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Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
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kiwikid


Oct 1, 2007, 1:39 AM

Post #201 of 454 (2986 views)
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     NYU Fiction [In reply to]  

Hi all,

I'm deliberating about NYU and I need some advice, please! I've scoured the boards, done google searches, and I'm still none the wiser. I want to apply for fiction, but it seems that it's more poetry heavy. Is this the case?

Gracias!


lmbuckton


Oct 2, 2007, 9:38 PM

Post #202 of 454 (2889 views)
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     Re: [MissEsquire] Bard...? [In reply to]  

Bard has a really great program if it's what you're looking for...but you have to be a very particular kind of writer to meld with their program. Their semester consists of a two month intensive period where you meet one on one with faculty from all genres (including those outside of writing, i.e. studio art, pottery, etc-hence the interdisciplinary aspect). BUT-you then have a ten month period of "independent study" during which you are not in contact with faculty. As far as I know they don't offer funding...though Anne Lauterbach is there which is great! I actually visited (& interviewed) the campus if you have any more questions I'd be happy to talk more...


lmbuckton


Oct 2, 2007, 9:50 PM

Post #203 of 454 (2884 views)
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     Post deleted by lmbuckton [In reply to]

 


MissEsquire



Oct 2, 2007, 10:46 PM

Post #204 of 454 (2873 views)
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     Re: [lmbuckton] Bard...? [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Bard has a really great program if it's what you're looking for...but you have to be a very particular kind of writer to meld with their program. Their semester consists of a two month intensive period where you meet one on one with faculty from all genres (including those outside of writing, i.e. studio art, pottery, etc-hence the interdisciplinary aspect). BUT-you then have a ten month period of "independent study" during which you are not in contact with faculty. As far as I know they don't offer funding...though Anne Lauterbach is there which is great! I actually visited (& interviewed) the campus if you have any more questions I'd be happy to talk more...


Thanks for the offer. I used to live in Dutchess County and was interested because Bard is a place I've spent a lot of time at as a non-student. I also know a fellow who's on the faculty, and am a bit surprised that he's teaching, to be honest. I don't think the independent work structure of the course would be good for me, but it's an interesting idea. Almost more of a visual arts model. Why did you end up not going to Bard?


MissEsquire



Oct 2, 2007, 10:53 PM

Post #205 of 454 (2872 views)
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     Re: [lmbuckton] Bard...? [In reply to]  

P.S., Out of curiosity, what program are you in right now and why don't you like it? Of course, you don't have to answer that if it would somehow be incriminating. I'm applying to programs this year and am just snoopy.


lmbuckton


Oct 2, 2007, 11:12 PM

Post #206 of 454 (2870 views)
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     Post deleted by lmbuckton [In reply to]

 


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 3, 2007, 8:48 AM

Post #207 of 454 (2831 views)
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     Re: [lmbuckton] Bard...? [In reply to]  

i don't know of any secret rules about applying to other programs but i have heard of people transferring to other programs. my suggestion would be if you are not far into your program that you contact the schools you are interested in and ask what their policy is.

good luck to you. what a frustrating situation to be in!


http://jessiecarty.com


MissEsquire



Oct 3, 2007, 9:14 AM

Post #208 of 454 (2827 views)
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     Re: [lmbuckton] Bard...? [In reply to]  


In Reply To
What genre are you and where are you thinking of applying?


Fiction here. The list is (deep breath): Cornell, UVA, Iowa, Brooklyn College, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, Pitt, Syracuse, Sarah Lawrence.

I've heard of people transferring programs, as well. It might be easier if you were transferring into a three-year MFA (?) This sounds like something you need to talk to a department head in detail about.


lmbuckton


Oct 3, 2007, 9:53 AM

Post #209 of 454 (2820 views)
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     Post deleted by lmbuckton [In reply to]

 


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 3, 2007, 12:33 PM

Post #210 of 454 (2796 views)
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     Re: [lmbuckton] Bard...? [In reply to]  

I'm in poetry and I know at least one person in our program that transferred out to go to a more bilingual program for example and I have heard there are people who transferred in but I don't know who they are.

I think the best bet is to just call the programs you are interested in and explain you wanted to look into a different program and wanted to know if that was possible with their program. If you really aren't concerned about credits then it will probably be even easier.


http://jessiecarty.com


__________



Oct 3, 2007, 3:51 PM

Post #211 of 454 (2769 views)
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     Re: [jacarty] Bard...? [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I don't know of any secret rules about applying to other programs...


Some schools (I don't know how many) don't accept applicants previously enrolled in an MFA. The one that scares me is University of Texas. Their web site's a little hazy, but it looks like even an MA could take you out of the running.


