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pongo
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Nov 15, 2009, 10:01 PM

Post #626 of 1018 (12552 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

As a teacher, I have found that my foreign-born students are often much more literate in English than the native-born. (Although the Indian-born students are actually speaking a slightly different language than what we speak.)


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


libbyagain


Nov 15, 2009, 10:03 PM

Post #627 of 1018 (12552 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Agreed, and I like the Sorcerer's Apprentice quality. I think I'd feel flattered to be on a list someone conjured. Or intrigued at least.

My favorite title so far in literary journalism class, here in Singapore, has been "Curb Your Fatness." I couldn't've conjured that one if I'd tried.


Forum Apps


Nov 15, 2009, 11:15 PM

Post #628 of 1018 (12532 views)
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     Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Eh. Literate in English? That depends on how one defines “literate.” And if it is applied to reading and writing, how you define reading and writing. It also depends on how you define English. One rarely meets a foreign-born (or raised, rather) student that has a full grasp of all of the intricacies of speech and writing that a native speaker who has simply by dwelling in the culture (and by native, I don't mean Midwestern televised English, thank you very much... I mean, the extant variety of English of whatever place).

That said, one of my favorite writers novel-wise is Nabokov.


I do think that the propping up of a particular style of English by comparatively rich (pidgin English is a GLOBAL thing) and privileged MFA applicants on an online poetry forum is rather uninteresting.


__________



Nov 16, 2009, 1:21 AM

Post #629 of 1018 (12508 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I was also thinking Nabokov! before I hit your second paragraph, there.

But if you doubt the proficiency of foreign-born writers, I encourage you to check out the recent graduates of Michigan or Cornell. Books by Stefan Kiesbye, Rattawut Lapcharoensap; Tea Obreht's recent piece in the New Yorker. Those are just people I've come across (and greatly enjoyed) in the normal course of my reading. There must be many more examples.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 16, 2009, 1:22 AM)


Forum Apps


Nov 16, 2009, 8:11 AM

Post #630 of 1018 (12483 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I think someone on here made a joke about Kanye West and the whole “proud non-reader” thing. That is what I was thinking—like, he has more lyrical dexterity than many (most!) contemporary poets. There is a complexity to the things people speak in their everyday language, even, that I think people tend to gloss over. A foreign born writer might inflect on the language and create something rather strange and beautiful—but I don’t think we should say they are more “literate in English,” or degrade the complexities and qualities of people’s colloquial styles.

I’ll have to check out some of those writers. I’m always up for suggestions on the fiction side of things (since I know so little about contemporary fiction… being a poetry junky and all).


(This post was edited by Forum Apps on Nov 16, 2009, 8:12 AM)


pongo
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Nov 16, 2009, 8:53 AM

Post #631 of 1018 (12474 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

There is a difference between colloquial styles and not having a vocabulary. For example, there was the student -- a bright young woman, honors graduate of her high school -- who came to me asking why I kept marking "seen" wrong on her papers. "They seen." "I seen." I explained to her that the word, in standard English, was "saw." She had never been introduced to the concept before. She did pick it up right away, though.

Foreign students also tend to have a better grasp of grammar, and the possibilities it presents for sophisticated meaning. Colloquial speech is fine, but it is limited when it's the only tool in the box. Good writers should have all the tools at their disposal, even if they don't use the torque wrench all that often.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


Pedro Eler


Nov 16, 2009, 10:23 AM

Post #632 of 1018 (12459 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Actually, you`re right, Oldscribe. The dictionary says that to conjure is to make something appear by magic, or as if by magic. I think the "as if" is what makes all the difference, because it gives you permission to use it in more metaphorical or figurative way. Anyway... maybe compiling would have been a better choice, but you know, when we write, sometimes words just come out of us and they just make sense, even if it is weird and crazy. LOL

And thanks for the compliments on my English. I love the language and have been studing it for eight years. I still have a lot to learn so I appreciate any help!!

Thanks!


Pedro Eler


Nov 16, 2009, 10:46 AM

Post #633 of 1018 (12452 views)
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     Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I think I see what you mean pongo. Being a foreigner who writes in English my self, I feel some sort of freedom when I write in English that makes me conjure (sorry, I couldn`t resist using it again LOL) some crazy things a native would be more apprehensiveto to write.

Anyway, I think that it is important to let go of some rules when writing, I do that in portuguese as well, I fell it makes the writing feel more genuine. But native writers do that as well, I mean, look at Toni Morrison (only my favorite writer EVER), she has guts and she writes pretty much wathever she feels like writing, she is led my emotions and not by grammatic or lexical rules. That is truly inspirational!


