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Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
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Lyz
Lyz
e-mail user

Sep 6, 2007, 4:08 PM

Post #151 of 454 (3127 views)
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     Re: [Hamlet3145] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Thank you for that WONDERFUL response. That was so helpful. That makes me feel a lot better about applying. I do have some time. No babies until I publish my first book is my motto and working on (or being in) the NAR is a fabulous opportunity. Congratulations on your success. What a phenomenal accomplishment!

I hate to ask such a snobby question, but does the fact that the MA comes from UNI have any impact on...anything? I haven't heard much about the program from those in the writing world. My husband an Iowa boy and an engineer is pretty down on UNI and says that the degree won't be worth the paper it's printed on, but my boss a marketing research manager for a company that works with Higher Ed, LOOOVES UNI.

The students I met at UNI left me feeling ambivalent. Some were awesome, some were everything I fear about being a writer (berets, angst, etc.). The faculty were the same.


http://shopoftheheart.blogspot.com


hamlet3145


Sep 6, 2007, 4:34 PM

Post #152 of 454 (3123 views)
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     Re: [Lyz] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

"I hate to ask such a snobby question, but does the fact that the MA comes from UNI have any impact on...anything?"

Well, what are your future goals? Are you doing this solely to be a writer? Or would you also like to be a university instructor as well? The truth is you do carry the weight of your program's name for better or worse. And while program reputation doesn't actually correlate to your personal ability, people are people and they make assumptions. Imagine, knowing nothing else, you had to choose between a lawyer from Harvard or Wacky Steve's School O' Law for example. Yes, that's who I'd pick too, but the W.S.S.O.L. lawyer may well be wonderful and the Harvard woman could be some coked out drug fiend. Fortunately, if you are successful in your writing then your accomplishments can quickly overshadow any "lesser" degree. One of the faculty at Iowa State (Deb Marquart) just won this year's PEN award for Creative Non-Fiction. She doesn't have an MFA, rather an M.L.A. from Moorhead State. (Is that a library science degree??). In any case, she is a successful, award winning writer and a great teacher who did not go to a “top” MFA program.

In my opinion, ability eventually wins out. An Iowa MFA might open a lot of doors, but if you can't produce you will become old news fast. And conversely, you can exceed a lesser known or even poorly thought of program through your personal accomplishments. (Extreme example: poet Lucile Clifton has taught at the college level for decades with only a B.A. from a S.U.N.Y.).


__________



Sep 6, 2007, 6:04 PM

Post #153 of 454 (3109 views)
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     Re: [Hamlet3145] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Since you guys are being so helpful, I'll throw this question out again:

What benefit, if any, does the MFA confer to non-university teaching options, such as gigs with high schoolers, or perhaps a gig at that sweet Catholic girl's school with the gothic campus and happily repressed schoolmarms? More money? A hiring edge? Anything?

What do folks do when they realize Big State U's not just handing out tenure track positions?


six five four three two one 0 ->


HopperFu


Sep 6, 2007, 6:57 PM

Post #154 of 454 (3100 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Other than getting hired at a University, and MFA can help (a little) in getting the attention of an agent or editor. But not a lot. The writing's the thing....
As far as teaching at a high school, etc., you can argue that an MFA is a terminal degree, and hence, should be treated as comparable to a Ph.D. Don't know if that argument would fly, but it's worth a shot.


SoniaGirl


Sep 6, 2007, 9:05 PM

Post #155 of 454 (3082 views)
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     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
No no, that isn't what I said. In fact, you seem to be agreeing with me. I'm saying that merely looking at ethnic or sexual diversity is a pretty shallow way of looking at diversity. Getting 5 liberal 20 year olds from new york in a room, even if all from different ethnicities, will probably get you a less diverse group of people on a meaningful level than taking 5 black guys or five white guys of different ages from different parts of the country and different economic backgrounds.


