years, but the CW people all finish within three because their dissertations might consist only of creative work (it is for MA theses here), stuff that they had been writing -during- their studies, and not -on top of-.

The coursework for MA students breaks down to one workshop, one readings class, and one lit class per semester (for PhD it may differ slightly - perhaps more lit and less readings required?). In workshop you only have to turn in two or three stories a semester (Rick asks for two, Steve three), though of course you're encouraged to be writing more. I don't know if readings classes are common and are the same elsewhere - here you have a list of books to read, and you pretty much just go through them, writing up a little two-pager on each one and you discuss them in class. It's kind of like workshopping published work. You talk about what you think works and doesn't, from a writer's perspective. Lit classes are your typical seminars, culminating in 20-page papers.

It's a busy life - teaching two classes and taking three per semester, but it's the only grad life I've known and I've been fine with it. I do like the Barthelme brothers a lot as teachers. Steve is extremely thorough - he sits down with you and goes over every word. He'll show you exactly what he thinks is wrong, and most of the time he's right on - you can't really argue with him because he's done this for so long and he sees right away what the problem is. He also cares about the language and will point out every last textual mistake - the idea being, these little mistakes, however pissy it may seem to point them out, accumulate and create confusion in the reader's head. For example, something I'd written once went, "...he straddled his legs over it..." and Steve pointed it out to me that you don't straddle your legs, you straddle something else with your legs. Stuff like that, on top of the typical critiques about the functionings of the story.

Rick is more of a guidance kind of teacher. He talks about your story from a thematic perspective, jots down comments at the end of the story but doesn't annotate much in the actual text. I like switching back and forth between the two - one semester of Rick followed by one semester of Steve. It's a good balance. Some people may decide they like working with one over the other, and just sign up for that person's workshop over and over.

They've been looking to hire someone to replace Mary Robison for the past couple of years, but they just haven't found someone they've liked enough, yet. They were interviewing candidates at AWP - maybe there'll be someone new come fall.

The department is very, very relaxed. I think it's sometimes a problem for people who aren't naturally all that motivated, because you can get away with a lot, and then find yourself in trouble. On the other hand, if you're a hard worker, and you care about your writing, the teachers will sit down and work with you through as many drafts as you want to throw at them. They may not seem that way at first - they're both a little weird or intimidating in their idiosyncratic ways - but if you make the effort (i.e., stop by their office) they'll do what they can to help you.

Oh, one thing I loved here was being able to take poetry classes. I'm a fiction guy, always been deathly afraid of poetry, and so wanted to take a poetry class to get over that resistance. I ended up taking two poetry classes and included some poetry in my thesis. Julia Johnson is a never-ending fount of encouragement. Steve also teaches non-fiction during the spring semesters, which I hear is a popular class.

This program has its drawbacks too, of course. Coming from living in big cities, getting comfortable in Hattiesburg was quite an adjustment for me. I didn't get settled into a groove until my second year here. A lot of it was brought on by my own stress about things. I worried I wasn't good enough a writer, I was trying to save money so I didn't go out much (didn't visit New Orleans until my second year), stuff like that. And because it's a small program, while on the plus side you get really close with the people here and feel like you're part of a family, on the minus side you get close with the same small group of people and don't really have other people to fall back on. Maybe that's how it is with grad programs in general? I don't know.

Anyway, I've probably blabbed too much for casual forum readers. If you have specific questions, write me at jwang@juked.com. I'll be happy to tell you more.




In Reply To
From the Grad Cafe, about OU:


In Reply To
called and was informed I was 11 on a waitlist of 35; apparently the 2 people they extended offers to already accepted. :(


http://thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?PL=C

Well damn. Please tell me that those "2" offers were in Poetry or CNF.

Fuzen, let me ask you something about USM. You said that the PhD was completed in three years. How does one complete a PhD in three years without dying, ha. I just can't imagine finishing a PhD in three years, but USM definitely intrigues me. I've heard great things about the Barthelme Bros.



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 11:48 AM

Post #111 of 2090 (20376 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen, thanks for that great reply!

