»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Michigan Program?
Edit your profilePrivate messages Search postsWho's online?
You are not signed in. Click here to sign in.
If you are not a member, Register here!
135822 registered users


hazelmotes


Nov 18, 2005, 3:02 PM

Post #1 of 165 (16277 views)
Shortcut
Michigan Program? Can't Post

Well, Now I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about the program in Ann Arbor. I guess I may be trying to narrow down my list of schools, since I'm applying to 10, and it's getting expensive!

I know the program is well-funded, but I don't know much about the faculty


Crissytrap


Dec 2, 2005, 9:53 AM

Post #2 of 165 (16206 views)
Shortcut
Re: [hazelmotes] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not in the program but my friend is and she really likes it. She's a first year. I have, however, worked with a couple of the faculty members at workshops and have had extremely great experiences in that setting. I also was fortunate enough to enroll in a creative writing class at a local community college when Laura Kasischke was teaching. She was a wonderful instructor. I've heard mostly good things.


sovietsleepover


Dec 31, 2005, 12:36 AM

Post #3 of 165 (16115 views)
Shortcut
Re: [hazelmotes] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is probably late info, since their deadline's already passed, but rumor has it there'll be two new poetry hires in the next several years. Since it's a two year program, this may not make a difference for anyone accepted this spring..


emptymug


Mar 12, 2006, 11:40 PM

Post #4 of 165 (15986 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sovietsleepover] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmm...

To anyone currently choosing between Michigan and another program...

I think that Michigan's program is the best in the country, especially for fiction.

Their alumni have a top notch publishing record, especially in recent years.


fionayale


Mar 13, 2006, 12:04 AM

Post #5 of 165 (15977 views)
Shortcut
Re: [emptymug] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree.

Michigan is one of the best.

I love Ann Arbor. What a neat place to go to school!


emptymug


Mar 13, 2006, 12:10 AM

Post #6 of 165 (15973 views)
Shortcut
Re: [fionayale] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

For sure. Ann Arbor is real dandy. Affordable, too.


vronsky


Mar 13, 2006, 10:50 AM

Post #7 of 165 (15940 views)
Shortcut
Re: [emptymug] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Michigan's great. From what I can tell, it's a tight-knit program. Good funding, lots of events, and the Hopwood awards are nice. I got a *lot* out of working with Thylias Moss. And Anne Carson teaches classes outside of the Classics dept once in a while...I found her a little distant at first (especially compared to Thylias), but was very glad to have the chance to work w/ her...and I ended up getting alot more out of her class (Essay Writing for Poets) than I first anticipated.

Of course, if you're not studying poetry, this information probably isn't very helpful.

(Just for clarification, I was in Michigan's undergraduate CW "subcon" program.)

I'm biased, but I think Ann Arbor's a great town.


(This post was edited by maggiekate on Mar 13, 2006, 1:07 PM)


fionayale


Mar 13, 2006, 11:32 AM

Post #8 of 165 (15918 views)
Shortcut
Re: [maggiekate] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

No bias, MaggieKate. I don't think there is any denying how fun Ann Arbor is.


rocky_fona


Mar 13, 2006, 7:39 PM

Post #9 of 165 (15857 views)
Shortcut
Re: [maggiekate] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Both the Fiction and Poetry departments at Michigan are top-of-the-line.

I believe someone mentioned this before: their students have a successful publishing record.


poetastin


Mar 14, 2006, 2:12 AM

Post #10 of 165 (15828 views)
Shortcut
Re: [rocky_fona] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone willing to share thoughts on the joy of being surrounded by producers of high quality work, but also feeling kind of like a fraud since your own measly stories are way mediocre until they've reached the fifth draft or their first birthday? I was looking last night at the alumni publication record, and it is kind of intimidating. I picture myslef being laughed off the table and/or eaten, wolf-pack like, by other workshoppers.


(This post was edited by poetastin on Mar 14, 2006, 2:16 AM)


mannytheman


Feb 20, 2008, 10:37 AM

Post #11 of 165 (15415 views)
Shortcut
Re: [poetastin] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

All these posts are helpful but a couple years stale; anybody have something to say about Michigan now? Words of wisdom regarding poetry there would be especially appreciated.


mpagan


Feb 20, 2008, 4:16 PM

Post #12 of 165 (15320 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mannytheman] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree manny,

I just got into Michigan and wanted to find out some more inside scope on here but could not find any.

I'm fiction by the way -

If I discover anything on the poetry side I'll let you know

But if any Michigan students are on here or former students - can you maybe shed some light on the program?


sayra


Feb 20, 2008, 9:30 PM

Post #13 of 165 (15244 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey all,
Congrats to those of you who've been accepted to Michigan! I'm currently in my last semester of the poetry program, so if anyone has any questions on the program, feel free to post them here or to contact me and I'll do my best to answer what I can!


(This post was edited by sayra on Feb 25, 2008, 11:19 PM)


mpagan


Feb 21, 2008, 2:10 PM

Post #14 of 165 (15144 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, has anyone accepted their Michigan offer yet?
I know it's early, but I was curious, especially because I don't know of a better financial package (not including Cornell and Michner) But still - I'm waiting on 10 other schools, but 98 percent sure I'm going to Michigan. The only other school I would have considered was UVA because I love Deborah Eisenberg , but now I hear she'll actuall be at Michigan for the fall as a writer in residence, and truthfullly I don't think I'm getting into UVA anytime soon. So if anyone is going let's chat, I'm looking for plane tickets for their Welcome Weekend in March.

Also, this is a question for Sayra, what's the typical schedule look like for a first year at Michigan - course load- grading- and such?


smulis


Feb 21, 2008, 2:35 PM

Post #15 of 165 (15123 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi mpagan. I am in the same boat as you. A very happy boat! I think I'm going to wait on Texas before I accept Michigan but I think Michigan might be a better fit for me anyway. Lets chat off the board. I'll PM you. I'm in for Fiction btw.

If there are any other Michigan people out there please feel free to PM me.


sayra


Feb 21, 2008, 3:46 PM

Post #16 of 165 (15068 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

So typically a first year is two courses a semester (6 credits for the workshop, which is once a week for three hours, and then another 3 credit course, be it a craft course, a lit course, or a course from another department. The first semester the workshop is 1st and 2nd years together, half of each cohort; the second semester it's just your year, which is lots of fun. I don't know graderships that well, but typically they're just grading papers and holding office hours for one class, so it kind of depends on the course and what's do when as to how much time they eat up, but they're not too bad at all, and good practice for when you teach the next year.


pensive
Adam
e-mail user

Feb 26, 2008, 11:47 PM

Post #17 of 165 (14925 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Some Michigan applicants show rejections on Michigan's website. Wolverine access under student business. Mine hasn't changed, but some people's have.


candygirl


Feb 27, 2008, 12:09 AM

Post #18 of 165 (14914 views)
Shortcut
Re: [pensive] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gosh.. Mine hasnt changed yet.. Pensive, here we go again... This time Jim Beam, I suppose? Because if we drink Jack every time we get rejected this year, next year "No money for old rejects for new applications"...


Dinosaur


Feb 27, 2008, 12:27 AM

Post #19 of 165 (14897 views)
Shortcut
Re: [pensive] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

My status on the Michigan site hasn't changed either. I'm so glad it's freezing and miserable outside...it just reminds me that it would be so much worse up there. A little silver lining to what I assume will be a rejection.


slackaye


Feb 28, 2008, 7:15 AM

Post #20 of 165 (14780 views)
Shortcut
Re: [hazelmotes] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone on the waitlist received a letter by regular post? The e-mail made it seem like we'd be getting a hard copy of that same letter (going by the reference to a postcard that wasn't attached to my e-mail).

And who's out there waiting for poetry? It seems like everyone is for fiction.

And what's your address? And could you leave your back door open at night?

Since they don't tell us where we are on the waitlist, I'll have to take you all out.... just sayin


lauraeve


Feb 29, 2008, 11:29 AM

Post #21 of 165 (14657 views)
Shortcut
Re: [slackaye] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was waitlisted at Michigan (poetry) & while I heard by email, I did eventually get a letter in the mail, with the postcard they referred to.

Good luck to all you waitlisters out there -- I hope many of us get in! & to those accepted, congratulations!!!

Anyone from previous years make it in off the waitlist who wants to contribute some motivational speaking? ;)


Blanca78


Mar 2, 2008, 10:22 AM

Post #22 of 165 (14516 views)
Shortcut
Re: [slackaye] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Slackaye--I was wait listed at Michigan for fiction and received my hard copy of the letter about a week ago. If you haven't received yours yet, maybe you should just respond to the email and say you want to stay on the list?


slackaye


Mar 2, 2008, 11:29 AM

Post #23 of 165 (14492 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Blanca78] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, thanks for the heads up. Incidentally, I did send an e-mail a few days back. Nothing for it now but the waiting, hoping, and praying that everyone ahead gets into a top choice that isn't Michigan. Fingers crossed for all you fellow waitlisters.


Blanca78


Mar 2, 2008, 2:09 PM

Post #24 of 165 (14450 views)
Shortcut
Post deleted by Blanca78 [In reply to]

 


Dinosaur


Mar 2, 2008, 3:04 PM

Post #25 of 165 (14423 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Blanca78] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wash U was my first choice, despite the fact that all of the other 7 schools I applied to were "big name" as per your apparent definition. I was rejected by Wash U. You can understand, I'm sure, why your disappointment is ridiculous to me.


timidsymmetry


Mar 2, 2008, 4:54 PM

Post #26 of 165 (11088 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Blanca78] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yikes.

You really needn't worry so much about being validated, because even an acceptance isn't anything to celebrate when seen as an indication of skill. Since you seem to be caught in an ineluctable cycle of status acquisition and self-doubt, and also come across as someone more interested in getting into an impressive grad school than actually writing impressively, I'm gonna make a blind guess and say that because you got into a few programs you feel this demonstrates your writing is even better than you thought. If this is the case you are wrong, and are inflating your ego with the emotional equivalent of inert gas.

Nothing is as humbling, to me at least, as reading the work of others who are also "good enough" to get into a top program. Good programs accept lots of dreck, good magazines accept lots of dreck, good journals accept lots of dreck. People seem impressed that I study where I do, but they shouldn't be. My adviser tells me that the admissions committee generally prefers manuscripts that seem "capably mediocre" over those that are demonstratively of better quality. Its just easier, she says. Not exactly the kind of thing my parents would put in the family christmas letter. "Our lovely so and so attends BIg Name School, a highly selective program that deemed her adequately good, but not really good."

I don't mean to take you down a peg. We're human, and subject to the human desire for recognition. But you seem to be interested in the wrong things, and extracting approval from dubious sources. The process of admission is essentially meaningless. Be glad some programs are giving you the opportunity to do something you enjoy.


Blanca78


Mar 2, 2008, 5:50 PM

Post #27 of 165 (11053 views)
Shortcut
Re: [timidsymmetry] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you, and would say the same thing to someone else. I appreciate your comments, and am very happy to be accepted anywhere. It's true of me, and many many other writers, though, that writing is emotionally harrowing for a lot of reasons. Yes, I fully admit that I need validation. I wish it weren't so. But at the same time, it has taken me years to get to the point where I am writing work that I'm proud of, that I am able to push through self doubt and write steadily at all. I have never been one of those people who can sit down and bang out a story, who takes the high road and says productivity is everything, diligence over natural ability, blah blah. I squeeze my stories out bit by bit, and when they work, it's an incredible feeling. I think it's natural to crave validation. I think most people pursuing creative work would be lying if they said they didn't. I'm sorry if my first post is misleading. We all have insecurities, and this is as good a place as any to express them. Anyway, I didn't say I wanted to go to a "top five" program--I don't know that I do. All I'm saying is, it would feel really good to know I got into one, and I know I'm not the only person out there who feels that way. Shallow? Misguided? It is what it is. What you say about top programs and mediocre work is really depressing. All I know is, I want to be inspired and challenged by my peers, and I'm sure I will be wherever I end up.


mpagan


Mar 2, 2008, 6:16 PM

Post #28 of 165 (11030 views)
Shortcut
Re: [timidsymmetry] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

An acceptance isn't anything to celebrate when seen as an indication of skill?

