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gymnick


Mar 27, 2006, 7:28 PM

Post #126 of 184 (3668 views)
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Re: [elli] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been accepted to Emerson, Sarah Lawrence, Art Institute of Chicago (which I'm no longer interested in) and Goucher for nonfiction and I'm trying to decide between Emerson, SL and Goucher. I'm not sure if I want to go the low residency route. Part of my reasons for going that route is cost. But I'm still pretty young (finished undergrad in 2004) and I think I could still benefit from the more structured, weekly class sort of thing. Any thoughts on those programs?


Windiciti



Mar 27, 2006, 9:27 PM

Post #127 of 184 (3643 views)
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Re: [rooblue] [Edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, Rooblue and Edwriter!
Thanks for your input of how Low Res programs work: advisor v. internet board.
Frankly, I despise the latter. And it is true that some people are not good readers, and in my opinion, make comments just for the effect it has on their professor. I took a graduate education course which met once a week, but also required participation on an Internet forum, and as I said, it was hateful to me.
Glad to hear, Rooblue, that WWC is different.

BTW, I spoke to Amy G at WWC, and she told me to call back "every day if I needed to." I will call back on Friday.
They haven't made any decisions yet. They will call the people who are in. I'm scared! But it won't be the end of the world!
Thank you all for your info.


coolshoes


Mar 29, 2006, 1:14 AM

Post #128 of 184 (3582 views)
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Re: [gymnick] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Gymnick -
I was waitlisted at Goucher. Congrats on your acceptance there at at Emerson and Sarah Lawrence. I spoke with Richard Hoffman recently, who is at Emerson (because he also teaches at one of the low res programs I'm considering) and was very impressed.
At your age, I would probably opt for a traditional program; althought what I really want to say is maybe I would do neither and work, travel and write for a couple of years before heading back. Maybe by then a low res would work better because you may have a job you really like or at least need, or have other situations where you cannot pick up and move for a traditional program. That's the allure of doing it right away, you are unencumbered (usually). But I've read many accounts of writers who said they wish they'd waited until they were older & more experienced so they'd know better what they wanted out of the MFA experience. THen again folks like me, at age 46, still don't know precisely what I want out of it, so there you go.


gymnick


Mar 29, 2006, 1:19 AM

Post #129 of 184 (3578 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been leaning to the traditional program cause like you said, i'm probably at the age and point in my writing where i'd benefit the most from that sort of structure.
I've spent the last two years out of college which has felt like the longest time, esp. when i decided about a year ago that i want to go to grad school. other than applications and my job, i've spent the better part of this year thinking about what i want to write and work on while i'm in grad school. i want to try stuff out but i also am pretty focused on a book project.


coolshoes


Mar 29, 2006, 1:36 AM

Post #130 of 184 (3576 views)
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Re: [gymnick] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Gymnick, you sound ready. Good luck.


gymnick


Mar 29, 2006, 1:41 AM

Post #131 of 184 (3575 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks!
I'll probably turn down Goucher in a couple of days so I'll root for you!


blackwalnut


Mar 29, 2006, 11:59 AM

Post #132 of 184 (3539 views)
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Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I'm applying to Bennington and Stonecoast in nonfiction for January '07. I'm way ahead of schedule, which is great: recommendations are out, Stonecoast statement is done, and Bennington's is coming along.

I figured I'd jump in here early as well; find out what I can from people who just finished the application process.

coolshoes, are you still waiting to hear from Stonecoast? How long was your writing sample? Was your essay double-spaced? I wrote a killer two-page essay but it's single-spaced. In addition to their residencies in Ireland, they'll soon be offering ones in Greece! This is particular appealing to me because I transferred to Emerson as a junior and my degree requirements prevented me from studying abroad. I've also never lived on campus so I'm hoping to make up for all this in an MFA program.

Gymnick, I think the faculty at Emerson is great, especially Lise Haines and Richard Hoffman (both writers-in-res.) As I'm sure we all know, the quality of a workshop relies heavily on the students. I was amazed at the authority some of the students assumed at Emerson. They were blind to the flaws in their own work but saw 20/20 down their noses, trashing the work of fellow students. None of us were established writers; we were college kids developing a base talent. But this snobby attitude exists everywhere so my advice to anyone interested in Emerson is make sure you find one or two professors you admire and whom like your work and stalk them in a healthy way. Boston is great a place to live too.

another reason the low-res format is good for me: more one on one time with a mentor rather than daily workshops. I want the most for my money and for me, that's constant professional attention. I like the idea of a low-res, a community without the overbearing monotony of daily interaction for months and months.