Forum Apps


Nov 16, 2009, 10:53 AM

Post #634 of 1018 (12452 views)
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     Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

My point is “they seen” & “I seen” is its own sort of ‘vocabulary.’ I understand it perfectly. I understand that ‘standard’ (e)nglish (my auto correct forces me to capitalize that) can be socially and economically empowering—I get that—I am just saying that most colloquial styles (especially in the age of mass media) have intricacies we (especially English majors with academic grammar fetishes) often don’t acknowledge.

“Better grasp of grammar” …as though grammar was a prescriptive thing? I don’t ‘buy’ that. Further, when grammar is objectified and studied it is never the same thing as lived grammar. Laying out the syntactical structure of a language is quite a different thing than living in it.


(This post was edited by Forum Apps on Nov 16, 2009, 10:53 AM)


klondike


Nov 16, 2009, 11:07 AM

Post #635 of 1018 (12443 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

You should check out DFW's essay "Authority and American Usage" in Consider the Lobster. He has a whole section in there about Standard Written English vs. vernacular English, and the importance of both.


Pedro Eler


Nov 16, 2009, 11:10 AM

Post #636 of 1018 (12441 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I see your point. They seen and I seen can be a different type of grammar... but the point is, and I think it is a fundamental point, does the person know that it is a different type of grammar, is the person aware of the different uses and does the person know that They saw and I saw are the `correct` way to say it but chooses to use They seen and I seen for whatever reason?

Because one should be free to write what they feel is genuine, but I think it is important, at least for those who consider writing as a profession, to know the grammatical side of it too, and then they can play with it.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 16, 2009, 11:16 AM

Post #637 of 1018 (12437 views)
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     Re: [Pedro Eler] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

"It's not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them." — T.S. Eliot


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Pedro Eler


Nov 16, 2009, 11:19 AM

Post #638 of 1018 (12434 views)
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     Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

EXACTLY!!

Thanks Eric! That is what I was trying to say but T. S. Elliot managed to do in only one short sentence! Brilliant!


pongo
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Nov 16, 2009, 11:24 AM

Post #639 of 1018 (12430 views)
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     Re: [Pedro Eler] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Exactly, indeed. Grammar is the set of rules by which words make meaning. If you can use those rules to your own end, by following or breaking, more power to you -- but you need to know the rules, as Eliot says.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


Forum Apps


Nov 16, 2009, 11:42 AM

Post #640 of 1018 (12422 views)
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     Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Klondike,



I’ll be sure to check out that essay. Sounds interesting. I’ve read tons on this sort of thing already (I’m also applying to graduate schools in theory/rhetoric)—but it will be interesting to have the perspective of a novelist.


Pedro,


I don’t see having and objective removal from language as being a prerequisite for the act of writing (or writing well). “They seen” isn’t ‘different’ here (as though it were some strange thing) it is normal.

I am also saying that the person who has “they seen” as lived aspect of their speaking and writing has complexities in and about their language that aren’t acknowledged often by people who talk about ‘correct’ speech/grammar.

I am fairly sure Kanye West (to stick with the rather silly but useful example) cannot layout the rhetorical structures of the language he is using—but, like I said, he is extremely agile with his word usage.

Eric,

T.S. Eliot? Well there has been a lot of buzz saying that he would be nothing without E. Pound’s editing. AND Pound threw out the metronome in favor of the musical phrase—free verse is based on this. I don’t fault contemporary poets for not being masters of the Sapphic Ode (or heroic couplet, for that matter).


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Nov 16, 2009, 1:49 PM

Post #641 of 1018 (12388 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  


Quote
T.S. Eliot? Well there has been a lot of buzz saying that he would be nothing without E. Pound’s editing. AND Pound threw out the metronome in favor of the musical phrase—free verse is based on this. I don’t fault contemporary poets for not being masters of the Sapphic Ode (or heroic couplet, for that matter).



Can't just let a well-placed, well-intentioned quote go? Have to get a knock in on Eliot? Jeez Mister Mistoffolees...


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


Forum Apps


Nov 16, 2009, 2:16 PM

Post #642 of 1018 (12376 views)
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     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

“Jeez Mister Mistoffolees...” Ha. I’ll take that as a complement.

Someone has got to step up and fight the Byronic fight.

Especially when what is ‘good’ is what is powder-puff-white and petite-bourgeoisie.

BTW, there are lots of Eliot poems I love. I was just saying that he needed a good editor. AND that I like Pound more. Ha ha.


(This post was edited by Forum Apps on Nov 16, 2009, 2:16 PM)


__________



Nov 16, 2009, 3:43 PM

Post #643 of 1018 (12355 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

...or degrade the complexities and qualities of people’s colloquial styles.

“Better grasp of grammar” …as though grammar was a prescriptive thing?


