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Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
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bennyprof


Nov 10, 2007, 10:14 AM

Post #301 of 454 (3548 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  


Quote
3) And is located either in left-leaning diverse urban centre (ie:preferably not in Iowa, Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Alabama or Florida). Not necessarily large, a university town such as Madison would be just fine (I'm gay and would rather not spend my MFA worrying about homophobia)



Just an FYI, Austin is probably the most socially liberal city in the south, and it has a very large gay community, so I wouldn't be so quick to scratch UT off your list.



__________



Nov 10, 2007, 10:26 AM

Post #302 of 454 (3546 views)
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     Re: [bennyprof] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

That's no shit. I once pointed at a drunk friend on 6th street, shouted, He's a Republican!, and ran off. He got chased, Beatles-style, by a pretend angry mob. Austin's the best.


six five four three two one 0 ->


aiyamei

e-mail user

Nov 10, 2007, 10:39 AM

Post #303 of 454 (3539 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

I also don't get the sense that Iowa City is anything but liberal and cool. Maybe some people who know it better can confirm or deny this.


umass76


Nov 10, 2007, 11:07 AM

Post #304 of 454 (3528 views)
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     Re: [aiyamei] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

Iowa City is liberal.

In fact, Iowa City is so liberal many people smoke pot on their porches without fear, as the police don't bother them unless they cause trouble. This is a left-leaning campus with a history of progressive activism; it's not Madison, but then again, Cambridge (MA) and Madison are the two most liberal towns in America (along with, I suppose Berkeley), so it's not a fair comparison.

But, point being, this is not a conservative school, or a conservative city. And hell, the whole state's 50% Democrat/50% Republican politically. This isn't Nebraska, it's much more like Ohio. And you'll be going to school in Iowa City, anyway, not Marengo. I promise you Cincinnati, say, is far more conservative than Iowa City.

S.


calumnia


Nov 10, 2007, 5:46 PM

Post #305 of 454 (3472 views)
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     Re: [umass76] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

I've heard many good things about Austin. But you must remember, I'm coming from Canada. I'm trying to minimize my cultural shock. An MFA is two years, that's a long time to stay in one place, especially if the surrounding state is less than hospitable. I presume that most university environments are relatively liberal but one has to take into account the environment around it.


__________



Nov 10, 2007, 6:10 PM

Post #306 of 454 (3466 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

I assure you, in Austin you don't just wander off campus and get immediately assaulted by rednecks carrying nooses and signs. The whole city's great... and I swear, the most discomfort you'll feel'll take place in traffic outside of town, still expanding with millions of Dell Computer employees. (Rent Office Space for a small taste of that. Rent Slacker to get a good view of where you'll live and the weirdest people you'll meet).

But it's not like the rest of Texas is rife with politically motivated violence or anything. In Houston, there's crime, but I can't imagine you'd need to travel there in the course of your writerly duties. Dallas, where I grew up, has its big shopping malls and bigger fake tits, and sure, it's packed with lawyers who vote Republican, but it's not like my gay friends ever said, Holy shit, we must run from this hell hole into the loving liberal arms of Canada!. I mean, who do you think the trophy wives call when they're itching for the galleria?

Relax. Just worry about your writing.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 10, 2007, 6:13 PM)


bighark


Nov 10, 2007, 8:29 PM

Post #307 of 454 (3440 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

If you knew how offensive this post is, would you take it back?


Clench Million
Charles

Nov 10, 2007, 10:07 PM

Post #308 of 454 (3422 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

Austin is insanely liberal and hip. Its one of hte best cities in the US.

If you want to worry about something, worry about weather shock going from Canada to Texas, not culture shock.


EastCoastPoet


Nov 10, 2007, 11:13 PM

Post #309 of 454 (3415 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

To make a brief comment, I think you have the wrong impression of Ohio. I won't get into the debate but....

