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theapplepicker


Apr 12, 2006, 9:02 AM

Post #101 of 128 (4430 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hooray! Congratulations!


augustmaria


Jan 27, 2009, 1:26 AM

Post #102 of 128 (4079 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

I've just, nearly three years later, read through this thread, and I have to say that a lot of these posts now infuriate me a bit. Back when this thread was current, I of course had never been to Bloomington, knew very little about the town and about IU, and so the misrepresentations of the town and program nearly spooked me out of accepting Indiana's offer. I know I meant to come back and make a "straight from the horse's mouth" post after I'd been here a semester, but I guess it's never late than never. Hopefully doing this now will help those applying (and deciding) this year and in future years.

1) Bloomington is a wonderful town! It's the liberal oasis of Indiana, home to one of the best music schools in the country, a common stop for bands coming down from Chicago or up from Louisville. There are independent coffee houses and bookstores and bars full of midwest hipsters and tree-lined streets. There are strip malls and drunk undergrads too, but those things keep you honest.

2) The claim that IU's MFA students don't form a strong "out of workshop bond" honestly made me laugh. You want to see our out of workshop bond? Add me on Facebook and take a look at my photo albums. We spend inane amounts of time together. We travel in packs. We have Halloween parties and Christmas parties and Thanksgiving together. I could go on. But, believe me: WE HANG OUT. A LOT.

3) The fiction workshops are tough. Some might describe certain professors as brutal. I have never once heard the fiction workshops here described as "touchy feely."

4) The program does have something of a "multicultural" focus, and I don't want to open that can of worms again, but I do want to say that I have so appreciated and treasued having the wide range of eyes on my writing over the past few years. We are not all alike and do not all write similar stories and I like it that way.

5) My teaching load, which has been fairly typical, has been this:

1st year, a 1:1 creative writing load
2nd year, a 1:2 comp load
3rd year, a 1:1 creative writing load

I'm sure other programs have cushier teaching gigs, but I haven't been complaining (too much).




Not sure what else to write besides that much of the information in this thread re: Bloomington and IU is crrrrrrrap! Listen to the (soon to be) alum. I'll set you straight.

- Kate


gcsumfa


Jan 28, 2009, 5:23 PM

Post #103 of 128 (3934 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

There's something really hilarious about a bunch of people whining about an MFA program deciding on a "mutil-cultural" focus/bent, as if there is a shortage of more "traditional" MFA programs.

If anything, there are too many MFA programs that are alike.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Jan 28, 2009, 5:29 PM)


lavventura


Jan 31, 2009, 7:53 PM

Post #104 of 128 (3797 views)
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Indiana Poetry [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all, I received a call today from IU and offered a poetry spot. Any others out there?


unsaid78


Jan 31, 2009, 10:16 PM

Post #105 of 128 (3755 views)
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Re: [lavventura] Indiana Poetry [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't gotten a call from Indiana (crossing my fingers on that one), but I do want to tell you CONGRATULATIONS LAVVENTURA!!

Also, thanks augustmaria for your informational post! I didn't want to post on this thread out of superstition lol but I've been meaning to thank you. "I'm not superstitious, I'm just a little 'stitious"- Michael, "The Office"


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


lavventura


Feb 1, 2009, 12:02 AM

Post #106 of 128 (3718 views)
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Re: [unsaid78] Indiana Poetry [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Unsaid. I'm wishing for you.


Khalilah


Feb 6, 2009, 10:15 PM

Post #107 of 128 (3612 views)
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Re: [nikkiwrites] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Nikkiwrites,

I son't know if you will get this but if you do, now that you've been at IU for 2 years can you tell me about your experience with workshop and the time to write given the teaching and critical class commitments? I was just accepted yesterday.

Sincerely,

Khalilah


Khalilah


Feb 6, 2009, 11:46 PM

Post #108 of 128 (3585 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Kate (Augustmaria),

I'm so glad that you came back and posted. I was accepted by Indiana for fiction yesterday and am glad to read so much of what you are speaking about especially the tough criticism in the workshops. Can you share anything about mentorship in the program? Do you have information in general about the relationships between faculty and students in workshop and one-on-one classes? Also, Can you explain what 1:1; 1:2; 1:1 teaching loads mean -- is this one class each semester; one class fall and two classes spring and finally one class each semester again?