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zebulon


Oct 3, 2007, 11:43 PM

Post #212 of 454 (2716 views)
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     List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Hey guys, I'm working on getting together a sort of 'big' list of preferable programs to apply to (or, to research until I find something to rule them out, or prioritize them). Funding is unfortunately very pivotal. After that, hands-on editing/publishing opportunity is a big plus, then teaching opportunities and being highly focused on writing. So far I'm thinking:

Cornell
Houston
Iowa (I know funding isn't the best, but come on, it's Iowa)
Montana
FSU
Emerson
Minnesota (anyone know about their funding?)
Warren Wilson
Vancouver
Austin

Anybody have some other suggestions? Avoiding swamps and desert is nice, but I'm willing to go there for a good program.


ptld


Oct 4, 2007, 12:19 AM

Post #213 of 454 (2709 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

I don't think I could be more happy with the program here at Syracuse. Everyone is fully funded. Based on funding I was also really high on: Michigan, Indiana, and Florida. Hope that's at least a starter.


zebulon


Oct 4, 2007, 1:08 AM

Post #214 of 454 (2701 views)
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     Re: [ptld] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

How many students are accepted there each year? And, this is a long shot, but do you know about how many people generally apply? I don't really know much about the program, but so far it sounds good. Do they offer any cool classes for electives?


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Oct 4, 2007, 1:50 AM

Post #215 of 454 (2696 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Zebulon:

ptld is certainly right with picking UF as a possible choice. I checked out UF's MFA program based on a recommendation from a writer I recently booked at my bookstore. And, man, UF has such an impressive program and--I imagine--it will one day be considered as a up-and-coming program. Considering I am a former Florida resident, UF is ranked #2 (behind UW-Madison) as my top school selections. I'm not sure what the funding program is like but, according to a friend who recently graduated from Brown's MFA program, she states that UF's funding is quite strong. The two paragraphs listed below are UF's mission statement for prospective MFA students:


Our aim is to cultivate good writers. When we are successful, you leave here capable of writing a better poem or story or novel than you might have written had you not come here. If we effect this bettering, we do so by admitting that the question “Can writing be taught?” is best answered “Yes and No.” Aspects of it can be taught, other aspects cannot.
A good writing program replaces the counseling that once obtained privately between writers. Hemingway denigrated the idea of writing schools, but he had in Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound arguably the two best teaching editors in Western letters. Faulkner sought out Sherwood Anderson, Robert Lowell spent a summer with Allen Tate, and we have Famous Pairs: Coleridge and Wordsworth, Melville and Hawthorne, Eliot and Pound, Joyce and Beckett. The writing program is the modern equivalent of this kind of collaboration. But a good program also serves to connect its students to the world of publishing, something we work at informally and also through our annual Visiting Editors weekend...
Now that's what I call a "welcoming" note for future MFAers.


boody


Oct 4, 2007, 1:04 PM

Post #216 of 454 (2658 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

I liked UF (and faculty) a lot, they all seem terrific. The problem I had was though the funding is pretty generous, you really have to hustle for your supper. I'm talking 2-3 tech-writing (business letter, resume, etc) classes to teach per year. One kid I talked to there said (in APRIL) that he hadn't really had a chance to write so far. But I understand G-ville is nice and affordable.


zebulon


Oct 4, 2007, 9:07 PM

Post #217 of 454 (2600 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Just out of curiosity, what are you mainly guiding your choices by? Like, I put Cornell at the top of my list for a combination of things, including just a feeling that I'd like it, haha, Epoch is definitely a plus, and I'm sure the Madison Review is a plus for Wisc-Madison, but do they have anything that's really cool? I don't really know much about it, but it is awfully close to home, compared with New York and Oregon.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Oct 4, 2007, 10:03 PM

Post #218 of 454 (2591 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

For me, my school selections are driven by a multitude of choices: location, attrition rate, strength of faculty, teaching opportunities, alumni connections, etc. Out of the 11 schools, close to half of the schools are located in the midwest. Why, well, partly because I've never lived in the midwest and, importantly, want to gain new experiences than places I've previously lived (i.e. New York City--twice, Florida--various times, and Louisiana--twice). My reasoning for picking UW-Madison as my top choice is for threefold: Lorrie Moore, UW's alumni (notably, Joyce Carol Oates, Wallace Stegner, and Eudora Welty--writing styles I've always enjoyed), and hearing--on several accounts--that Madison is becoming to be the next Austin (as in Austin, Texas). Despite the website's lack of information, I get the impression or feeling (nods to you) that the creative writing department at UW-Madison seems really laid-back and non-competitive. Getting a MFA program from any institution (whether it be Iowa or Temple) is what you make of it. Then again, I might be wrong. :)


