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__________



Aug 12, 2008, 3:05 AM

Post #651 of 764 (14222 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Um...paid time to write, is what I'm guessing. :D

Seriously, you guys make good points. But I'm envisioning a less noble scenario; not the published novelist hungy for knowledge, but the one that just found out it's only Jonathan Saffran Froer who makes a living writing, and that teaching jobs are hard to come by. The one that crapped out on all those competitive fellowships, got kicked in the ass by bills and real life, that wants...paid time to write. And that's it. This person would probably not make a good workshop buddy.

There are a shocking number of MFA programs, and a shocking number of teachers with only one book published. This is where I'm just not sure about the big knowledge transmission that's going to take place. Iowa, maybe. But everywhere else? I dunno. It's not Michael Chabon and Paul Auster scrambling for those MFA slots, but it sure ain't Michael Chabon and Paul Auster teaching those classes, either!

I just envision the MFA crowd as people lagging behind a published novelist, in most applicable areas. Would that novelist really prefer an MFA environment over something like Stegner or Wisconsin or whatever, where you workshop with other folks who've essentially 'arrived', talent-wise and so forth? Hmmm....


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aiyamei

e-mail user

Aug 12, 2008, 7:46 AM

Post #652 of 764 (14212 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

I can't imagine why a published novelist--as in someone published by a major press--would apply to MFA programs. Why? And where are these people?


You can't imagine? I'm a bit confused. I just said very succinctly why a published novelist would apply to MFA programs. Because publication is NOT the be-all-end-all. Why do you speak as though there were nothing more to pursue, once publication is achieved? I'll reiterate what I said before -- regardless of how my novel performs, I would consider an MFA, because I'd like to _learn_. There's nobody out in the world willing to _teach_ you if you don't do an MFA. Writing is very _lonely_.

Why are you so focused on the enormous names like Chabon (who almost certainly didn't consider an MFA degree because he _already had one_ before he broke out) and Jonathan Safran Foer (who also took his share of creative writing classes with JC Oates)?

Take instead, for example, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, whose first novel _Madeleine is Sleeping_ was published by Harcourt -- and then nominated for the National Book Award. It sold pretty darn well, and she went on to get her MFA from Iowa.

She's not alone.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Aug 12, 2008, 11:18 AM

Post #653 of 764 (14181 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Data point: I was modestly published when I went for my MFA. I had published some short fiction, some non-fiction (including magazine work and a weekly newspaper column), and a series science fiction novel. I went for the MFA so I could teach (I had no MA, and still don't) and so I could improve my craft. No one I knew at school thought there was anything odd about my motives.


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/


gcsumfa


Aug 12, 2008, 12:27 PM

Post #654 of 764 (14159 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To

Because publication is NOT the be-all-end-all. Why do you speak as though there were nothing more to pursue, once publication is achieved?


I never spoke as if publication were the “be-all-end-all.” I’m certainly not a writer who writes solely to “be published." However, what is your threshold for needing “help” and “feedback”? One could argue that writers spend their entire lives learning and requiring various forms of feedback; does this mean that writers should pursue an MFA degree for each book that they publish?


In Reply To
I'll reiterate what I said before -- regardless of how my novel performs, I would consider an MFA, because I'd like to _learn_. There's nobody out in the world willing to _teach_ you if you don't do an MFA. Writing is very _lonely_.


If your novel were picked up by Harcourt Brace, you would balance a book tour with an MFA program? You would enter an MFA program with a likely second book deal already in the works…just for some “help” and “feedback”?

I’m pretty sure you would get the necessary help and feedback from major house editors, agents, and other published authors you would assuredly meet by virtue of your status as a “published novelist.” In other words, your status as a “published novelist” with a successful novel would give you access to resources the average person lacks.

Keep in mind that I really don’t care if you or anyone else with a “published novel” pursues an MFA; such people are the exception and not the norm, which is why stated my “confusion” earlier on this thread; that is, my “confusion” over why this is such a concern in the first place for people applying to MFA programs.