I guess if I go, I'll be contributing to that multi-culti environment but I've been at Columbia as an undergrad and taking writing workshops here for the past two years and in an environment where my work is always an amazing cultural revelation, it takes two or three times of it being workshopped before students become really comfortable with giving me craft feedback. But when I get craft criticism, I am so thankful because the guidance to making a story strong is the same no matter what I'm writing about. I'm thinking that if my fellow students see multi culti settings as the norm (whether their writings have similar settings or not) then they will more quickly be comfortable giving me craft feedback. I find it difficult to believe that there is any program in which multi culti stories or non-anglo writers dominate because most of my friends of non-anglo backgrounds, especially immigrants (and half immigrants), bow to the pressure to pursue sure money careers for advanced study.

I look forward to your response and any other information you wish to share on Indiana's program.

Sincerely,

Khalilah


nikkiwrites


Feb 7, 2009, 12:16 AM

Post #109 of 128 (3575 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Khalilah,

First off, congrats on your acceptance! I'm so excited for you. Are you in poetry or fiction? My experience at IU has been overwhelmingly positive. As far as workshop goes, I'd say it's sufficiently critical. You can expect to get solid critiques of your work. I'd definitely agree with my colleague, augustmaria, that our workshops are far from "touchy feely," but not catty either. People here are very invested in their work, but I'd say the vibe of the program is far more supportive than competitive.

I'd say the program is pretty rigorous as far as teaching and course requirements go, but it's totally doable. The cool thing is that the teaching load your first year is pretty light. You get a section of creative writing each semester, and you work with a senior instructor so you're basically just leading a discussion section for an hour twice a week. Teaching comp your second year is more time consuming, but again you can (and will) still manage to find time to write. As far as lit classes go, we have to take twelve hours, but the program's pretty flexible in terms of the classes you can take to fulfill this requirement. The workload for each lit class just depends on what you decide to take.

So, I'm not sure how well I've answered your questions, but feel free to pm me if there's anything else I can help you with.

Best,
Kelly


umass76


Feb 7, 2009, 12:29 AM

Post #110 of 128 (3569 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there Khaliah,

Congratulations on your acceptance! I think the answer to your question depends in part on whether you mean non-anglo writers or non-white writers. I'm white, but like most whites I'm not anglo, i.e. it's probably very easy to find a program where non-anglos dominate--that would be most programs, I'm guessing--but very hard (as you've noted) to find one where non-white writers are a majority. Hope this makes sense, I realize I might just be misunderstanding you, maybe you're using "anglo" as a shorthand for all white people? I recall seeing (I mean hearing) this usage back in college in the 1990s, so it might still be in widespread use. I remember being surprised at the time, because I'm fairly pale but my ancestors are all from Poland, Russia, Lithuania, and Romania, with nary an Angle in the whole tree (indeed, growing up I recall feeling as though Anglos were very foreign to me, as their hair/eye combinations I associated with blond/blue rather than [my own ancestors'] brown or black/darker brown). Anyway, sorry for the digression! Congratulations again on Indiana! Be well,

S.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo (which notes, to my surprise [but I guess not total shock] that in the U.S. this term is deemed offensive by some)


(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 7, 2009, 12:36 AM)


unsaid78


Feb 7, 2009, 1:33 AM

Post #111 of 128 (3537 views)
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Re: [umass76] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, can someone answer the part of the question about what 1:1, 1:2 and all that means in terms of teaching loads? Is it correct that the first number is the first semester and the second number is the second semester? I tried googling for this info and I just don't get it. Thanks!


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


Khalilah


Feb 7, 2009, 1:34 AM

Post #112 of 128 (3536 views)
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Re: [umass76] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the response and request for clarification. We're always learning. When I used the term "anglo" I was thinking mainstream, white American and European because I was thinking about my white Latino friends and my Italian Jewish classmate who bring a multi-culti background and stories to the table but are categorically caucasian. I wasn't thinking about eastern Europeans when I wrote the post but I guess eastern Europeans are categorically "other" right now in the United States although I don't think anyone shying away from a multicultural environment is shying away from a class of 50% eastern Europeans but what do I know about what people don't want to be around when they shy away from programs with a "multi-cultural" focus? I'm coming from New York where everybody borrows from evrybody else's culture while we have the most segregated living spaces I've ever seen as an Air Force Kid whose lived in many places around the country.


Khalilah


Feb 7, 2009, 1:51 AM

Post #113 of 128 (3526 views)
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Re: [unsaid78] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Unsaid,

August maria answered my question two posts above. Thanks Kate. Big thank you for the clarification. It seems like the teaching load I've seen the TAs in our PhD program at Columbia handle.


umass76


Feb 7, 2009, 2:01 AM

Post #114 of 128 (3524 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

US78,

First number is number of fall courses to be taught, second number is number of spring courses to be taught (by the TA).

