»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Low-Residency MFAs
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!
139149 registered users
First page Previous page 1 ... 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 Next page Last page  View All


s0ckeyeus


Apr 4, 2014, 12:20 PM

Post #2601 of 2662 (11188 views)
Shortcut
Re: [silkentent] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

"I put that 25 hours in while teaching full time (six 45-minute classes a day plus study hall supervision and lunch duty) and parenting a primary-grade child. You find the time, you make the time, and you figure it out, day by day. Just do it!"

These challenges don't go away post-MFA either. I work full time and have a wife and baby. If I don't make writing and reading a priority, it doesn't get done. I had to learn to read on the toilet, write in the shower, and still keep myself engaged in every day life. I learned these skills during my low-res MFA. Now that I'm almost a year out of school, my habits are still similar to how they were when I was in the program. It's easy once you get out to let "real life" swallow you up. I know people who haven't written a thing post-MFA and others who are just playing the "I'm a writer" game. MFA or no MFA, writing is hard work.


(This post was edited by s0ckeyeus on Apr 4, 2014, 12:21 PM)


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

Apr 6, 2014, 4:38 PM

Post #2602 of 2662 (11105 views)
Shortcut
Re: [s0ckeyeus] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Very good point, s0ckeyeus. Thank you for your input!


LMC


Apr 8, 2014, 11:31 AM

Post #2603 of 2662 (11059 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Danuta Hinc] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations, and feel free to contact me with any questions you might have re: Bennington. no.hum.here@gmail.comI can give you info on the fiction faculty and some of the nonfiction ones, and refer you to someone else for the poetry faculty. We put down preferences when we send in our workshop manuscripts and are assigned to a 10 student group with two faculty, one of whom will be the primary advisor for the term to follow. The large lectures are open, so you can go to whichever you want (most people go to all of them) and the salons---well, I haven't figured out the system for that. You put down your first three picks and generally folks seems to get their first or second pick.


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

May 14, 2014, 12:14 PM

Post #2604 of 2662 (10389 views)
Shortcut
Re: [lexy] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, folks--reviving this thread. I've been accepted to the low-residency program at Wilkes University and am looking forward to my first residency (sort of). I've actually got a bad case of nerves/semi-panic.

I would love to hear about your residency experiences. Did you stay in a dorm and/or hotel? What was it like? We have a dorm on campus for summer residency and go to a hotel for winter. I live within 15 minutes' drive of the campus, so I wasn't planning to stay on campus. But several current and former students have been telling me "oh, you should definitely stay on campus." Reasons are 1) It "breaks the spell" to have to go home at night; 2) The days are looong; 3) You'll bond better with your cohort/classmates; and 4) It's good to completely immerse yourself in the residency and get away from the "real world."

On the other hand, the dorm sounds rather uncomfortable and I would have to bring a lot of stuff from home. I never stayed in a dorm. My sister, who did for two years of college, said they couldn't pay her enough to get her to stay in one ever again.

Also concerned about the work load, but I'm sure I will adjust.


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

May 14, 2014, 12:25 PM

Post #2605 of 2662 (10385 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

At Tampa we stay in a hotel just across the river from the campus. Living in Chicago, commuting isn't an option. We've got a fair number of locals who do the commute. I have to admit that being an introvert, I tend to disappear to be on my own and read and write a lot of the time. Lunches (and to a lesser extent) breakfasts are a primary socialization opportunity. There is a fair amount of people hanging out in the hotel bar after readings, but that's my talk to my wife time.

It is an overwhelming time. You're pretty much going for twelve hours a day every day, but it's exhilarating as well. I'm a bit sad going into my final residency next month. I'm going to miss the experience.

The workload is a challenge. It helps to block out chunks of time in your schedule to dedicate to MFA work. You're going to read and write a lot. My biggest tip is to write beyond what you submit in your packets. You'll find that this makes the thesis term a lot easier since you'll have a larger corpus of work to draw from.


http://dahosek.com


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

May 14, 2014, 12:59 PM

Post #2606 of 2662 (10379 views)
Shortcut
Re: [dahosek] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're going to drive anyway, I'd stay on campus. You can put up with the rooms for a week (you'd do that much at Tin House or Sewanee or the others), and part of the residency is the immersion in the writing life. At my first residency I skipped the first few days of socializing (holed up in my room, working on study plans) and regretted it later.


