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hamlet3145


Jul 30, 2007, 11:49 AM

Post #26 of 154 (5623 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Just FYI, if anyone is interested, our new director (Prageeta Sharma) is hiring an assistant to help with running the program. It's a half time position, but comes with health insurance, retirement, etc. and one could spend the other 20 hours a week perhaps with an adjuncting gig or writing.

http://www.umt.edu/hrs/STAFF/023450.html


Daaaaave


Feb 22, 2008, 2:16 PM

Post #27 of 154 (5449 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

There's been a lot of talk about the Montana program in "The Waiting Game" thread, so I figured I'd bring this one back to life:

1) Montana's definitely one of my top choices, but the other thread said that they only took 2 nonfiction people last year. As a person who applied in nonfiction, should I be worried that the program doesn't care or support as much nonfiction as other MFA's?

2) Tell me about Missoula!


hamlet3145


Feb 22, 2008, 2:37 PM

Post #28 of 154 (5433 views)
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Re: [Daaaaave] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Non-fiction is a much newer track than the other genres, so that portion of the program is still growing. It's not a huge secret that fiction and poetry seem to have more emphasis. My understanding is that it is a priority to remedy this, but in the meantime the non-fiction students are often "stuck" taking fiction electives. Or poetry. That said, there are also well regarded graduate programs in environmental writing and journalism here and you can take electives outside of the English department.

Missoula is great. I wasn’t expecting much more than a mud puddle and a truck stop when I showed up, but it has turned out to be Iowa City in a valley at the base of the Rockies. (I lived in Iowa City for three years). If you are remotely interested in the out of doors, I'm not sure what campus would be a better base of operations. We're a morning's drive from both Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. Skiing, natural hot springs, lakes, hikes, etc. are about 3 feet from Missoula. We're also about an 8 hour drive from Seattle so it is possible to head out there for a long weekend if one needs a city fix. (Portland is doable too). There are a number of writers who live in town that are not affiliated with the university and readings are well attended. There is an airport in town, but you can get cheaper flights out of Spokane which is about 2.5 - 3 hours away. I only lock my door when I go out of town.


blarring


Feb 22, 2008, 2:49 PM

Post #29 of 154 (5420 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for all the wonderful information! Question: Do you know what the graduate housing is like?

Thanks again,



B. Lynn Arrington
"A Southerner talks music." --Mark Twain



hamlet3145


Feb 22, 2008, 3:06 PM

Post #30 of 154 (5407 views)
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Re: [blarring] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

It's like graduate housing. =) Which is to say, not exactly the Ritz, but perfunctory. Some of the buildings look like they belong in the Soviet Union circa 1973. I lived in the Lewis & Clark village complex for a while when I got out here. I was moving from Iowa with all my worldly possessions in a Nissan Sentra and having a furnished place that I didn't have to worry about was a big plus. I did have a roommate, but this was a real apartment and not dorm living. I was matched up with a Ph.d. student in Biology and it was just fine. Once I had my bearings in town, I found my own place.

For not a lot more than student housing one could get an apartment in town. I'm paying $465 for a pretty spacious basement apartment about an 8 minute walk from workshop. (That's probably a better than average deal though). You can get decent studio apartments for $400 - 450 and 1 bedrooms for around $500. There are cheaper, but those come with weird odors, ghosts and regret.


(This post was edited by Hamlet3145 on Feb 22, 2008, 3:13 PM)


blarring


Feb 22, 2008, 3:15 PM

Post #31 of 154 (5400 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks. Yeah, I'm scared of the graduate housing at all my potiential schools. However, any program that I get into will be far away from home and I thought grad housing might be the safest way to go for the first semester/year (at least until I adjust to the town). But I would rather not live somewhere that felt more like a state mental facility than grad housing.