Think about Bowling Green. It's a two year program, everyone (we accept 5 poets and 5 fiction writers per year) is fully funded, we have a great mag with opportunities to be very close in its workings (Mid-American Review) and we're in a small, quiet yet lively town, quite close to Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. If you have any questions you can feel free to message me about it.


writerteacher


Nov 10, 2007, 11:49 PM

Post #310 of 454 (3407 views)
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     Re: [bighark] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  


In Reply To
If you knew how offensive this post is, would you take it back?


I agree with Bighark. It's insensitive (to say the least) to paint entire regions of the US with such a broad brush; it's exactly what you're hoping people *won't* do to you, no?

I've lived all over the South my entire life (Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia) and I can tell you, there are "libaral" cities everywhere. In fact, one of the programs that fits your stated criteria is U.Va., in the heart of Virginia, in an idyllic town many refer to as the People's Republic of Charlottesville (cracks me up). I lived there for six years, and indeed, the politics skew liberal -- though, like anywhere else, there are idiots regardless of political affiliation.

Anyway, I now live in Richmond, a place which has the reputation of being exceptionally conservative and old school. True in some respects, but it's home to one of the top-rated arts schools in the nation (Virginia Commonwealth University) and, I suppose, that may account for a distinctly "liberal" (tolerant/supportive) environment in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. My own family happens to be transracial, and I have not ever experienced any ugliness, overt or otherwise. Yes, in Richmond we do have our share of asses, and I imagine I could find them if I looked hard enough, but I'd rather concentrate on my beautiful family, my friends, and my writing.

All that to say: it's hard enough to get into an MFA program that offers what you need and want. My best advice is to refrain from limiting yourself by your own preconceptions, and consider each opportunity on its own merits. You'll land in the right place.

VCU, by the way, has a super three-year MFA program with lots of TA-ships, teaching and literary editlng opportunities, and attentive faculty.

We sometimes get snow.

Good luck!


aiyamei

e-mail user

Nov 10, 2007, 11:53 PM

Post #311 of 454 (3406 views)
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     Re: [EastCoastPoet] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

The more I think about this, the more I think that Calumnia should put some time and effort into understanding these cities before crossing them off his/her list. Maybe read through some online discussion boards for gay/lesbian communities in the cities in question -- and ask questions of gays and lesbians who live there. And not for the sake of being non-judgmental or inoffensive to us here at the Speakeasy. No, the reason I think this is a must: it's hard enough to get into an MFA program without crossing excellent opportunities off one's list -- indeed, arguably the very best this country has to offer (Michener, Iowa) -- because of half-information and hearsay.


calumnia


Nov 11, 2007, 12:11 AM

Post #312 of 454 (3398 views)
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     Re: [aiyamei] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

Canada is one of approximately a half dozen countries in the world with legalized gay marriage. They were temporarily allowed in San Francisco and Multnomah Country Oregon. Civil unions are legal in Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii. There are some benefits for domestic partnerships in Maine, Washington State, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

I'm not worried about writing queer material in an MFA workshop. I expect that a graduate level workshop will be welcoming to most subject matters, and the comments on this forum have supported this. But this is two years of my life and I don't think it is wrong to worry about living somewhere where, if I end up in the hospital, my lover may not be permitted to visit me outside of regular visiting hours because she isn't officially considered family. This is not my first consideration when choosing an MFA program but it is at the back of my mind as I sort through the options. This forum has welcomed questions from people who did not want to leave the eastern seaboard or did not want to live somewhere cold, I see no difference between that and my inclusion of city-size on my list of hopeful prerequisites.


writerteacher


Nov 11, 2007, 12:39 AM

Post #313 of 454 (3393 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  


In Reply To
3) And is located either in left-leaning diverse urban centre (ie:preferably not in Iowa, Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Alabama or Florida). Not necessarily large, a university town such as Madison would be just fine (I'm gay and would rather not spend my MFA worrying about homophobia)


Calumnia, the above is what I was responding to; you make no mention of laws in individual states, as objective a criterium as weather or city size, but instead use the word homophobia, which carries an accusatory tone and is subjective.