Your advisor actually said your admissions committee generally prefers "capably mediocre" manuscripts over demonstratively better ones? Wow. that wouldn't make me feel good.

Although I agree with your sentiments about validation and such, I think you are perhaps taking an overly sober view of things. Undoubtly, the top programs are not over-stuffed with the best writers - superior writers pop up at other programs as well. We'd all be foolish not to know this.
I think it always boils down to tastes and sensibilites - but YOU SHOULD feel good about your skills if you get into any competitive program (which most are now) and then work to improve them further.
And if you ever found out that your program prefers ""capably mediocre" work over work that was "demonstratively of better quality" because it was "easier" you should maybe get yourself to another progam


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Mar 2, 2008, 10:07 PM

Post #29 of 165 (10968 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Blanca78] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, in some ways it's not about the reputation of the program but about how the programs fits you. The best MFA program is the one that is the best match for your needs, goals, and talent.

How do you identify that in advance when everything is so competitive? All you can do is to apply to programs that appear to be a good fit and hope that you land in the right place. I may sound like a Pollyanna, but I believe that things have a way of working out for the best. If you end up in a back-up safety school, you may discover that it's the perfect place for you because you are matched up with an incredible teacher you would never have even considered on your own.

Just my thoughts...

Good luck to all who are still anxiously waiting.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


Stroudb

e-mail user

Mar 2, 2008, 10:12 PM

Post #30 of 165 (10965 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,
Just a quick response to some of the earlier questions about UM's program. I'm currently in my last semester as a fiction student here, and I can't say enough good things about the feel of the program here. One of the first big things is that everyone here pretty much gets along. You hear rumors of severe cattiness at other places, but that's not really a problem here (partly because of the size--no one having to fight it out for attention--and because of the equality of funding, albeit from different sources).
Another thing to mention (and I'm not sure how much of this goes into the letters) is all the great benefits. So, aside from your funding itself, you get reimbursed for sending stories and poems out ($50 a year), you get book money each winter break (another $50, given by an agent who once was the publisher at Time Warner), you can apply for travel funding for writing research (I just got back from a trip to Berlin heavily subsidized by the MFA)--and, well, the list of perks goes on (one student a year gets three weeks at a house in Ireland, for instance).

OK, so all that's good--but I think the major thing here, aside from having amazing fellow students, is the philosophy of the faculty. They preach long-haul work ethic here. That is, a lot of discussion centers around how you get through the next ten years, etc.--of sticking true to your art and forging ahead, and not worrying about advances and instant success. I mean, this program (and I'm sure several others can say the same) has seen graduates get book deals right after graduation, and others take thirteen years to get there. But no one looks down on one or the other--the focus is the work itself, and taking the time to get it where it needs to be. I guess I'm mentioning this because I think it's important and indicative of the feel of the program. I'm sure other programs can say much the same thing (George Saunders was just here, and talked to us about much of this, so I get the sense that Syracuse has a similar feel). But, basically, you don't have so much of egoes jockying to be the next big thing. Instead, you've got a program where people really care about their work. And a program that backs this up with substantial funding so that you can focus on your work (and that is very much the philosophy here--I actually witnessed a semi-subdued argument about the philosophies of funding between a professor in the Iowa WW and one of our professors, in which our guy made more or less that claim).

OK--I feel like I'm being insubstantive now, so I'll stop here. Post questions if you'd like and I'll try to check back in.
If not, see you at recruitment weekend!


timidsymmetry


Mar 2, 2008, 11:17 PM

Post #31 of 165 (10938 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

You're right, hearing the unofficial, though practical, admissions policy did make me question the program, but not in any serious way. Why should I question the quality of a story I publish just because many of the other items published in the same issue are, in my opinion, not very good? And the crucial correlative to this is that any one of those other writers can easily feel that way about my piece, too. Similarly, the fact that I can tell you without much chagrin that I was considered functionally capable but not exceptionally noticeable in my application would hopefully communicate that such an evaluation doesn't bother me too much. I'm still writing. I'm still publishing. The program effectively decided, and many programs would agree to something similar, that overarching talent was less desirable than a style they felt comfortable working with. Its a myth that only the best writers get in to the best program, or even the lowliest program.

Certainly, many very fine writers will receive MFAs from both ends of the bell curve, but you can't say that without saying many very poor ones do, as well. Iowa is Iowa because they produce accomplished writers, but lots of maintenance closets and fast-food fryers do, too.

Its my view that if you "should" consider it is an a mandate of talent, you must also acknowledge that some very nice people that write very poorly should operate under similar mandates, and those that didn't get in aren't as "good." I don't think many people would submit to that.

There is a post elsewhere in the forum from someone who had been publishing in some very, very competitive and highly-regarded journals. The poster apparently didn't get in to any programs s/he applied to, after TWO rounds of attempts. You should definitely read what umass76 says in his response to the posting.

You should be proud to get in. Thats great. But you can't with any earnestness console those who don't get in if you insist that quality trumps all, and was the reason you were admitted. Quality is subjective and not necessarily the most important thing to an admissions committee. None of the process that takes you to a program makes any sense. And admitting that will actually take the pressure off and make writing much easier.


mpagan


Mar 2, 2008, 11:31 PM

Post #32 of 165 (10931 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Stroudb] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for reminding us this is a thread about Michigan's Program.

I'm glad to hear the program is such a supportive place for writers

I'll be there at the end of march with plenty more to ask I'm sure.

I'm truly excited.


katiej


Mar 5, 2008, 10:52 PM

Post #33 of 165 (10803 views)
Shortcut
U Mich Welcome Weekend - also Wisconsin? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm attending the U Mich Welcome Weekend later this month, and I'm planning to visit U Wisconsin while I'm in the Midwest (I'll be flying out from the West Coast). Is there anyone out there interested on going in on a rental car to drive out to Madison? I'm thinking of heading to Wisc on Sunday the 30th and returning to Detroit on Tuesday April 1st.
Anyone else looking at both schools who wants to split gas money?


smulis


Mar 5, 2008, 11:46 PM

Post #34 of 165 (10769 views)
Shortcut
Re: [katiej] U Mich Welcome Weekend - also Wisconsin? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi. I got into both too. I'll pm you.


mannytheman


Mar 5, 2008, 11:46 PM

Post #35 of 165 (10768 views)
Shortcut
Re: [timidsymmetry] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

timidsym, are you fiction or poetry? could you tell a little something about how advising works at Mich? Do you get just one advisor?


miss.modular


Mar 5, 2008, 11:53 PM

Post #36 of 165 (10762 views)
Shortcut
Re: [timidsymmetry] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

[My adviser tells me that the admissions committee generally prefers manuscripts that seem "capably mediocre" over those that are demonstratively of better quality. Its just easier, she says. ]

Really? Why?


sayra


Mar 8, 2008, 9:24 PM

Post #37 of 165 (10638 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a warning to any potential poets--we are currently at Michigan in the middle of a very messy faculty hiring process in which it would seem the opinions of the student body were pretty ignored and which has really angered the bulk of the poetry student body. A great place for money, here, a great place for a community of writers, but, and I'm only saying this about the poetry half of the program, this can also be a place with some very detached professors (on a case by case basis, this isn't to damn them all at all, but to say that there is a certain palpable lack) and is a place that has just shot itself in the foot new-hire wise. I hate to say all this, because I love the program for my fellow writers, for the location, for the opportunities, for the money, and I very much do not regret my decision to come here because, as I've said, I love it for many reasons -- but if you're looking for a very invested group of professors or for a place that listens to its students' wishes when it hires, this isn't it. Feel free to message me with any questions.


whataneatgirl


Mar 9, 2008, 1:18 AM

Post #38 of 165 (10598 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's actually extremely helpful, Sayra. Thanks for the insight.


Stroudb

e-mail user

Mar 9, 2008, 5:34 PM

Post #39 of 165 (10531 views)
Shortcut
Re: [whataneatgirl] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,
Just wanted to note that this isn't the case with the fiction side of things here at Michigan--the fiction faculty as a group are very involved with, and supportive of, and responsive to the students (though I understand where Sayra is coming from on the poetry side of things).
It is the case, with the poetry side of things (so that it's all out there), that a job candidate who was much liked by the student body as a teacher/mentor/poet was passed over for someone who's more of a name (and maybe also a great mentor/teacher--I really don't know--the candidate favored by the students has been in town for a while, so everyone knows him, whereas the person chosen is a bit more unknown in those regards).


sayra


Mar 9, 2008, 11:16 PM

Post #40 of 165 (10464 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Stroudb (Hi!) definitely makes good points--I definitely think that the fiction side of the program is in a very different situation, and has been as long as I've been here--we've been (at least) a poet down for the two years I've been here, and, moreover, it would seem from all I can tell that the fiction faculty is definitely involved in the world of the students. So yay for fiction.

However, in terms of the job hire, I think it's key to note a couple of things: a) that there are a lot of bad feelings within the poetry program right now because of this hire, and b) that the discussion of this hire is not a statement about the competence of the new hire, but rather about the state of the faculty as it is, the presence of student voices within the decision making process, and, most importantly, the fact that the way this job hire was handled means that we are losing a valuable resource who has many ties to this program. Even if the new hire does turn out to be a good teacher, we are still losing an already proven excellent well-liked teacher and resource who has many ties to this community--which doesn't exactly mean that we're adding to the poetry program, but more substituting an unknown for a known.

As I think I've said before, I think how this information impacts thoughts on Michigan all depends on what you're looking for in a program, but I do think it's important that potential students are at least aware of what is going on in the poetry program right now.

Academic politics are fun for the whole family!


(This post was edited by sayra on Mar 10, 2008, 1:31 PM)


teapotter

e-mail user

Mar 10, 2008, 11:00 AM

Post #41 of 165 (10397 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello. As a second-year poet in Michigan's MFA, I'll weigh in all of this, painful as that is, because this does seem like a really pivotal moment for Michigan's poetry program, and one that recruits should be aware of. I've never written on this boards before and will mostly aim here for bullet points. (Also I drafted this yesterday evening, so I apologize if this is more in dialogue with StroudB than Sayra - god knows I don't know the etiquette.)

The pros of my experience:
-- This is a well-funded program. Well-funded for three years for some. Well-funded for two years for others.
-- The atmosphere remains surprisingly uncompetitive and supportive.
-- I've received good feedback in individual meetings with a couple of members of the faculty here, though you must be outgoing if you hope to meet one-on-one with the members of the faculty who are available for conference.

The bottom-line/why I'm posting this:
People should be aware of the fact that the poetry program, which has been weak in terms of faculty involvement, is in a really tenuous situation. Due to a recent job hire - one that many students feel in the dark about in terms of how student feedback was taken into account and how candidates were evaluated - we are (as Stroudb indicated) losing one of our most valuable mentors and resources. Hopefully the candidate who was selected will accept the job so that our faculty presence doesn't actually shrink in the fall, but regardless of that it's important that applicants know that, for years now, dissatisfied poets within our program have been directed to a resource/mentor who, after this job-hire, probably won't continue to work for free. At best, we have an unknown entering our system and replacing an unofficial but highly useful, valued and respected known. And at worst - ? In any case, this moment was key for a poetry program that has been "one-down" for years, and we're now looking at the very real possibility that access to professors or professor-like figures is about to get harder to come by.

