»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Choosing an MFA Program (2009) (2010) (2011)
Edit your profilePrivate messages Search postsWho's online?
You are not signed in. Click here to sign in.
If you are not a member, Register here!
135893 registered users
First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 41 Next page Last page  View All


ejdifili
Emily

Aug 26, 2008, 2:03 PM

Post #126 of 1018 (16492 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [flobelle] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
My professors/advisors told me to consider the Stegner in lieu of an MFA program due to my experience as an undergrad. (I took classes in an MFA program). It's 1400 applicants for ten spots, I think, five in fiction and five in poetry, although the fiction applicant pool is larger than poetry, so I don't know the actual breakdown. I think it's something like fewer than 500 poetry applicants and the rest fiction.



Well, you obviously have a lot of confidence in your work, which is good. Still, you are probably in for the same wake-up call as the rest of us.

If you are only going to apply to that list of *extremely* competitive schools, I would strongly suggest deveoping a "Plan B" in case it doesn't work out. Statistically speaking (as someone else just commented), those schools are extremely difficult to get into, and winning the Stegner right out of undergrad is almost unheard of.


umass76


Aug 26, 2008, 2:34 PM

Post #127 of 1018 (16481 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [ejdifili] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Hi Flobelle,

I can appreciate not wanting to go to a "less competitive" school. That said, there are at least 35 MFA programs in America as hard or harder to get into than Harvard University undergrad, so I'm confident when I say that the list of competitive programs is longer than the list of five schools you've developed. I think we can safely say there are a minimum of 20 MFA programs in the U.S. that are not just "competitive" or "very competitive" but "obscenely competitive." Realistically, anyone who limits themselves to applying to only five of these is likely to find themselves in that "don't get in" category you referenced for many, many years to come. And that's fine if an MFA doesn't actually interest you particularly, but if you really do want to attend one in the next decade or so, it's worth mulling over. Even the most competitive fifty applicants in each genre per year should be applying to a minimum of eight programs--and since there's no way to know one's competitiveness as an applicant (hundreds of writers are lauded, often rightly, by their undergraduate faculty advisers each year), the conventional wisdom of applying to 12 to 18 schools (and on the higher end of that if all the schools are fully-funded, and/or are harder than Harvard to get into) is the best course for all applicants. I believe I was a very strong candidate when I applied to MFA programs, and still I was rejected outright (not even waitlisted) by four of the seven programs to which I applied. In retrospect, it was a huge mistake to apply to only seven programs, and I'm lucky beyond words that it didn't end in total disaster for me. Fortunately, those applying to MFAs in 2008/9 can take advantage of the fact that the conventional wisdom about MFA applications is now better and more widely disseminated than ever before.

As to the Stegner, I'd respectfully (but strongly) advise against anyone applying to it straight from college. The odds are not just long, I fear they're quite nearly non-existent. Maybe it makes sense for a candidate who's already applying to 18 other educational options (i.e. MFAs), but perhaps not even then. And besides, why not try to get the best of both worlds and earn an MFA and a postgrad fellowship like the Stegner? It seems there's no pressing reason to put the cart before the horse here.

Be well,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 26, 2008, 2:38 PM)


flobelle


Aug 26, 2008, 5:00 PM

Post #128 of 1018 (16447 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I hear what you're saying. I really do. But I'm not applying straight out of undergrad, I'm not really a traditional student, and I didn't even consider the Stegner until my advisor said I should consider it. The reason for this is because I have taken nearly all the MFA classes available in the program at my undergrad institution, which is one of the schools on my list of possible programs. Coursework and writing wise, my advisor suggested that I in a sense have already done the MFA and should pursue something else instead, like the Stegner. I don't even know if I ought to apply to my "current" program--because they want me to go somewhere else.

I also know two writers who received Stegner fellowships right out of college.

And as for "Plan B?" If I don't get a Stegner or into an MFA program? I'll write.