I just went ahead and emailed Rie about applying for fall 2007. Hopefully it's still not too late.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 13, 2007, 1:25 PM

Post #112 of 2090 (20351 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck with the waiting and, if you need to re-apply, with the applications next year! I made a big mistake last year in applying to PhD programs in an academic area that I thought might be interesting to me--but without any PhD acceptances (though I did get an MA program acceptance, which was enough for me to attend 1 semester and decide that there is nothing that can top creative writing for me, and I dropped out...). I'll be sending out my applications next year.

I know so little about Western Michigan. Maybe in my research it will wind up being a school I apply to. Maybe not. Who knows?!? Though there are so few programs out there for CRW PhD, I feel like I am focusing my research so much on programs that will really work with my own writing aesthetic and sensibilities. WMU might be a viable option for me. But somehow my gut instinct, right now, is rooting first and foremost for FSU. But ultimately it's rooting for whichever school accepts me with funding...whichever school has faculty that strongly believes in my writing and in my potential as both a writer and a uni professor.

I hope that as we all research and then apply in the fall we can just cheer each other on. We're a smaller crowd than the MFA applicants. ANd those of you who applied this past year, I am sure, have a sense of how nerve-wracking this whole process can be!


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 1:58 PM

Post #113 of 2090 (20337 views)
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Just want to make sure: Stephanie, you already have an MA/MFA or you will by the time you enroll in a PhD program, right? Unlike, say, Econ or Anthro, I don't know of CW PhD programs that skip the MA/MFA step.





(This post was edited by fuzen on Mar 13, 2007, 2:14 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 13, 2007, 2:01 PM

Post #114 of 2090 (20335 views)
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Yeah, I got my MFA for poetry in 2003...


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 2:12 PM

Post #115 of 2090 (20329 views)
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Ah. A grizzled veteran.

Good luck with the process!


In Reply To
Yeah, I got my MFA for poetry in 2003...



stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 13, 2007, 2:19 PM

Post #116 of 2090 (20322 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

grizzled or grizzly--up for debate (though both can be accurate depending on the time of the academic year OR where I am in the process of a new poem).

Thanks.

You mentioned something in response to my first post yesterday about personal statements. I wrote my applications for MFA so long ago (and so many computers ago) that I don't remember what I wrote, nor do I have access to what I wrote. It makes me just slightly nervous to think about! At some point, only if you feel cool with this, would you be able to backchannel me with a copy of the personal statement you write to accompany your FSU application? I'm so bad at writing these and get so stressed out even thinking about them (it was hell for me to come up with something for my failed applications last year...) that I think I could use something to hold up to whatever I write as a reality check (ie what I really need to convey as opposed to what my competitive-with-myself brain would try to think of...).


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 3:08 PM

Post #117 of 2090 (20308 views)
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I wouldn't mind sharing my SOP with you some time down the road, when you're putting your apps together. But keep in mind that each one is supposed to be individually tailored so as to distinguish you apart from the other applicants. I came to the whole writing thing after many detours, so that's what I talked about - my immigrant background, how I'd started in corporate America but ended up where I am, how reading and writing were always there for me, so on and so forth. I think your SOP should also reflect your writing philosophy (however pompous that sounds). My introduction to my thesis came out sounding like a longer, expanded version of the SOPs I was writing for my PhD apps - both were personal commentaries on writing, on how I came to be the writer I am today, etc. etc. etc.

I realize a lot of it sounds formulaic and boring, but I think this is where the differences come in: if you can talk about that stuff and come across as being genuine and interesting and unique, then you've done your job. I think the SOP should not be torturous - in fact, it should come naturally to you because you are talking about things you believe in, and you should also have a little fun with it. That's not to say it should be easy or casual - you'll want to revise it again and again - but it shouldn't be something artificial or forced, disingenuous or bogus. If you read your SOP and it doesn't sound like you, or if it sounds generic and watered down, then something's wrong.

Looking at other people's introductions when I wrote mine, I found I tend to write very directly. I don't start with an elaborate overarching frame or metaphor or anecdote (or maybe I do but I don't see it as one), and I avoid complex language. I more or less say things straight on, and try to drive momentum through the tone and sequence of thoughts/ideas. But that's just my style, and it's indicative of much of what I read/write. (E.g. I love George Saunders, but I can't stand Toni Morrison.) Your own SOP would probably be very different.