I do want to reiterate that I am grateful to this program and I can also speak to that with anyone interested. The funding is great, I've met some great people, and really I've learned a lot about writing and reading and have watched my poems and my classmates' poems improve considerably during our time here. Time itself is a great gift, as is being in a community of writers.

These are all important and nuanced considerations, so I would be happy to answer any questions in more depth over email.


Teapotter

(This post was edited by teapotter on Mar 10, 2008, 1:04 PM)


sayra


Mar 10, 2008, 1:47 PM

Post #42 of 165 (10342 views)
Shortcut
Re: [teapotter] Michigan Program? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to clarify, because disclaimers are important, and because I don't think either teapotter or I want to sound like we're condemning this program in any way shape or form (we are very much not!!), all either of us is saying is that this is an uncertain time for the program, and that we can't say that everything in this program is absolutely perfect right now. Is that true of every program? Yes, every MFA program is clearly imperfect. I just know that I'd want to know all this if I were looking at schools, and that I relied on this board an awful lot when I was making my decision. So call this civic duty? Maybe? Anyway, the bottom line is that no one should be basing any decision solely on this information. This is a great school. I've loved it during my two years here. I have a great community, the program is the perfect size for me, the money is wonderful (and we don't have to compete with one another for it, which is I think one of the best things, since nothing can throw a community off as much as money--we're all funded equally). The fact that we have a year of teaching experience and a year with fewer responsibilities is a great mix. I've learned and grown so much here, and this has been a great program for me. So look at what you want to get out of a program and know that you can get loads and loads and loads and loads of wonderful things out of this one--but, as in any program, nothing is perfect. The most important thing to do is to think about what your priorities are when choosing a school, and what will fit you best. I would, two years later, I think definitely choose to come here again, even with the current state of things. This was the best fit for me, and I think would still remain that way. It just depends on what you're looking for--this is a very personal decision. Bright news is, as long as you're well funded, as you certainly are here, I don't think that you can go wrong with any MFA program. There is no wrong decision, just different strokes for different folks. So good luck and congratulations to all of you!


weltanschauung


Mar 14, 2008, 3:04 PM

Post #43 of 165 (10214 views)
Shortcut
Lit classes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all,

I'm curious about how many of the Michigan students/admits have a strong undergraduate lit background. I noticed the mention of the program's preference about this on its webpage and it's making me wonder whether I should spend the time and money taking some lit courses before the next admissions round (I managed to completely avoid it as an undergrad).

Any comments about this are appreciated. Thanks!

gwyn


Stroudb

e-mail user

Mar 16, 2008, 10:37 PM

Post #44 of 165 (10133 views)
Shortcut
Re: [weltanschauung] Lit classes? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know that I'd worry too much about it. The main thing, aside from writing, would be to read. Some of my friends were admissions readers this year--and the most important thing, i gathered, is the writing sample (naturally). No one's going to say, well, the writing is really great, but they don't have that many lit classes... (and, in fact, several MFAs, as well as several professors, have come from non-lit university backgrounds, like the sciences, etc.) The writing is the main thing.


Raysen


Aug 8, 2008, 9:10 PM

Post #45 of 165 (9915 views)
Shortcut
Michigan's own forum [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anyone else here wondering why Michigan's own MFA forum, which they maintain on their MFA site, is devoid of traffic? Not even a single post!


mpagan


Aug 9, 2008, 12:21 AM

Post #46 of 165 (9896 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] Michigan's own forum [In reply to] Can't Post

In terms of current students - it might be easier for them to gab via facebook - or they actually talk to one another face to face - its a pretty friendly bunch that keeps in touch - at least that is what I observed when I visited in March.

Also - whats there to talk about all the time?

Folks seem happy and busy writing - I suppose if you're looking for insider info the folks on here will answer your Q's.

I can help if you like (warning - I don't actually start until sept) but i'll try - and def keep things honest


(This post was edited by mpagan on Aug 9, 2008, 12:23 AM)


Raysen


Aug 12, 2008, 7:45 PM

Post #47 of 165 (9801 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan's own forum [In reply to] Can't Post

Where exactly is Michigan's MFA program housed? Is it Angell Hall?


mpagan


Aug 12, 2008, 9:22 PM

Post #48 of 165 (9785 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] Michigan's own forum [In reply to] Can't Post

Yup -in Angell Hall
Also the Hopwood Room is in that building as well. Hopwoods are the literary awards given out every year (i think they give out over 70K in prizes - for undergrad and grads)


(This post was edited by mpagan on Aug 12, 2008, 9:24 PM)


Raysen


Aug 12, 2008, 9:30 PM

Post #49 of 165 (9779 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] Michigan's own forum [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yup -in Angell Hall
Also the Hopwood Room is in that building as well. Hopwoods are the literary awards given out every year (i think they give out over 70K in prizes - for undergrad and grads)


Where in Angell Hall?

I did my undergrad at Michigan and I only had three classes there. Some math classes at a large audtiorium and a small section (taught by a TA) in one of the small classrooms by the fishbowl. It's all a blur, actually. I just remember Angell Hall having very heavy doors.


Raysen


Aug 13, 2008, 10:28 PM

Post #50 of 165 (9723 views)
Shortcut
Re: foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

Can anyone tell me about Michigan's foreign language requirement?


mpagan


Aug 13, 2008, 10:39 PM

Post #51 of 165 (6156 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

They no longer have one.

Instead they have replaced that requirement with something else.

They give out this large reading list the summer before you start - and you have unti March to read all the books (like 25 books from pre-19th on to current lit and crit.) then take an exam that measures how well you understand the different styles of writing. The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff. There are prob 4 or 5 questions like that.

Not hard - it gives you the opp to catch up on reading you might have not done - and to apply different techniques. I hear it's not hard - but if you "fail" you must leave the program.

Essentially it's a big reading test that you get to take home and turn in over 48 hours I think. Easy.


Raysen


Aug 13, 2008, 11:47 PM

Post #52 of 165 (6146 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
They no longer have one.

Instead they have replaced that requirement with something else.

They give out this large reading list the summer before you start - and you have unti March to read all the books (like 25 books from pre-19th on to current lit and crit.) then take an exam that measures how well you understand the different styles of writing. The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff. There are prob 4 or 5 questions like that.

Not hard - it gives you the opp to catch up on reading you might have not done - and to apply different techniques. I hear it's not hard - but if you "fail" you must leave the program.

Essentially it's a big reading test that you get to take home and turn in over 48 hours I think. Easy.


Easy? It sounds difficult and scary to me. I'd rather have the foreign language requirement. Dammit.


v1ctorya


Aug 14, 2008, 11:59 AM

Post #53 of 165 (6120 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
They no longer have one.

Instead they have replaced that requirement with something else.

They give out this large reading list the summer before you start - and you have unti March to read all the books (like 25 books from pre-19th on to current lit and crit.) then take an exam that measures how well you understand the different styles of writing. The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff. There are prob 4 or 5 questions like that.

Not hard - it gives you the opp to catch up on reading you might have not done - and to apply different techniques. I hear it's not hard - but if you "fail" you must leave the program.

Essentially it's a big reading test that you get to take home and turn in over 48 hours I think. Easy.


Easy? It sounds difficult and scary to me. I'd rather have the foreign language requirement. Dammit.



My first thought was that it sounds intimidating. Then I thought it's one of those things that sounds intimidating but in the end, since we really know the stuff anyway and think it's intimidating so we study our brains out for it it really isn't that bad, it's just the mental build-up versus reality of the thing.


symmetrical


Aug 14, 2008, 3:41 PM

Post #54 of 165 (6093 views)
Shortcut
Re: [v1ctorya] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

This type of requirement isn't that odd - I've seen it mentioned in several program websites. I kind of prefer this to the language requirement, and am happy to hear this news.


p.walsh


Aug 15, 2008, 3:56 AM

Post #55 of 165 (6042 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I agree with Raysen. This requirement sounds horrible. Personally, I prefer programs that don't require their students to fulfill arbitrary requirements that have nothing to do with why they're there in the first place, whether it be a foreign language requiremnt, a lit theory requirement, a lit requirement or whatever. Even if some students are lucky enough to get academic jobs, I doubt they'd ever be required to know lit theory, for example.


phillywriter


Aug 15, 2008, 4:19 AM

Post #56 of 165 (6040 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff.


Yes, this sounds horrible, but more than that, it just sounds totally insulting to the students. Write in the voice of a Henry James character that shows up in the world of Flanner O'Connor? Honestly, that sounds like one of those really pointless writing exercises my high school creative writing teacher would give us . . . I mean, is that really a requirement at Michigan? That sounds totally absurd. After all, that type of thing neither measures one's knowledge of these authors' work, not does it measure one's ability to write compelling fiction. At the most, it measures one's ability to mimic Henry James, and don't they expect that their students are a little bit beyond that by now?

That a student might be denied admission to an MFA program because they can't successuflly mimic a Henry James character living in 1950s rural Georgia seems beyond ridiculous. It's insulting.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Aug 15, 2008, 9:27 AM

Post #57 of 165 (6028 views)
Shortcut
Re: [p.walsh] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I agree with Raysen. This requirement sounds horrible. Personally, I prefer programs that don't require their students to fulfill arbitrary requirements that have nothing to do with why they're there in the first place, whether it be a foreign language requiremnt, a lit theory requirement, a lit requirement or whatever. Even if some students are lucky enough to get academic jobs, I doubt they'd ever be required to know lit theory, for example.


Requirements like that are part of why I went for an MFA vs an MA!
That definitely sounds more like an MA requirement. Sheesh!


http://jessiecarty.com


Yugao


Aug 15, 2008, 11:39 AM

Post #58 of 165 (6013 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd be okay with the writing requirement if it was a take-home exam. There is no way I would want to write that kind of gobbledygook in a timed setting. To be honest though, the questions sound like the kind of "imitating voice" assignments I had in my undergrad Comp 101 class and in the community college class I took to get some workshop feedback.


Raysen


Aug 15, 2008, 12:44 PM

Post #59 of 165 (6000 views)
Shortcut
Lit theory exam [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think it's a terrible terrible idea at all. I'm just frightened by the idea that they'll kick me out of the program in my second semester of my first year just because I didn't pass the bloody thing. I don't like it. I'm doing the MFA thing to write, not to understand the ins and outs of 18th century English literature.

I'm also not attracted to schools that require a comprehensive MFA exam at the end of your time there -- Arizona State, Oregon, San Jose State.


moomoocow42


Aug 15, 2008, 1:12 PM

Post #60 of 165 (5991 views)
Shortcut
Re: [phillywriter] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff.


Yes, this sounds horrible, but more than that, it just sounds totally insulting to the students. Write in the voice of a Henry James character that shows up in the world of Flanner O'Connor? Honestly, that sounds like one of those really pointless writing exercises my high school creative writing teacher would give us . . . I mean, is that really a requirement at Michigan? That sounds totally absurd. After all, that type of thing neither measures one's knowledge of these authors' work, not does it measure one's ability to write compelling fiction. At the most, it measures one's ability to mimic Henry James, and don't they expect that their students are a little bit beyond that by now?

That a student might be denied admission to an MFA program because they can't successuflly mimic a Henry James character living in 1950s rural Georgia seems beyond ridiculous. It's insulting.