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/


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

May 14, 2014, 1:42 PM

Post #2607 of 2662 (10369 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I would tell you to stay in the dorm, at least for the first residency. For Vermont, I stayed in the dorm every residency, although a lot of people moved off campus during the later residencies to more comfortable digs.

But there are some tricks to make your dorm accommodations more pleasant. First, you should talk to the residency coordinator or staff person to get some info about what is provided in the dorm rooms. And see if you can talk to former or current students who have stayed in the dorms during residency. They'll be able to give you insider tips.

Except for my first residency, I had a single, which meant lots of room to spread my stuff out. Our dorm rooms had no AC, so I brought a small fan. At later residencies the school began outfitting every room with window fans--a wonderful addition for the Vermont summers. I also ordered a Tempurpedic mattress pad for my bed, delivered to my room on the day I arrived. It made the hard mattress much more comfortable. Since the winters there were cold, I bought an all-weather cushy comforter form Overstock--also a great addition. Vermont was gracious enough to allow me to store my goodies on campus between residencies so I didn't have to ship the stuff every time.

Congrats. You're about to embark upon a wonderful adventure!

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

May 14, 2014, 4:04 PM

Post #2608 of 2662 (10351 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jlgwriter] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, if you're driving and you're at all fussy about your towels, bring towels. Between residencies and workshops, I've only had good towels once (at Wildacres).


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/


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

May 14, 2014, 4:10 PM

Post #2609 of 2662 (10348 views)
Shortcut
Re: [pongo] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent idea! I always brought my own towels because the ones supplied by the residency were a little thin.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

May 14, 2014, 4:59 PM

Post #2610 of 2662 (10341 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jlgwriter] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Big advantage to the hotel option: hotel towels.


http://dahosek.com


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

May 15, 2014, 10:14 AM

Post #2611 of 2662 (10311 views)
Shortcut
Re: [dahosek] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

To be honest, the closer I get to residency, the less I want to go. It sounds awful.

I just found out that on top of 12 hour days with assignments to be completed during the day, there's homework at night. And that everyone expects/advises you to go out and socialize. So let's see: A 12-hour day, plus, say, two hours at a bar/restaurant, plus an hour's worth of homework=a 15 hour day. That leaves very little time to sleep, eat breakfast (we're on our own for that meal), shower, talk to my spouse, etc. Keeping this in mind, I don't think there's any advantage to staying on campus. I might even feel better in my own home, plus save money on the air mattress/mattress pad/lamps I'd have to purchase. Oh, and the dorm rooms don't even have kitchen tables/chairs in case you want to sit down and have your breakfast there.

I have a lot of trouble sleeping (even at home), plus if I don't get a reasonable amount of sleep (7 hours) I feel sick the next day, break down crying very easily, etc. I'm starting to wonder if this whole program is even doable for me. When I was an undergrad (I was in college in my 30s), I had mini-breakdowns every semester, weeping and shouting that I "couldn't do it." This has kept me out of grad school for the past 12 years.

I'm also anxious about the dining hall food. They told me you HAVE to eat there (as it's part of the ever-persistent socializing). I am on a very, very strict diet and need to talk to the chef about accommodations (so far he hasn't responded to my email).

Scared sh*tless and questioning my sanity here...

Sorry if I am being whiny. I just switched working hours and am somewhat sleep deprived/having trouble adjusting, have had an upset stomach every day for two weeks etc.


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

May 15, 2014, 11:52 AM

Post #2612 of 2662 (10305 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Adrenaline does a lot. Our schedule at Tampa includes big gaps of time at lunch (an hour and a a half) and dinner (two and a half hours) so it's not 12 hours continuously packed, just that the first event starts at 9a and the last finishes at 9p. You'll have fun. Trust me, I'm telling you stories.*

* Bonus points for identifying the quote.

-dh


http://dahosek.com


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

May 15, 2014, 4:34 PM

Post #2613 of 2662 (10289 views)
Shortcut
Re: [dahosek] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I confess: I didn't know who the quote was from, so I Googled it.

Thanks for the encouragement. I need it!


twistedlittlepuppy
Naomie Laurent

Jun 2, 2014, 6:36 PM

Post #2614 of 2662 (7770 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jlgwriter] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm, after much lurking, I finally decided to register after getting my acceptance into VCFA! I would love to hear form anyone who did went there, especially anyone who did the WCYA (Writing for Children & Young Adults) program. I'm still working on the logistics regarding the program (e.g., figuring out why it's so expensive to fly into Burlington and debating whether to fly into Boston and take the Dog/train to Montpelier instead). I haven't heard the most glorious things about the dorms and food, but I'm hoping that things have change for the better or these were gross exaggerations.