That's how I see it, anyway. Oh, and, keep in mind, also, that though I got into FSU and Hawaii, the same SOP is the one I got rejected by USC with. No way to tell if it was a strong or weak link in my application.



In Reply To
grizzled or grizzly--up for debate (though both can be accurate depending on the time of the academic year OR where I am in the process of a new poem).

Thanks.

You mentioned something in response to my first post yesterday about personal statements. I wrote my applications for MFA so long ago (and so many computers ago) that I don't remember what I wrote, nor do I have access to what I wrote. It makes me just slightly nervous to think about! At some point, only if you feel cool with this, would you be able to backchannel me with a copy of the personal statement you write to accompany your FSU application? I'm so bad at writing these and get so stressed out even thinking about them (it was hell for me to come up with something for my failed applications last year...) that I think I could use something to hold up to whatever I write as a reality check (ie what I really need to convey as opposed to what my competitive-with-myself brain would try to think of...).



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 3:23 PM

Post #118 of 2090 (20302 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, this is for those who have been waitlisted at OU in fiction: [through the grapevine], don't get your hopes up.

Apparently, the Grade Cafe posting I posted earlier in this thread about OU's two fiction acceptances accepting on the spot is in fact true. OU accepted two per genre, and fiction alone had 60+ applicants competing for two spots, and those two spots are now gone, unless someone backs out…which will probably happen the day before classes when it’s too late for anyone new to commit anyway. Ugh! To make matters worse, I was ranked "very high." So close, yet so far away. Why do I put myself through this? Anyway.

Fuzen,

I emailed Rie this morning about applying late. Do you know if she’s in today? Do you think it’s too late for me to apply? Do you think they would let me email my writing samples to expedite the process? Thanks again for all of your great posts about USM’s program.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 13, 2007, 3:25 PM)


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 3:52 PM

Post #119 of 2090 (20291 views)
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gcsumfa, USM is on Spring Break right now. I know they're going over applications at this moment - Steve was talking to me about it on Thursday. Something like, "going through all that mud, looking for something that sticks." I went ahead and e-mailed Rick and asked him about it. Though I specifically asked if it is too late to be considered for a tuition waiver/stipend, Rick's one-line response was "we're still accepting applications--".

I take this to mean, if you FedEx your application in, fill out the online form, fill out FAFSA online, and if they like your application, you'll be given equal weight in consideration for TAs. Good luck!



In Reply To
Well, this is for those who have been waitlisted at OU in fiction: [through the grapevine], don't get your hopes up.

Apparently, the Grade Cafe posting I posted earlier in this thread about OU's two fiction acceptances accepting on the spot is in fact true. OC accepted two per genre, and fiction alone had 60+ applicants competing for two spots, and those two spots are now gone, unless someone backs out…which will probably happen the day before classes when it’s too late for anyone new to commit anyway. Ugh! To make matters worse, I was ranked "very high." So close, yet so faraway. Why do I put myself through this? Anyway.

Fuzen,

I emailed Rie this morning about applying late. Do you know if she’s in today? Do you think it’s too late for me to apply? Do you think they would let me email my writing samples to expedite the process? Thanks again for all of your great posts about USM’s program.



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 5:11 PM

Post #120 of 2090 (20268 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen,

Rie got back to me. She also said I could still apply. I'm going to have it all done by tomorrow. USM doesn't require too much in terms of materials (in other words, I've noticed that they don’t waste your time with a bunch of superfluous garbage), which is great; I have a dossier service so I can send all of my letters and transcripts in one easy package.

I did ask her if I could email my writing samples but I might just overnight it anyway.

Do you have an idea of how many fiction PhD’s are graduating?


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 6:15 PM

Post #121 of 2090 (20242 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, the application here is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include a CV, whether the application asks for it or not. In terms of how many people are leaving...

I think three fiction PhD people graduated over December, and they weren't replaced this semester (but I don't know if they were on stipends or just straight instructorships). There's at least one fiction PhD person graduating in May, though I think it's just one. Also, another fiction PhD person decided not to do the PhD thing shortly after she got here last fall - a nice middle-aged lady with a family, who returned to New York because that's really where she belonged.