I'm going to preface my response by saying that if Michigan offered me a spot in their program, I'd take it, hands down, no questions asked. That said, I guess I don't really see what the big deal is. At the end of the day, I don't think Michigan is giving out homework to their incoming students with the intention of kicking people out of the program. After all, they do give you entire summer to do what essentially sounds like a take home test. And if I remember high school correctly, take home tests were understood by everyone, including the teacher, as gimmes, an easy A. If you didn't get an A, well... you just didn't put the time into it.

Not that I don't agree with the fact that the exercises sound a little absurd, and maybe a little bit like busy work. But that's the point of homework, right? To prepare you for school and schoolwork and all that jazz. After all, what's an MFA if not reading, writing, reading, and more writing?


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.

(This post was edited by moomoocow42 on Aug 15, 2008, 1:18 PM)


katiej


Aug 15, 2008, 2:26 PM

Post #61 of 165 (5977 views)
Shortcut
Re: [moomoocow42] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm starting the Michigan program in the fall and I thought I'd add a few things to clarify:

phillywriter: no one is "denied admission to an MFA" based on his or her ability to write like Henry James. This is for people already in the program.

Yuago: it's a take-home exam. I believe we have a weekend to complete the exam: Friday to Monday. We received the booklist this May, and the exam is scheduled for the last weekend in March 09.

Poets have a different reading list, comprising selections and collections of individual poets from Chaucer through contemporary. Both fiction and poetry lists have a small selection of critical/craft texts to boot.

Bear in mind that this is the first year the reading list and subsequent exam has been implemented, so probably there are many kinks to be worked out. The question of "dropping James' voice into O'Connor's landscape was one sample question of many, and there are other questions that involve analysis of craft, use of imagery, etc.

But most of all, I believe the important thing is not the exam, it's the reading, and the exam is just a way of making sure we've done the reading. The idea is that over the course of the school year, the cohort has a set of unifying works to identify with and discuss. So if in workshop someone wants to talk about characterization by way of citing Moby Dick, everyone will know where that comparison is coming from: and have read the book, not just the title. Etc.

Moreover, if you're appalled by this requirement and feel like your MFA should require nothing of you but writing stories and showing up for workshop: Do you have any idea how much money we're talking about here? Even considering "having" to read a list of wonderful books, and being able to comment on them fairly coherently in a 72-hour period, do you realize that the requirements are actually staggeringly low? Do you realize what other MFA programs and graduate programs in other fields require in terms of course load, teaching load, methodological study, GRE requirements for entrance in the first place? And in those programs you're required to read specific texts, but you can bet the reading list is not going to be populated primarily with texts like Austen, Dickens, Fitzgerald, Kundera. Not to mention the reading requirements if we were talking about schools in the UK, but that's another matter.

My point is, if you're going to be entrusted with a large sum of money and a tuition waiver that comes to something like $50K over 2 years, it's a small, small, small thing for the faculty to ask you to read some specific examples of the very medium you are there to study and produce.


Yugao


Aug 15, 2008, 2:38 PM

Post #62 of 165 (5970 views)
Shortcut
Re: [katiej] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I do think the reading list is a good idea. I feel like I have missed certain books along the way, and it would be nice to have a minimum reading list laid out for me and to know that my peers had made a commitment to familiarity with the same texts.


kevinfinnerty


Aug 15, 2008, 2:44 PM

Post #63 of 165 (5963 views)
Shortcut
Re: [katiej] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

I completely agree, and, if I were ever admitted to the program, I would enjoy doing it, learning and interpreting authors' choices and then incorporating them into another piece of work. I imagine it will force extremely close reading. It will inevitably help you. How could it not?


Raysen


Aug 15, 2008, 3:40 PM

Post #64 of 165 (5945 views)
Shortcut
Re: [katiej] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

How voluminous is this reading list? Are we talking about 10 books (of short story collections, novels, and theoretical texts) or 30 books?


phillywriter


Aug 15, 2008, 7:56 PM

Post #65 of 165 (5913 views)
Shortcut
Re: [katiej] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Well, it sounds like you've drunk the kool-aid and you're a believer, Katie. I don't think I've ever seen a student defend a program's administration so vehemently, especially a student who hasn't even attended that program yet. Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree, though, since I think that any type of requirement like this is ultimately insulting to the students and reflects on the way the adminstration and faculty view the students, which is to say, not as writers just like them, who are maybe at an earlier stage in their development, but rather as students (beneath them), who should be asked to perform tricks and jump through hoops and read a subjective list of books in order to prove that they are worthy of being there.

This is the type of thing that our high school English teachers used to assign, and it's called a summer reading list. I don't care that this summer reading list might include Michel Foucault, it's still ridiculous, and all I'm saying is that there are a ton of other programs out there who don't make their students do things like this, and those are the types of programs that interest me.


p.walsh


Aug 15, 2008, 8:11 PM

Post #66 of 165 (5909 views)
Shortcut
Re: [phillywriter] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

  
Phillywriter,

Well said. I think what bothers me is what this says about the faculty and the people running the Michigan program. I have no desire to apply to Michigan for a number of reasons, but if they did accept me, and then asked me to read a list of books or do a stupid 10th grade exercise like this it would tell me a lot about what they thought about me as a student, namely, that despite my writing sample, GRE scores and grades, they still weren't convinced that I belonged there yet. They still didn't trust that I was well-read enough or skilled enough as a writer to be there.


(This post was edited by p.walsh on Aug 15, 2008, 8:13 PM)


mpagan


Aug 16, 2008, 9:57 PM

Post #67 of 165 (5854 views)
Shortcut
Re: [p.walsh] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

my goodness - if you feel like reading a bunch of books you might have already read - is so insulting then I can see where Michigan's super fine program is not for you. "Make me read books!" "Write in those styles!"
"Take your full funding and great rep and shove it!"

But please don't make assumptions about the faculty and people running the program because you have certain ideas about your intellectual honor.

And truth be told - many people who get admitted to MFA's are not that well read - some come from science, math or other non-literary fields.

Look - its an easy requirement that allows some folks to read texts they have not read before. That simple. It's not insulting in any way.

your reactions are a bit overblown. I understand that applying to MFA's can be scary, but seriously, don't pass up the opportunity to apply to a great program because of this requirement - it would be foolish. If you have other beef with Mich, then I get it, but not for something this easy that is designed to make everyone more well rounded.


phillywriter


Aug 17, 2008, 4:17 AM

Post #68 of 165 (5821 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

mpagan,

I never said the requirement was difficult. I only said it was pointless and insulting. And yes, I'm sorry, but it does reflect the basic attitude of the people running the program, and yes, it does reveal how they really feel about the students entering the program. If they truly felt that the incoming students knew what they were doing, they'd be encouraging them to write as much as they could over the summer, rather than making them study a list of books which may or may not be of any value to them. I agree that, on the one hand, it's not a big deal, but on the other hand, I think that the fact that this type of ridiculous requirement exists reveals something very interesting about the program itself.

Unlike you (apparently), I feel like an applicant can learn a lot about the general atmosphere and attitude of a program by looking at that program's requirements. If a program requires you to take more literature and theory classes than creative writing classes, then that tells you a lot about what that program values and what type of atmosphere you might expect there. Similarly, if a program's only requirement is that the students write, then that suggests a different type of attitude. The same holds true for pointless requirements like that one at Michigan. It's a small thing, yes, but it says a lot about attitude, at least to me.


phillywriter


Aug 17, 2008, 11:05 AM

Post #69 of 165 (5802 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post



P.S. And yes, you're right to think that there are other things I don't like about Michigan. And one of the things that turns me off the most is what I perceive to be a very self-satisfied, condescending attitude among the students there, as evidenced by the comments made by Michigan students like yourself on this thread and others, comments like this:

"i understand that applying to MFA's can be scary, but seriously, don't pass up the opportunity to apply to a great program because of this requirement - it would be foolish."

Please don't talk down to me, okay. Of course, applying to MFA Programs is scary, but that's not where my issue with Michigan comes from at all. Don't flatter yourself. I'm scared of applying to Iowa, and Cornell, and UC Irvine, and Virginia, because I generally respect and admire those programs and want to attend them, but I've never even had Michigan on my list. And "foolish?" Really? It would be "foolish" not to apply to Michigan? The idea that I'd have to sit in the same classrooom with someone who would say such a thing is reason enough not to apply. And I'm sorry to break the news to you, mpagan, but Michigan is simply one of maybe 10-20 strong programs in the country. And that's all it is. And the only reason I even began to develop a negative impression about the program at all is because of the strong presence of Michigan students on this messageboard, most of whom feel the need to mention the fact that they love Michigan or think Michigan is great in almost every post they make, regardless of the topic of the post or its relevance to Michigan. If there's anything that's turned me off (and others, too, I'm sure), it's this.


(This post was edited by phillywriter on Aug 17, 2008, 11:06 AM)


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Aug 17, 2008, 11:17 AM

Post #70 of 165 (5794 views)
Shortcut
Re: [phillywriter] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

Jeez. Who pooped in your kool-aid?


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


mpagan


Aug 17, 2008, 2:01 PM

Post #71 of 165 (5767 views)
Shortcut
Re: [phillywriter] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

For those interested in applying to Michigan - DO NOT WORRY about this reading requirement. It's easy. Seven months to read some great books and then write about it instead of learning French, easy. Enough said.

And please - I did not really mean to call anyone debating this issue - foolish.

Phillywriter - I'm sorry that you felt spoken down to and you've found most Michigan students on these boards "self-satisfied, and condescending."

good luck with your apps. Iowa, Cornell, UC Irvine, and Virginia are of course awesome programs worthy of your respect.

If you ever change your mind or want some information or insight about the Michigan program then I'd be happy to help.

I'm just trying to be helpful to others who wander into this thread looking for info.

Rock on everyone!
Michigan RULES!!!!!!! (just kidding. It must be the big blue kool-aid they gave me.)


aiyamei

e-mail user

Aug 17, 2008, 4:23 PM

Post #72 of 165 (5745 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

Mpagan, I'm so impressed that you would wish this phillywriter "good luck" in his or her applications to Michigan. The attitudes displayed in the above posts are a smrgsbord of contempt toward education, and carelessness toward educational rigor as such. It's statistically probable that this person's writing reflects that contempt and empty-headed venom, and in my view the luck is to be found elsewhere: Michigan is terribly lucky if this person absents himself.


Dovlatov


Aug 17, 2008, 7:11 PM

Post #73 of 165 (5724 views)
Shortcut
Re: [aiyamei] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with Aiyamei's assessment. Phillywriter is way off base here. Mpagan 's comments have been perfectly generous and on topic - unlike the unprovoked rants provided to us by Phillywriter. You do realize, Phillywiter, that the sizable chip on your shoulder may shine through in your applications . Good luck with that.

In Reply To



(This post was edited by Dovlatov on Aug 17, 2008, 7:17 PM)


phillywriter


Aug 17, 2008, 8:09 PM

Post #74 of 165 (5709 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Dovlatov] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

  
I apologize if my tone came off as angry, but I felt that the tone of mpagan's response was condenscending, and I think a lot of other people would, too, if that response was directed toward them.

Secondly, my comments were not anti-education, they were "anti-arbitrary busywork," which is how I perceived the requirement described above.

This is my opinion, and since this is a public forum, I feel entitled to express my opinion. It is also my opinion that the Michigan students posting on these messageboards tend to come across as smug and self-cogratulatory. This is my simply my personal impression, which, again, I'm entitled too.

Don't worry, though. In the future, I'll stay off the Michigan thread, where it seems that one is not allowed to challenge or question the Michigan program.