In Reply To
Why are you so focused on the enormous names like Chabon (who almost certainly didn't consider an MFA degree because he _already had one_ before he broke out) and Jonathan Safran Foer (who also took his share of creative writing classes with JC Oates)?


I never mentioned Chabon.

I did mention Foer; what’s your point? I never argued that published novelists haven’t typically taken some type of creative writing course during their lives before publishing a book, though in the case of Foer, one could argue that he could’ve used some more schooling by Oates (though that’s another thread).


In Reply To
Take instead, for example, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, whose first novel _Madeleine is Sleeping_ was published by Harcourt -- and then nominated for the National Book Award. It sold pretty darn well, and she went on to get her MFA from Iowa.

She's not alone.


Thanks for the example. This sounds like an extreme exception. I seriously doubt that “published novelists” (of any sort) make up more than .00000001 of MFA application pools.


umass76


Aug 12, 2008, 12:35 PM

Post #655 of 764 (14153 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

A humble suggestion...

Given that this thread is called "Current MFA Rankings," and that there's a thread just a few below this one--on the first page of MFA threads--entitled "Accomplish what, exactly, in my MFA program?", shouldn't this discussion over whether well-published writers would accomplish anything by attending an MFA head over there?

Best,
Seth


aiyamei

e-mail user

Aug 12, 2008, 12:40 PM

Post #656 of 764 (14147 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, good idea. It is somewhat off topic (okay, VERY off topic!)


Teffel


Aug 21, 2008, 3:11 PM

Post #657 of 764 (13931 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Hello?

I'm new to this messageboard and not sure if this little tally is still going on, but thought I would throw my hat in the ring...

This is my final, much revised, much labored over, list of schools for fiction (may still apply to one or two non-fiction program, but nost sure) :

Arizona
NYU
Oregon
Washington (University of)
Hollins
Syracuse
Alabama
Iowa
Notre Dame
Minnesota
Vandy

Great thread! Super helpful. Good stuff!

--Todd


umass76


Aug 21, 2008, 6:06 PM

Post #658 of 764 (13899 views)
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Re: [Teffel] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Teffel,

Absolutely it's still going on! In fact, the 2009 MFA rankings (the first batch at least) are going to be released on my website within the next week.

Thanks so much for the input (and I continue to encourage others to chime in as well on where you're applying!),

Best,
Seth

*****
MFA Rankings and Acceptance Rates at: http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/


__________



Aug 21, 2008, 6:56 PM

Post #659 of 764 (13877 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Ahoy there!

Seth, a quick poll of my own: I notice you've been signing off with 'Best'. My question: did you start doing this before taking workshops? Or after?

Because I think I'm onto a semi-conspiracy here. See, where your common lit professor likes to end things with a 'Regards' or even a 'Sincerely', writing instructors seem favor the 'Best'. It appears to be an impulse -- like sneezing or vomiting -- almost beyond their control. My own teacher, when I cornered him after class one day, confirmed he picked it up during his PhD stint at Mizzou; all his teachers used it. We contacted his teachers, a couple of which admitted they were merely following the lead of their AWP colleagues. Since then, I've asked a handful of speakeasy-ers. It's always the same -- as they wander the halls of their MFA, the 'best' just seems to attach itself like a little bur in their pants leg.

Can you confirm or deny?


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Aug 21, 2008, 6:59 PM)


pittgrad


Aug 21, 2008, 7:03 PM

Post #660 of 764 (13871 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Dear Seth,

Well, I am a little superstitious about posting my list, like I might jinx myself or something, but since you asked I will share.

I write both poetry and fiction, but I will be applying in fiction. I have applied primarily to three regions, the south, east and midwest.

MY LIST

The University of Mississippi
McNeese State University
The University of Memphis
Louisiana Sate University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Florida International University
The University of Pittsburgh (my alma mater)
Penn State University
The University of Iowa
The Ohio State University

Thank you Seth. You are a good man for helping us out.


