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theapplepicker


Apr 4, 2006, 3:11 PM

Post #26 of 128 (2425 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks! I'm a poet.


fionayale


Apr 4, 2006, 3:14 PM

Post #27 of 128 (2424 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can only speak about fiction students AND I want to preface this by saying that I don't know every single person who went to Indiana.

The downsides, as far as I can tell (since Clara asked about this in a different thread) are:
- the town is very Midwestern, not that cosmopolitan.
- the fiction program is very into the multicultural aspect of things, both in the admissions process and in the class workshops (this could be bad or good, depending upon your outlook)
- the students don't seem to form a strong out-of-workshop community the way they are reputed to do at Iowa, Houston, Johns Hopkins, Austin, Montana, The University of Washington (to name a few where that seems to be the case).
- Indiana is not exactly the most scenic place in the world :).
- The faculty doesn't seem to have really cracked the mainstream publishing world the way faculty at other programs (Iowa, JHU, Montana, Houston, NYU, you know) have, but that might not be important to you, like I said, everyone's different.

Of course, Apple Picker mentioned a lot of good things about the program, and they are all true.

So it really does depend on the person.


fionayale


Apr 4, 2006, 3:15 PM

Post #28 of 128 (2423 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, they are both AWESOME schools for poetry, that's what you hear on the MFA circuit at least, so you really can't go wrong either way. Good luck to you. Good job!


augustmaria


Apr 4, 2006, 5:44 PM

Post #29 of 128 (2407 views)
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Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

I got the call today. I'm in. :)


kcole7
Kristin

Apr 4, 2006, 7:27 PM

Post #30 of 128 (2388 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow! Montana and Indiana! Congrats. Have you decided where you want to go?


clarabow


Apr 4, 2006, 8:18 PM

Post #31 of 128 (2368 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

sweet, augustmaria, tho i must say i'm a wee bit jealous, too.


clarabow


Apr 4, 2006, 8:23 PM

Post #32 of 128 (2362 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

hey august maria, did they tell you where you were on the waiting list?
i wonder how many other people will accept/decline...man.


Weege


Apr 4, 2006, 9:03 PM

Post #33 of 128 (2353 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,

I have to come to the defense of Indiana -- the state, more than the program. I did my undergrad in Bloomington. You want to talk about scenic? This is southern Indiana, with rolling hills and deep woods. Home to national forests, buddhist monasteries, picnic tables made of limestone. And cosmopolitan? It's no New York or Chicago, but Bloomington is a great, funky college town. It's got a strong night life and good culture. IU's music program is one of the strongest in the nation, so there's a ton of great music around town (a lot of it free, a real boon to po' grad students).


sarandipidy


Apr 4, 2006, 9:15 PM

Post #34 of 128 (2348 views)
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Re: [Weege] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have to agree with you. I didn't apply to Indiana because i was really looking to get away from cold winters. But I spent a week there one the summer when Phish was playing two or three nights and I loved it there, at least in the summer. I walked past the cornfields and blue skies and thought it was all pretty beautiful.


rocky_fona


Apr 4, 2006, 9:29 PM

Post #35 of 128 (2342 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I sort of disagree with Apple Picker about Indiana...

The teaching load at Indiana can be unreasonably heavy. A good buddy of mine went through that program and he was constantly frustrated by not getting to teach any creative writing classes and by having so much grading to do that he hardly had any time to write. This is also a problem at Houston and UMass (if you can even get a teaching position for all three years at UMass, some people don't and it sucks). I know that friends who went through Iowa, Montana and Oregon enjoyed their teaching experiences and felt that the balance was just right...I don't know too much about teaching loads at other programs, though.

The cost of living in Bloomington is probably cheaper than Houston, since it's a smaller city...but Bloomington is your typical overpriced college town...I think it's a rip-off, just as I think Ithaca is way too expensive and Amherst is too expensive. There are much nicer and more affordable (or at least worth the cost of living there) college towns out there - Iowa City, Providence, Missoula, Portland, Charlottesville and Madison all come to mind. Housing in Bloomington is ridiculously costly for the crap you end up having to rent, especially if you didn't find an apartment for this fall three months ago. Parking is expensive for no good reason, as well. Plus, I just think Bloomington is lame. There's not much to do there if you're not a sports fanatic (compared to other college towns) and the surrounding area is boring and unattractive.

