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freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Aug 12, 2004, 11:26 AM

Post #26 of 2090 (21336 views)
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Re: [fattery] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Part 2 of the reply:

I think U.H. is mostly a supportive environment. Yes, there is competition, especially for the coveted annual awards. But it's mostly a feeling of camaraderie, of people trying to give you honest opinions about your work. There are times when it gets a bit much for everyone involved, and there are tiny spats. But it's a professional environment, one in which people are fostered and nurtured. It's not a catty environment, on the whole -- though there are always jealous monsters among the poetry circle. Mostly, I think the students here are INCREDIBLY bright, helpful people who are hungry for literary conversation, for ideas, for motivation. My feeling is that we want -- and push -- each other to be better writers.

Another problem, some people say, with the program is mentoring. Students here sometimes don't feel that one-on-one connection with writers with whom they're studying. I was quite used to that kind of attention in a low-residency program. But I've found it among several teachers here, both in literature and in creative writing. Tony Hoagland and Mark Doty, for instance, are both incredibly generous with their time. If Tony sees you in the halls, he might say, "Do you have a minute? I wanted to talk to you about your poems." That's pretty incredible.

I know plenty of people who only teach here and live off that income. It's entirely possible. But a lot of people do Writers in the Schools. Here's their homepage: http://www.writersintheschools.org/ It pays well, and isn't quite a burden in terms of time. I've never done it, and have had friends who really like it, and friends who've hated it. Other students pick up spare sections at the local community college, which can lead to summer work as well.

I've taken out loans, basically, because I want to focus on my studies. As a graduate student in America, you're able to take out up to 7-8,000 bucks each semester. And, honey, I'm taking it. I did my first 2 years without it, but I wasn't quite a social animal either. (And it's easy to be social here -- I don't know ANYONE who doesn't fit in here).

I can write anywhere -- always have been able to. I guess the question is writing well. My first year sucked, because I didn't understand how to make boundaries, to manage time. I didn't write well at all (but, as people say, the writing tends to break down a bit when you begin a new program -- I'm certain it has something to do with finding an identity in a new space). After that, things calmed down, and I got back to basics. I think the critical, academic world SAVED my writing. It forced me to become a better critic. Queer theory, for me, gave me an approach to material I was lacking; it helped me see how I could create mythic spaces with language by investigating the very tools of that language. I know that sounds very academic-speak, but I think what I'm saying is that theory returned me to the building blocks of the poem, which is what I needed to focus on.

As far as the strongest PhD programs, I've heard good things about the following programs (which I won't rank because I've never been to these programs):

Utah: Modeled on Houston's program (which I think was the first to have a creative PhD in the U.S.), they've since re-modeled the format. The comprehensive exams, for example, are designed on a student's own project. So, say you're working on a book of poems that explores ethnicity. Your doctoral exams would each feed into that project. (This is different than Houston's program, where this can conceivably happen, but is much more difficult to manage).

Florida State: funding is also an issue; teaching assistantships are limited from what I hear. The faculty is wonderful and includes the under-rated poet Barbara Hamby, whose first book "Delirium" is just fabulous.

Western Michigan: each student is fully funded (to about the same extent as TA's everywhere), but you get to teach creative writing much more quickly. There's also the wonderful Prague Summer Seminars, and the New Issues press (which sometimes publishes very deserving alum from this program). Bill Olson and Nancy Eimers are U.H. alumni, and from what I hear, excellent teachers.

USC: great faculty, incredibly selective. They only take 5 students each year. That's perhaps the most selective in the country, as far as I know. U.H. takes ten students each in poetry and fiction, and may begin admitting students in literary non-fiction soon.

Oh, before I forget: U.H. has started a program much like the Prague Seminars, only students go to Poland for a week of seminars. Poland faculty have included Adam Zagajewski, Ed Hirsch, Anne Carson, Carolyn Forche, Rosanna Warren, Clare Cavanagh (Zagajewski's translator), Czeslaw Milosz, and Wislawa Szymborska. I've not been, but I've heard it's fantastic. Students submit applications every Spring, and the manuscripts are judged by an outside creative writer. It's just for the poets, at this point, and the entire trip is free.