Hi Khaliah,

Thanks for clarifying, and you raise another interesting point, though I don't know that anyone shies away from a multi-cultural environment in the MFA setting, largely because it's not literally possible to do this... i.e. you don't know who your cohort will be (or, to put a finer point on it, what your cohort will be writing about or what perspectives they will be writing through) when you agree to matriculate.

Perhaps Indiana, which has a publicly-stated multi-cultural focus, would be a sort of "test setting" for the idea that caucasians would/might shy away from such an academic framework?... though, on the other hand, Indiana is right now rated the 12th most popular MFA program in the United States (out of 200+ MA and MFA creative writing programs), so if caucasians are shying away they're doing a terrible job of it(!) :-)

In any case, I wonder if the confusion isn't partly the distinction between racial, ethnic, and religious categorizations? I'm Jewish myself, and those who don't know much about Judaism sometimes think of us/refer to us as a race or ethnicity and not (as is correct) as a religion. Likewise, if I understand how you're using "anglo" I think you're saying you mean "caucasian," which is a racial categorization obviously, whereas "anglo" as I understood it definitionally would be an ethnic classification (those with an English heritage), so most white Americans and white Europeans wouldn't fit that classification (and as the Wikipedia article noted--and I'd never thought of this!--Irish-Americans are probably most likely to be offended by being called, effectively, British).

Phew! All of which is neither here nor there I guess. I think the more important point is that (at least here in Iowa) use of the word "mainstream" is somewhat frowned upon and out-of-vogue, as it's not clear what that word even means anymore in terms of aesthetics. Speaking only from my experiences here, I can say that I don't think (if you mean "mainstream" from the standpoint of topicality, not aesthetics) many writers identify themselves (and I'm not saying you are) mainly on the basis of the topics they write about. Doing that tends to make workshopping impossible, which is sort of the point you were making I think. As a poet, I don't think in terms of topicality (I'm not that type of poet, so to speak), and my perspective is a mish-mash of aesthetics filtered through a humanist worldview. Hmm. A lot to think about!

Be well,
Seth


found


e-mail user

Feb 7, 2009, 5:19 AM

Post #115 of 128 (3499 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

hi everyone, i hope it's alright for me to jump in here with a couple of thoughts. khalilah, i'm thinking that when you say non-"mainstream," you're maybe just referring to writing that focuses on (or even just deals with) cultural issues related to specific groups (especially minority groups, whether it be religious, ethnic, racial, lgbt etc.) if so, i definitely know what you're saying. i've workshopped stories with minority culture characters, and i know that sometimes this can be distracting for some readers---sometimes the problem is definitely with the story itself, of course. anyway, this is an interesting topic. best wishes, all!


http://foundinfiction.blogspot.com/


Khalilah


Feb 7, 2009, 3:01 PM

Post #116 of 128 (3415 views)
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Re: [found] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah Found you got me. More importantly, in my original post which was a request from Kate, for information on the program, I was attempting to express and get confirmation or negation of what I see as the value of a program with a dedication to having a multicultural faculty and student make-up (The focus on the multicultural was listed early on in this thread as one of the negatives about the Indiana program and of course I was a little offended by that but then I just thought hey, what one person thinks is a negative could be really positive for me and here's how.. So I wanted to know if I was right in my assumptions of what this type of environment could offer).

I just visited the Indiana website again this morning and looked at all the fiction student profiles. The students are the most culturally diverse that I have seen in any program (and I haven't seen every program) -- there are people of all colors and many different sexual identities (Indiana even expresses an interest in making single parents feel welcome in their program -- that's just different from what I, in my limited experience, have seen in elite academia) anyway, the students are from all parts of the United states, as well as women from Bosnia, the Indian Subcontinent and South America, and of course those who are considered ethnic minorities in the U.S. For those who write about minority subcultures of all types, Indiana's program seems to be fertile ground for getting your work critically responded to without your professors and classmates spending too much time querying the cultural believability of your details or feeling so uncomfortable with the "difference" that they reserve criticism out of fear of committing a cultural offense, and instead they just focus on how interesting your work is instead of being critical. I want to get away from settings where my work is looked at as imaginative ethnography and any program where the culturally different is taken for granted so people get over that quickly and get down to the business of critiquing the craft of the story is a place appealing to me and I hope it would be worthwhile to even those writing stories set in the dominant U.S. culture. So if any Indiana students or Alumni can give me insight into the validity of my expectations, I welcome that.

Sincerely,

K


Khalilah


Feb 7, 2009, 3:07 PM

Post #117 of 128 (3410 views)
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Re: [nikkiwrites] Indiana University MFA! [In reply to] Can't Post

Kelly,

Thank you for your response. The idea of balancing teaching and writing is all so intimidating that its reassuring to hear that its "doable".