I agree that Bloomington is probably a lot safer than Houston, but it ain't Pleasantville ;-).

Tom Kealey says a lot of good things about Indiana in his book, but I guess I take what he says with a grain of salt...he gave Iowa a low ranking, but the fact is, Iowa is far and away the best...so I'm not sure what I think of Kealey's evaluation of Indiana. I certainly haven't heard some unilateral approval of the program from former students (mostly fiction).

I guess the final complaint I feel people should know about the Houston program vs. the Indiana program is this: from what I hear the wokshops (this is fiction, I don't know for sure about poetry) at Indiana don't have a repuation for being very vigorous, and are maybe what you'd call touchy-feely. I've heard this about a few programs, specifically Columbia College (for Clarabow), UMass (I know there were quite a few acceptances on these boards) and a couple others that I haven't seen discussed up here on the PW. The workshops at Houston are supposed to be very hard-hitting and Iowa-like. If you're looking for a vigorous program with really craft-driven workshops, I'd look at Iowa, Johns Hopkins, New School, NYU, Columbia, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin...there are a lot of programs that are a bit more structured and hard-edged in their workshops.

They're both great programs, though. Indiana seems very diverse (the MFA program, not the school), and Houston is tied for #2 with Johns Hopkins (in the last set of rankings). Congratulations.


sarandipidy


Apr 4, 2006, 9:36 PM

Post #36 of 128 (2337 views)
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Re: [rocky_fona] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ithaca is definitely overpriced. A crappy one-bedroom apartment within reasonable walking distance to Cornell is $800 per month or more. I took the same thing into account about Amherst, where I was accepted. I chose Oregon (poetry) and it looks like in Eugene you can get a one bedroom for around $500 a month. That's less than how much I'm paying right now for a room in Ithaca's Collegetown in a 10-person falling-apart house!


rocky_fona


Apr 4, 2006, 9:56 PM

Post #37 of 128 (2329 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ithaca is a renting nightmare. You have to find a place like a year in advance.
I also think renting in Bloomington and Amherst are just as bad...and sometimes worse. So expensive and so crappy, especially for incoming graduate students...i don't know how one finds a decent place to live in towns like those.

You did well by choosing Eugene. You can get such a cute place there, with a nice view out your window, for a fairly affordable price.


clarabow


Apr 4, 2006, 10:22 PM

Post #38 of 128 (2320 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey AugustMaria, when did they call you today???!?


augustmaria


Apr 4, 2006, 10:25 PM

Post #39 of 128 (2319 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

Um...around 4:30 EST? I just got a voicemail; I was in class and I wasn't able to get in touch with him afterwards.


clarabow


Apr 4, 2006, 10:27 PM

Post #40 of 128 (2317 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Waitlisted < Accepted [In reply to] Can't Post

cool. congrats, again.


Kelsie


Apr 4, 2006, 11:36 PM

Post #41 of 128 (2297 views)
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Re: [rocky_fona] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Four years in Indiana (undergrad) formed my entire poetic aesthetic...at least as far as landscape is concerned. I still fly back to Indiana every few months just to get my "fix" of the cornfields, rusted out chevys, general stores, and slow creeks where I can skinny dip in peace (not an option in Eugene....where everyone is skinny dipping simultaneously). : )

I do love Oregon, don't get me wrong. It's incredible to be in a place where I can drive to the coast and watch the storms from a fisherman's pub or drive to an ancient forest and read beneath an 800 year old tree or drive to the mountains and enjoy three feet of snow or drive waaaay to the east and experience the high, lonely miles of sagebrush prairie. It's wonderful. But the beauty is so immediate and so overwhelming, I hardly know what to "do" with it right now. Indiana was a more hidden beauty. I had to go looking for it...and I found it in the grittiness of the lives of people who lived in towns that were barely more than a street between cornfields...I found it in the loneliness of the backroads and in the slow decay of once-booming milltowns. In my four years there (at DePauw University), I probably traveled to Bloomington all of ten times (for Thai food). But I must have gone hundreds, if not thousands of miles taking slow rambles that lasted from sunup to sundown. So much came of it, and so much is still coming of it.

Just had to pop in with my defense of the corn forests.