Excited-only 6 weeks to go!


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 2, 2014, 8:03 PM

Post #2615 of 2662 (7765 views)
Shortcut
Re: [twistedlittlepuppy] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

The food may not be great, but the campus is within walking distance of NECI on Main, the restaurant of the New England Culinary Institute, which is pretty consistently excellent. (And just down the block from Rivendell, one of my very favorite bookstores.)

No, I didn't go to VCFA, but I have spent time in Montpelier.


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/


hkamins
Heather Kamins

Jun 4, 2014, 10:44 AM

Post #2616 of 2662 (7716 views)
Shortcut
Re: [twistedlittlepuppy] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to VCFA's summer conference a few years back and had a good experience. Many of the faculty at the conference also taught in the MFA program. There were also some students from the MFA program participating in the conference, and they had very good things to say about the program. The dorms and food were, well, dorms and cafeteria food, but they were fine. Montpelier is lovely and is walking distance from campus.

Another travel option is to fly into Hartford and bus/train/rent a car to get to Montpelier. It's about 3 hours away. Hartford is a smaller and more manageable airport than Boston, and traffic isn't as bad.


Heather Kamins

Fiction, Poetry, and Other Necessities
http://www.heatherkamins.com


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 4, 2014, 11:25 AM

Post #2617 of 2662 (7714 views)
Shortcut
Re: [hkamins] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, Heather! Long time no see. [waving]


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/


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Jun 4, 2014, 11:51 AM

Post #2618 of 2662 (7711 views)
Shortcut
Re: [twistedlittlepuppy] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in the MFA in Writing program and a grad asst. in 2013. VCFA took control of the school (It used to be owned by Union Institute and University) while I was there and immediately began making improvements to the facilities. They've upgraded the beds in the dorms, installed window fans in every room, improved the quality of bedding, upgraded the bathrooms, and tackled the complaints about the food.

The cafeteria now offers more specialized menus, including vegetarian and gluten-free. And I believe they recently added an onsite coffee shop. They also added an on-campus book store and gift shop.

As to travel, it depends on where you're coming from, I guess. I flew in from Arizona, so it was always a challenge to find good connections. I've flown into Burlington (a charming airport, btw) and into Manchester, CT (also charming) where a group of us rented a car and drove to Montpelier. It's an easy drive, but it takes over 2 hours, so it makes for a very long day if you're coming from the West.

The walk from the train station to the campus is a goodly hike--all uphill. You can take a cab, though. If you fly into Burlington, consider taking the Vermont Shuttle. Their main driver, Bob, will make all sorts of accommodations if you have flight delays, lost luggage, etc. The Shuttle runs 24 hours. I've had flight delays that brought me in hours and hours late to Burlington--sometimes at 2:00 a.m., and Bob was always there to pick me up. He dropped me off at the dorm and waited while I called Security to let me into my room. One year, a student's luggage was lost, and he took her to the Walmart on the way to Montpelier to pick up necessities.

Don't hesitate to talk to Louise or the staff at Vermont if you have problems or questions. They are all very helpful.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


hkamins
Heather Kamins

Jun 4, 2014, 1:58 PM

Post #2619 of 2662 (7703 views)
Shortcut
Re: [pongo] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey, Heather! Long time no see. [waving]



Heather Kamins

Fiction, Poetry, and Other Necessities
http://www.heatherkamins.com


twistedlittlepuppy
Naomie Laurent

Jun 5, 2014, 1:19 PM

Post #2620 of 2662 (7665 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jlgwriter] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info (ditto to hkamins). I'm coming in from Chicago, but am originally from Boston, hence why I mentioned flying into Logan instead- I know how to hustle through that airport and around on the T, which is good since I don't drive. I've got family in Boston, Manchester, NH, and Bridgeport, CT so I'm trying to see if I can wrangle a ride from one of them (ha! I will probably end up paying for that request when th holidays roll around and the gift list comes out), but worst case sceanario, it looks like I can hop the train or bus out of Boston and take the 3 hour trek up there. Still working out the cost-time ratio (cheaper but takes more time and is less conveninent vs. quicker and more straightforward but more expensive). It just doesn't seem like a lot of airlines fly out there, like Virgin, which has become one of my airlines of choice recently.

