Oct 7, 2008, 11:04 AM
Post #207 of 1018
I need tons and tons of help and advice. Please save me, benevolent P&W forum-goers.
Alright, so, I applied last year to 7 schools, crossed my fingers, hoped for the best... and got rejected by every single one. It kinda crushed my dreams and my desire to write, so I avoided even thinking about writing for several months. Now, though, I think I'm ready to start thinking about trying again. I found a local workshop, I'm talking with my former professors, hopefully I learned a bit from last year.
Last year, I applied to the following schools:
U of Virginia
U of Wisconsin
U of Florida
Washington Univ in St. Louis
U of Michigan
and Georgia College & State Univ.
So, 6 very top-end schools and only 1 "safety". My primary concern was funding, I knew nothing about the faculty (and still don't) and not a whole lot about contemporary literature in general. I sent out two pieces which were apparently very experimental (I'd say one definitely was, though I'm not 100% convinced the other is.)
Since that time, I've discovered my writing is generally experimental, and it also tends to be what I enjoy reading. I have been trying to brush up on contemporary literature a bit, reading through the 2008 O. Henry and Pushcart prize anthologies. All it's done for me to date, though, is emphasize to me that experimental fiction is my genre of choice.
So, all that said, I suppose my primary concerns this year are "well-funded" and "experimental-friendly" schools, as I'm a poor guy from the Nashville suburbs. (It also limits the number of schools I can apply to, damned app fees.) I've been wanting to read Tom Kealey's MFA Handbook, but I decided to go ahead and preorder the new edition, which is apparently still not released. (His publisher gives a pub date of 10/1/08, but Amazon still just says "Oct. 2008". Maybe if Seth sees this he might know a bit more about when it should be available for us last minute types?) I very much hope it will give me some more help, but until that time, I've turned to the Speakeasy.
When I was applying last year, I came across a blog entry by Steve Tomasula (Director of Notre Dame's MFA program) about experimental programs, including his own. It's a nice little list, and the comments are helpful, too. (Link's available here.) I know from looking last year that ND's funding is pretty nice, so I think they've got a definite spot on my list. Brown is also on his list, and I doubt I can afford that. I intend to look further into U of Colorado, Boulder, U of Utah, U of Alabama, and Florida State soon. I also need to look into the ones suggested by Lance Olsen, director of U of Utah's program, in the comments. I'm looking for other suggestions from this community as well. Perhaps some of you have got some good suggestions?