Also, I don't think that MFA program rejection rates are truly indicative of the competitiveness of the individual programs. I'll take my chances, I guess?? :)


umass76


Aug 26, 2008, 5:28 PM

Post #129 of 1018 (16437 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [flobelle] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

F.,

Ultimately, you gotta do whatever feels right to you, of course. I do think acceptance rates (when analyzed comparatively, within the field of CW) are instructive, though. Best,

Seth


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Aug 26, 2008, 6:06 PM

Post #130 of 1018 (16422 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [flobelle] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

As it pertains to the discussion, in the past 14 years there have been 4 poets (out of 70) who received a Stegner fellowship straight out of undergrad. Of those 4, 3 had collections already published or in the works. If I had the statistics for fiction writers, I would certainly post them, I don't, but just some food for thought.

As far as your "Plan B" goes, I think Seth is simply trying to let you know that if you do you want to do an MFA, then your list needn't be so limited. Not because you may not be that talented of a writer, but simply because the odds are weighted against you in such a way that even if you are a great writer, you may not earn one of the few spots available. There are at least 25 programs that pay you for two years to write, which it sounds as though you're committed to doing regardless.

It seems as if you already know what you're going to do, which makes me wonder why you posted your list and asked for feedback in the first place. Unless you simply wanted confirmation that those institutions are ultra-competitive. If that's the case, then yes, you're applying to the top-tier writing programs.


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


mchard


Aug 26, 2008, 10:40 PM

Post #131 of 1018 (16370 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I second the previous posts, and especially agree with HollinsMFAer in the case of confirmation. There's not much any of us could say to ease your "being afraid" if you've already chosen the most difficult path. I sincerely wish you well, however.

M.


flobelle


Aug 26, 2008, 11:43 PM

Post #132 of 1018 (16352 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [mchard] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I think the "fear" I speak of is mostly nerves about the application process, not the outcome. I'm just fretting over things like writing samples and letters of recommendation, and the fact that I've committed to applying at all. But honestly, about the whole Stegner thing: here's a woman, Ammi Keller, who doesn't have a master's degree. And I think that's okay, and that's what I am after. For those of us with experience in graduate programs as undergrads, there is a certain something, and that is: you learn a lot. You wise up to good writing, and you just do it. And that, that writing thing, is what I'm after. And I wrote here, hoping to find others in the same boat. I am a little wowed by the administrative business of it all--I'm not particularly organized and I hate paperwork--maybe someone has something to share about how to keep track of one's applications? I am thinking an excel spreadsheet, but I am not too sure of the right way to set it up. I don't think anyone here can dissuade me from applying to wherever I choose to apply. I am well aware of the statistics. But I do think that my writing is good enough, and I think that having letters of recommendation from people in the "know" can do amazing things to applications. Nepotism works. I've seen it here, in "my" MFA program, and I'm betting dollars to doughnuts that this kind of networking occurs in most, if not all competitive MFA programs.

Ammi's bio:

Ammi Keller grew up in suburban New York. She earned a bachelor's degree in writing and literature at New York University. She was living in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina. Her subsequent travels around the United States influenced her writing. She would like to finish a collection of stories as a Stegner Fellow.


gulfcoasting


Aug 27, 2008, 2:32 AM

Post #133 of 1018 (16326 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [flobelle] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Good luck, but I think you're nuts for not applying to more schools.


als02


Aug 27, 2008, 8:43 AM

Post #134 of 1018 (16306 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Hey, all. Just thought I'd throw my (as others have said of their own) ever-developing list out there. I applied last year, to no avail, so am trying to re-vamp my strategy (read: apply to different/more sleeper schools). At this point, I'm not ruling out too much, but I'd just like a good mix of schools. Anyway, I'll be applying for fiction, so if anyone has any tips on my list or taking a second crack at the application process, I'd appreciate it! So far, I'm a little South-heavy (where my current "home" and the significant people of my life mostly are), but I don't mind branching out to other regions.

POSSIBLE LIST
UMass Amherst
Iowa
Houston
Johns Hopkins
UNC-G
LSU
Univ. of New Orleans
Univ. of South Carolina
UNH
Arkansas
UNC-W
Bowling Green

OTHER OPTIONS SO FAR
Purdue
Univ. of New Mexico
McNeese
NC State
Oregon

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Oh, and one more question--anyone have thoughts on re-applying to the same schools that rejected me? I don't have any of them on my list, but I wasn't sure if it'd be worth re-applying, or if it was a better strategy to try some new places.


(This post was edited by als02 on Aug 27, 2008, 8:46 AM)


__________



Aug 27, 2008, 11:40 AM

Post #135 of 1018 (16275 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [als02] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

If you really want to attend those schools, and you're sending an updated writing sample, with all the new things you've learned this year, then why not?