Sincerely,

Khalilah


Khalilah


Feb 7, 2009, 3:13 PM

Post #118 of 128 (3406 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Kate (and Kelly or other Indiana students or alumni),

What type of exposure to or information about publishers and agents do students, especially (for my interests) fiction students get at Indiana?

Thanks in advance,

Khalilah


augustmaria


Feb 13, 2009, 5:13 PM

Post #119 of 128 (3234 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Khalilah - Congratulations on your acceptance! I'll try to answer your questions.

Re: mentorship in the program, I'd say all the faculty members are open and willing to work closely with students. For me it was a matter of finding a good fit for my work. I did find that fit and my peers did too. IU's workshops are set up so in the 4 semesters of workshop, you don't have any "repeat" professors. You get four different faculty voices, which I found very valuable. Your third year (thesis year) will be spent working with whoever you choose as your thesis director and, to a lesser extent, the two or three faculty members you choose as your thesis readers. For me, this year has been more about working with faculty than others since I'm not in workshop and not getting input from my fellow students.

As for your expectations re: the way writers here approach stories in workshop, I think you've pretty much hit it on the figurative head. Of course, I don't know how other workshops in other programs might go, but here it seems that everyone brings something different to the table in both stories and in comments. There is no overwhelming majority in the workshop on any level; we're from different places, we write about different things, we write in different styles. So no one is ever picked out as being "different" because everyone's different. I don't think any of the workshops I took here got bogged down by folks questioning the believability of unfamiliar cultural details or stuff "outside" the stories. It was always very craft-oriented. That might sound idealistic, but it truly has been my experience.

And re: publishers and agents--I don't know a lot about that. We talk casually about sending our stuff out to journals, and some of us hit little jackpots here and there, but no one I know of has a book-length fiction manuscript to be sending out to agents and publishers. Someone might be shopping stuff around, but I'm certainly not (wish I was, though...).

- Kate


Khalilah


Feb 20, 2009, 9:23 AM

Post #120 of 128 (3138 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Dear Kate,

I am sorry this is so late but thank you for your information and for coming back and sharing.

Sincerely,

Khalilah


unsaid78


Mar 1, 2009, 7:55 PM

Post #121 of 128 (3013 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey- I've been following this thread on thegradcafe for info on Bloomington. Just thought I'd share the link. There's some good info there about the town.


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


Khalilah


Mar 2, 2009, 5:03 AM

Post #122 of 128 (2925 views)
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Re: [unsaid78] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks. i'm going to check it out. Sorry all others but, Unsaid have you found out any info on VaTech? Don't post it here of course but if so, can you pm me or put it in MFA questions and concerns. Five minutes later... I'm reading through the Indiana Bloomington thread on the grad cafe and it is allaying some of my fears. Thanks!!!

Thanks!


(This post was edited by Khalilah on Mar 2, 2009, 5:12 AM)


Khalilah


Apr 8, 2009, 3:53 AM

Post #123 of 128 (2744 views)
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Re: [unsaid78] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Visited Indiana. Like the professors. The students were so welcoming and I soooo see myself making friends (cross my fingers-- don't want to jinx it). The workshop that I sat in on was a really good workshop Oh my God, I hate the cold -- its a different cold from New York's cold which I don't like anyway. I have to learn how to dress for their cold. My student ambassador said "in layers". Don't like the on campus apartment design -- but I'll take one for the first year -- they are spacious. The campus is huge -- the midwest has land so they build out (new York builds up y'know). Anyway, I really like the comraderie that the professors try to encourage with the students. The campus is gorgeous. Will write beautiful things about nature and sitting in nature. I so know that if I had not visited before, and I just had four years ahead of me I'd be so scared from the culture shock but because I visited, I believe I can handle it. Okay, visit if you've been accepted and if you've been accepted somewhere else, go visit your school.


raffitt


Dec 16, 2009, 3:28 PM

Post #124 of 128 (2174 views)
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Re: [Khalilah] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey ya'll,

I have a question about Indiana's LORs. From their website, I'm under the impression that they want hard copy LORs sent directly their way. However, my recommenders have told me that they've received online requests for recommendations. Is this an either/or situation, or will online recs go unnoticed? Thanks in advance for your help.


WanderingTree


Dec 16, 2009, 3:41 PM

Post #125 of 128 (2167 views)
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Re: [raffitt] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

If you filled out the online application, you have the option to do online recs. Hard copy vs. online? Doesn't really matter.

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