-Kelsie


__________



Apr 4, 2006, 11:51 PM

Post #42 of 128 (2290 views)
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Re: [Kelsie] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if the preps are still squaring off against the Cutters in Bloomington?


six five four three two one 0 ->


augustmaria


Apr 5, 2006, 12:00 AM

Post #43 of 128 (2286 views)
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Re: [Kelsie] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Your description of Indiana is lovely. I'm from northeastern Maine, raised in a town with a population of 743, and the rusted-out cars (most embedded into the overgrown lawns), general stores, gritty people struggling to get by in poverty-stricken mill towns are the things that have shaped me as a writer and as a person. I'm not put off by the lack of cosmopolitan in a town; I'm intimidated by the size of Indiana more than anything. Right now I'm living in a town of 7,000 people and it still feels funny to walk on pavement all day long. I also love to find beauty in unexpected places--I know the overwhelmed feeling you refer to. I just love the Indiana that you've described, here. I'm ineloquent tonight--I can't quite explain it.

It's a remarkable thing, deciding where you're going to spend the next two or three years of your life.


fionayale


Apr 5, 2006, 12:09 AM

Post #44 of 128 (2277 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know...you said you're from a small town in Maine? I don't know...if you were my daughter, I'd suggest you try living on the other side of the country for a while. Are you choosing between Indiana and Montana or Indiana and Oregon?

Personally, I find the rugged beauty of Montana completely awe-inspiring. My favorite places to hike and climb are in Montana and in Wyoming.


augustmaria


Apr 5, 2006, 12:15 AM

Post #45 of 128 (2274 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

So far I've been accepted at Montana and Indiana. I'm on the waitlist at Bowling Green and Louisiana State.

I don't quite understand why you are putting me in the role of your daughter as opposed to your peer, but thanks for the advice. I think Bloomington, Indiana is still a hell of a change from Clifton, Maine, but what do I know.


fionayale


Apr 5, 2006, 12:24 AM

Post #46 of 128 (2266 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

:) I didn't mean to be condescending. When you get to my age (ancient), you start thinking of EVERY young woman as your daughter!

Bloomington is great in many a way, don't get me wrong. But Montana is almost like...a different country. Same goes for Wyoming. That's all i meant. I didn't mean to offend.


fionayale


Apr 5, 2006, 12:25 AM

Post #47 of 128 (2263 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

And wow...those two programs where you're on the wait lists...are, like, wow. Great programs. You chose your schools well.


augustmaria


Apr 5, 2006, 12:30 AM

Post #48 of 128 (2259 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

No worries--I think I'm hyper-defensive about the age issue due to the exhausting (and, in my opinion, pointless) age/experience discussion on here. Thank you again for the advice--it really is somewhat terrifying to decide what I'm going to do!


sovietsleepover


Apr 5, 2006, 12:40 AM

Post #49 of 128 (2254 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I wonder if the preps are still squaring off against the Cutters in Bloomington?


I think they speak French there, now.


sovietsleepover


Apr 5, 2006, 12:57 AM

Post #50 of 128 (2248 views)
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Re: [rocky_fona] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Plus, I just think Bloomington is lame. There's not much to do there if you're not a sports fanatic (compared to other college towns) and the surrounding area is boring and unattractive.

What one person hates can be another's ideal landscape--reading Kelsie's post totally underscores that! I remember in college one of the people in the MFA program mentioned he'd gone to undergrad in Tucson & said it was awful--said it felt like he was surrounded by fratboys & there wasn't anything to do but drink & look at the barren, desolate landscape & go for drives in the desert. He hated it & left the moment he graduated. Four or five years later I moved to Tucson on a harebrained whim and immediately fell in love with the art deco architecture falling into ruin, the alien flora & fauna, the topography (I'd never lived near mountains!)... Right away the fact I could pick fruit off trees on the U of A campus, that old hippies & young academics & everyone in between mixed comfortably, and that the city was affordable and featured a ton of good hiking & lefty activism & good art reaffirmed that I'd made a fantastic decision. It was funny, too, because the guy who told me he hated it was the writer I respected by far the most, both as a poet & as an intellectual, as well as a cool, interesting person. So anyway, this goes to show that these things are totally personal. A lot of the things I dislike about Austin (super-hip, self-aware coffee shop culture, the overhyped "keep Austin weird" mentality) are big draws for some people. Who knows? :)

Anyway, I've heard there are annual pirate parades in Bloomington. What city can beat that?

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