Anywho, so this is my introduction to the Speakeasy. hello. nice to see you.
little more background: 24, out of undergrad for 2 years, and considering applying to Vermont's program as well. I have to do some more research, that 3-4 page critical essay, ugh.


mirandabenjamin


Mar 29, 2006, 9:16 PM

Post #133 of 184 (3485 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

On the subject of Queens and online workshops: I'm a new CNF grad out of Queens, and found that the online workshops worked well, especially after the residency periods. You've just spent a week with your workshop mates and your teacher,so you can "hear" their comments as you read the notes and kind of know their perspective on things. (Take it or leave it, as with any workshop.) I was concerned that I would feel a little bit "out in space" during the non-resident periods, but found that the work and the feedback was constant rather than cyclical.The requirements for workshop feedback have changed a bit since the program started, I think - they require a certain word count and focus in the written feedback, which goes to classmates a/w/a instructor, so you're not getting (or giving) a "yes, this is fine," kind of comment. Line edits are usually very useful, too.

Every instructor I had was involved and thorough, but everyone has their own personality and approach. Which is good. So do editors, so do publishers, so we might as well get used to that.


coolshoes


Mar 29, 2006, 11:59 PM

Post #134 of 184 (3461 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

"coolshoes, are you still waiting to hear from Stonecoast? How long was your writing sample? Was your essay double-spaced?"
--------------
I have an acceptance to Stonecoast, and owe them a decision in a few days. I submitted my app on Jan 30 and got word back on Feb. 17. My portfolio was 21 pages, double spaced. By essay, if you mean the statement of purpose, it was 2 pages, spaced 1-1/2. Kind of a cheat, but what the heck. I don't think it would have mattered if it was single spaced. For The New School, it was a one page limit, so I just made it single spaced and I was accepted there as well.

You mentioned liking the faculty at Emerson and mentioned Richard Hoffman. He is on faculty at Stonecoast, as well.


edwriter



Mar 30, 2006, 8:35 AM

Post #135 of 184 (3439 views)
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Re: [mirandabenjamin] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad your experience was better than mine. They waited to launch the CNF section (the program began with only fiction/poetry offerings), and I think that worked to the CNF students' benefit. I was a fiction student--much larger component, much larger pool of faculty--and I'm very impressed by the work (and publishing credits) of the CNF students/grads in the program. One of them has a book coming out with FSG next month, in fact. Thanks for giving me the chance to point that out.

Yes, I heard about the new word count requirement (finally!) for critiques. The Web site stipulates they must run 300-500 words? In some cases that's about what my faculty gave me, too. Definitely not what some of the people in the mentor-based programs have reported. (I require a minimum of 500 words when I run a workshop, myself).

And in my MFA workshops, the fact that the instructor was seeing the comments didn't seem to raise the bar very much (though I imagined it would, too). Some of the faculty also seemed to have pretty minimal expectations for and engagement with the students' comments, which I thought was very unfortunate. Again, these were fiction faculty.

I'm interested in the "constant" instead of "cyclical" pattern you're reporting. My experience was very cyclical--in fact, we were frequently reminded at the residencies "not to bother" the faculty between submissions. I'm glad if that's changed.

Just goes to show everyone's experiences--especially in large programs, and in different genres, and in different semesters--can be very different, and that relying on "talking to students" doesn't always give you a clear view for your own purposes.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



blackwalnut


Mar 30, 2006, 9:04 AM

Post #136 of 184 (3435 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info and congrats on Stonecoast and New School.

I spoke with someone at Stonecoast last week. She said they admitted a student in nonfiction based on her FOUR page writing sample. Hmm...

Is anyone here receiving tutition assistance from their employer? I know there are several threads dealing with funding but I think, given the nature of the low-res, this question is better suited here.

one more question coolshoes. Since I have the time, I'm considering gathering and mailing all of my application materials together. Did you send in your stuff piece by piece? Would anyone else like to share how they went about it?