You're obviously up on what the laws are in each state, and if that's one of your criteria, then you've answered your own question: you should stick with the very limited list of MFA programs in US localities with gay rights protections on the books, or perhaps look to the half-dozen other nations you mention with more progressive legislation.

Still I say: there's ugliness all around, and grace in the most unlikely places.

Best wishes.


calumnia


Nov 11, 2007, 1:01 AM

Post #314 of 454 (3388 views)
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     Re: [writerteacher] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

Thank you. I appreciate everyone's responses so far. It is hard to judge how liberal or queer-friendly a city or state is from far away. You can check GLBTQ websites, or look at who holds political power, but in order to get a real feel for it you have to ask people who have lived there.

I had no idea Iowa City was as liberal as it is, this is definitely good to know.


calumnia


Nov 11, 2007, 1:59 AM

Post #315 of 454 (3379 views)
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     Re: [Clench Million] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

Yes of course. But for some programs, editorial experience makes you a better candidate for editorial assistantships. Similarly TA-experience often makes you a better candidate for TA jobs at the graduate level. Though not all programs work like this. Some offer TA/Editorial Jobs based on financial need or strength of your portfolio.

In Reply To
Your manuscript will account for probably 90% of the decision to let you in or not. So your letters or recommendation probably won't help you or hurt you either way. Ditto with GPA (once a certain threshold is reached) or editorial experience. I'd focus as much energy as you can into fixing your manuscripts.



popeye


Nov 11, 2007, 2:57 AM

Post #316 of 454 (3375 views)
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     Re: [hamholio] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
hey sweetjane -- what are we doing looking at this forum still?? G.Zus!!!$ Well, as long as I don't look at Kealy's blog or Seth Abramson's abomination, it'll be okay. . .

I feel the need to take issue with your characterization of Seth Abrahmson's blog as an abomination. All he has done is gather information and interpret it in a statistical manner. If you have a problem with it then you problem either stems from the truth or from the nature of statistics and the whole idea of ranking MFA programs in the first place.

My point is this, don't blame Seth for the information, he is only compiling it.





zebulon


Nov 11, 2007, 3:32 AM

Post #317 of 454 (3370 views)
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     Re: [popeye] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Just trying to lighten the mood, sorry.

I was browsing some of the smaller programs, or, at least out of the standard little canon of top programs, and came across Boise State. They have a bit of a publishing twist on the MFA, like University of Baltimore and Emerson, but I'd never heard of a Boise State's MFA program. Does anyone know anything about the program?
It sounds kind of fun, book art and small press production. Neat.

Or, does anyone know of any other programs that are still writing MFA's, but include some sort of publication production class aside from reading for a journal? Thanks.


(This post was edited by zebulon on Nov 11, 2007, 1:15 PM)


hamholio


Nov 11, 2007, 3:34 AM

Post #318 of 454 (3370 views)
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     Re: [popeye] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

that was impolite of me to say, but the obsession (here I refer to my own and that of others) with MFA programs by those who are not yet in MFA programs is baffling (disgusting?). Looking at both those blogs was something I spent far too much time doing last year.


edwriter



Nov 11, 2007, 10:13 AM

Post #319 of 454 (3348 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

As far as MFA-with-publishing-component--I'm not entirely certain how this works, but you might look into the program at UNC-Wilmington (see especially references to the Publishing Laboratory).

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Nov 11, 2007, 11:18 AM

Post #320 of 454 (3336 views)
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     Caution... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
If you knew how offensive this post is, would you take it back?



In Reply To
What's wrong with a little of shoot the messenger once in awhile? Haha.



I know the first one was but whether or not that last one was a serious question, the answer is...Everything.