I should say one more note about U.H. and the application process. U.H. is notorious for letting people know REALLY late in the process. The faculty spend a lot of time on the decision process, and it's only faculty who read the applications. (The faculty who teach in the Spring, I should say: in poetry, it will be Tony Hoagland, Nick Flynn, and Adam Zagajewski; in fiction it's usually Antonya Nelson, Bob Phillips, and Dan Stern). I found out in late April that I was wait-listed here at U.H., then two days later got in off the wait-list (I was # 2 on that list). A friend of mine got a call 2 weeks before classes started, and came here.

Another thing: U.H. has recently been really strict about MFA's going on to PhD's here. No special consideration is now given just because an applicant did her or his MFA work here. It really is about the strength of the manuscript.

Okay, I think I've tuckered out this thread. Sorry to chatter on incessantly and make huge skyscrapers in this cybercity.....


arielblue
Library Anne

Aug 12, 2004, 12:34 PM

Post #27 of 2090 (21330 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

James, thanks so much for your long and detailed posts about U.H.'s program. Even though I'm considering low-res programs (and so the specifics of your program aren't relevant to me), the kind of in-depth information you've provided here has helped me zero in on what I'm looking for generally in a program. Plus, it's just plain interesting to think about how many different ways there are of going about constructing an MFA program!

So, thanks, and please don't feel the need to apologize for going on at such length -- at least some of us 'round here appreciate it!


fattery
Victoria M. Chang
e-mail user

Aug 14, 2004, 3:21 PM

Post #28 of 2090 (21311 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh yea, and your James, your honesty about your GRE scores was really helpful. I was so darn worried about those things--in business school, you had to be in the top 1-2% on the GMAT (over 700) to get into the couple of schools I wanted to go to, so I studied pretty hard. I'll study for the GRE Lit, but it makes me feel better that they don't matter as much and aren't weighted as heavily. Phew. You saved me a lot of worrying. But I guess it makes sense. It should be your creative work and critical writing ability, combined with one's passion to do a Ph.D. that matters. Law school and business school still think those scores are a measure of raw intelligence (if you ask me, they're just representative of how quickly one can bolt through a test under time pressure).


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Aug 15, 2004, 12:39 AM

Post #29 of 2090 (21302 views)
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Re: [fattery] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so glad I could contribute to the forum. And you're welcome to my honesty.

About GRE's: A friend who just entered Western Michigan had around the same score, if not lower, and she was really high on their list (if not ranked # 1). So, I don't think that opinion regarding the GRE/Lit is a local phenomenon.

I studied for 6 weeks for the test, while still working 8 hours a day (dispatching instead of driving -- I actually used to be a delivery boy. That seems another life ago).

Good luck Victoria (and everyone else)!
-- James


Jacobbarnez
Alexis Enrico Santi
e-mail user

Sep 13, 2004, 3:09 PM

Post #30 of 2090 (21273 views)
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In James We Trust [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, what a thread what a thread.

What is the conventional wisdom about getting a Phd, after getting an MFA?

I realize the road to MFA stardom is paved with book publishings
and critical essays, but I was just wondering amongst those of you who have
done a MFA when did that itch to get the PHd came in? Did you go out there
to hit the pavement teaching and not find what you were looking for?
I know in some cases as postings here have stated that they were not entirely
happy with what they had done in their MFA programs.

I am currently in George Mason's MFA program which is a rather long intensive
program of 48 credit hours spread over at least 3 years. I guess I'm just
wondering aloud that it is still a MFA when I'll done with it, a terminal degree
yes, but still a MFA the same degree as those who do a 2 year program. Will
Universities "know" - my take is some departments will, but you really can't out weigh
a PHd + MFA no matter what MFA program you did. I'm rambling but I think
I'm sorting out some of thoughts here.

So I guess I'm looking for some older wisdom here from those of you who have been
working in academia for years now to what extent you see the direction of MFA
programs, and the extent that the saturation of said programs has caused a rift
between continuing on for PHd programs.