Hi Clench--sorry for the misunderstanding. I was agreeing with you, 100%.


kmbalch

e-mail user

Sep 9, 2007, 4:13 PM

Post #156 of 454 (2968 views)
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     Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Anyone out there in the Southwest with good suggestions? I'm beginning to look at pursuing an MFA in 2008. Right now the University of New Mexico is my biggest target, since it's an hour drive, but I know it's competitive. I'm a little restricted in what I do (have to keep working), so low res programs might be another option. I'll be teaching community college classes where I work to help offset tuition for grad school, but it's time that I really need to maximize.


allysonkalea
Allyson

Sep 12, 2007, 12:11 PM

Post #157 of 454 (2845 views)
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     Re: [v1ctorya] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

 

In Reply To

In Reply To
does anyone know what the finance situation is at sarah lawrence? the website is pretty vague about funding. any insights?



They have a lot of money, they don't give it out (at least not to MFA students!)

Def. be careful what you wish for. I got into one of my top three last year, and once in, became one I wondered why I applied too.

Do your research!


Amen. Do the research, for sure. I got into two great programs last year and had to turn both of them down because I didn't want to go so heavily into debt. SL was one of them. Unless you're independently wealthy, I think funding has to be one of your top priorities.


SaraBellum


Sep 15, 2007, 12:47 PM

Post #158 of 454 (2741 views)
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     Re: [allysonkalea] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I turned down Sarah Lawrence b/c of funding too. (And a few other reasons I guess...)

They offered no funding to me at first. (Just fed. loans) I pestered and pestered, and couldn't get any more funding. Then I started talking about deferring in July, and they said they "might have some extra money if a little funding might change my mind".

So, Sarah Lawrence is a great school but they could care less about helping you get there financially. And that's just not very nice.


---------





zebulon


Sep 15, 2007, 2:12 PM

Post #159 of 454 (2733 views)
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     Re: Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

This thread has been such a great help in my research of MFA programs. I just wrote a profile for Cornell's program here, I wanted to start doing more schools, and was curious if there were any programs that people had trouble finding information about that I could try to dig deeper into. I was planning on getting profiles of Iowa, FSU, Vancouver, Minnesota, Montana, Austin and Houston initially, as those were the programs I'm most interested in personally, but would love to add more that would help out other people in their search for the right MFA program.


bennyprof


Sep 15, 2007, 2:48 PM

Post #160 of 454 (2725 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
This thread has been such a great help in my research of MFA programs. I just wrote a profile for Cornell's program here, I wanted to start doing more schools, and was curious if there were any programs that people had trouble finding information about that I could try to dig deeper into. I was planning on getting profiles of Iowa, FSU, Vancouver, Minnesota, Montana, Austin and Houston initially, as those were the programs I'm most interested in personally, but would love to add more that would help out other people in their search for the right MFA program.



Great read, zebulon. Thanks!

If you get a chance, you might add some of the specifics with regard to the application process, such as the due date to submit, writing sample page limit and app fee. Stuff like that.

Overall, outstanding resource. Can't wait to read more of them in the future!


sacounty


Sep 15, 2007, 6:40 PM

Post #161 of 454 (2700 views)
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     Re: [bennyprof] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Hi

I'm new to this forum, but not the P & W. I'm also looking for MFA programs for 2008,
and was wondering if anyone has heard about San Francisco State's MFA program? Hard/easy to get into. I live in the northern California area, but I'm willing to relocate to other places.
Also, I take it that the low-residency MFA programs are more time-focused, meaning
they aren't designed like the traditional 2-3 year MFA programs like at U of Iowa, etc.
How successful have others been, per se, in finding creative writing jobs at colleges
or connections into being a professional novelist? Stanford doesn't have an MFA program; it has an MA program with a focus in creative writing.

Curious with questions, and I hope to some day like all of you aboard here to be able
make a living at what I/we love to do, which is writing.
Thanks for any replies.

Sacounty


sacounty


Sep 15, 2007, 6:47 PM

Post #162 of 454 (2698 views)
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     Re: [kmbalch] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Hi Kmbalch,

I'm in the same boat--teaching English at a community college,and seraching for MFA 2008 programs that will help me financially. When I start my research here shortly, I will write back.
I saw that you wrote about the University of New Mexico; and I spent time at another
university near there finishing my MA in English, a long time ago, 1997. Can you share, however, more
about your discoveries with UNM's MFA program?

