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Weege


Apr 5, 2006, 9:42 AM

Post #51 of 128 (3983 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well spoken, CCCP. More than anything, your MFA choice comes down to "fit." The location is a concern, definitely -- you'll be living there two or three years -- and you should look for your best fit, but it's really a secondary concern. If you're happy with your program and you make good friends, you're not going to care if you're living on Ice Station Zebra.

I have a different perspective on this than most posters because I've been in two MFA programs. I went to UMass in 2001 and left, for a number of reasons. Now I'm at Warren Wilson, which is a much better fit for me -- but it wouldn't be for everybody. I think both of these programs are outstanding, but I was only successful in one of them. I guess my basic suggestion is to get to know the program, ask lots of questions until you're able to figure out where your best fit is going to be.


Aubrie


Apr 5, 2006, 10:35 AM

Post #52 of 128 (3972 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote


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

You've obviously never been to the annual mermaid parade in Coney Island. ;)
Hurray for Brooklyn!


theapplepicker


Apr 5, 2006, 11:26 AM

Post #53 of 128 (3957 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What one person hates can be another's ideal landscape--reading Kelsie's post totally underscores that!


I've got to second this. Over on the Grad Cafe forums, I read someone's comments on Ohio State. This person (I think it was a lady person) said that you have to love football if you attend Ohio State because that's the culture, and it's everywhere.

While football is an important part of Ohio State's culture, I can say that football barely touched my life during the 2 1/2 years I was an Ohio State student. My experience with Ohio State football was in reading about it in the school paper, the coach hawking stuff on TV, and crappy traffic during the home games.

I also got more out of my education at Ohio State than I did at two other, smaller, private institutions I attended. And before going, I never would have guessed that Ohio State would be a better fit for me.

It's good to know about the lousy housing situation at Indiana, though. That disappoints me.


(This post was edited by theapplepicker on Apr 5, 2006, 11:28 AM)


clarabow


Apr 5, 2006, 1:22 PM

Post #54 of 128 (3922 views)
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Re: [Weege] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Can you explain a little to us why UMass wasn't a good fit? I might re-apply there next year, so it'd be helpful to hear your input.


clarabow


Apr 5, 2006, 1:26 PM

Post #55 of 128 (3921 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Apple, i had a friend who went to Ohio State for grad school (not fiction) and LOVED it. Never left. Teaches there now (and had offers at other places). You are right.

I agree that not everyone will agree about locations, but I think it's helpful to hear people's opinions. For example, someone hear said they loved Indiana for the cornfields...or hated Indiana for the lack of mountains...those things can help a person form a decision, even if it's because they know they'll like what other people dislike. I find that the more opinions I get, the better the decision I make, even if I'm discouraged to go through with something and decide to do it anyway.

Yeah, I've heard that the housing situation in Bloomington is pretty stiff and expensive - not like NYC, but for a collegetown, not that great if you're not willing to live the undergrad life again. I'm on the waiting list, so I'm not sure how much time I'll have left to find a good apartment (I've heard from others that they've had housing problems there).


Stroudb

e-mail user

Apr 5, 2006, 1:40 PM

Post #56 of 128 (3916 views)
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Re: [rocky_fona] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

rocky_fona--I noticed you missed Michigan and UVA on your list of places with craft-driven workshops. Where would you place them?


rocky_fona


Apr 5, 2006, 1:52 PM

Post #57 of 128 (3911 views)
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Re: [Stroudb] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

hey - sorry, i hope no one thinks that i left out schools because they didn't make the mark...i was just grabbing at the names that came to mind...

Michigan is a very good school and I don't know much about their workshops, not enough to comment. I'd be talking out my you-know-what if I decided to pass judgment. From what I can tell, it's an excellent program.

UVA, in my opinion, has the best workshops in the country. Seriously. I've heard they're small, tough and that the students tend to be very, very serious about their classmates' work. That is important. I think Indiana is great, and things change from year to year...but I know that there are one or two people (fiction, fiction, I have absolutely no right to comment on poetry there, as I don't know anyone who went through the poetry program) who felt that their fellow students just didn't put in enough time into preparing critiques for workshop. That, to me, could be a sign that they aren't serious about the program. I could be wrong. I'm often wrong! I don't want to put down Indiana too much, I feel like I am...I just think it's good to put out all the opinions I've heard. It also might just be that Indiana's program has been in a little bit of transition (this is second-hand knowledge) the last year or two and probably for the next year or two...so it might not be in the steadiest place right now. Don't hold me to this. I feel super uncomfortable saying anything negative on these boards. Luckily, this isn't even my computer, ha!

Good luck, everyone.


rocky_fona


Apr 5, 2006, 1:56 PM

Post #58 of 128 (3908 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Junior - Does that mean you, too, were accepted at Indiana? Congratulations! - Rocky


Weege


Apr 5, 2006, 2:02 PM

Post #59 of 128 (3906 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Clarabow -- About 90% of the reasons I left UMass had nothing to do with the program itself. 9/11 happened in my first semester. My wife and I got pregnant and there were some complications (the doctors couldn't pick up a heartbeat). Back home, several relatives died. I felt very, very far from home.