(This post was edited by phillywriter on Aug 17, 2008, 8:11 PM)


Raysen


Aug 17, 2008, 9:22 PM

Post #75 of 165 (5693 views)
Shortcut
reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

I just want to know how big this reading list is. Perhaps no one can disclose it on this public forum and I can respect that. I merely want to know the size of this reading list. Is it deep and lengthy like those of Brooklyn College and Arizona State?


mpagan


Aug 17, 2008, 11:17 PM

Post #76 of 165 (7224 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Sure Raysen - it's not a secret at all -

29 books!

I can send you the list - or heck - I'll just post it - Mind you the list will prob change next year - or the requirement for that matter - who knows - enjoy! (My reading it tied up for the next year)

Pre-1900
Don Quixote
Tom Jones
Pride and Prejudice
Middlemarch
Bleak House
Madame Bovary
Ann Karenina
Portrait of a Lady
The Portable Chekov

1900-1950
Dubliners
The Great Gatsby
Kafka - the complete stories
Mrs. Dalloway
Native Son
As I Lay Dying

1950-Present
Go Tell It on The Mountain
Lolita
Flannery O'Connor - The Complete Stories
The Bloody Chamber
Waiting For the Barbarians
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Where I Am Calling From
American Pastoral
The Known World

Criticism
E.M Forester - Aspects of the Novel
The Rhetoric of Fiction
Understanding Fiction
Burning Down the House


Dovlatov


Aug 18, 2008, 12:16 AM

Post #77 of 165 (7201 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Any Michigan people or anyone else care to weigh in on this?

If your writing sample is six-seven pages over the stated 40 page limit, would you edit? Just send one of two stories? Or send both, knowing your page count is significantly over the requested amount? How strict is Michigan on this? I don't get a good handle on this from their comment on page count on the website.

Also, I heard that a couple of programs (such as Iowa and Michigan) sometimes request one or two more stories during the application process, beyond the writing sample. Any truth to this rumor?

Thanks!


Raysen


Aug 18, 2008, 12:17 AM

Post #78 of 165 (7201 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks mpagan!

It's quite a lengthy list. I have only read 6 items on that list. Damn.


__________



Aug 18, 2008, 1:19 AM

Post #79 of 165 (7185 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Goody! I like lists...

They tell you a little about what the program values, no? A good list. Nothing objectionable, but nothing really razzle-dazzle either, save for Lolita or the Don. I'd be surprised if any English major hadn't read most of these already (especially the 1900-1950 books...Yeesh.)

Nothing wrong with looking at the way they put the program together, and making informed decisions. Many schools have reading lists; if you don't like them, don't apply.

What really concerns me about Michigan (and why I won't apply) is the weird kind of nepotism going on there. One teacher let his daughter in...and Ryan Harty teaches there...a guy who's only book (a book of short stories) was published as the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Contest. And, uh, he was a recent Iowa grad. In fact, most winners of that contest are recent Iowa grads. (One was an Iowa teacher!). I like some of the work coming out of Michigan, and I'm sure it's a swell place, but it so....AWP. Inbred, favors, blech.


six five four three two one 0 ->


__________



Aug 18, 2008, 10:45 AM

Post #80 of 165 (7161 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Junior Maas] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Where did the edit button go?

Erase! Erase!


six five four three two one 0 ->


Dovlatov


Aug 18, 2008, 6:35 PM

Post #81 of 165 (7105 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Dovlatov] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Thanks for the reading list!

In Reply To





daleth


Aug 20, 2008, 10:18 PM

Post #82 of 165 (7044 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] foreign language requirement [In reply to] Can't Post

That must be a Delbanco development. He used to teach a class that did just that--you read various classics and mimicked them. Some people (myself included) mixed them up--writing the story of a Hemingway novel in the voice of Virginia Woolf, etc. It was great. Delbanco released a book designed for such a class, full of examples, questions and exercises:
http://www.amazon.com/...lbanco/dp/0072414715



In Reply To
They give out this large reading list the summer before you start - and you have unti March to read all the books (like 25 books from pre-19th on to current lit and crit.) then take an exam that measures how well you understand the different styles of writing. The questions ask you to mimic voices and styles and apply them to different environments from the various works - like write in the voice of a Henry James character who shows up in the world of Flannery O'Connor - that kind of stuff. There are prob 4 or 5 questions like that.



Daleth Demented (Blog)


bec1029


Aug 27, 2008, 11:46 PM

Post #83 of 165 (6958 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Junior Maas] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm an undergrad at Michigan and Harty has a reputation as a pretty phenomenal teacher and mentor. Also, to the person who asked like three pages ago, the writing program is based out of the third and fourth floors of Angell. Does anyone actually use the Hopwood room? I always feel awkward there.


gcsumfa


Aug 28, 2008, 1:33 AM

Post #84 of 165 (6947 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bec1029] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, I can't believe some of the whining about reading a list of books before entering an MFA program, or completing a foreign language requirement, or taking lit/theory courses (heaven forbid). Also, to the person who stated that he/she "doubts (s)he'd ever have to know any lit theory in a creative writing job"--sorry, but you're quite naive about the creative writing job market today. Unless you're a star, chances are your "creative writing" job will entail more than showing up to teach a creative writing workshop or two each semester. You'll have to teach lit courses...and you'll have to fit into the department as a whole...which means that locking yourself into only one area and refusing to broaden your knowledge in secondary areas won't get you very far on the academic job market--again, unless you write a book that wins an NBA or Pulitzer.

Good luck with that.

Finally, name an academic program that doesn't require work in other areas? That's life in academia; you don't get to enter academia on your own precious, entitled, terms, esp. when you're not qualified to do so. You haven't even applied yet and you already know more than university professors who were probably in a tenure line job before you were born? LMAO.


daleth


Aug 28, 2008, 12:33 PM

Post #85 of 165 (6903 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bec1029] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

We had our fiction workshops in the Hopwood Room in at least one semester. And sometimes it was there that certain little talks were given.
Also there were the Thursday afternoon Hopwood Teas.


In Reply To
Does anyone actually use the Hopwood room? I always feel awkward there.



Daleth Demented (Blog)


Raignn



Sep 2, 2008, 9:44 PM

Post #86 of 165 (6839 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there a reading list for poetry? (I'd assume). I'd just be very curious to see what's on that list if anyone could share it.


unsaid78


Oct 11, 2008, 9:15 PM

Post #87 of 165 (6728 views)
Shortcut
Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey mpagan! I've appreciated your insights into the Michigan program on this board. Mind sharing how your first semester is going so far? I'm particularly interested in the staffing drama on the poetry side mentioned earlier on this thread? How's morale amongst the students in the program?

I'm all set to apply to Michigan for Poetry for Fall 2009 (along with about 17 other schools). Those posts about the poetry faculty drama made my stomach drop so I'd like an update if anyone has one.


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


sayra


Oct 13, 2008, 5:02 PM

Post #88 of 165 (6652 views)
Shortcut
Re: [unsaid78] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

As the person who (somewhat regretfully) stirred up all the trouble on this board re the staffing drama, I would recommend that no one let all that mess get in the way of their decision to apply to what is overall a very good program. Well-funded, well-respected, with a great student body--overall, I'm really grateful for my 2 years there. The staffing drama settled itself down, from what I understand (I graduated and am no longer in Michigan, so I'm not quite positive what's going on). I would recommend that anyone who does go to Ann Arbor simply keep in mind that you need to be your own advocate. This goes extra if you work on the more experimental side of things, since the program does tend to have a narrative bend (that's not to say that the experimental folk don't exist; there are just fewer of us, and therefore more need to really keep an eye out for your good readers and allies if your writing is less traditional). Communicate with your cohort and work together if there are larger things that you feel you need to advocate for. There are great things to get out of the degree and the program--at the very least, 2 fully funded years of writing. Ann Arbor's a great place--not a perfect place, but what is, really? I don't know how morale is right now, but regardless, I'd say, apply.


unsaid78


Oct 13, 2008, 7:39 PM

Post #89 of 165 (6631 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sayra] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks sayra, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. Oh, I'm definitely still applying to Michigan and would be thrilled to be accepted! No program is perfect, I just wasn't sure to what degree the poetry program was effected. I appreciate your insights!


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


PJwave1


Jan 21, 2009, 9:56 AM

Post #90 of 165 (6431 views)
Shortcut
Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm wondering if anyone has had any correspondence with the Grad Eng Department or Rackham regarding their "complete" applications. I've spoken to people both in the department and the school about a mysterious missing transcript (I sent everything in Dec. 17, but the Rackham website indicates "transcript not received").

Has anyone who applied to Michigan received any emails requesting additional materials to complete their applications? I want to know up I should give up any hope I have of spending the next couple years reading and writing in Ann Arbor.


unsaid78


Jan 21, 2009, 10:07 AM

Post #91 of 165 (6426 views)
Shortcut
Re: [PJwave1] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey PJ,

I have one mysterious missing transcript with Michigan too. I didn't receive any correspondence from them about it, but it shows online in the application status area. What did they say when you spoke to them?


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


v1ctorya


Jan 21, 2009, 10:25 AM

Post #92 of 165 (6412 views)
Shortcut
Re: [unsaid78] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey PJ,

I have one mysterious missing transcript with Michigan too. I didn't receive any correspondence from them about it, but it shows online in the application status area. What did they say when you spoke to them?



Huh, I also have a mysterious missing transcript. I e-mailed, no response so called the grad office. They told me to send it again. I'm mystified because I sent everything in one envelope, so how they could get one transcript and not the other? And the one they are missing is the one that costs money.


Mae Fields



Jan 21, 2009, 10:36 AM

Post #93 of 165 (6407 views)
Shortcut
Re: [v1ctorya] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm inclined not to contact them. I think they are probably not keeping the website current with all materials, because only one of my schools transcripts is showing up on my friends page too, but my status says "no holds."

Since we had to send transcripts to both the graduate school and the Eng. department, I'm sure, or at least I hope, they received them...


Mae Fields



Jan 21, 2009, 10:41 AM

Post #94 of 165 (6405 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Mae Fields] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

Oops. On the website's help screen:
  • If you find any other discrepancies or errors report them using the contact information at the bottom of the Application Verification page. Contact information varies based on the admitting office.



  • Maybe everyone missing something should drop them a line, just to ensure all bases are covered. That's what I'm going to do after reading the above statement.


    PJwave1


    Jan 21, 2009, 10:45 AM

    Post #95 of 165 (6404 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [v1ctorya] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

    The woman I spoke with at Rackham was pretty rude and did nothing to help my anxiety. Granted, she probably responds to hundreds of helpless prospective applicants, but she could have been a little more compassionate.

    I spoke with someone in the Grad Eng Dept who was much more helpful and sympathetic. She said that the Eng Dept has little interaction with Rackham, so the application status listed on the website is misleading. I'm going on one person's assurance here, but she said that if you sent your application materials in on time they were most likely there. She also said the deadline listed on the How to Apply section of the website isn't as strigent as I thought. If you sent in all materials before Jan 1 (with the holidays in mind), your application will be considered. If the selection committee reviews your sample and application and like you, they'll contact you for any additional materials needed.

    Rackham's website flat out sucks. All it does is perpetuate our collective agony. Don't worry about the application status page. If it says "transcript not received" and you're a potential acceptee, you'll be contacted.

    Good luck to all.


    unsaid78


    Jan 21, 2009, 11:01 AM

    Post #96 of 165 (6392 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [PJwave1] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

    Ok I just called and had a good experience with the person I talked to. The grad school woman said missing transcripts probably haven't been processed but that it's really most important that the department has all the info since they make the admission decision. So she was nice enough to transfer me to the MFA program. They asked my last name and informed me that all of my stuff was in. It was pretty quick. I'd say if you are missing anything and unsure, give the program a call and double check.