Thanks!


trumped


Mar 30, 2006, 10:33 AM

Post #137 of 184 (3423 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
one more question coolshoes. Since I have the time, I'm considering gathering and mailing all of my application materials together. Did you send in your stuff piece by piece? Would anyone else like to share how they went about it?

Thanks!


To answer the application part, I think it's better to send all of the info together rather than piece by piece or having it mailed in from other sources (school transcripts, recommendations). I emailed all of the schools I was applying to and asked if I could gather the material and send it in myself, even if their app said it had to come straight from the source. I assured them that transcripts would be official and sealed and recommendations would be sealed in an envelope with the recommender's name signed across the seal. All nine of the schools I applied to, except one - Goddard, said it was okay. Goddard requested that recommendations be sent directly to them.

I think it makes for a much cleaner, cohesive package and you get your response sooner that your application is complete.


kmala


Mar 30, 2006, 11:24 AM

Post #138 of 184 (3409 views)
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Naropa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello All,

This is my first time on this forum - I just got my rejection letter from NYU a few days ago. It was the only program I applied to, though I'm not 100% sure why. Originally I was interested only in a low-res program and was going to apply to FDU, but for some odd reason decided to completely put all of my eggs in one basket and apply to NYU, though I knew, I mean absolutely knew, I would not get in.

Anywho, now I am re-researching low-res programs and am wondering about Naropa - has anyone had any experience with them... heard anything, applied there, etc? I would be going for poetry.

All of the posts I have read so far have been very informative - and though none of them were directly for me.. thanks!
-kara


mdseay
Martin Seay

Mar 30, 2006, 1:04 PM

Post #139 of 184 (3392 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a 2005 grad of the Queens low-res program (in fiction), and I'm honestly a pretty big fan of their online workshop format.

The broadly-held but unspoken assumption about online workshops seems to be that you will learn craft by reading the comments of other workshop participants. In almost every case, you will not; you'll learn how your stuff is being read. You will learn craft by WRITING comments about OTHER people's submissions.

We learn to write by reading closely. We can, of course, learn a lot by reading a wide range of published work by established writers, but I would submit to you that we can actually learn more of immediate value by closely examining the workshop disasters of our peers. The artists of the Renaissance (to make a grandiose analogy) perfected their craft not primarily by observing the exertions of athletes, but rather by dissecting corpses.

I don't have enough hard data to confirm or disprove the contention that Queens' reading and critical requirements are lighter than those of other programs, low-res and otherwise; I suspect that the reading load -- typically 12-15 books per residency from three genres, plus the odd lit-crit book -- is about average. When I was at Queens, a student who wanted to skimp on these requirements could get away with doing so . . . and I could not begin to wish we had been policed more aggressively. I appreciated the freedom to ignore assignments that failed to resonate with my own interests and struggles. (I also found more than one faculty member willing to recommend reading tailored specifically to my concerns, and then to discuss that reading at length at a later date.) Queens' requirements in this department evidently have become more systematized since Erika -- and even since I -- graduated, but as far as I can tell, their emphasis on writing has remained consistent and sound.

So far as the availability of Queens' faculty goes . . . I never found any of them to be less than generous with their time and their assistance, and at least a couple of them went so far above-and-beyond as to court disbelief. (This generosity extends to faculty with whom I never formally studied.) While I was at Queens, I was always cautious about asking for extra attention or assistance . . . but I often found it offered anyway.

(I too remember injunctions from the program chairs to keep our interactions with faculty within reasonable limits, but this is just logistical and pedagogical common sense: nobody wants their instructors monopolized by a few high-maintenance students, and everybody learns more by applying their instructors' wisdom than by simply demanding more and more of it.)

True, the Queens program might not be ideal for everyone -- but it is sufficiently large and flexible to meet the needs of a remarkable range of students, and it does deliver what it purports to deliver. My expectations of it were high, and they were exceeded by a wide margin.


edwriter



Mar 30, 2006, 1:47 PM

Post #140 of 184 (3378 views)
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Re: [mdseay] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm a 2005 grad of the Queens low-res program (in fiction), and I'm honestly a pretty big fan of their online workshop format.