And the 10% that had to do with the program wasn't the program's fault. It was my fault for not finding the right fit. One day I was walking along with my friend Justin, bitching about the stupid linguistics class I was taking and all the papers I had to grade, when he said, "Hm. It sounds like all you want to do is write."

He was right. All I wanted to do was write. Which is why a traditional program, with all of its non-writing-related requirements, wasn't a good fit for me. And why a low-res program was.

So ask questions -- not just of the program, but of yourself as well.


clarabow


Apr 5, 2006, 2:08 PM

Post #60 of 128 (3904 views)
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Re: [Weege] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, Weege! I'm sorry you had such a dark time. I hope life is treating you well now.

Thank you for sharing your MFA experiences. I think you are right. I, too, need to take a hard look at myself, what I am willing to do, what I am not willing to do, and what I want from the next few years and beyond.

Peter Turchi teaches at WW, no? I think he's fantastic and have heard that he is amazing teacher.

Clara.


Weege


Apr 5, 2006, 8:43 PM

Post #61 of 128 (3862 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Clarabow -- Life couldn't be any better for me now.

I'm in my first semester at Warren Wilson and I haven't had a chance to work with Pete. But, from watching him run the show at the residency, I can tell you he's an impressive individual. At ease with himself, so he puts you at ease as well -- if that makes any sense. If you -- or anyone -- has any questions about Warren Wilson, I'll do my best to answer. It sounds like Rooblue is further along in the program than I am, but, who knows, maybe I can be of some help, too.


__________



Apr 5, 2006, 11:56 PM

Post #62 of 128 (3824 views)
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Re: [rocky_fona] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey Junior - Does that mean you, too, were accepted at Indiana? Congratulations! - Rocky



Thanks! But no, I'm applying next year. I was just referencing 1979's hilarious Breaking Away, starring Dennis Quaid, a movie that takes place at Indiana. A friend sent me an old VHS copy for, as he said, "preparation".


six five four three two one 0 ->


__________



Apr 6, 2006, 12:03 AM

Post #63 of 128 (3821 views)
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Re: [rocky_fona] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
UVA, in my opinion, has the best workshops in the country...small, tough and...the students tend to be very, very serious about their classmates' work...Indiana is great...but...fellow students just didn't put in enough time into preparing critiques for workshop.

Could this warrant a thread of its own? Workshop styles/rumors? Someone here also mentioned Indiana as "touchy feely", while Iowa is known to have "hard hitting", no-nonsense workshops. This is news to me, and is exactly the kind of info I've been looking for. To what extent could these rumors be considered accurate? Does a workshop style change from teacher to teacher, school to school, or could appllcants reasonably expect Indiana to be more supportive, and Iowa more realistic? What's the dish on other schools?


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Apr 6, 2006, 12:04 AM)


lauraliziegler


Apr 6, 2006, 12:21 AM

Post #64 of 128 (3814 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

This would be of interest to me, too, as I'll be applying to MFA programs this fall. Great idea!


augustmaria


Apr 6, 2006, 12:59 PM

Post #65 of 128 (3774 views)
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Choosing Indiana [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone definitely decided on Indiana for the fall? I'd love to talk to anyone who is sure (or almost sure, or sort of sure, or even just thinking about it).


rocky_fona


Apr 7, 2006, 2:52 PM

Post #66 of 128 (3721 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

I recommend reading the work of the faculty, if you are one of the people who got into Indiana. The faculty tend to write fiction which is culturally and politically motivated. It's good, but that doesn't match up with everyone's style. If you go to Amazon, you can read a lot of first pages.


oliviasfortunes


Apr 7, 2006, 4:12 PM

Post #67 of 128 (3701 views)
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Funding [In reply to] Can't Post

I know that someone explained this on the board already, and there's a website, and I got some info from the program...but I *still* confused. Can someone answer these Indiana funding questions?

1. What do MFA Fiction students teach?
2. What is the workload?
3. What is the stipend?
4. Does everyone get tuition remission?
5. Do we take classes during our third year? Which classes do we take?
6. Do we do a creative thesis the third year?
7. Does the stipend cover living expenses in Bloomington?


mingram
Mike Ingram

Apr 7, 2006, 5:46 PM

Post #68 of 128 (3689 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Funding [In reply to] Can't Post

Olivia, it seems like you're having a hard time getting information out of UMass. Are people just not returning your calls? If so, and if it was me, I think that could sway me away from attending.

Actually, when I applied two years ago, I got into UMass but turned them down. One of the reasons was that they struck me as kind of disorganized -- I got some conflicting emails from them, the funding situation was never entirely clear (I think I remember that you had to apply separately for funding once you were accepted, which seemed like kind of a hassle). Then, after I'd declined their offer, I kept getting these odd emails about apartments and upcoming readings in Amherst, and finally figured out they hadn't taken me off the list of attending students, so I had to call again.