Tori


Aug 21, 2008, 9:35 PM

Post #661 of 764 (13844 views)
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Re: [pittgrad] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

 

first, a disclaimer: i know my list might look pretty unrealistic to some, but i am fully prepared to get rejected by most if not all of these places. i have already made peace with this and am okay with it--well sort of. i'm only 23 and it's not the end pf the world if i don't get into any of these fine programs. i just thought, well, gee, why not shoot for the moon? i can always apply again next year, right? ok, now my list... (for fiction by the way)

syracuse
cornell
iowa
michigan
virginia
uc irvine
umass, amherst
johns hopkins
columbia
nyu
hollins
wisconsin

i like each and every one of these programs for different reasons. am i being incredibly stupid? do others share my logic?


RaoulDuke
Cobra Cobachi

Aug 21, 2008, 10:35 PM

Post #662 of 764 (13828 views)
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Re: [Tori] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, pretty tough, and if by Wisconsin you mean Madison? They're only accepting poets this year.


umass76


Aug 22, 2008, 12:33 AM

Post #663 of 764 (13806 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

JM,

LOL, I've been doing it for about 13 years now. It's one of six or seven sign-offs I use interchangeably and instinctively.

There is no sign-off on the grassy knoll, I'm afraid.

S.


Scrat1


Aug 22, 2008, 3:21 AM

Post #664 of 764 (13789 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Ahoy there!

Seth, a quick poll of my own: I notice you've been signing off with 'Best'. My question: did you start doing this before taking workshops? Or after?

Because I think I'm onto a semi-conspiracy here. See, where your common lit professor likes to end things with a 'Regards' or even a 'Sincerely', writing instructors seem favor the 'Best'. It appears to be an impulse -- like sneezing or vomiting -- almost beyond their control. My own teacher, when I cornered him after class one day, confirmed he picked it up during his PhD stint at Mizzou; all his teachers used it. We contacted his teachers, a couple of which admitted they were merely following the lead of their AWP colleagues. Since then, I've asked a handful of speakeasy-ers. It's always the same -- as they wander the halls of their MFA, the 'best' just seems to attach itself like a little bur in their pants leg.

Can you confirm or deny?


While I can't speak for Seth, I 100% believe there is some truth in this. I've definitely seen a lot of "bests" recently. In fact, while I was reading this, I had an e-mail from a writing professor open in another tab. I checked. It was signed "Best".

I am very psyched that someone else has picked up on this conspiracy. Now to wear aluminum foil hats.


(This post was edited by Scrat1 on Aug 22, 2008, 3:28 AM)


umass76


Aug 22, 2008, 9:17 AM

Post #665 of 764 (13765 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting factoid, based on the just-released undergraduate rankings from U.S. News & World Report...

Number of U.S. undergraduate programs with an acceptance rate under 10%: 1

Number of U.S. MFA in Creative Writing programs with an acceptance rate under 10%: at least 35

S.


Clench Million
Charles

Aug 22, 2008, 11:53 AM

Post #666 of 764 (13737 views)
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Re: [Tori] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you have a good list Tori. In fact it is very similar to my list when I applied. I am a big advocate of shooting for the stars. The MFA degree is not worth much, but what things it can provide you are best found at the best programs. It is better to apply to the programs you most want to go to, at least the first time around, that end up in a weaker program always wondering what would have happened if you hadn't taken Syracuse, UVA and Hopkins (or whatever) off your list. You have a few large programs that will increase your odds too.

ETA:

Good luck!


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Aug 22, 2008, 11:53 AM)


Tori


Aug 22, 2008, 2:31 PM

Post #667 of 764 (13704 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Clench,

Thanks for the support. We'll see what happens.


baffled


Aug 22, 2008, 4:20 PM

Post #668 of 764 (13674 views)
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Re: [Tori] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Hi Folks,

Alright; as of this morning, I have 8 schools I know for sure I will be applying to in fiction/prose.

They are:

NYU
Columbia
Cornell
Iowa
California, Irvine
California, San Diego
Sarah Lawrence College
Houston

More than likely I will add one or two more schools depending on $.

Good luck to all of you!