Yours,

Alexis Enrico Santi


sonshineslocs


Jan 8, 2005, 12:11 PM

Post #31 of 2090 (21216 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

bumping for good measure. :)


sonshineslocs


Jan 9, 2005, 12:22 AM

Post #32 of 2090 (21194 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

anyone gotten a ph.d. before an mfa, or in lieu of one?

i know i sound absolutely insane, but i feel like ph.d. is the next logical step for me. my dilemma now is that the programs i like are too far away from me.

there are two ph.d. programs that i'm digging and very strongly considering applying to, but are no closer than 3 or 4 hours away. my husband and i live in frankfort ky, where he works (i'm unemployed) and must live on campus as a part of his job.

the english program offerings around here are just too limited/ing in terms of what i want to study. what, then, should i (or CAN i) do ?

the two main schools are:
http://www.english.ohiou.edu/grad/program/phd/ --the creative writing option

http://www.bsu.edu/...ate/gradling.htm#PhD --love the idea of applied liguistics with a cognate in creative writing (though i'm sure i don't meet the language requirement).

i've also considered this one:
http://asweb.artsci.uc.edu/english/cw/phd.html --the writing component/creative dissertations seems to be tacked on as an afterthought. admittedly, that's a bit of a turnoff. but it's the closest.

spalding is still on my list, but i wonder if it will satisfy my "literature loving" desires.

what should i do? what would you do? what are my options?


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Jan 9, 2005, 1:58 AM

Post #33 of 2090 (21190 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there,

I know people who have done a PhD in creative writing after doing masters work in another area; I don't know anyone who's done a PhD right after completing a bachelor's, though I'm sure such ambitious folk exist.

I've worked with J. Allyn Rosser, who teaches poetry at Ohio, and I thought she was really wonderful. The class was a bit small, and she was a visiting writer at Houston and so didn't quite know her way around our kind of graduate program, but I thought she was immensely helpful, supportive, and intelligent. I know David Lazar's nonfiction work (he received his PhD at Houston), and think he's pretty good too.

I've heard mixed things about Cincinnati. I've never worked with anyone there, though, and I hear that the funding is quite impressive. That was a few years ago, so you might want to look into that.

I think low-residency might be less hassle for you. I don't know enough about Spalding to advise you, but the low-residency program I went to (Bennington) really allows you to do what you like in terms of reading. It's my experience that low-residency allows you a more intensive, writerly approach to literature. MFA'ers here at Houston take the majority of literature classes with English literature faculty, and the emphasis is on scholarly research rather than craft-oriented lectures and papers. There's a big difference, and, actually, I'm glad I received both kinds of training.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.
-- James


sonshineslocs


Jan 9, 2005, 1:14 PM

Post #34 of 2090 (21174 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks James. i'm thinking i'll probably have to wait. do the m.f.a. first, then go back for the ph.d. when circumstances are more conducive. i'm also in the number of people who have a master's degree in another area, so i wouldn't be fresh from a bachelor's degree. it's the completion of my thesis that makes me believe that i can do a dissertation. i couldn't imagine it the other way around.

thanks again. please keep any input coming. i rrrreeeeaaaallllllllyyyy want a piece of that ohio program--i could taste it last night.


hapworth


Jan 10, 2005, 9:09 AM

Post #35 of 2090 (21144 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sonshine,

What genre do you wish to focus on: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction? I ask because I did my MA in fiction at Ohio University and know the department well. In general, I can say that the faculty at OU is strong, though the poetry department has had some shake ups. The creative writing program is also pretty competitive because of its small size. In my first year, I was one of two fiction MAs. There were also two new fiction PhDs. That's an entering fiction class of four! The quality of the student writing is a mixed bag. Because OU is one of the few creative writing PhD programs, we get people who did their MAs at Johns Hopkins and Iowa. But we also had people who, quite frankly, were weak. Two of them were good buddies of mine, so I mean no ill will. But one buddy of mine skated through the program, wrote his PhD dissertation at the last second (I helped edit it and--oh, gosh, was it bad!), and still managed to earn his degree! On the other hand, OU has graduated plenty of serious folk who have racked up strong publications and landed good jobs. I guess it's what you put into the program.