A lot of MA people are graduating, though, and the MA people compete for the same stipends. I can count at least four MA fiction students (including me) with the $10k TA who are graduating. I don't think they're competing for a PhD spot here, either - I'm going to FSU, one had a baby recently and I hear is going to take some time off, one is moving to wherever her husband gets a teaching job, and one is going to work for a newspaper. I don't know how many $15k TAs are available - those are pretty hard to get.

It looks like there will be quite a turnover in fiction this year, what with all the graduations. Poetry, on the other hand, I count two people graduating - one MA, one PhD. The MA student might stay for the PhD, which would leave just one spot open.

Oh, by the way, when I applied here I didn't mention anything in my SOP about reading Rick's or Steve's work. I also didn't mention that I think Donald is awesome. I think either one of those remarks would probably not work so well (unless you really do love Rick's or Steve's writing and can talk about it without sounding phony). Rick is also not a fan of: Dave Eggers, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, (anyone who tries very hard to be clever in their writing). Both of them like Taniguchi and Kawabata for some reason. Steve also loves the Russian masters. Not to say that you should lie about your interests and influential figures, or that you should mention any of this, but, well, it's there for your reference, just in case you find it useful for whatever reason. When I first got here Rick asked me who my influences were and I mentioned Thomas Pynchon and he changed the subject and asked me what restaurants I'd already been to in this town. Haha.

Well, hope that helps.



In Reply To
Fuzen,

Rie got back to me. She also said I could still apply. I'm going to have it all done by tomorrow. USM doesn't require too much in terms of materials (in other words, I've noticed that they don’t waste your time with a bunch of superfluous garbage), which is great; I have a dossier service so I can send all of my letters and transcripts in one easy package.

I did ask her if I could email my writing samples but I might just overnight it anyway.

Do you have an idea of how many fiction PhD’s are graduating?



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 6:49 PM

Post #122 of 2090 (20234 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

  



In Reply To
Yeah, the application here is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include a CV, whether the application asks for it or not. In terms of how many people are leaving...


Oh definitely. I always do that!



In Reply To
Oh, by the way, when I applied here I didn't mention anything in my SOP about reading Rick's or Steve's work. I also didn't mention that I think Donald is awesome. I think either one of those remarks would probably not work so well (unless you really do love Rick's or Steve's writing and can talk about it without sounding phony). Rick is also not a fan of: Dave Eggers, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, (anyone who tries very hard to be clever in their writing). Both of them like Taniguchi and Kawabata for some reason. Steve also loves the Russian masters. Not to say that you should lie about your interests and influential figures, or that you should mention any of this, but, well, it's there for your reference, just in case you find it useful for whatever reason. When I first got here Rick asked me who my influences were and I mentioned Thomas Pynchon and he changed the subject and asked me what restaurants I'd already been to in this town. Haha.


Haha. Well, actually, I can't stand Dave Eggers and that McSweeney's NYC Hipster bullshit, so they'll get along fine with me;-) My SOP actually references Tim O'Brien's influence on my own work.

I definitely hear you on the ass kissing. I never pull that stuff, and if a writing program is looking for me to flatter its faculty than that's probably not the place for me anyway.

Thanks again for the help!


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 13, 2007, 6:50 PM)


green sneakers

e-mail user

Mar 14, 2007, 8:29 AM

Post #123 of 2090 (20183 views)
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Houston [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry for the false start -- I'm not a PhD applicant, but was wondering if anyone here is a current/past MFA or PhD student at Houston? I'd love to speak with you.

Congrats to everyone who's gotten good news, and best of luck to those still waiting!


David Poissant


Mar 15, 2007, 2:41 AM

Post #124 of 2090 (20134 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey all,
Just discovered this forum and thought I'd join the PhD fun. I've been accepted to Florida State and Cincinnati, been rejected by UGA and Knoxville, and I'm still waiting to hear back from So. Miss and GA State. What do you guys think of Cincinnati? I know they don't have the "prestige" of Florida State, but they've offered me almost twice the $ FSU has for half the teaching load, and they seem like great people.
Fuzen, you seem totally jazzed about FSU (congrats, by the way, and hello, we might be classmates!). However, are you at all worried about the funding situation? It's 2/2 teaching for only about 10K a year. And, I was shocked to hear that that does not include health insurance. That's 1.5K a year out of pocket.
I spoke with Mark Winegardner at AWP, and it seems like a fantastic program with a great reputation. I'm just wondering how it got such a great rep with that kind of poor funding situation. It's kind of shocking. What's your take? I want to be convinced that I should go there, because everybody's acting like I'd be crazy to turn FSU down, but I can't imagine, even if I could survive on 8.5K a year, how'd I'd find time to write teaching 2/2 and carrying a full PhD teaching load...
Best,
D.J.P.