I used to have a list of those who applied two, three, even four times to Iowa. Adam Haslett was one of them, and look at him now...


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Aug 27, 2008, 11:41 AM)


litlifer


Aug 28, 2008, 2:57 PM

Post #136 of 1018 (16161 views)
Shortcut
     Re: Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I'm new to this thread and the speakeasy, but learning a ton from everyone's insights so thank you to everybody for providing such a fantastic forum.

I'm exploring applying to MFA programs in fiction but given my total lack of publishing and the long distance from my undergrad years, I'm curious to hear opinions on my chances of even getting in to a program. I'm a passionate writer with a strong commitment to improving and have been in numerous workshops but this process - reference letters, the GRE, essays - seems very daunting. Since graduating, I've worked in journalism and television so story isn't unfamiliar but academia sure is.

Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.


zebulon


Aug 28, 2008, 3:25 PM

Post #137 of 1018 (16151 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Holy crap, Seth, you're the man. Thanks for all the helpful information (and indeed from all who have posted in this thread), I'll throw my own hat in the ring here. I am planning on applying for poetry. Like possumholler earlier, I am specifically hopeful to teach creative writing classes specifically. Two schools that I know I'm applying to largely because of this are UNC- Wilmington and Indiana. Funding is also very important, or, at least a few available full funding packages, doesn't have to be full for everyone, I figure if I'm arrogant enough to apply for one of the 4 poetry slots at Cornell, why not set my sights high. At the same time, there's a wild card bonus for larger programs, because I'm applying with another writer to most of the schools, and a larger program seems to have a slightly more likely for us both to get into. Any publication/publishing experience would be great, I've worked on a few lit mags and would like to do it again. I am also (and very importantly) hoping to go to a program that will look good to a future university's hiring committee. Location is slightly important, West coast or southwest, but not the most important factor by any measure. I've been doing research, but it's slow going, and I know there are a ton of programs that I don't know the slightest thing about. Here's my at the moment list:

Cornell
Austin
Iowa
UNC- Wilmington
Indiana
Minnesota
Houston
Montana
Boise State
FSU

a few programs have frequently fluctuated on and off my list, mostly because I don't know much about their program,or perhaps I'm imagining in my head that the progam may not be as "reputable" when it comes to future job hunts (which I think I can shape my list by, as I have perfect faith that all of these programs will provide an excellent learning environment): UCR, UA, USC (MPW- does anyone know if this flies close enough to an MFA to teach writing? This would be my sole fiction app, and their "connections" are what really intrigue me here. I definitely have some long fiction in me), UF, Wichita (I love Goldbarth), Oregon (I like the area), New School, Bowling Green, UV (Viva Hicok!), Michigan... and a dozen others, but I'm trying to keep my application pool to around ten. I also love the idea of Cornell's linked PhD program which I would be applying for, so if any other schools have something similar (and conversely, would going to a school's MFA worsen my chances at getting accepted for their PhD program, writing or otherwise).

Oh, and does anyone know anything about the UCSD program? I know I wasn't impressed with the SDSU funding options, but I'm assuming UCSD will be more experimental... not that I'm averse to experimentation, but it's just not what I'm looking for. Thanks again for providing so much helpful information for us lurkers.


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Aug 28, 2008, 5:58 PM

Post #138 of 1018 (16120 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [zebulon] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I'm not sure which school you mean by "UV," but it is my understanding that Bob Hicock teaches at Virginia Tech...looks like a great list, though I'm not sure how much Boise State fits in with the other schools on your list in terms of the name recognition factor. Also, I would say that you might be over-weighing how much where you completed your MFA matters to a hiring committee. PhD, yes, the school matters, but for an MFA, not so much. They will be worried about publications more than anything, regardless if you have a degree with Cornell or Texas written on it. If you don't have a book or significant publications, you're not landing a tenure-track position. That's simply the job market as it stands, flooded with an applicant pool of MFAers all with degrees that they could argue come from "reputable programs." Iowa might be a different story, simply because of the history of that program and the limited knowledge most old-school professors have of the modern MFA landscape (i.e. they might not recognize the leaps a program like UNC-W has taken). I would take that into consideration. Not that you shouldn't respect the prestige of the programs you're applying to, simply that it should weigh far, far, far below funding and faculty on your list. Just something to consider as you finalize your schools. Best of luck!