    The grad school said that if they are truly missing anything they'll make contact.


    www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


    PJwave1


    Jan 21, 2009, 11:21 AM

    Post #97 of 165 (6382 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [unsaid78] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

      
    Unsaid,

    Is 734 763 4139 the correct number to call?


    (This post was edited by PJwave1 on Jan 21, 2009, 11:23 AM)


    unsaid78


    Jan 21, 2009, 11:44 AM

    Post #98 of 165 (6366 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [PJwave1] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'm not certain about the best number for the department, PJ, since I was transferred to the department from the grad school.


    www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


    Deja


    Jan 21, 2009, 1:00 PM

    Post #99 of 165 (6327 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [PJwave1] Rackham Website Application Status [In reply to] Can't Post

    I also had a supposedly missing transcript according to the Rackham website and called both Rackham and the English department. The lady at Rackham told me as long as the English dept. had the copy of the transcript not to worry about it (she was nice enough) so I called the English dept. and the woman in the English dept I spoke to (who was very nice) also told me that they would send me an email if they were missing any transcripts, but at that point they were processing a lot of paperwork and it was probable not everything had been entered. She also said as long as they had everything else, it should be ok.


    Stroudb

    e-mail user

    Jan 27, 2009, 7:25 PM

    Post #100 of 165 (6143 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Junior Maas] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    This is a little late, but just a few things to mention.
    On Ryan Harty: He, and his wife Julie Orringer, were at Michigan on a fellowship for emerging writers. That's not nepotism. There was a national search, and the idea is to find someone(s) who only has one book out, and give them a chance to teach and write. And it helps the students to interact with writers at different stages in their careers.
    (however, I do agree that the way the Iowa Short Fiction prize is handed out has seemed at least a little suspect).

    On the reading list: I personally think it's a good thing. But rather than debate its merits, I'd just like to add to the conversation where it came from. Because the program is housed in the English Department, rather than separate from it, it has to have a certain amount of requirements for its students. This used to be the language exam, but that caused a lot of problems for a lot of people, so the faculty tried to come up with something that would be more relevant, less daunting, and that would satisfy the department and college brass. Thus the reading list, a scaled down version of what many first-year PhD English students have to do at other programs. It's not condescension by the faculty, nor a hoop they're adding for the fun of it. It's their best attempt to help students and satisfy the college at the same time. And, basically, so long as you do the reading (or at least most of the reading), you won't fail. Anyway, I just thought it would help to add this in to the discussion so as to put stuff in perspective. Good luck to everyone waiting on app responses!


    __________



    Jan 27, 2009, 7:42 PM

    Post #101 of 165 (7259 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Stroudb] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    The nepotism I was referring to was that one guy who let his daughter in.

    It bugged me when I was considering applying to Michigan. I realize not everyone feels that way.

    But wow. Another dual fellowship for the Harty-Orringer marriage? Right after they were both given the Stegner fellowship? If nepotism's not the word, please tell me what is! (Unless it was another stellar coincidence that a husband and wife team won two prestigious fellowships in a row. Who won it first this time? Ryan or Julie? When is their next zillion to one coincidence involving paid contests and university funding?)

    :D


    six five four three two one 0 ->

    (This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jan 27, 2009, 7:45 PM)


    Stroudb

    e-mail user

    Jan 28, 2009, 1:49 PM

    Post #102 of 165 (7177 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Junior Maas] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    In the case of Harty/Orringer, nepotism wasn't the word--the word (or phrase) was two-for-one. The fellowship was for one person, and they offered to share it, giving the department double for their money (and both are, in their own rights, very good writers: Orringer's won a Pushcart, among other things, and Harty has had a story in Best American). I'm not exactly sure how that would be nepotism. Nothing extra was paid out for them; instead, they offered the university a deal.

    (And the Stegner thing seems suspicious until you find out that Harty got it first, then Orringer a year or two later (after having applied four-five times). I personally think that's less nepotism on the Stegner's part than an equally problematic predilection for writers already living in the bay area (both of them were already living in SF, and it seems a good portion (though not a majority, but noticeable enough) of the people who do get Stegners have SF roots). And the reason I say it seems less like nepotism once you find out the order they went--well, I like them both, and respect them both as writers and teachers, but we know who has the star power (at least for now) in that relationship.)

    And as for "the guy who let his daughter in," from what I understand Delbanco never taught his daughter, nor took part in the decision on her admission. It certainly looks suspicious, but she's managed to publish a couple books and she won some of the MFA writing prizes (which are judged anonymously by outside readers), so she was able to pull her weight.

    I don't mean to sound touchy about all this, but Michigan, in my own experience, has always struck me as a program that does it's best to guard against things like "nepotism" (which is a big part of what was going on in poetry search mentioned above--they hired the outsider). Also, I think as writers just starting out, we tend to assume too quickly that everything is stacked against us, and so apply that narrative too quickly (I've certainly been guilty of that) when really, things end up being a bit more haphazard (I imagine the slight SF predilection of the Stegner has less to do with some nefarious doings of the admissions committee than there being something about the writing community there that naturally meshes with whatever aesthetics the committee happens to prefer). Of course, there's no way to know that unless you get more info, and so I've provided what little I've got.


    swiviol


    Feb 1, 2009, 6:32 PM

    Post #103 of 165 (7033 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [bec1029] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post


    In Reply To
    I'm an undergrad at Michigan and Harty has a reputation as a pretty phenomenal teacher and mentor. Also, to the person who asked like three pages ago, the writing program is based out of the third and fourth floors of Angell. Does anyone actually use the Hopwood room? I always feel awkward there.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm an undergrad at Michigan as well, applying there (among other schools) for Fall '09 admission to their MFA program. I had Julie, Ryan's wife, for a class last year, and it was an interesting class.

    And yes, I always feel awkward in the Hopwood room :-P even though sometimes I go there to read the past winners' stories.


    PJwave1


    Feb 2, 2009, 4:34 PM

    Post #104 of 165 (6946 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Stroudb] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Stroudb/mpagan,

    Do you have any insider information on when decisions will be announced this year? I know that last year's first emails went out on the 19th and 20th of Feb, and 2007's came out a bit later than that. Has there been any talk in the department on newly accepted (fingers crossed) or rejected (much more likely) applications?

    Please, oh please, hit us with some news.


    Stroudb

    e-mail user

    Feb 2, 2009, 8:31 PM

    Post #105 of 165 (6853 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [PJwave1] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    I don't have any specific info, but I do know applications in fiction alone have gone up, and are at about 700 (which is about 200 more than when I applied to the program three years ago). However, this shouldn't slow things so much. UM's admissions works on a tier system. Teams of two (one faculty member and one other person, usually a recent graduate with a book) read through their allotted portion of the applications (so every application gets read at least twice, which helps guard against anybody getting rejected just because an app reader had a bad day or didn't like their style or whatever). Those that make it out of this round then go to a board of faculty, and then the director makes the final cuts.

    Before they had three teams for this early round, but now there are five, so the uptick in applications shouldn't bog things down. And because of this system, there's no situation where people are already being admitted or anything--it all gets decided at once. As far as I know from what little I've heard, everything is more or less on schedule, and so announcements should be made at their usual time--end of february (which is pretty much the day after the final decisions get made).
    hope that helps. good luck!


    (This post was edited by Stroudb on Feb 2, 2009, 8:39 PM)


    moomoocow42


    Feb 2, 2009, 8:36 PM

    Post #106 of 165 (6850 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Stroudb] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    That's incredibly helpful, Stroudb. Thanks for the insight!


    My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.


    swiviol


    Feb 2, 2009, 10:54 PM

    Post #107 of 165 (6811 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Stroudb] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Stroudb, how do you have all this inside information on Michigan's MFA program?! I'm jealous. Thanks for sharing :).


    mpagan


    Feb 3, 2009, 1:34 AM

    Post #108 of 165 (6775 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [PJwave1] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    I've heard the same as stroud - nothing out of the ordinary.
    End of Feb. seems right for final decisions


    mpagan


    Feb 3, 2009, 1:36 AM

    Post #109 of 165 (6773 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Oh, by the by,

    Stoudb had an awesome story in Subtropics not too long ago!


    PJwave1


    Feb 3, 2009, 9:40 AM

    Post #110 of 165 (6719 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Stroudb] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Thank you! This information is comforting and incredibly helpful.

    "so every application gets read at least twice, which helps guard against anybody getting rejected just because an app reader had a bad day or didn't like their style or whatever"

    This comment is especially reassuring. I often picture the scenario where reader X comes into the office fresh from a fight with their S.O., takes a look at my writing sample, laughs, then throws it into a fire.


    Stroudb

    e-mail user

    Feb 3, 2009, 12:41 PM

    Post #111 of 165 (6656 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [mpagan] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    oh, gosh, thanks, mpagan!


    (This post was edited by Stroudb on Feb 3, 2009, 12:43 PM)


    sayra


    Feb 3, 2009, 4:12 PM

    Post #112 of 165 (6579 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    side note: the hopwood room is the most awkward place in the world. even though i love (and miss, now that i've been out of michigan for a year) hopwood teas and things that happen in the hopwood room, it just is a magically awkward place, even for mfa students. but great coffee. and cookies. and tea. and cookies.

    (ps: hi, stroudb!)


    swiviol


    Feb 3, 2009, 4:19 PM

    Post #113 of 165 (6568 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [sayra] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    I like sitting there and reading past winners' stories, but it's awkward because there is never anyone around. As an undergrad I went to 1 Hopwood tea, but I ended up not knowing many people there, so I mostly just ate some cookies and left :-P.


    flergenderg


    Feb 9, 2009, 8:34 PM

    Post #114 of 165 (6420 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    How funny to hear people chatting about The Hopwood Room! I worked there as an undergrad, for three years. It's true--The Hopwood Room can be an awkward place at first. But it does have a fantastic selection of journals and my former boss--who still runs the room--is always generous with her time in answering questions about contests, writing programs, etc.


    swiviol


    Feb 9, 2009, 9:22 PM

    Post #115 of 165 (6396 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [flergenderg] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Is your former boss Andrea? She does seem nice :).


    flergenderg


    Feb 9, 2009, 10:01 PM

    Post #116 of 165 (6370 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Yes, Andrea--she is a dear friend and a wonderful resource. Now if only I can get into the MFA program... :-)


    swiviol


    Feb 9, 2009, 11:34 PM

    Post #117 of 165 (6318 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [flergenderg] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    I applied there as well for their MFA program ... we'll probably be notified end of February, would be my guess, based on the past posts in here.


    flergenderg


    Feb 10, 2009, 1:00 AM

    Post #118 of 165 (6289 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Yeah--somewhere around Feb 19th it seems. I'm counting the days in six-packs! Let's keep each other sane.


    swiviol


    Feb 10, 2009, 10:58 AM

    Post #119 of 165 (6227 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [flergenderg] reading list [In reply to] Can't Post

    Oh, man - I leave for my spring break trip on the 21st! If they're notifying by mail, I reallyyyy hope it gets here by the 19th or 20th ... and I live in Ann Arbor (I'm a current undergrad) so that's good, I guess. Hopefully they will email/call instead.


    EmilyMay


    Feb 13, 2009, 12:39 PM

    Post #120 of 165 (6101 views)
    Shortcut
    another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Just jumping in here because I applied to Michigan for poetry. Waiting anxiously for a response. Best of luck to everyone else who's applied!

