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Low Residency MFAs (2)
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rooblue


Apr 5, 2006, 9:40 AM

Post #151 of 184 (4409 views)
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message to kalalamayan [In reply to] Can't Post

Kal,
You PM'd me, and I tried to reply, but you've set up your user preferences so that you can't receive private messages. If you want answers to your questions I suggest you change that setting, otherwise I can't respond.

Dana (motet) suggested that I post this here in the hopes that you'll see it.

thanks
Rooblue


GreenBeat


Apr 6, 2006, 4:01 PM

Post #152 of 184 (4346 views)
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Re: [mdseay] 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. "

mdseay:

Hi. I was recently accepted at Queens and would love to hear any more of your impressions about the program. Especially, do you feel your writing improved significantly? And, do you know anyone who completed a novel while going there? How did that work? And just general impressions of the residency experience, instructor styles, student interaction, etc.

It sounds like there is a good deal of freedom to move and breath at Queens. ?


dawns


Apr 12, 2006, 11:51 AM

Post #153 of 184 (4257 views)
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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I am new to this message board and have been searching for feedback on Fairleigh Dickinson's low residency MFA program. I wondered if you could share with me some of the things you have heard about the program. I know that it is relatively new so I guess I am just wondering what students had to say about their experiences there.

Thanks!

Dawn


rooblue


Apr 12, 2006, 1:11 PM

Post #154 of 184 (4235 views)
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Re: [dawns] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I know two people who've been through the program. One liked it, one dropped out because he didn't think it was rigorous enough. Isn't this the program that meets in London once a year? that sounds cool to me.


dawns


Apr 12, 2006, 1:16 PM

Post #155 of 184 (4234 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, this is the program that has their January residency outside of London. I just emailed the director to find out how they coordinate travel to England. I don't want to have to find my own way to this way once I arrive in England. It also seems strange to me that they do not require any letters of recommendation with the application process. I double-checked with the director to make sure before I proceeded with applying. I am also looking in to the University of New Orleans program as well. I like having the opportunity to go abroad with the residency requirements.

If you don't mind me asking, what made FDU's program non-rigorous?


willbell
Will

Apr 12, 2006, 1:52 PM

Post #156 of 184 (4227 views)
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Re: [dawns] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

When I applied, I was excited about the international component and the director was very helpful--he answered my questions quickly and thoroughly. I didn't like the module format when compared to the mentor/student packet process at Bennington or Goddard. I liked the connection to The Literary Review, but was indifferent about the faculty....once again, this is in comparison to Bennington and Goddard. It was also new and untested...for the most part...and I wanted to know more...get more info from former/current students.


dawns


Apr 12, 2006, 2:31 PM

Post #157 of 184 (4215 views)
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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I can agree with wanting to acquire more information about the FDU program. The information packets I received from Bennington, Goddard, and Vermont College were a wealth of information but the FDU packet literally contained a double sided sheet of information, an application, and a copy of the Literary Review. I know that Fairleigh Dickinson as a whole is good school but I am curious about their success so far with the relatively new low-res program.

Have you heard any good/bad comments about the low-res program through UNO? I have applied to the traditional MFA program and am still waiting to hear if I got accepted. The only problem is that my husband is unwilling to uproot and move to New Orleans and I admit, it is scary for me as well. So I was thinking I could maybe do the low-res option instead.

My other choice to apply is Bennington and from reading the long thread on low-res programs, I would say it gets good reviews from students who attended/are attending.


willbell
Will

Apr 12, 2006, 2:43 PM

Post #158 of 184 (4205 views)
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Re: [dawns] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know much about UNO. Sorry.

Everyone I know or have talked to about Bennington loved it. It is a great program...


greenrose


Apr 13, 2006, 12:36 AM

Post #159 of 184 (4164 views)
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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

For what it's worth, to anyone considering the FDU program...I believe my former teacher David Daniel works there. I had him for undergrad at Emerson, before he decided to leave (as so many do, sadly but understandably) due to financial issues, and others, with the administration...anyway, he's the poetry editor of Ploughshares, a wonderful poet and a great teacher. I don't know anything else about FDU, but I can definitely vouch for David as a lovely person to work with...


burnssh


Apr 16, 2006, 7:17 PM

Post #160 of 184 (4090 views)
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Re: [greenrose] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, I just got an acceptance from FDU. Has anyone else been accepted to the program recently. I would love to chat about where it falls in your decision process and why. Thanks, Sharon


Taliesin2


May 10, 2006, 11:07 AM

Post #161 of 184 (3958 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Speaking of Low-Res MFA's, does anybody know of any good ones in either Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C.? Thanks.


wonder01
Miriam Terron-Elder

May 10, 2006, 3:49 PM

Post #162 of 184 (3937 views)
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Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been reading as much as I can about LR-MFA and it seems that attending residencies both in the fall and spring semesters is standard. I only get two weeks of vacation a year from my corporate job, how do other full-time workers swing this? My head is still spinning from all the information on this board and other web sites, so I might be confusing things.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

May 10, 2006, 4:25 PM

Post #163 of 184 (3932 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Each residency is generally only a week. They may be described as eight-day or so, but that includes the weekends at both ends of the week. And most programs will allow you to come a day late if you have trouble taking the time off.