It almost always results in ad hominem and other kinds of personal attacks (as we've seen) and it creates an atmosphere that is not conducive to sharing information. Flaming also violates the terms of engagement concerning civil behavior that patrons enjoy at the Speakeasy.

There is a lot of latitude in expressing personal opinions on this board but it's either done as civilized adults or you don't get to do it here at all.

Dana


(This post was edited by motet on Nov 11, 2007, 11:23 AM)


zebulon


Nov 11, 2007, 1:24 PM

Post #321 of 454 (3309 views)
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     Re: [edwriter] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

That is perfect! Thank you so much! Anyone else? If I could round up one or two more schools that have programs like those I'll be ready to apply, haha.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Nov 12, 2007, 9:25 PM

Post #322 of 454 (3174 views)
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     Re: [calumnia] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Thank you. I appreciate everyone's responses so far. It is hard to judge how liberal or queer-friendly a city or state is from far away. You can check GLBTQ websites, or look at who holds political power, but in order to get a real feel for it you have to ask people who have lived there.

I had no idea Iowa City was as liberal as it is, this is definitely good to know.


I think you'd be fine in Iowa City -- the workshop itself (as you would imagine) is very liberal, and very gay-friendly.

The school itself is kind of a mixed bag. It's your classic Big Ten party school, which means lots of drunk n' rowdy undergrads, but I suppose it's easy enough to avoid the ped mall on a Friday or Saturday night if you find that stuff more annoying than amusing.

The undergrad population is pretty homogeneous, and I found my students to be rather conservative, on the whole, at least compared to other universities. Though, interestingly, most of them were very gay-friendly, mostly because they all had gay friends. Which was heartening.

There's one gay bar in town that I know of (I mistakenly assumed The Q Bar was gay until I realized it was a pool hall). It seemed like an Iowan's idea of what a big-city gay bar would be, in miniature (dance music, confetti, smoke machine, shirtless bartenders in suspenders). People in the workshop, gay and not, would go there sometimes to dance, and escape the fratty sports-bar scene, which is omnipresent.


calumnia


Nov 12, 2007, 10:03 PM

Post #323 of 454 (3167 views)
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     Re: [mingram] mfa suggestions [In reply to]  

Thank you! This was very helpful.


razmatazmilfoil
Sara

Nov 17, 2007, 8:19 PM

Post #324 of 454 (3013 views)
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     Re: [aluminum] university of oregon [In reply to]  

Hi Aluminum,

I'm a first year fiction student at the University of Oregon. There are three full-time fiction faculty: David Bradley (Chaneysville Incident), Ehud Havazelet (What is it Between Us?, Bearing the body), and Laurie Lynn Drummond (Anything You Say Can and Will be Used Against You). The faculty is diverse in interests, styles, and influences.

Each term we have a different faculty member leading workshops, seminars, and conferences. This term I have Ehud Havazelet for workshop (10 students), Laurie Lynn Drummond for writing and conference (1 student), and David Bradley for a literature seminar (13 students).

You choose your thesis advisor for the second year during Spring term, after having had the chance to work closely with each faculty member.

In fiction this year we have six first-years, and four second-years. Everyone is dedicated, motivated, supportive, and hard-working, which is good because the program is demanding. Everyone is also fully-funded through teaching appointments. This includes tuition, $1000/month stipend, and health insurance. Domestic partnership coverage is available as well (same-sex or different-sex couples). During your first year you either teach Intro to Fiction or Poetry or the Kidd Tutorial, a year-long writing and literature program for undergrads. You teach comp the second year.

The Northwest Review, U of O's literary magazine, just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

This year we have Antonya Nelson and N. Scott Momaday headlining our reading series.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


zebulon


Nov 17, 2007, 9:09 PM

Post #325 of 454 (2993 views)
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     Re: [razmatazmilfoil] university of oregon [In reply to]  

So does Dorianne Laux not teach grad classes? That makes me a saddddd panda.

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