B. Lynn Arrington
"A Southerner talks music." --Mark Twain



lindseymorrone


Feb 25, 2008, 3:58 PM

Post #32 of 154 (5293 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

I really hope I get into Montana. For some reason, 90% of the people I tell I applied there think I'm nuts and the other 10% are ecstatic. I suppose the 90% think it's a dirt heap with no running water... I've never been there myself, but I just really feel like I'd love it out there. I've been living in cities my whole life--San Jose, San Diego, and now Los Angeles. A little isolation and a whole lot of nature sounds damn good to me right now. What would you say the dynamics between the professors and the students are like and is it like a little writer's community among the students??


aathema


Feb 25, 2008, 8:52 PM

Post #33 of 154 (5233 views)
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Re: [lindseymorrone] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm at Montana right now and I'd say the student writing community is very close-knit and supportive. The professor-student dynamic depends. I've only had good experiences with my professors--they generally give good feedback on my work and are always available for one-on-one conferences. Some invite students over for potlucks. Some go out with students for beers after workshop. None have been stand-offish or unapproachable in any way. That being said, professors here do tend to go on sabbatical or on visiting writer trips with little or no notice, which can be problematic when thesis time rolls around. I don't know if this is typical of other schools, or not, but it's something to prepare yourself for.


http://postmfa08.blogspot.com/


reality writes


Feb 26, 2008, 12:36 PM

Post #34 of 154 (5170 views)
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Re: [aathema] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey aathema - thanks for your post & commenting on the availability of professors there. A very important point. I'm still waiting to hear acceptance/rejection letters (crosses fingers), but I'll check out your cool blog in the meantime.


Vesuvia


Feb 26, 2008, 6:55 PM

Post #35 of 154 (5097 views)
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Re: [lindseymorrone] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Lindsey, I'm with you on that. I've really only lived in cities or close to them (New York-area, Baltimore, Chicago) - and I have this idea that an idyllic, peaceful existence awaits in Montana, away from the grit and turmoil of the city which, though character-building and great fuel for writing, is becoming a little too stressful and draining. Are you applying for poetry or fiction?

Montana MFA-ers, any comments on how living in Missoula has affected your writing? Is the peace and quiet a) real and b) invigorating and conducive to your writing? What's the cultural life like, outside of the lit scene?


lindseymorrone


Feb 26, 2008, 7:13 PM

Post #36 of 154 (5082 views)
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Re: [Vesuvia] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Vesuvia, I'm applying in fiction, how about you?
By the way, great questions. I wanted to ask more, but I wasn't sure how to ask them. I just generally want to know about Montana MFAers' experiences, whatever they may be. Plus, I also started to shy away because it's so hard dealing with rejections and I don't want to get too attached to any one school until I know I've gotten in.


hamlet3145


Feb 26, 2008, 7:25 PM

Post #37 of 154 (5074 views)
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Re: [Vesuvia] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Missoula is a nice college town. The population is around 60 - 70 thousand. Many coffeeshops, bars & used book stores. Montana fun fact: gambling is legal. Thus, just about every gas station has some slot machines. More rusticly, you can watch the old timers play poker in the front window of the Oxford. The town is surrounded by mountains and navigation is made easy by the giant white M on the side of Mt. Sentinel above campus. (See my avatar to the left). I've never lived in a big city, so I really don't know that I might be missing out on. I'm not sure that the locale has affected my writing much one way or another. Richard Hugo still casts a large shadow here though, particulary in the main workshop room where there is a giant photograph of him. The eyes follow you around like something out of an old Scooby Doo cartoon.


(This post was edited by Hamlet3145 on Feb 26, 2008, 7:27 PM)


miss.modular


Feb 26, 2008, 8:33 PM

Post #38 of 154 (5043 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone heard anything back from Montana? Any idea when they'll be sending out their refusals, acceptances, and in-betweens?


hamlet3145


Feb 26, 2008, 8:38 PM

Post #39 of 154 (5038 views)
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Re: [miss.modular] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

I heard that they are making their final decision on March 5th so the letter/phone calls should happen soon after that.


(This post was edited by Hamlet3145 on Feb 27, 2008, 7:07 PM)


aathema


Feb 26, 2008, 9:01 PM

Post #40 of 154 (5027 views)
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Re: [Vesuvia] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

I've only lived in mid-size to large cities and I've found the landscape to be very inspiring here. I tend to set the scenery against other places I'm familiar with in my writing, which has been productive. I've also heard other people in the program characterize coming to Missoula as achieving a "clean slate"--i.e., there's a sense that anything could happen here and one is so separate from one's past experiences that there's a sort of freeing effect. I'd agree with that characterization to a point.

