Jun 19, 2007, 3:41 PM
Post #53 of 454
I went to Goddard College in Vermont - which is one of the earliest low-res programs and spawned several others, including Warren Wilson. Goddard also has a campus in Port Townsend, Washington.
Re: [jlgwriter] Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
[In reply to]
I found it to be a great program. I was told to look for programs who have writers I admire, but I learned instantly that someone can be a writer I admire and not be a good writing teacher. I avoided a few advisors, just like I would have at a regular program (you can smell out the advisors who don't suit you), and I focused on other advisors. Overall, I had some very good advisors at Goddard and I learned more than I ever expected.
For me, the low-res programs have some great things. 1. I didn't have to abandon my family or my job. 2. I learned to write as part of my life (in the early morning, late at night, or waiting at doctor's offices - which is how I still have to do it, since I'm not on easy street from writing yet. It required a ton of work, turning in 20 pages of manuscript plus critical writing and reading every three weeks. I had no idea if I could do it before I started, but I did, and I'm very proud of the work I produced.
Two of my friends have already sold their thesis manuscripts to publishing houses, and probably more have - this is just two in my immediate circle. Another of my friends got her degree in playwriting and after graduation she produced her own play in NYC.
So I think the low-res programs are wonderful, and I suggest you look for a program that has components you are interested in. Does it require a teaching semester? Does it have a literary journal you can work on? Does it require critical writing, as well as creative writing? Is there a broad spectrum of genres - because a fiction writer can learn at a poetry class and a creative nonfiction writer can learn at a dramatic writing class, etc.
Another great thing about the low-res programs is that you develop a circle of writing friends that you maintain throughout the semester via email - so you have these people as resources for crits, encouragement, and advisr after you graduate, too.
Then look for a place you want to spend time in - these programs are scattered all over the country these days. I nearly didn't go to Vermont because I live in Texas and I knew I didn't have the kind of clothes that one needs for January in Vermont! Thank goodness for Eddie Bauer online!
Good luck - I'm sure wherever you go, your work will blossom.