The broadly-held but unspoken assumption about online workshops seems to be that you will learn craft by reading the comments of other workshop participants. In almost every case, you will not; you'll learn how your stuff is being read. You will learn craft by WRITING comments about OTHER people's submissions.






Absolutely. I agree, completely, Martin. Which is why I spend a lot of time teaching my own students "how to critique" and which was also why I was so very frustrated with the program's unwillingness, at the time, to focus on the craft of critiquing. Ultimately, I even tried to offer a service in the form of my own craft seminar on the craft of critiquing. (Let's not even get into the uneven quality of craft seminar preparation/performance, although there, too, I understand they've finally toughened up the requirement a bit.) As I say, mine was definitely a minority voice on the subject of critiquing (or any other "standards") throughout the time I was there.

Still, an argument could be made that since one's tuition dollars are going to support the online workshop, it would be nice to receive quality responses on one's work. At the time I was in the program, the student handbook stated that faculty would "assess" the student responses. This never once happened. I never once received any "assessment" of my own critiques, and I certainly never saw instructors comment on others' critiques in their responses, except to say, from time to time, "I agree with X and Y about this point." Not quite individual evaluation/assessment. And not very helpful if one goal is, indeed, to strengthen individual critique abilities so that one will, indeed, learn from the process of writing rather than reading critiques.

Similarly, I never received an evaluation/assessment of any of the response papers for those 12-15 books (not that we needed to write about all 12-15) which, as you point out, frequently fell to the wayside for many of my classmates. Maybe I had an unspoken assumption that my papers would be read and commented on. That was just one more way I found the program did not deliver: I have a number of years behind me as a student
and as an instructor, and nowhere else, in either context, have I ever encountered the phenomenon of papers being submitted but never returned/responded to. A number of us wondered if anyone ever read them. Even the paper submission/collection process was disorganized. So the lack of faculty engagement there seemed very off to me.

I'm glad if the program has matured somewhat. It does point to possible perils of new programs for inaugural students (a point of this discussion), especially if the programs turn out to be very resistant/slow to change. Four or five years is awhile, in my view, to get "features" like an online workshop in order (I don't think we inaugural students got any tuition "discounts" in the meantime!). But if such program components are working now, that's all to the good for the newer students.

Again, I think people enter programs with different expectations so even if they were to work with the same set of faculty at the same time in the same workshops, they're likely to emerge with different evaluations. When they work with different people at different times in different workshops, different viewpoints are practically guaranteed.


Best,
Erika D.


blackwalnut


Mar 30, 2006, 4:05 PM

Post #141 of 184 (3335 views)
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Re: [trumped] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, trumped. You got into Bennington right? If so, what genre? I think they mentioned on their application that recs. and transcripts must be sent directly but if you gathered the materials yourself, I'll do the same.

Anyone have experience with residencies abroad? Stonecoast offers them in Greece and Ireland. Very tempting...


trumped


Mar 30, 2006, 11:52 PM

Post #142 of 184 (3305 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks, trumped. You got into Bennington right? If so, what genre? I think they mentioned on their application that recs. and transcripts must be sent directly but if you gathered the materials yourself, I'll do the same.


I was accepted into Bennington for fiction. Even the programs that said on their application that things must be sent directly told me I could gather all of the materials and send them in in one packet. Email all of the schools though and get their answers before doing it.


coolshoes


Mar 31, 2006, 12:01 AM

Post #143 of 184 (3305 views)
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All done ! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to Stonecoast (Univ. So. Maine)....whew...glad the agonizing decision-making process is over! To recap:
Accepted to --
The New School (way too expensive, logistical difficulties re: family/commuting into city)
Western CT St. Univ (very new program, hard to evaluate, didn't click for me)
Lesley (it was very hard to choose betw. Lesley & Maine; I just got a better gut feeling)

Waitlisted - Goucher
Rejected - Queens

I wish everyone well in making their final decisions. The posts and support have been so very much appreciated. Thanks to all and good luck.

Anyone else out there going to Stonecoast?


clarabow


Mar 31, 2006, 2:15 AM

Post #144 of 184 (3294 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] Low Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Can anyone tell me about the MFA Writing Program at Provincetown's FAWC?


edwriter



Mar 31, 2006, 8:05 AM

Post #145 of 184 (3279 views)
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Re: [clarabow] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

Clarabow:

I thought the MFA program there was primarily for visual artists. Check the Web site (www.fawc.org).