In Reply To
Just out of curiosity, what are you mainly guiding your choices by? Like, I put Cornell at the top of my list for a combination of things, including just a feeling that I'd like it, haha, Epoch is definitely a plus, and I'm sure the Madison Review is a plus for Wisc-Madison, but do they have anything that's really cool? I don't really know much about it, but it is awfully close to home, compared with New York and Oregon.



aiyamei

e-mail user

Oct 5, 2007, 8:29 AM

Post #219 of 454 (2549 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Not to split hairs, but did any of those alumni actually attend the creative writing program? I just read a biography of Joyce Carol Oates and it makes clear that she went there only for a masters in English, and she was deeply disappointed in it. After having had an intellectually stimulating and exciting time at Syracuse as an undergrad, it was an enormous let-down for her.
I know that Stegner was himself the founder of the creative writing program, so he's hardly an alumnus of it either.
I'm really not trying to be negative about the program -- all of this is so long ago it doesn't matter, but I do think that in general, schools are too quick to claim writers as notable alumni -- essentially it's irresponsible name-dropping.


ecphraticknolls


Oct 7, 2007, 1:11 AM

Post #220 of 454 (2525 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

I’m a first year poet at Colorado State—I just want to put a plug in for the program. I’m not so sure about the rankings, since I’ve heard plenty of horror stories coming out of Iowa and such. CSU has been so welcoming and enjoyable.

Since coming to Colorado I feel that the program is rigorous is the most positive and productive way. It is a community of writers, serious writers. We have a wide range of poets; from lyrical to narrative to language to cross-medium to philosophical to experimental and so on. And we’re all working to improve each other.

Plus, we now have Dan Beachy-Quick. Hell yeah.

I've heard nothing but good things from the fiction department, too. Plus there are plenty of opportunities to study cross genre if you so desire.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Oct 7, 2007, 2:03 AM

Post #221 of 454 (2520 views)
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     Re: [aiyamei] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

I was aware that JCO attended UW-Madison for her masters in English, and not the MFA (obviously considering the MFA program was recently introduced or started in 2002). But I had no idea that JCO did not find the program to be as intellectually stimulating (she does eavesdrop on her Syracuse experience from time to time--particularly, in her novels). Wallace Stegner did teach and founded the program, but never actually attended UW-Madison (Stegner attended Iowa for his MFA). I'll admit, it is partly the university's fault to name drop on such names; but it certainly made a difference in picking schools, that's for sure.




seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Oct 7, 2007, 2:17 AM

Post #222 of 454 (2519 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Oh...Eudora Welty did attend UW-Madison's MA program, too.


__________



Oct 7, 2007, 2:54 PM

Post #223 of 454 (2488 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Any other novelists schools name drop, but who hated their programs?

I know one: David Foster Wallace. I was stoked about applying to Arizona, 'till I read this essay where he said it was a huge waste of time. Teachers going on and on about realism and proper syntax and so forth, lambasting the stories that made up his first, highly acclaimed collection.


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bennyprof


Oct 7, 2007, 3:12 PM

Post #224 of 454 (2481 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Any other novelists schools name drop, but who hated their programs?

I know one: David Foster Wallace. I was stoked about applying to Arizona, 'till I read this essay where he said it was a huge waste of time. Teachers going on and on about realism and proper syntax and so forth, lambasting the stories that made up his first, highly acclaimed collection.



Meh, I wouldn't be so quick to scratch it off your list. He got his MFA there, what... around twenty years ago? There's a good chance it's not the same program today. Not to mention the fact that we're talking about DFW here. It doesn't seem all that improbable that one or two of the teachers he had along the way felt a tinge of jealousy toward his singular talent. I suspect he might've run into the same sort of thing, to varying degrees, at almost any other program had he chosen differently.


hamholio


Oct 7, 2007, 4:18 PM

Post #225 of 454 (2469 views)
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     Re: [boody] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


Quote
I liked UF (and faculty) a lot, they all seem terrific. The problem I had was though the funding is pretty generous, you really have to hustle for your supper. I'm talking 2-3 tech-writing (business letter, resume, etc) classes to teach per year. One kid I talked to there said (in APRIL) that he hadn't really had a chance to write so far.


I'm at UF now -- 2-3 tech writing classes a year is 1 course each semester and 1 summer course. 2nd year students teach creative writing/comp. So far, I've been writing all week. . . perhaps whoever you talked to hadn't learned how to prioritize his time!

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