    I did my undergrad at Bowling Green, and we used to go up to Ann Arbor sometimes. It's a great town, and a place I think I'd be very happy.


    swiviol


    Feb 13, 2009, 12:40 PM

    Post #121 of 165 (6100 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [EmilyMay] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    I love Ann Arbor :) don't really want to leave in May.


    scarlet m


    Feb 13, 2009, 5:37 PM

    Post #122 of 165 (6017 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    bandwagon: i too applied to the mfa program for fiction. michigan is my first choice and likely the first program i'll here back from, either way. neeeeeervous


    swiviol


    Feb 27, 2009, 11:45 AM

    Post #123 of 165 (5808 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [scarlet m] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Has anyone actually been REJECTED from Michigan yet? Someone on TSE said that letters are going out next week, but I have not heard either way yet ... and Wolverine Access tells me nothing.


    swiviol


    Feb 27, 2009, 11:46 AM

    Post #124 of 165 (5805 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Oops, sorry - it was Iowa that they said next week (and it was on here, not TSE).
    Any Michigan info, then?


    jtomscha


    Mar 11, 2009, 6:22 PM

    Post #125 of 165 (5638 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    This question has less to do with Michigan and more with Ann Arbor.

    I'm trying to decide if I should purchase a car. I am ninety percent certain that I'll be heading to Michigan in the fall (for fiction). Just wondering if I'll need a car in Ann Arbor. I prefer to live in the midst of the campus and downtown community, and thus far have lived in Cambridge and Missoula without one. Probably would like a car for the next few months, but will put off buying one if it's a big hassle or not at all important in AA. So- not considering matters of carbon footprinting- should I be thinking about a vehicle?

    Looking back through this thread, I've notice more hostility than I was expecting about the Michigan program - although not from the Michigan students, but rather more from outside posters. Anyone else have any thoughts about why this might be?

    Anyone future classmates going to the visit weekend next month?


    sayra


    Mar 11, 2009, 6:33 PM

    Post #126 of 165 (8710 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [jtomscha] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    I was at Michigan for my MFA in poetry the past two years. I didn't have a car the first year, did have a car the second year. The Ann Arbor buses are free to students, and cars can be hassles because of the snow in Ann Arbor--I did an awful lot of shoveling that second year. I'm split really on the car decision--it's nice to have, but not vital, and other people are sure to have them to borrow (I had roommates to steal cars from if I was in a pinch). Also, Ann Arbor has zipcars, which are also worth looking into if you just need a car for a few hours here and there. Basically, it can work either way, but it definitely is far from impossible to live in Ann Arbor without a car.

    I can't explain the Michigan hostility. Like any program, it definitely has its strong points and its weaknesses, but overall I really loved it and think it's a great place (and I find myself massively missing Ann Arbor (and the MFA) often). Any future Michigan students with any questions (particularly poets), feel free to pm me or to ask them here :) And congratulations!


    swiviol


    Mar 11, 2009, 7:09 PM

    Post #127 of 165 (8692 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [jtomscha] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'm a current Michigan undergrad, and in my opinion you don't need a car. It's nice to have, certainly, esp. when going grocery shopping, but usually I get a ride w/ friends for that. I don't have a car and it's my 4th year here ... the bus system is usually good too.


    Raysen


    Mar 11, 2009, 7:12 PM

    Post #128 of 165 (8685 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [swiviol] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Had I gotten into Michigan, I would've signed up for a meal contract at East Quad. Intimate and close enough to Angell Hall without it feeling like a zoo like West Quad and South Quad.

    But Michigan didn't want me.


    swiviol


    Mar 11, 2009, 7:14 PM

    Post #129 of 165 (8682 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Raysen] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Haha, I could talk all day about East Quad! I lived there for 2 years, my freshman and sophomore year, and really liked the cafeteria, but no one else on campus seems to ... especially with the newly reopened MoJo caf which is beautiful and has like 10x more the options than EQ has. oh well.


    Kurt


    Mar 11, 2009, 7:46 PM

    Post #130 of 165 (8666 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [jtomscha] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    You don't need a car in Ann Arbor, so long as you're fine staying in Ann Arbor.


    khopper


    Mar 12, 2009, 11:06 AM

    Post #131 of 165 (8609 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [jtomscha] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'd say it depends on where you live afterwards. When you're done with your MFA, are you going to keep living in the downtown part of a big city? If so, I think you're safe passing on a car for now. But if you're otherwise planning on living in the suburbs or in a non-city, you might want to consider getting a car now, while dealerships are desperate for buyers.

    Not that it's going to affect you much, since you'll mostly be around other students, but people from Michigan will think you're an America-hater if you don't have a car. :-) I don't actually need mine, but the idea of selling it fills me with terror.


    Raysen


    Mar 12, 2009, 1:54 PM

    Post #132 of 165 (8556 views)
    Shortcut
    Reading List exam [In reply to] Can't Post

    The one positive I can take away from my Michigan rejection is that I don't have to take that exam they give to MFA students in the first year -- the one based on the reading list they distribute to new admittees in the Spring. Whew! One big load off my mind...


    nickagaudio


    Mar 12, 2009, 4:26 PM

    Post #133 of 165 (8498 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [jtomscha] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Well, I may or may not be visiting that weekend as well. I'm currently on the waitlist (according to Eileen Pollack, very high). So, actually...could you just not accept? :) haha


    SaundraN


    Mar 12, 2009, 6:41 PM

    Post #134 of 165 (8466 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [nickagaudio] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    Have all of the acceptances for Michigan in poetry already gone out?


    jtomscha


    Mar 13, 2009, 1:32 AM

    Post #135 of 165 (8410 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [nickagaudio] another Michigan applicant [In reply to] Can't Post

    nickagaudio, haha...Well, I probably won't - but I hope someone else does!

    Everyone, thanks for the help with the car situation. I think I'll put off buying one for now and instead go to India with the car money. Better for writing, right?


    anna2


    Jul 10, 2009, 5:11 PM

    Post #136 of 165 (8274 views)
    Shortcut
    age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    Hi, didn't mean to reply to one person in particular but couldn't figure out how to simply do a post. (My writing, I hope, is a bit better than my message board skills.) I'm really interested in applying to Michigan for fiction this year, and I had a few questions about the program that I've had trouble finding answers to online. I was wondering first how big it is--for some reason I can't find this on Michigan's website (both the size of the entire program and how many new students are accepted per year.) I was also wondering, for those who've been there, about the average age of the students. It seems some programs have students who fall mostly around age 30, while others have a wider age range. Since I'll be applying right out of undergrad, it would be helpful to get an idea of where I might be. I know, of course, that this varies each year, but any insight on the (very general) demographics of the program would be much appreciated!


    sayra


    Jul 10, 2009, 6:51 PM

    Post #137 of 165 (8267 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [anna2] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    Hey, I graduated from Michigan last year (in poetry, but I should still be able to be of some help...) There are 12 writers per genre in each year (for a total of 24 writers per year, and 48 writers at a time total). When I went, I was right out of college; the fiction cohort was a bit older, but there's really a wide range of ages, from fresh out of undergrad to very much not. I hope this helps!


    Dhorton


    Jul 11, 2009, 3:21 PM

    Post #138 of 165 (8190 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [sayra] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'm looking at Michigan for next year--I have a background in fiction but during the last few years have been reading and writing for the juvenile audience.

    I believe those teaching at UM have more of a "contemporary literature" feel--if I submit my writing for young adults as part of my application, will this hurt me? And if so, what schools do you recommend?

    Thanks, I'm new around here and appreciate the help.


    pongo
    Buy this book!

    e-mail user

    Jul 11, 2009, 3:25 PM

    Post #139 of 165 (8187 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Dhorton] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    If submitting what you write will hurt your application, you shouldn't be applying there.


    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/


    taraberyl



    Jul 11, 2009, 5:31 PM

    Post #140 of 165 (8167 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Dhorton] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    i know vermont has a program specifically geared toward writing for children and young adults, though i think it is low-residency. there are a lot of programs that are specifically for those genres of writing, if you search 'em. however, if you are looking to move away from young adult fiction, i probably wouldn't recommend using it for a writing sample.


    Dhorton


    Jul 12, 2009, 7:38 AM

    Post #141 of 165 (8135 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [taraberyl] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post


    In Reply To
    i know vermont has a program specifically geared toward writing for children and young adults, though i think it is low-residency. there are a lot of programs that are specifically for those genres of writing, if you search 'em. however, if you are looking to move away from young adult fiction, i probably wouldn't recommend using it for a writing sample.

    Thanks.

    I guess my real question is: Is there a bias against those whose fiction differs in style or genre from what the professors write?


    mpagan


    Jul 15, 2009, 3:50 PM

    Post #142 of 165 (7930 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Dhorton] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    We have folks in the program writing in all kinds of styles. As far as I can tell there is no bias for one kind of work over another. But realistically there is no way to account for the faculty's taste in any given year. They're human afterall. In the end, send something you are passionate about. Also think about your needs as a writer. If you write very genre specific work only then you might want to apply to a school were the faculty can help guide your work best. In the end, don't worry too much about Michigan's asthetic bent when it comes to non-genre specific work, or more general literary fiction. The writers who teach here are open to most anything as long as it clearly exhibits potential and skill. (We did afterall graduate a writer who wrote a massive bestselling vampire novel. As far as I know she workshopped that bad boy here. The Historian anyone? I've never read the book, not my kind of thing, but shows there is no accurate way to predict what get's in one year over another. But it does show in some ways the diversity of the writer's here. )


    Dhorton


    Jul 16, 2009, 12:14 PM

    Post #143 of 165 (7867 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [mpagan] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    Thank you, that's very helpful.


    WanderingTree


    Jul 24, 2009, 8:34 PM

    Post #144 of 165 (7677 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [mpagan] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    This is good to hear from another person. I have read the Historian and enjoyed it (although it took a while - over 700 pages!). I write in several genres from what could be termed "immigrant literature" to "magical realism". I keep telling myself that its the quality and potential in the writing itself that matters but for someone that incorporates fantastical elements into stories a lot (albeit more of the bent of Kelly Link and Jonathan Lethem vs. hardcore speculative writers), I always worry.

    (This post was edited by Sequoia on Jul 24, 2009, 8:36 PM)


    WanderingTree


    Sep 17, 2009, 5:03 PM

    Post #145 of 165 (6937 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [WanderingTree] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    Weather question:

    Exactly how cold does it get in Ann Arbor? I lived in Iowa for four years. Is it comparable? (~ 20 - 30 F without windchill). Still applying, but I'm curious.


    alamana
    Jennifer Brown


    Sep 17, 2009, 5:18 PM

    Post #146 of 165 (6932 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [WanderingTree] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    Yep, Ann Arbor gets colder than iowa. I grew up in Michigan, and it gets pretty darned cold there.


    Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

    http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


    blair_violet


    Sep 17, 2009, 5:18 PM

    Post #147 of 165 (6931 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [WanderingTree] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'm no meteorologist, but I did my undergrad at Michigan and so I braved the Ann Arbor winters. I would say your estimate is about right. We did get some exceptionally cold days, though, and the wind is usually killer during winter.


    katelauren
    Kate

    Oct 25, 2009, 8:48 PM

    Post #148 of 165 (6586 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [blair_violet] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

       
    Does anyone know if Michigan offers cross -genre workshops? I'm applying for fiction but I want a program where I can still do some work with poetry.

    Thanks!


    miekekoo


    Oct 31, 2009, 5:52 PM

    Post #149 of 165 (6419 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [katelauren] age range and size [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'm a recent grad, and while I was there there were plenty of opportunities to do cross genre work, including a poetry workshop for nonpoets, Anne Carson's essay writing for poets class, a novella workshop open to poets and fiction writers, and a creative nonfiction workshop. A few people also took a playwriting course through the theater department. All of these courses aren't offered every semester, but if you are dying to work in some other genre it's likely there will be a workshop you can take at some point during your two years.