Of course this may have just been an isolated incident. I don't want to badmouth the program, because there were some things I really liked about it. But I was turned off by what I perceived as a general lack of organization, as well as some uncertainties about funding.


oliviasfortunes


Apr 7, 2006, 6:05 PM

Post #69 of 128 (3683 views)
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Re: [mingram] Funding [In reply to] Can't Post

Mike, you've pretty much summarized the vibe I've gotten from UMass.

Since you're in grad school now (Iowa, right?), do you have any advice about Indiana? Do people in the MFA world hold that program in high regard? I've heard mixed reviews on the faculty...but no one really seems to say exactly why.

I got really turned on by a description on the UMass thread of the lively readings that take place in the Amherst area...is the same true in Bloomington? Do established writers visit and read there during the school year?


augustmaria


Apr 7, 2006, 6:22 PM

Post #70 of 128 (3675 views)
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Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a (perhaps odd) question.

There's so much said about the cultural/political sort of writing that goes on at Indiana, with both the faculty and the students. I don't consider my writing multicultural or very political, though it can be socially-aware, I suppose. I think about this, and I start to doubt the prospect of me "fitting into" the program, but, then, why the heck did they accept me? Doesn't that count for quite a bit? The writing sample I sent to Indiana consisted mainly of a short story that I'm now extending into a novel, and it's my biggest writing project as of yet. Am I naive in thinking that because that writing got me accepted that it will likely be received well once I'm in workshop? I'm not trying to be combative with anyone's opinions or suggestions, but I don't want to become discouraged about such a wonderful program for reasons that may not be completely valid.


(This post was edited by augustmaria on Apr 7, 2006, 6:25 PM)


mingram
Mike Ingram

Apr 7, 2006, 6:40 PM

Post #71 of 128 (3665 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Unfortunately, I don't know much about the Indiana program, but I do think it's generally well-regarded. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why I didn't apply there -- it was on my long list at one point.

I went to a summer workshop there before I applied to grad schools. That was a good experience -- I had a workshop with Robert Olen Butler, and was actually, by coincidence, in workshop with a guy who's now my classmate at Iowa. Though the faculty at the summer program weren't from the MFA program, so that doesn't really give you any insight. I thought Bloomington was okay. That was my first trip to the Midwest, actually. I remember one of my classmates making fun of me because I kept taking pictures of things that, to her, seemed completely boring and ordinary -- flat farmland, grain silos, etc. It was kind of deserted in the summer, but that's normal for college towns. I'm sure it's completely different during the school year.

Augustmaria -- I'd say that if a school admitted you, they think you're someone they can work with, and whose writing will benefit from their program. I don't know about Indiana, but in my MFA experience, there's been a real diversity of styles. And those styles don't necessarily seem to have anything to do with the styles of the faculty (or at least not anything obvious, that is -- I've found the teachers, for the most part, quite good at reading and responding to a variety of stories, even those that may be really different than the kinds of stories they're writing).


oliviasfortunes


Apr 7, 2006, 6:45 PM

Post #72 of 128 (3661 views)
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Re: [mingram] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

hey mike, i've visited iowa city...how would you compare bloomington to iowa city?


clarabow


Apr 8, 2006, 12:18 PM

Post #73 of 128 (3636 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I bet it's hard to compare any college town to Iowa City, just because Iowa City has the greatest cafe/bookstore in any small town ever, Prairie Lights! I don't know if Bloomington has such a good bookstore or even the kinds of readings they get at Prairie Lights Books...you might want to find someone on the board who currently goes to Indiana, and ask them.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Apr 8, 2006, 1:24 PM

Post #74 of 128 (3623 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I don't know enough about Bloomington to compare it to Iowa City. The IC does have a very good bookstore, and there's a lot of literary culture here with the workshop (which people in town actually know about) and a lot of writers coming through to give readings and stuff. I was in Bloomington during the summer, so I don't know what it's like during the school year. In June, it was ... quiet.

Iowa's a big Big Ten school, as is Indiana. There are some obnoxiously drunken undergrads here, which is sometimes funny, sometimes kind of annoying. But mostly funny, to me at least. Sometimes the Ped Mall late at night is like walking into an MTV Spring Break show. Lots of drunken yelling, sometimes there's crying. But that's fairly contained in certain parts of town, and easy enough to avoid.

It is cheap, which is nice. I moved here from D.C., so it was exciting that I could go out and get inexpensive food and $1 beers. And that I could afford to live in a one-bedroom apartment that was actually a one-bedroom, not a closet w/ hot plate and toaster oven.


fionayale


Apr 8, 2006, 2:36 PM

Post #75 of 128 (3610 views)
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Re: [mingram] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, oliviasfortunes, Bloomington is not a literary or progressive town, not like Iowa City or Missoula or other intellectual small towns. The MTV Spring Break mentality seems pretty prevalent at Indiana U.

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