There's as much (or as little) peace and quiet as anyone could want. Being an 8-hour drive from a major city in any direction can feel a bit isolating, especially since plane tickets in and out of Missoula are so expensive. But I find that the other students in the program provide a vibrant social atmosphere, when needed. There tend to be many nights on the town. There's a pretty big bar scene.

As for cultural life, it seems to be based more in personal relationships than public offerings. There are plenty of artists, musicians, film people, etc. in town, but there aren't a lot of public venues. So you just have to get out there and meet people in order to get the exposure to cultural life. I will say that there's an excellent documentary film festival in February and that the city holds first Friday art walks downtown, which are both impressive considering the size of Missoula.


http://postmfa08.blogspot.com/


Vesuvia


Feb 27, 2008, 7:02 PM

Post #41 of 154 (4953 views)
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Re: [aathema] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, aathema and Jason. It all sounds lovely and very much like a place I'd like to live for a while.

Lindsey, I'm for poetry, and I agree - I don't want to get too attached to a place and then have a rejection roll in. I find myself checking out apartment listings on craigslist for Montana, Iowa, and a bunch of other possibilities, and then realizing that I'm about 8 steps ahead of myself. A girl's got to have a little hope, though, no?

Good luck to everyone waiting to hear!


reality writes


Feb 28, 2008, 4:56 PM

Post #42 of 154 (4865 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Jason, thanks for continuing to provide thorough information on Montana!

And hey, keep the Unofficial blog going! Your songs of the week KILL ME. Any idea who will fill your blog shoes once you graduate? Would you like to see my application? (J/K)


miss.modular


Mar 3, 2008, 1:12 PM

Post #43 of 154 (4753 views)
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Re: [reality writes] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

To anyone in the know,

Do you think it's possible to survive in Missoula without a car? Is there any public transportation? Car share programs (like Flex Car in Seattle, where I currently live)?

I probably shouldn't think too much about these things until after acceptances and rejections go out...


hamlet3145


Mar 3, 2008, 3:15 PM

Post #44 of 154 (4710 views)
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Re: [miss.modular] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

I know people who do it. The trick is to live near campus/downtown. There is also bus service (free with your student ID). The drawback is that it doesn't operate much at night. Honestly, I really only ever use my car to go grocery shopping. A car is nice, but not necessary.


miss.modular


Mar 3, 2008, 3:17 PM

Post #45 of 154 (4700 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice to know Jason, thanks.


lindseymorrone


Mar 5, 2008, 3:44 PM

Post #46 of 154 (4621 views)
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Re: [miss.modular] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Today's Montana's decision making day! EEK!


miss.modular


Mar 5, 2008, 3:49 PM

Post #47 of 154 (4612 views)
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Re: [lindseymorrone] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Eek indeed! I wonder if they'll be making calls and sending acceptance emails today...


lindseymorrone


Mar 5, 2008, 3:54 PM

Post #48 of 154 (4602 views)
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Re: [miss.modular] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope so! The sooner the better--After you call your parents, boyfriend, husband, best friend, and dog, you better post here and let me know! Pulling for us both>Gulp.


miss.modular


Mar 5, 2008, 4:00 PM

Post #49 of 154 (4587 views)
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Re: [lindseymorrone] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, fingers crossed! Good luck!


Vesuvia


Mar 5, 2008, 7:31 PM

Post #50 of 154 (4531 views)
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Re: [miss.modular] Montana MFA (new post, because the other thread died) [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh my god, I completely forgot today was the day - seriously, I have it written in my planner, on a post-it note on the inside flap of my planner, and about 8 other places. How did I miss it? This obsessiveness works in weird ways, especially when it unexpectedly doesn't work at all....

If anyone hears from Montana, please post ASAP!!! And Montana, please accept me!

Good luck to all ;)

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