I hope this info helps. If you let me know more about your interests, I can perhaps offer more.

Hapworth


sonshineslocs


Jan 10, 2005, 4:46 PM

Post #36 of 2090 (21122 views)
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Re: [hapworth] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

creative nonfiction. how did weak writers slip into such a competitive program? and a last minute dissertation??? ludicrous. i'm still interested in ohio university, but i'm seriously considering a Ph.D. in Humanities at Univ. of Louisville. they have a creative dissertation option. :) and the interdisciplinary approach is VERY reflective of my academic background--definitely a mixed bag.


(This post was edited by sonshineslocs on Jan 10, 2005, 4:51 PM)


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Mar 5, 2005, 10:17 AM

Post #37 of 2090 (20979 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

A new LR-MFA programs thread has been started and the posts here pertaining to that thread have been moved over.

Thanks for the heads up sonshine. :)

Dana


tnu
Tanya Underwood

Jun 19, 2005, 11:57 AM

Post #38 of 2090 (20870 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone know anything about the creative writing Phd at University of Southern Mississippi or the University of Hawaii. Thanks!

--Tanya


sovietsleepover


Oct 6, 2005, 2:23 PM

Post #39 of 2090 (20770 views)
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creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was researching creative writing PhDs & found a couple outside the US that hadn't yet been mentioned, so: in case anyone's interested...

University of Wales at Swansea has a creative writing PhD. Also, Bath Spa University, presumably in Bath, England, has a creative writing PhD, as does University of Manchester. (On the other hand, I've heard UK/EU advanced degrees aren't as highly regarded in the US because they tend to be solo research/mentorship degrees without much foundation level coursework, & because they specialize right off the bat they don't provide grads with the general knowledge necessary to teach outside their specialization... Any opinions on this?)

University of Calgary has an English degree with an emphasis in creative writing.


hapworth


Oct 20, 2005, 11:47 PM

Post #40 of 2090 (20721 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be applying to CW Ph.D programs this year, and I thought this list might be helpful. I probably missed some schools, but I believe these are all of the U.S. doctoral programs in creative writing. They are listed in no particular order.


1) Florida State U.
2) SUNY Albany

3) SUNY Binghamton
4) U. of Georgia
5) U. of Tennessee
6) U. of Missouri
7) U. of Nebraska Lincoln
8) U. of Houston
9) U. of Illinois Chicago
10) U. of Wisconsin Milwaukee
11) Georgia State U.

12) U. of Utah

13) U. Nevada Las Vegas (Fellowship only)

14) Oklahoma State U.

15) U. of Louisiana Lafayette

16) U. of Southern Mississippi

17) Ohio U.

18) U. of Denver

19) Western Michigan U.

20) Texas Tech U.

21) U. of Cincinnati

22) U. of North Texas

23) U. of Southern California

24) U. of Hawaii


Did I miss any? :-) Feel free to add.

Hapworth


Art
Arthur J. Stewart
e-mail user

Oct 21, 2005, 11:07 PM

Post #41 of 2090 (20700 views)
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Re: [hapworth] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think UT qualifies -- http://web.utk.edu/~english/creative.php -- but maybe you're targeting Creative Writing more narrowly?


traveler474


Jan 25, 2007, 1:41 PM

Post #42 of 2090 (20530 views)
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Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone care to join a discussion about the mfa vs phd thing? Such as...

-How did you decide to pursue one vs the other?
-Is the mfa going to stay terminal?
-Is the atmosphere in a phd program (creative dissertation) very different from an mfa?
-For those of you who have finished/are enrolled in one of the top several programs (not intending to fire that debate up again) have you considered going back for a phd afterwards?
-For those of you who went through a phd, was it worth it? Did you have a good experience?
-For anyone finishing up or finished - how's the job hunt? What are you seeing down in the trenches - is the mfa still enough, with pubs?