There is a fellowship program there for writers, and a series of writing workshops.

Best,
Erika D.


clarabow


Mar 31, 2006, 9:20 AM

Post #146 of 184 (3265 views)
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Re: [edwriter] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

I see. Does FAWC offer writing courses (not just the winter fellowship) during the fall, winter and spring? I don't see anything about this on the website, but maybe I am just not looking in the right place?


rooblue


Mar 31, 2006, 4:30 PM

Post #147 of 184 (3233 views)
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Re: [clarabow] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

clarabow,
FAWC is workshops in the summer and the very prestigious fellowship in the winter -- that's it -- nothing even remotely resembling an MFA program.


mirandabenjamin


Apr 1, 2006, 9:55 AM

Post #148 of 184 (3190 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

"constant" as in instructors were available to me by e-mail if I needed to follow up on a comment or ask a question - which doesn't mean emailing someone to ask how their day was or did they just read this new piece in the New Yorker and what did they think of it? One thing I liked about low-rez is the tacit professionalism implied in the on-line relationship.

Also, generating new work for the submission deadline plus revising work that had just come back plus reading and writing papers kept me pretty busy, especially when combined with my "regular" job, (a writing job). Having to keep my job is why I went to a low-rez program, so there you go!


edwriter



Apr 1, 2006, 1:29 PM

Post #149 of 184 (3168 views)
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Re: [clarabow] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

Clarabow:

There's an extensive roster of summer workshops, plus fall programming. Page links are on the home page for "summer" and "fall" programs.

Hope that helps.

Best,
Erika D.


edwriter



Apr 1, 2006, 1:48 PM

Post #150 of 184 (3165 views)
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Re: [mirandabenjamin] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"constant" as in instructors were available to me by e-mail if I needed to follow up on a comment or ask a question - which doesn't mean emailing someone to ask how their day was or did they just read this new piece in the New Yorker and what did they think of it? One thing I liked about low-rez is the tacit professionalism implied in the on-line relationship.


Yes, I expected "tacit professionalism" from both faculty and students, too. It was amazing how often such professionalism was breached.

I don't think I was expecting to check in daily with faculty for their ideas about magazine pieces or their daily lives (though I have, and still do, congratulate some of the nicer ones I've come to know on their awards and publications, and inquire when I know they're going through rough times. There I can be found guilty.)

I did, however, expect full, thoughtful, and considered responses on all my submissions. And some kind of response on my response papers. And dialogue with my initial craft advisor on my craft seminar topic. Just for starters. Simple "hellos" in passing from some others would have been nice, too.

Like Martin (above) I did encounter a few unexpected and much appreciated instances of generosity from a few faculty with whom I was not assigned to work (and with whom I'm still in touch). They seemed open to me and my work and, frankly, they also tended to be among the more experienced teachers, usually with full-time appointments in addition to their low-res positions.


In Reply To
Also, generating new work for the submission deadline plus revising work that had just come back plus reading and writing papers kept me pretty busy, especially when combined with my "regular" job, (a writing job). Having to keep my job is why I went to a low-rez program, so there you go!


Yes, I was working, too. In fact, I was teaching, and doing plenty of concurrent reading and responding to my own student writing ("academic" and "creative"). Plus I'd had some really great independent study/advising situations in my previous life (or lives--this wasn't my first round in graduate school) as a student, as well. Which may be other reasons I found certain attitudes of some of the faculty unsettling and disappointing.

I thought it was great to revise and generate new work so frequently (another reason to opt for low-res), though I remember in one of my workshops a classmate repeatedly submitted the same material (and further, seemed unhappy that the rest of us weren't submitting revisions instead of new work, too). As I said before, I didn't find the "outside" reading/writing requirements terribly onerous.

Glad that you (and Martin) have now joined the Speakeasy. Glad, too, that your experiences were so much more agreeable than mine. Hope you'll stick around and participate in some of the other discussions.

Best,
Erika D.

(This post was edited by edwriter on Apr 1, 2006, 1:51 PM)

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