Sep 6, 2007, 4:34 PM
Post #152 of 454
"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.).