Pam, that is.
Mar 7, 2008, 2:48 PM
Post #175 of 333
Strategies for picking recommenders, timing
[In reply to]
I know I'm out of sync with most of you; I'm working toward an application for Warren Wilson's low-res program (poetry) for a Sept. 1 deadline.
Looks like I need two letters. All other things being equal (which I realize they're not), how would you rank the best letter-writing choices from this list?
A. Writing professor I studied with in college 30 years ago, as well as recently in three classes in a non-credit program. Fairly renowned poet/educator. Just recommended me for a reading. Seems willing, albeit busy and potentially a little scatterbrained (I might have to lean on him, and that makes me a little uncomfortable).
B. Editor at a magazine where I've written (nonfiction) and proofread for nearly 20 years. Has seen me fluff deadlines and experience a few personal crises. Hasn't seen my poetry and might not quite be inclined to "get it." Nevertheless, will do a good letter in a timely fashion, I believe--though I don't know whether she'll mention the negative bits. Is someone I consider a friend, though I think she can manage the personal/professional distinction for this purpose.
C. Singer/songwriter who taught me in a couple of workshops (in singing and "creative process") at a music-oriented weeklong program last summer. Relatively famous name in her field, which probably won't impress Wilson either way. Has known me since I was a music critic and wrote favorably of her work (conflict of interest?). Has seen a few of my poems and a good bit of my nonfiction and "creative process." Was extremely enthusiastic about writing a letter for me when I asked, informally, a while back. In the middle of some serious personal complications that might make her a deadline-meeting risk.
D. Fellow workshop student who is about to graduate from the Wilson MFA program (not sure exactly when); consequently, she's very busy, but she's been very helpful. Has seen my work and will undoubtedly be positive about it. I don't know whether the fact that she's a student at the school to which I'm applying will help me or hurt me.
E. Another instructor from the non-credit program where A taught and D was a fellow student. Likes what he's seen of my work, though he hasn't seen much of it. Like C, he's someone I initially met when I was in journalism, and I wrote favorably about him and his book back then, so I have some misgivings about conflict of interest-type stuff. Doesn't have the clout of A, and I fear that two recommenders from the same program might not show enough "variety," though I have no basis for this.
Also, would it hurt to line up three (or even more) of these people to send letters, just in case one of them doesn't follow through? Or will this piss off the school?
And would it be crazy to get these letters going, seriously, right now, even though I haven't sent Wilson anything else resembling an application? (I'm a little worried about being too early, since Wilson's previous deadline was March 1 and they'll be in the middle of reviewing stuff that came in for that deadline.)
Thanks in advance.
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"What I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it." --Richard Thompson