(This is from someone with a masters in a different area, intent on pursuing the craft of writing, but wouldn't mind subsidizing that with a professorship. So I'm torn between a second masters (I would only apply to those schools with the better reputation, and be willing to take several years to get in) and going for a phd with a creative dissertation. I keep hearing how the phd is going to help get you that job, but the schools I am most attracted to (michener center, iowa, brown) are mfa programs. Would love to hear input from as many folks who are willing to offer..)


gcsumfa


Feb 21, 2007, 7:45 PM

Post #43 of 2090 (20390 views)
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Re: [traveler474] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone heard back from PhD/CW programs? All of the talk on the "Waiting Game" thread is about the MFA. I'm curious if anyone is awaiting word from PhD programs. I applied to: UGA, U of Tenn, Denver, Texas Tech, FSU, Ohio U, and Nebraska. My genre is Fiction.

The only PhD update I've seen so far is a poetry acceptance for Texas Tech last week.


Sid Hammet


Feb 22, 2007, 9:31 AM

Post #44 of 2090 (20306 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Had a friend accepted for fiction at Cincinnati last week. Guess that doesn't help you much.


gcsumfa


Feb 26, 2007, 11:58 PM

Post #45 of 2090 (20216 views)
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Re: [Sid Hammet] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, UC is supposedly a good program. I almost applied there, but didn't take the GRE LIT exam in time enough to meet their deadline.

Still waiting to hear from all of my schools.


bktv


Feb 28, 2007, 12:23 AM

Post #46 of 2090 (20142 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to FSU, USC and U of Houston. Nothing at all yet. Is it your sense that these programs are more or less competitive than the MFA? I know at USC that the PhD is more competitive. (Although at USC the MFA is not particularly competitive.) I am also in fiction. If I don't get in this year, I will use the list above in this thread!



In Reply To
Has anyone heard back from PhD/CW programs? All of the talk on the "Waiting Game" thread is about the MFA. I'm curious if anyone is awaiting word from PhD programs. I applied to: UGA, U of Tenn, Denver, Texas Tech, FSU, Ohio U, and Nebraska. My genre is Fiction.

The only PhD update I've seen so far is a poetry acceptance for Texas Tech last week.



gcsumfa


Feb 28, 2007, 1:41 AM

Post #47 of 2090 (20126 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it depends on how many slots a program typically has to offer. For instance, Ohio only takes 1-2 per genre per year, while a larger program like Denver admits 10-12 CW'ers per year. FSU seems to admit a lot of PhD CW'ers.

I talked to my MFA thesis advisor tonight; he got his PhD from Houston (Fiction). He told me to be patient because most PhD applications have to go through the CW faculty AND a few folks on the lit faculty. This makes sense, as it's obviously easier to admit someone to an MFA program. At most places, the lit faculty don't even have a say in the process, nor do they really care. I don't think that's the case with the PhD CW/Lit, because the degree is basically a dual degree, and we'll be taking doctoral-level lit seminars.

I wished I had applied to Western Mich; they've already accepted some folks, I hear--and w/ decent funding.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Feb 28, 2007, 1:45 AM)


bktv


Feb 28, 2007, 1:24 PM

Post #48 of 2090 (20077 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Another school for the list is Wayne State U in Michigan.

As far as waiting goes, if PhD apps. take longer to review, then we probably still have two weeks or so. Although I thought it was strange that FSU didn't want a critical writing sample in addition to the creative sample. That seems (to me) that they don't really care that much about your literature background. And at USC what I've heard is that the fiction faculty choose the selected students (only 2-6 total) exclusively.


bktv


Mar 1, 2007, 2:53 AM

Post #49 of 2090 (20020 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Two more programs while I'm at it:

University of North Dakota
University of Connecticut-Storrs

Those (in addition to the list) were the only others I could find.


Sid Hammet


Mar 1, 2007, 8:05 AM

Post #50 of 2090 (20001 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I know a couple of people (fiction writers) who were accepted at Missouri this week, if anybody applied there.

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