I met one guy at Goddard who came only to his graduation residency because the Army wouldn't give him leave for all the others. The residency is important, but in general the people running these programs aren't crazy. They understand that their students have lives.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


edwriter



May 11, 2006, 8:34 AM

Post #164 of 184 (3907 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the residencies vary. Some are the one-week-plus-weekend(s) variety, some are a little longer. Some run during spring and fall; some during winter/summer. You'll really need to look at all the programs and see how they're organized.

The UBC program in Vancouver is actually an "optional-residency" program, with a single residency in the summer that is not required. But it's encouraged. There may be a very few other programs with a single-residency component. I think the program at Pacific Lutheran University/Rainier Writing Workshop is one (10 days). The UNO program also relies on a summer-only residency structure, I think, but I don't know how long that lasts.

Hope this helps.

Best,
Erika D.


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



wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

May 13, 2006, 2:13 PM

Post #165 of 184 (3851 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I think a lot of people take some unpaid leave for the residencies if they can swing it, so they have vacation to preserve. You need vacation more than ever.

If you're working an inflexible corporate job, getting to the residency is the least of your challenges. Once the residency is over you're stacking 25-30 hours a week of hard reading and writing on top of a 50-hour work week, not to mention family responsibilities, social responsibilities, etc. Students lose their jobs every term. It can be hard on marriages, too. Although a faculty member once told me that the lost jobs and marriages are almost always the ones that weren't working out in the first place. A friend of mine at Bennington got fired from her job a couple of months ago and it's already turning out to be one of the best things that ever happened to her. On the other hand, we've had MDs with boundless energy cruise through the program without missing a beat. If you're a superhero it's not a problem.

All in all, a low-res MFA program is pretty demanding. But only as demanding as being a writer.


Taliesin2


May 14, 2006, 12:18 AM

Post #166 of 184 (3830 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
All in all, a low-res MFA program is pretty demanding. But only as demanding as being a writer.


In your opinion, is a low-res MFA program more demanding than afull time MFA program? Thanks. :-)


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

May 14, 2006, 8:24 AM

Post #167 of 184 (3818 views)
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Re: [Taliesin2] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
All in all, a low-res MFA program is pretty demanding. But only as demanding as being a writer.


In your opinion, is a low-res MFA program more demanding than afull time MFA program? Thanks. :-)


No. A low-res MFA is lots of work, but it's still part-time. It doesn't require you to move away. And it squeezes all the extras like readings and workshops and lectures and drinking heavily with your classmates into 22 days a year. The low-res MFA simulates the writer's life. The residential MFA *is* your life.

You can work a full-time job around a low-res MFA. Just not a real demanding or inflexible one. If you're working more than 40 hours a week and getting only two weeks of vacation with no ability to fudge with unpaid leave or comp time or something like that, it's going to be tough. The point is, if you're working that kind of job, being a writer is going to be tough. Once you're getting an MFA, it's not a hobby anymore.

That being said, we have very few dropouts. People find a way. A fair number of people, I'd say maybe 20 percent, take a term off at some point to catch up with work. Others are working reduced hours - I work for myself and I've cut my billing down to about 30 hours a week while I'm in the program. Some people have employers who value the MFA and are allowing some of the program time to count as work time; a few employers are even picking up part of the tuition. Some people are blatantly cheating, doing their classwork on the job and hiding it. Some people are leaning on their extremely generous spouses to pick up some slack for a couple of years. Then there are the people who are simply tireless - the people who are able to do it the way the writing magazines tell you, setting aside several hours each day, waking early, going to bed late, doing it all. That's not many people.

People talk about finding time to write, but I think time isn't really the problem. You need only three free hours a day to be a writer, and slightly more for a low-res MFA to accommodate the academic work. Most Americans devote more time than that to watching television. The problem is energy. Americans hate to admit it, but a brain needs rest. That goes double for a writing brain. It's not like pushing a broom where you force yourself and try not to fall asleep. Essentially, you're a performer. There's no such thing as sliding by. So the writing somehow has to come first, and the day job is where you slide by, until you die or you reach that beautiful day when the writing is your day job.


wonder01
Miriam Terron-Elder

May 16, 2006, 9:43 AM

Post #168 of 184 (3764 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for all the info you posted. My corporate job isn't super demanding, but they have hard rules about vacation time, etc. They would only pay for an MBA degree, so getting a free corporate-sponsored ride is out of the question. The time juggle will be a hurdle, but where there's a will...


blackwalnut


May 17, 2006, 4:09 PM

Post #169 of 184 (3715 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, good advice Bob.