In Reply To
Yeah, the application here is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include a CV, whether the application asks for it or not. In terms of how many people are leaving...

I think three fiction PhD people graduated over December, and they weren't replaced this semester (but I don't know if they were on stipends or just straight instructorships). There's at least one fiction PhD person graduating in May, though I think it's just one. Also, another fiction PhD person decided not to do the PhD thing shortly after she got here last fall - a nice middle-aged lady with a family, who returned to New York because that's really where she belonged.

A lot of MA people are graduating, though, and the MA people compete for the same stipends. I can count at least four MA fiction students (including me) with the $10k TA who are graduating. I don't think they're competing for a PhD spot here, either - I'm going to FSU, one had a baby recently and I hear is going to take some time off, one is moving to wherever her husband gets a teaching job, and one is going to work for a newspaper. I don't know how many $15k TAs are available - those are pretty hard to get.

It looks like there will be quite a turnover in fiction this year, what with all the graduations. Poetry, on the other hand, I count two people graduating - one MA, one PhD. The MA student might stay for the PhD, which would leave just one spot open.

Oh, by the way, when I applied here I didn't mention anything in my SOP about reading Rick's or Steve's work. I also didn't mention that I think Donald is awesome. I think either one of those remarks would probably not work so well (unless you really do love Rick's or Steve's writing and can talk about it without sounding phony). Rick is also not a fan of: Dave Eggers, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, (anyone who tries very hard to be clever in their writing). Both of them like Taniguchi and Kawabata for some reason. Steve also loves the Russian masters. Not to say that you should lie about your interests and influential figures, or that you should mention any of this, but, well, it's there for your reference, just in case you find it useful for whatever reason. When I first got here Rick asked me who my influences were and I mentioned Thomas Pynchon and he changed the subject and asked me what restaurants I'd already been to in this town. Haha.

Well, hope that helps.



In Reply To
Fuzen,

Rie got back to me. She also said I could still apply. I'm going to have it all done by tomorrow. USM doesn't require too much in terms of materials (in other words, I've noticed that they don’t waste your time with a bunch of superfluous garbage), which is great; I have a dossier service so I can send all of my letters and transcripts in one easy package.

I did ask her if I could email my writing samples but I might just overnight it anyway.

Do you have an idea of how many fiction PhD’s are graduating?




fleurdelis44


Mar 15, 2007, 3:16 AM

Post #125 of 2090 (20128 views)
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Re: [David Poissant] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

David, if it's any consolation, Tallahassee isn't expensive in terms of housing and food. Also: FSU pretty much guarantees you a summer teaching gig if you ask, so that's more money. Also, Tallahassee is the state's capital, so there's plenty of administrative work for those looking for more income. Having been a student all my life, and having had different sized budgets at different times due to scholarships, financial aid, etc, I have to say that somehow, my expenditures have always expanded or shrunk to fit what I could afford. When I had it plush, I had Starbucks every day and went on trips; when times were lean, I shopped at Big Lots and rode my bike to campus. I don't mean to sound glib, but I believe that being mindful about unnecessary vs. necessary expenditures can make a lot of difference. I'm in the same boat as you--I have offers from programs that pay much more than FSU and ask much less of me in terms of teaching, but I know that ten years down the road, I'd regret turning down my first choice school for a better apartment or posher dining choices. Financial practicality is a means to an end here--we're all trying to make the choice that would make us the most happy and that we'd be least likely to regret. So, if you truly think FSU will help your future--whether it's in terms of developing your skills as a writer or giving you a more prestigious degree--then I'd say roughing it for five years is a small price to pay. And yes, I believe it can be done without going into debt.

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