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com

(This post was edited by HollinsMFAer on Aug 28, 2008, 6:03 PM)


mchard


Aug 28, 2008, 6:09 PM

Post #139 of 1018 (16111 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [zebulon] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Just for the record, everyone is guaranteed the opportunity to teach at least 2 sections of creative writing at Purdue (in their particular genre).

M.


dorchester


Aug 28, 2008, 7:30 PM

Post #140 of 1018 (16090 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

 
Hollins MFAer,

Fundamentally, I think we're in agreement, but I'd like to add/clarify a few things for students who are wondering about the "prestige value" of an MFA on the academic job market, as I have spent a lot of time on both ends (both as a search committee interviewer and as an applicant ).

1. Yes, most professors, even professors of creative writing, aren't aware of recent trends in the MFA world. In other words, most won't be aware that programs like UNC Wilmington, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame have made enormous leaps in recent years, so one can't expect that degrees from those schools will have an immediate impact on one's chances, at least not in the near future.

2. Yes, an applicant's record of publication is going to be a much bigger factor than the "prestige value" of that applicant's degree. And yes, the market has become so competitive that a lot of schools basically expect that their top candidates (those invited to campus) will have at least one book.

3. Nevertheless, as you mentioned, Iowa seems to be the exception. The "prestige value" of the Iowa degree seems to carry a lot more weight than any other, which is why so many colleges and universities across the country have Iowa grads on their creative writing faculty, many without books. You can chalk this up to the fame and legacy of the program or whatever, but I can think of at least ten of my former Iowa classmates who were able to secure tenure-track positions without books, although in each case the person had a pretty significant record of publication.

4. There are a handful of other programs that also have a certain "prestige value" associated with them. Cornell, UC Irvine, Michigan, Columbia, John Hopkins, and UVA. Though none of these degrees seem to open as many academic doors as the Iowa degree does, they are all well respected and "known" in most academic circles, and, all else being equal, might certainly give an applicant an edge over her competitors.

Just my two cents . . .


umass76


Aug 28, 2008, 8:47 PM

Post #141 of 1018 (16070 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [dorchester] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Dorchester,

Some good points, though I can't help but wonder whether the reputation of the schools you mentioned is based on the publishing record of their graduates, or on the USNWR rankings from well over a decade ago. Recently a friend and I were trying to think of the great fiction writers who've come out of Irvine--and we had no problem doing so. Then we tried to do that with Iowa--still no problem. Then we moved on to Columbia and hit a blank. JHU, a blank. And if you're talking poets, it becomes an absolute massacre: UMass @ Amherst has graduated more big-time poets in the last three years than, perhaps, JHU has done in the history of the school. So here's my point: if you look at the schools you mentioned as having some pull with hiring committees, here's what you see in terms of the now-outdated USNWR rankings:

Iowa (#1)
JHU (#2)
Columbia (#4)
Virginia (#4)
Irvine (#6)
Michigan (#6)
Cornell (#10)

So what you're saying is--and I'm not saying you're wrong, so much as that we have to ask why you might be right--hiring committees just coincidentally have the most respect for 7 of the 10 programs which made the top ten in one magazine's rankings more than 12 years ago. Honestly, that just strikes me as hiring committees being out of touch, and wrongly assuming that nothing changes, rankings-wise, over time--even over a dozen years. And those dozen years have been the biggest years of expansion and upheaval in the history of the MFA degree in creative writing.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's going to happen--soon, if not already--that hiring committees say, "let's look at where the best writers are coming from, and/or where the most recent rankings place the different schools out there." And when they do that, programs like Massachusetts are going to really explode in prestige, as will other programs that have made the top 20 in the United States in three straight years of rankings:

Iowa
Michigan
Cornell
Indiana
Massachusetts
Texas
Brown
Montana
Virginia
Oregon
Wilmington
Irvine
JHU
Syracuse
Notre Dame*
Houston*
Washington U.*
Minnesota *
Wisconsin *

* Washington University was 21st in 2007; Wisconsin and Minnesota were 26th in 2007; Notre Dame is 22nd in 2009; Houston is 24th in 2009. In all other years these programs were top 20.