Are people really receiving tutition assistance from their corporate job? I work in publishing and got shot down. I'm curious where these lucky individuals work. I thought I was safe in assuming a publishing house would offer at least some reimbursement, but we all know what happens when you assume.

Can anyone say anything bad about Bennington? So far it seems flawless.

Thanks.


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

May 18, 2006, 2:20 PM

Post #170 of 184 (3679 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Can anyone say anything bad about Bennington? So far it seems flawless.


Of course it's far from flawless. There are rough semesters with teachers, people go on leave at bad times, lectures bomb, tears are shed in workshop, etc. etc., just like any other MFA program. All in all, though, it's a good program and probably deserves to be up there in the rankings on the basis of faculty and student achievement and overall stability. From the way every class exceeds the last it's obviously rising. I think it's destined at some point to be the top low-residency program because of the institution it's tied to; Bennington is a hot school, especially for the arts, and students and teachers are attracted there by the literary tradition.


writerle


Jun 5, 2006, 7:17 PM

Post #171 of 184 (3588 views)
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Re: [Taliesin2] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a sort of general question about first residencies, for anyone out there who has already went through (or is currently enrolled in) a low res program. I'm about three weeks away from my first residency, but I still feel pretty much in the dark about what's going to happen when I get there. I was told that a lecture list would be out about a month ago, but so far nothing. I did receive a roommate request form and sent in a piece for the workshop I will be in, but that's about it. Is this pretty typical, or are the lecture offerings and residency schedules normally available before this point? I don't want to name the school I'll be going to, but it is well-established. Just curious how well-informed everyone else felt going into their low res programs. Thanks.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 5, 2006, 9:18 PM

Post #172 of 184 (3580 views)
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Re: [writerle] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

When I got to my first residency I had the title of a book that would be discussed in one of the seminars and a list of supplies I was likely to need. I may have also had a faculty list. I had no idea what to expect, and not a clue as to what workshops would be offered, other than the one where you needed to have read the book.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


rooblue


Jun 5, 2006, 10:49 PM

Post #173 of 184 (3575 views)
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Re: [writerle] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, writerle, Warren Wilson students got the faculty class descriptions (which include required and suggested reading lists) right after Memorial Day. We also got the big thick binder that has all the stories to be workshopped. We don't get the actual schedule, that says what class will be offered on what day at what time, until we get there, but that really doesn't matter. They really expect us to read the required reading in advance, so they're always pretty timely with the faculty class descriptions. The faculty for this coming term has been posted on the website for months. I don't know how other low-res programs handle preparation for residencies; sorry I can't be of more help.


writerle


Jun 6, 2006, 11:31 PM

Post #174 of 184 (3531 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you rooblue and Pongo for sharing your experiences. I guess I'm just getting a little anxious. Another student starting the same program I will be in informed me that he just received some of the things I've been waiting for today, so I should be getting them soon. And I just got my bill for the first semester, and that certainly made things seem a little more real and immediate.


LMcDole


Jun 7, 2006, 2:14 PM

Post #175 of 184 (3498 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Erika,

I read your newsletter and have been following the low-res posts here as well as the posts over at Tom Kealey's blog. Your input has been very detailed and helpful and I'm wondering if you can give me any insight into the programs at PLU (Rainier) and Pacific U in Oregon. I like that PLU requires only a summer residency, is near my home in Seattle, and structured over 3 years (I have two young children); I also got warm fuzzies from their website (it's so easy to navigate, unlike many of the other schools, and seems welcoming; yes, we've come to this: computer sites with human attributes!) Pacific U has 2 res. a year but still not too far from my home, and some of the faculty seemed interesting to me.

Also, I know I need to cast a wider net. Some of my criteria are: once a year residency if possible (I know most are two); good nonfiction program; mentor vs. online workshop model; lower cost. I've taken Gotham classes online and the workshop model helped me feel connected to other writers but didn't necessarily help my writing much. Plus I spent a lot of time critiquing others' pieces, which took away from my writing time (although I know there is merit there as well.)

So, any input on the above mentioned programs as well as other programs to look at would be great.

I'd appreciate anyone else who'd like to weigh in as well.

Thank you,
Lorri M.

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