Many thanks,
Sacounty


Raignn



Sep 17, 2007, 5:16 PM

Post #163 of 454 (2596 views)
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     Re: [sacounty] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I also have quick question. I'm applying to MFA's in the Midwest-ish region. I'm mostly interested in focusing on Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois for personal reasons. Here's my list:
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Virginia
  • Indiana University
  • University of Michigan
  • Western Michigan
  • Ohio State (Maybe, I know virtually nothing about this program. Is it any good?)

Who am I missing? That list doesn't feel nearly long enough. I can't apply to Wisconsin because it's not a poetry year. Are there any other programs that I should be applying to? Please feel free to respond here or PM me. Any and all feedback/recommendations is much appreciated.


HopperFu


Sep 17, 2007, 6:28 PM

Post #164 of 454 (2583 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

In the Midwest?
University of Iowa
Washington University in St. Louis


Raignn



Sep 17, 2007, 7:29 PM

Post #165 of 454 (2566 views)
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     Re: [HopperFu] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I forgot to mention Iowa isn't on my list for a reason. Not so interesting the hyper-competitiveness of it.

I hadn't considered Washington University, though. Thank you for responding! Anyone else care to weigh in?


HopperFu


Sep 17, 2007, 7:34 PM

Post #166 of 454 (2565 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Wash U has good money, and the poets there are very well regarded.
What about Minnesota? I don't know anything about the poetry side.


edwriter



Sep 17, 2007, 9:34 PM

Post #167 of 454 (2547 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Are you excluding low-residency programs? If not, there are a number of other possibilities.

Several additional residential programs come to mind, too. You should surf over to the guide at NewPages.com and check the listings by state.

Good luck.

Best,
Erika D.


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



bighark


Sep 17, 2007, 10:42 PM

Post #168 of 454 (2539 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

You could probably add the University of Notre Dame and Purdue.


ddl


Sep 18, 2007, 6:35 AM

Post #169 of 454 (2509 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Yes, Ohio State is good. Andrew Hudgins and Kathy Fagan are on the poetry faculty there, and they've just hired Henri Cole. They offer three years of full funding. Their students have gone on to publish books, win awards, and secure tenure-track teaching positions.

Another Ohio program you might look at is Bowling Green State University.


Raignn



Sep 18, 2007, 9:15 AM

Post #170 of 454 (2489 views)
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     Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Thank you so much everyone who sent me messages and responded. I appreciate it!

I did forget to mention Purdue wasn't on my list because I studied there in undergrad! I was very close with the graduate students my last couple years (one of my majors was creative writing) and it's a great program I highly recommend.


kevin82


Sep 18, 2007, 9:45 AM

Post #171 of 454 (2486 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

University of Pittsburgh is expensive and only funds one person.


selmalee


Sep 19, 2007, 11:01 AM

Post #172 of 454 (2395 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Hi everyone,
I'm still trying to narrow down my list of schools. I live in New York City and plan to apply to most of the schools here, though I'm on the fence about the New School and Hunter. I think there's a separate thread about NYC schools, so I'll check that.

I'm also very curious about the UN Las Vegas program, particularly because of its study abroad component. A few people have posted questions about Vegas and so far no one has replied, so I'm trying again. I haven't been able to find much information about it other than the program website. I'd love to hear people's impressions of the program and/or its location.

thanks!

-S


Clench Million
Charles

Sep 19, 2007, 11:54 AM

Post #173 of 454 (2381 views)
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     Re: [smergalee] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

A lot of people I know up here believe that the New School is the Columbia's closet competition in the area. Great faculty. I'd certainly apply to it along with Columbia and NYU, if NYC is the place you want to be.


cellularsoup


Sep 19, 2007, 5:05 PM

Post #174 of 454 (2331 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

anyone have insights into the university of wyoming program?


mares


Sep 19, 2007, 7:09 PM

Post #175 of 454 (2313 views)
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     Re: [Raignn] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

i second ddl's recommendation to check out Bowling Green. Many people consider BG to be a pretty cool town. They offer full funding for two years, and a TA ship that I'm pretty sure is less demanding than many other assistantships out there. I was accepted there for poetry this fall, but decided not to go. I did talk to the program director and exchanged emails with a student or two, so if you want more info, PM me.

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