    Good luck with your applications!


    Peaquah

    e-mail user

    Feb 21, 2010, 2:46 PM

    Post #150 of 165 (5336 views)
    Shortcut
    Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

    I reckon it's about time to revive this thread. I got accepted to Michigan (in fiction) Friday and would like to connect with others in the same boat. I know over at the MFA blog a few other people mentioned acceptances.

    Thoughts on Ann Arbor?
    Anyone currently in the program?


    jtomscha


    Feb 21, 2010, 11:47 PM

    Post #151 of 165 (7995 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [K. Peaquah] Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

    Hi there, K. Peaquah,

    I'm a first-year here in fiction. Just now, as I looked out my kitchen window and saw the beginnings of the latest winter snowstorm descending upon Ann Arbor, I felt yet another rush of gratitude (yes, even on a Sunday night). The program, my cohort, the second-year cohort, the professors, and the opportunities this past year have really surpassed my every expectation. We are truly spoiled. Ann Arbor definitely doesn't feel like a city, but it is not a bad place to spend two/three years. Let me know if you have any particular questions. You can pm me, if you'd like. Hope to see you at the visit weekend. - J


    bluepoet1


    Feb 23, 2010, 2:04 PM

    Post #152 of 165 (7855 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [K. Peaquah] Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

    I have applied there but for poetry. Congratulations to you! Did you receive a telephone call, an email or letter?


    (This post was edited by bluepoet1 on Feb 23, 2010, 2:05 PM)


    Peaquah

    e-mail user

    Feb 23, 2010, 2:07 PM

    Post #153 of 165 (7850 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [bluepoet1] Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

    I received an email last Friday and a phone call yesterday. Good luck to you!


    chicagofog

    e-mail user

    Aug 12, 2010, 2:08 PM

    Post #154 of 165 (5349 views)
    Shortcut
    Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

    I am senior undergrad and planning on applying to the fall 2011 program. I've been reading the different posts about MFAs in general but I'm most interested in going to U of M. How selective of a program is it? I have been a writer since I was a child but went to school for computer science because it seemed like the "right" thing to do...now I am in my senior year and getting recruited to all these high paying tech jobs but I just want to spend 2-3 years focusing on my writing in a MFA program...could care less about money, I just want to spend more time writing! I'm just a little bit worried about the GPA portion. I'm sure by the time I apply in December my GPA will be up but right now the cumulative is only lingering around a 3.0, my major GPA is at 3.7. I have worked as an editor in chief and managing editor at various local publications as well as worked as an editor at a literary journal some years back. I'm hoping my experience in writing (resume), my writing sample, and letters of recommendation will offset my lower GPA...any advice you can give me?


    hamlet3145


    Aug 12, 2010, 3:20 PM

    Post #155 of 165 (5340 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [kneelis] Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

    I got an email from AWP (Associated Writing Programs) the other day with the results of their survey on writing programs. The average acceptance rate to an MFA program was 9%. Average. That Michigan is regularly ranked in the top part of the top tier of programs likely places their acceptance rate in the 3% range, or less. I think Harvard Med School is around 4-5%.

    Now, for the good news. =) Don't worry about your GPA. As long as you meet the minimum grad school requirement (usually a 3.0) that won't keep you from being accepted. It's all about your writing sample and . . . your writing sample. If there is one spot left and they can't make up their mind between you and another student they will start looking at reccomendations, etc. GPA is probably about 7th on a list of other things.

    If it were me, I'd take the high paying tech job for a couple of years while enrolling in writing classes online via the Gotham Writer's Workshop or comprable institution (think Stanford offers creative writing classes online now as well). Save money. Get a great writing sample together, then apply. Your future self will thank you when you walk away from a good MFA program with little or no debt. ;)


    Peaquah

    e-mail user

    Aug 12, 2010, 5:47 PM

    Post #156 of 165 (5323 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [kneelis] Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

    Hi kneelis -

    I will be a first year student in Michigan's program starting this fall (or, rather, in about one month). It's definitely a competitive program - they got around 1100 applications this year for 12 spots in fiction and 10 in poetry. Yikes. However, I think it's worth taking a shot. When I went out there to visit, the profs all said that it was completely based on the writing samples, and they were just looking for people that they felt they could teach. It's really not a reflection on your writing (at all) if you don't get in to some schools. And you never know, the people at Iowa and Virginia could think you're the best thing since sliced bread while the people at Michigan and Indiana don't even get past your first story. Give yourself lots of options. :-)

    If you have more program-specific questions feel free to throw them out there or PM me.


    downeyr


    Sep 9, 2011, 4:30 AM

    Post #157 of 165 (4423 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [Peaquah] Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

    This thread has been dead for far too long. Now that the submission deadline is beginning to peek its head above the horizon, I'll venture to continue the conversation about Michigan's MFA program. Right now I'm trying to write my statement of purpose and personal statement. Do any of you Michigan attendees have any words of wisdom on this? I'm especially wondering how personal they want you to get on the statement. I'm sure a personal running-off-at-the-mouth memoir isn't what they want, but I'm finding it hard to stay focused on the point of the statement. Advice?


    "Only a talent that doesn't exist at all can't be improved."
    -John Gardner

    "A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination--any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others."
    -William Faulkner

    "You must have chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche



    TonyB79
    Tony Baker
    e-mail user

    Aug 7, 2013, 11:18 AM

    Post #158 of 165 (2268 views)
    Shortcut
    Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

    Any current (or recent?) UM students still on the boards? I'm mostly curious about Ann Arbor's proximity to/relationship with the Greater Detroit metro area - is unemployment in that part of the state really high, or is the economic desolation mostly limited to the city itself? I definitely plan on applying here, but I'd like to work while pursuing my MFA (in addition to teaching/etc.), and I'm concerned there won't be much chance of that in Greater Detroit right about now...


    Mercy is the mark of a great man.

    I guess I'm just a good man.


    alamana
    Jennifer Brown


    Aug 7, 2013, 12:56 PM

    Post #159 of 165 (2264 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [TonyB79] Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

    I didn’t attend U of M’s MFA program, but I grew up in Michigan. I’d be surprised if there were many U of M students commuting to the Detroit area to work. It is less than an hour away—I think about 45 mins, depending on where in the “Detroit area” we are talking about—but to many folks in Michigan that is a crazy long commute (sadly that is not so where I live now). But maybe I'm wrong or this has changed and some current/recent U of M students can jump in here and tell you that.

    As we know from the news, things in the city of Detroit are tough. Unemployment is high and in many communities hopes are low. There are, however, suburbs where that is not the case. I guess you need to know what kind of job you want. I’m sure there are many opportunities in Ann Arbor if what you want is a part-time job of the type many in my MFA program held (bookstore, barista, server, bartender, tutor, etc.). If you have an established career, and need to make a certain amount of money to support a family or something like that, job opportunities are going to vary depending not only on place (Ann Arbor vs. city of Detroit v. well-to-do suburb like Birmingham) but on job type. Although there are unemployment problems in Detroit, there are also opportunities for individuals with certain skills.

    Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to live. The Detroit area can be as well; my sister lived there for years—all the way through med school and her residency and I think she loved it. Bottom line is that opportunities in that part of Michigan are going to vary by job type. Good luck to you. Michigan is a beautiful place.


    Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

    http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


    TonyB79
    Tony Baker
    e-mail user

    Oct 20, 2013, 3:41 PM

    Post #160 of 165 (1826 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [alamana] Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

    Thanks for the reply! Application deadlines are looming here in another month and a half or so, but I've narrowed it down to about 8 programs I want to apply to in December and another 3 or 4 with deadlines in January or February. UM is at the top of my list, along with Cornell and UW Madison.

    I'll be a fiction applicant, with my main focus being genre stories (horror and suspense, mostly) and more dramatic pieces dealing with loneliness and social isolation. Anyone have any insight as to the type of themes the UM faculty like/are interested in? I know the faculty of many schools can be kind of idiosyncratic about this, with some programs having a straight up emphasis in political activism, nature/environmentally-themed work, and so on.


    Mercy is the mark of a great man.

    I guess I'm just a good man.


    zagcollins
    Ayush Sengupta

    Nov 18, 2013, 10:08 PM

    Post #161 of 165 (1662 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [TonyB79] Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post


    In Reply To
    Thanks for the reply! Application deadlines are looming here in another month and a half or so, but I've narrowed it down to about 8 programs I want to apply to in December and another 3 or 4 with deadlines in January or February. UM is at the top of my list, along with Cornell and UW Madison.

    I'll be a fiction applicant, with my main focus being genre stories (horror and suspense, mostly) and more dramatic pieces dealing with loneliness and social isolation. Anyone have any insight as to the type of themes the UM faculty like/are interested in? I know the faculty of many schools can be kind of idiosyncratic about this, with some programs having a straight up emphasis in political activism, nature/environmentally-themed work, and so on.

    Tony,

    All the schools you are applying to are looking at literary fiction and not genre fiction. I am an international student (yeah, imagine that), so these schools are on my list as well. Sadly, I am not sure whether I am going to be applying this year or not.



    TonyB79
    Tony Baker
    e-mail user

    Nov 21, 2013, 7:49 PM

    Post #162 of 165 (1626 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [zagcollins] [In reply to] Can't Post

    Actually, I've heard that some programs (including Michigan and Syracuse) are more receptive than others. I'm not planning on applying with genre material, though. I have some ideas for a mainstream novel I'd want to work on while I'm there.


    Mercy is the mark of a great man.

    I guess I'm just a good man.


    zagcollins
    Ayush Sengupta

    Nov 21, 2013, 9:22 PM

    Post #163 of 165 (1622 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [TonyB79] [In reply to] Can't Post

    These guys are never going to openly say NO to genre fiction. They say 'submit your best work, but we do not really see how we can help people interested in getting their books stocked anywhere else except the FICTION shelf'.


    TonyB79
    Tony Baker
    e-mail user

    Nov 21, 2013, 10:36 PM

    Post #164 of 165 (1619 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [zagcollins] [In reply to] Can't Post

    On the contrary... many schools ARE more than happy to outright say no to genre fiction, while many others dissemble, as you said. If you're a genre writer and you want to have a shot at getting into a decently funded MFA program, you have to be prepared to have your views of the kind of fiction you want to write challenged, I think. And, if you're going to try and turn in fiction that contains genre elements, you're going to have to be prepared to still have that fiction held to a high literary standard.

    And there *are* "genre" writers out there doing high-end, high-quality work. I'd put the horror of Peter Straub, the epic fantasy of Justin Cronin, the dark fantasy of Clive Barker, or the mystery of Thomas H. Cook up against any high-falutin' "MFA novel" about alcoholism or life after divorce that you can muster.

    Programs like Stonecoast, Red Earth or Goddard are undeniably attractive (sucky funding aside), but I wonder if "for-profit" programs like that aren't ultimately going to let you write whatever the heck you please, as long as your tuition checks don't bounce. I ultimately decided I wanted to be challenged. I just hope I have the courage to challenge their views on what constitutes literature as well.


    Mercy is the mark of a great man.

    I guess I'm just a good man.


    zagcollins
    Ayush Sengupta

    Nov 21, 2013, 10:44 PM

    Post #165 of 165 (1618 views)
    Shortcut
    Re: [TonyB79] [In reply to] Can't Post

    Am sure you will impress their pants off! :)

    Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs

     


    P&W Newsletters

    Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter to stay informed of the latest news, events and more.

    Click to Sign Up

    Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us

    © Copyright Poets & Writers 2011. All Rights Reserved