Fudging only a hair, that's nineteen programs that have been in the top 20 for three straight years. That sort of confidence level in the recent rankings--95% agreement--suggests that any hiring committee which only considers six of the above programs (less than a third) prestigious "on their face" is severely out of touch. It's not a huge surprise that hiring committees are a few years behind (as the only rankings done in the 21st century have only been out since January of 2007, or about 18 months), but I don't think it'll be much longer before there's a sea change. In any case, anyone who attends one of the programs above now will undoubtedly, by the time they graduate in 2-3 years, be entering a workforce in which such programs have every bit as much prestige as the schools you mentioned in your post.

Best,
Seth



(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 28, 2008, 8:49 PM)


__________



Aug 28, 2008, 9:46 PM

Post #142 of 1018 (16056 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Columbia spits out a steady slew of interesting, published authors. Just recently I enjoyed The First Hurt, by Rachel Sherman, and Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen. They also have the youngest, and um, maybe 'edgiest', faculty, if that means anything. I don't see how you'd go wrong with Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, and that Russian guy named Gary...

The school rocks, I'm telling you. If they could just move it to some place with grass, or maybe a mini-mall with a movie theater riding shotgun, then you know I'd apply. Until then, I'm stuck with UT Austin.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Aug 28, 2008, 9:54 PM)


__________



Aug 28, 2008, 10:02 PM

Post #143 of 1018 (16043 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

And I agree, it's always tricky to talk about poetry...but I'll have to politely disagree with your assessment of UMass. Those 'big name' poets are kind of misleading; a lot of the UMass crowd are just published and read exclusively by UMass graduates, people with a boner for that kind of anyone-can-do-it, word salad poetry said to demonstrate various esoteric theories popularized by France in the late 70's. It's just a close the door, turn off the lights, circle jerk type of affair. What is the sound of five hands jerking? UMass seems to ask...only to be met with a collective yawn.

Other schools might have less published graduates, but those grads seem to at least have books that are read, win prestigious prizes, etc.

Tricky, tricky, tricky...


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Aug 28, 2008, 10:07 PM)


umass76


Aug 28, 2008, 10:11 PM

Post #144 of 1018 (16037 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

JM,

I dunno, didn't Natasha Trethewey just win the Pulitzer Prize or something? The Amherst scene is a lot bigger than Wave Books.

As to Columbia, I don't mean their grads don't publish--I mean I don't read about what they publish on the New York Times notable books list. And there's a difference.

S.


__________



Aug 28, 2008, 10:14 PM

Post #145 of 1018 (16035 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I could be a couple years out of date with my UMass information.

As for Columbia, though -- nah, I'm certain. I read of Galchen's recently published book in a glowing NYT review, and Sherman was pretty critically praised as well. And that's just the stuff in line with my tastes. I'm sure Clench or someone could chime in with the others.


six five four three two one 0 ->


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Aug 28, 2008, 10:41 PM

Post #146 of 1018 (16026 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

As a way of addressing both of these alumni pools and drawing an annoying promotion of my own program: Kiran Desai, a '99 graduate of Columbia won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Booker Prize. Natasha Trethewey, a UMASS-Amherst grad did in fact win the Pulitzer prize.

Both of them earned M.A.'s from Hollins (before it had switchted to an MFA) before attending their respective programs

All this simply to say that oftentimes this business of programs 'claiming' writers is a bit suspect, as there are so many other factors involved. To say Columbia grads don't write bestsellers or UMASS grads don't win awards seems reductive. About 99% of writers don't write bestsellers or win major awards, the fact that these writers come from certain programs seems much more likely indicative of that individual writers' talent rather than of the quality of the program they attended...all that being said, the better the reputation of the program, theoretically, the better the writers they attract...

I feel like my point was lost somewhere in the act of writing this post...perhaps I've joined the circle jerk...