ThreeDogTruck


Aug 22, 2008, 5:38 PM

Post #669 of 764 (13647 views)
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University of British Columbia Optional-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

The Optional Residency MFA Program at the University of British Columbia is a phenomenal program.
I am starting my second year there.
Here is the link for anyone interested: http://www.creativewriting.ubc.ca/programs_mfa_op_residency_courses.shtml

The deadline is fast approaching. The course outlines for the upcoming term are listed. Many of the fellow students have already published several books in Canada and are terrific classmates.
The faculty is honestly extraordinary.
This MFA Program is the best-kept-secret on the planet.


L.Cruz


Aug 22, 2008, 6:31 PM

Post #670 of 764 (13630 views)
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Re: [ThreeDogTruck] University of British Columbia Optional-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Greetings everyone!

I just discovered this wonderful website yesterday and have not stopped reading it since! So helpful, but completely overwhelming!

I am a poet and filmmaker. I have a BFA in film, but would like to pursue my MFA in poetry. I am including my list below. I feel confident in the list, but am willing to hear suggestions.

Rutgers-Newark
Brooklyn College
Umass-Boston
UMass-Amherst
Houston
Art Institute of Chicago
Columbia College Chicago
Iowa Writers Workshop
Washington-St.Louis
Notre Dame

Does anyone know anything about the poetry program at Montana? I have hears good things from two people, but both were fiction writers. Strange as it may sound, this is a place I would love to live for a few years.


__________



Aug 23, 2008, 8:26 AM

Post #671 of 764 (13570 views)
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Re: [L.Cruz] University of British Columbia Optional-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome!

Montana's a great program. I'd click back one page, scroll down, and read the "Montana MFA Program" thread for more information.


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umass76


Aug 23, 2008, 3:17 PM

Post #672 of 764 (13515 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] University of British Columbia Optional-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

ANNOUNCEMENT: 2009 Creative Writing MFA Rankings: The Blogger Top 100 MFA Programs Released

I want to extend special thanks to those who have already donated to The Suburban Ecstasies website. Your contributions, along with your wonderfully supportive e-mails and comments, make the time and effort required to catalogue and compile this data--which is far more time and effort than you'd ever think--absolutely worthwhile. It is always good to hear that these rankings have been and continue to be helpful to people, and I will continue to do all I can to make any investment you make in TSE worth your time and trust. I'll conceive of, construct, and post these rankings, and continue to compile MFA data on my website (e.g., class sizes, acceptance rates, and so on) for as long as I can financially afford to spend the time necessary to do this.

The new 2009 MFA rankings can be found at: http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/...ankings-blogger.html

The 2009 Poets & Writers Reader Poll will be coming in just a few weeks. I envision the P&W Reader Poll and the Blogger Top 100 MFAs as--to use (apologies in advance) a lame college basketball analogy--the new Associated Press Poll and USA Today/Coaches' Poll of the MFA world.

While I'm certain there is and will continue to be occasional overlap in the data pools of these two rankings, you'll be fascinated, I think (I know I was) to see how different the Reader Poll is going to be, as compared to the now-posted Blogger Top 100 MFAs, when it comes out. So, clearly the overlap is there, but it's minimal and certainly within reasonable bounds.

Again, my thanks to those who've read the two important messages about PayPal on The Suburban Ecstasies, and who have now literally and officially (!) become sponsors of the continued effort to bring more truth, data, and transparency to the MFA application process.

Best wishes to all,

Seth Abramson


umass76


Aug 23, 2008, 6:15 PM

Post #673 of 764 (13481 views)
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Re: [umass76] [In reply to] Can't Post

P.S. Feel free to continue sharing where you plan to apply, if you'd like, as the P&W Reader Poll will be collecting data from now through April 15th, 2009; this is an ongoing process.

Best,
Seth


ejdifili
Emily

Aug 23, 2008, 11:55 PM

Post #674 of 764 (13434 views)
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Re: [umass76] University of British Columbia Optional-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Dear Seth,
Thanks again for all your hard work.
Will there be genre-specific ratings for this year as well?


umass76


Aug 23, 2008, 11:57 PM

Post #675 of 764 (13432 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] University of British Columbia Optional-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Ejdifili,

Yes, there will be--am still working on those. The fiction ones should drop first, in a couple of weeks.

Be well,
Seth

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