For now, I've been snooping around differnet blogs where folks have talked about their time at VCFA, but most of these are older, pre-2012. It's good to here some of the concerns expressed may have been remdied, though I wasn't too worried since I'm what I like to call "hardy" and not too picky or fragile (have slept on bare floors and survived off of crusty beans and rice more times than not, so I doubt it could be worse!). I'm still just glad/relieved that my first Vermont experience is happening during the summer and not January!


writerle


Jun 5, 2014, 2:20 PM

Post #2621 of 2662 (7658 views)
Shortcut
Re: [twistedlittlepuppy] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you tried Jet Blue? I always flew Jet Blue and found they had the cheapest fares and the most available flights into Burlington. I even got a Jet Blue American Express card and earned a free flight going back and forth for the residencies. Not sure if they still offer that or not, but Jet Blue is a great airline and Burlington is a very small, easy-to-navigate airport.

As far as the dorms, well they're dorms in a 100+ year old building, so yes, they are rustic, but even before the recent improvements (I graduated in 2008) they weren't bad. I also bought a mattress pad and a pillow, which a friend who drove to campus was nice enough to keep for me in between residencies. With the addition of fans in every room, you should be fine. I've stayed in other dorms, and they are on par with most college dorm experiences.

The food in the cafeteria was inconsistent while I was there. It depended on how experienced the NECI students doing the cooking were at each residency. Sometimes you got newer students, sometimes they were more experienced. But there are tons of great restaurants within walking distance of campus and a great Co-op that sells all kinds of local produce and locally-made items. I never starved, though I did lose weight at most residencies since I found myself walking around the beautiful town of Montpelier almost everyday.

Now, six years later, I miss the residencies most of all. I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat. It was such a magical time for me and I learned so much. Enjoy!


renila


Jun 12, 2014, 9:59 PM

Post #2622 of 2662 (7276 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jlgwriter] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Speakeasy folks,

After dithering around for ages, I'm finally applying to MFA programs. Low Res because I just got married last year and I need to stay in LA for film-related reasons.

My short list:

Warren Wilson (fiction)
VCFA (dual genre: fiction & CNF)
Bennington (dual genre: fiction & CNF)
NYU-Paris (fiction)

I've done a lot of research online, but I still have a few concerns:

1. Openness to literary genre fiction. I don't write it exclusively, but I do like my crimes, sometimes. I feel like VCFA is cool with it due to Domenic Stansberry (and my experience with Clint McCown at their summer post-grad workshop). Not sure about the others.

2. Do they have separate sections for workshopping novels? Do they support novels or frown on them?

3. How tough are they on the critical essays? I haven't written one since 1986.

4. How tough is the teaching? I'm okay with hard notes.

5. NYU-Paris is very new. How does the cohort compare to other programs?

Would love some feedback -- by PM if you don't feel comfortable sharing in public.

Thanks!


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 12, 2014, 10:10 PM

Post #2623 of 2662 (7274 views)
Shortcut
Re: [renila] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Most programs are fine with novels. You have to turn in a book as your thesis, and some are collections and some are novels, but I've never heard of a novel not being acceptable.


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/


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Jun 13, 2014, 10:51 AM

Post #2624 of 2662 (7251 views)
Shortcut
Re: [renila] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm just finishing (next week!) my MFA at U Tampa. I think, actually, the low-res format is better for novels than the full-res since you have more continuity and connection in the feedback on your work (the traditional Iowa-style workshop tends to be more amenable to short fiction).

-dh


http://dahosek.com


writerle


Jun 13, 2014, 1:23 PM

Post #2625 of 2662 (7242 views)
Shortcut
Re: [renila] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to VCFA and worked on a novel the entire time I was there (with a few short stories thrown in here and there too). All of my advisors were fine with it. There were a lot of people there working on novels. I also met a lot of genre writers, though I'm pretty much straight literary fiction. It didn't seem to me as though anyone had a problem with a variety of literary genres.

As far as the critical thesis goes, it's pretty much a semester-long project. It is tough and required a lot of time and research, but the advisors are really good about helping you through it. I sent in several drafts before the actual thesis was due and got a lot of helpful feedback. It wasn't too bad. And you write a lot of shorter critical pieces the first two semesters, so by the time you get to the critical thesis third semester, you've had a lot of practice.

First page Previous page 1 ... 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 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