Well, if you're familiar with prescriptive grammar, you know that colloquial speech is just as rule bound as 'standard' or 'media' English. In most cases, they're exactly the same. I seen, We seen; I saw, they saw. The word has changed (slightly), but the rules have not. I'm not sure you could build a colloquial style without the grammar taught to foreign language students.

Also, consider books like A Clockwork Orange. Powerful English colloquialisms, all imagined. No one lived with that English before it was written.


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Pedro Eler


Nov 17, 2009, 10:55 AM

Post #644 of 1018 (12279 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

A Clockwork Orange is brilliant! And it is a good example of being free to write what you feel is genuine, but having knowledge of the rules while doing it. Anthony Burgess knows the language, for sure, that's why he plays with it so well!


OldScribe2000


Nov 21, 2009, 12:41 AM

Post #645 of 1018 (12119 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) [In reply to]  

I'm kind of surprised to see the MFA sub-forum as quiet as it's been lately. Apparently, the MFA applicants are working hard on their program packages.

So how close are you guys and gals to take-off? Has anyone sent everything out yet? I picked 6 schools, and my first 2 packages will go out to Texas and Arizona on Tuesday. The other 4 will be mailed November 30th.

After that, I sit and wait and worry.

Good luck everyone.


greenpenquills


Nov 21, 2009, 2:49 AM

Post #646 of 1018 (12108 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) [In reply to]  

I'm close, but not as close as I had hoped to be. My writing sample is nearing completion (although I know I'll keep picking at it until the last minute) and I'm still struggling with the SOPs. I'm hoping to mail out all three applications around December 10th, before Iowa's deadline. I don't want this all lingering over the holidays.


kbritten

e-mail user

Nov 21, 2009, 9:58 AM

Post #647 of 1018 (12084 views)
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     Re: [greenpenquills] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) [In reply to]  

I am in the same boat as Greenpenquills. I am pretty confident with two of the three stories I will be sending out, and I will be finishing the third this weekend, but I will be neurotically tweaking until the last moment. I have received letters of recommendation from two of the three people I asked (the third I'm hoping to get tomorrow, but he's very forgetful, so we'll see). I have one application packet totally completed except for the finalized writing sample. Once I'm finished with that, I will send my application off to UFlorida, my top choice. I have to admit, their application process is very simple - two recs, no SOP, two short stories, GRE, transcripts, application. Kudos, UF. I plan on having close to half of my applications sent by the end of this week (I'm a teacher, so I have the whole week off ;) )

Greenpenquills - what helped me get over the stress of the GRE/GPA/SOP was reminding myself that so much of the process is based on the writing sample. I'm not using the SOP to be cute, witty, or clever, I'm using it to answer their questions directly and honestly. Someone correct if I'm wrong, but as long as your grammar is correct, you answer honestly, and follow the directions, I think you'll be fine.

I have to also say that this process has been so beneficial to me. My writing has improved dramatically in the last six months, and all because I had to get serious. I read more over the summer than I usually do, and I realized how much reading effects your writing. I had my short stories workshopped over and over and actually stuck with them instead of giving up on them like I sometimes do. I'm putting a lot of money into this, so I want it to be fruitful. Although I'm prepared for not getting accepted into any program, I really want to get into at least one! If I don't though, this past year will have been a huge sucess for me, writing-wise, and all because of applying to programs.


danceanielle
Dani

Nov 21, 2009, 11:27 AM

Post #648 of 1018 (12064 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) [In reply to]  

I have all the online apps (8) pretty much done, except for the fees. Today I'm sending off my first sample (Dec. 1 Deadline). 2 of my 3 recommenders have totally completed/uploaded everything. I still have a few SOPs to tailor, but I'm feeling pretty good about them.

Is anyone else just completely tired of their sample? I could probably fiddle with it some more, but I just can't get the motivation.


WanderingTree


Nov 21, 2009, 11:41 AM

Post #649 of 1018 (12058 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) [In reply to]  

I sent the last of my 12 apps (w/ all supporting documents) as of last week. All my recs are in, and I have confirmation of receipt from almost every program. I just have one critical essay to finish/revise which I hope to get to this weekend (before thanksgiving week). After that? I'm going to do my best to not freak out and get back to my usual writing/reading schedule.

(This post was edited by WanderingTree on Nov 21, 2009, 11:44 AM)


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 21, 2009, 11:59 AM

Post #650 of 1018 (12050 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) [In reply to]  

I sent everything to two of my schools about a week ago, and will be finishing two more applications this week. After that, I'll only have three more to do, which I plan on completing no later than 12/11.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


(This post was edited by ericweinstein on Nov 21, 2009, 12:00 PM)

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