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


dorchester


Aug 29, 2008, 1:02 AM

Post #147 of 1018 (15991 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

 
Seth,

Thanks for your response. I'm a big admirer of the fine work you do for prospective MFA students, and I almost never find myself in disagreement with anything you have to say, and I don't think we're in disagreement here. I'm simply trying to present an insider's perspective on what I perceive to be the programs that are still held in high regard in the world of academia, whether these opinions are justified or not. Do I think these opinions have been influenced by the 1997 US News & World Report Rankings? Absolutely. Do I think this is fair? Absolutely not. In an ideal world, the professors on hiring committees who make these decisions would be as familiar with the recent trends in the MFA world as you and I, but unfortunately, from my perspective, they're not. Thus, it's going to take a few years before programs like Notre Dame and Wisconsin begin to get recognized in the way they should. Unfortunately, a large number of the professors on hiring committees--many of whom aren't even creative writers--know only a handful of programs, and the programs they know tend to be older programs that solidified their reputations decades ago--programs like Iowa, Johns Hopkins and Columbia (what used to be considered the big three) and beyond that, programs like UC Irvine, Cornell and Michigan. In the 80s, both Hopkins and Columbia produced a lot of big names, and of course no program has produced more big names than Iowa, and unfortunately this is what 40-50 year old creative writing professors heading these search committees remember.

I agree that Columbia isn't churning out the talent it used to and neither is Johns Hopkins. Iowa is probably the only program from that era that continues to produce literary stars, and that will probably continue indefinitely based simply on its ever-growing popularity. In any event, the only point I was trying to make is that prestige does still matter (to an extent) in the world of academia and that applicants should be aware that some of the newer up-and-coming programs might not be as recognized by hiring committees simply because those hiring committees tend to be a few years behind the times. I have no doubt that a degree from Wisconsin will mean something five to ten years from now, but right now it's still a little off the radar.

Finally, I want to be clear that I'm not trying to discourage students from applying to some of newer up-and-coming programs. Those programs have earned a high spot in your own rankings for good reason, and they're all outstanding programs. I'm just trying to say that when it comes to academia--and I hate to be the bearer of bad news--things move at a slower pace. This is not the case everywhere, of course, but generally speaking, I think it is.

Thanks again for your response, Seth. In my opinion, you are doing more for MFA programs than anyone else in the country, and I applaud your hard work and generosity.


umass76


Aug 29, 2008, 1:11 AM

Post #148 of 1018 (15989 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [dorchester] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Hey there Dorchester,

I hope I didn't sound catty there--I promise I wasn't trying to take away from what you said, all of which (as you mentioned) we're in agreement on. Just wanted to use your comments as a jumping-off point, and probably didn't do a great job of it. I totally agree with everything you say, and really appreciated your post, above. I do think it's important for all of us to realize that the work we're doing on MFAs--either by researching them or by helping (through discussions like these) to change the conventional wisdom about them--is still something that'll take a little longer to filter fully into the Academy.

Best wishes,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 29, 2008, 1:11 AM)


dorchester


Aug 29, 2008, 1:29 AM

Post #149 of 1018 (15983 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

 
Thanks, Seth. And I think you're right. The best we can do is spread the word. Over time the academy will catch up.

Best wishes,
Dorchester


Clench Million
Charles

Aug 29, 2008, 12:21 PM

Post #150 of 1018 (15935 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Dorchester,

Some good points, though I can't help but wonder whether the reputation of the schools you mentioned is based on the publishing record of their graduates, or on the USNWR rankings from well over a decade ago. Recently a friend and I were trying to think of the great fiction writers who've come out of Irvine--and we had no problem doing so. Then we tried to do that with Iowa--still no problem. Then we moved on to Columbia and hit a blank. JHU, a blank.


I'm afraid this seems more like evidence of personal bias than it does reality. You "hit a blank" thinking of Columbia graduates?

I'm not going to get into a debate over who is a "great" fiction writer, but without even looking it up I can think of a half-dozen popular and acclaimed fiction writers who have come out of Columbia in recent years:

Kiran Desai, Rick Moody, Karen Russell, etc.

Recently I was walking by Barnes and Noble and saw three recent Columbia grad books featured in the window: Keith Gessen, Rivka Galshin, Monica Ferrell.... and maybe Rachel Sherman as well.

Wells Tower new book is certain to get a lot of acclaim.


Columbia grads, as far as I can tell, publish more than any other school not named Iowa. And even Iowa seems to have dipped off a lot lately.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Aug 29, 2008, 12:23 PM)

First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 41 Next page Last page  View All

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs

 


P&W Newsletters

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter to stay informed of the latest news, events and more.

Click to Sign Up

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2011. All Rights Reserved