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Dark Horse


Oct 5, 2006, 4:44 PM

Post #1351 of 2652 (19033 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post


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Plus they ask for less critical work, which I--with a too-demanding day job, a small child & a marriage already under some duress--might find a blessing. On the other hand, I like the critical work--not only see its value, but might feel a little gypped, understimulated in a program that *doesn't* engage as thoroughly in the reading life.


My view on where to go is predictable and everyone who has so much as skimmed these boards knows what I'll say - Bennington's literary tradition, blah blah blah. But to add one thing specific to your post: No matter where you go, the reading and critical work are, well, critical. The challenging reading lists and incessant pain-in-the-*** annotations essentially made the MFA for me. More than anything else, that's what has improved me as a writer the past two years: reading widely, doing it like a writer, and being forced to verbalize what I was taking away from each piece. You learn more from an excellent book than you do from any teacher or packet.

Besides, even a long reading list isn't that daunting if you're faithful about it. 25-30 books over a five-month term works out to about 50 pages a night, six nights a week. In other words, an hour before bed. The more frightening thing is a week left to deadline with no clue what to write next. Which you'll face in any program.


Heh. Well said. That hour-before-bed, well, I could use it otherwise but that's how I feel about the annotations truly. The rigor is part of the point.

As for Bennington, yeah I know. It seems WW is lower-key in certain ways--I should say, is a little less New York-centric, which does matter. But I've been really impressed with Pete Turchi (& the program's) thoughtful and profound seriousness. There's something very contemplative and to-the-point about WW. Bennington's rhetoric is a little more fiery--it's terrific, and inspiring--but I felt a little more 'talked at' by Liam somehow...Turchi & Leebron both addressed my work very specifically, which I appreciated.

I'm sure it's gonna work out well in any case. But it's a tougher decision than I thought.


gblackwe

e-mail user

Oct 5, 2006, 4:44 PM

Post #1352 of 2652 (19033 views)
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Re: [Dark Horse] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello everybody, tired of lurking, decided to post. Thanks to all of you for helping me to make my decision-- it was hard enough trying to decide which school to go to (although very nice to have a choice), made even harder by the extremely short window I was given by Warren Wilson. But, I am relieved to have it all behind me, and all of the truly difficult work ahead of me-- I will be entering Warren Wilson at the January residency in fiction. I'll be the really tired one, flying in from Portland, OR.


Shome


Oct 5, 2006, 4:56 PM

Post #1353 of 2652 (19027 views)
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Re: [susanjoy] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Dear Susan,

Hi, I'm currently enrolled at Antioch University Los Angeles' MFA Creative Writing program. I'm in my first semester after three years of not being in school, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm loving the program so much! I was quite nervous about entering graduate school, but the faculty members do a great job of welcoming the incoming students. I found this to be quite important. We do so much communicating before actually starting school, that it feels like we already know everyone once we arrive.

The amazing thing about this low-residency program is that even though we are all living in different areas of the country, or world for that matter, and that much of our communication is done through online, there is still a very personal feeling that surrounds us. It's very comforting.

The reason why I chose Antioch was because the faculty/mentors are so encouraging and supportive. The program is based around what the students want to study. We come up with our own curriculum in addition to what the mentors would like us to study, and the mentors guide us, let us know what we need to work on, what looks fine, and so on. It's very understanding about our work lives, family lives, and just lives in general. Another reason why I chose the program is that there is no competition. Students are there to help each other out, to help each other learn and progress and grow. I live in the small town of Lafayette, LA, where I don't have too many friends and where the writing community is quite small, but both of these problems were fixed by attending AULA. Also, I love the west coast weather. Oh, and the financial aid department does a great job of helping out the students.

The residencies are fun, tough, exhausting...it's every emotion combined. It's intense, but at the same time, calm, nurturing. During my first residency, I took as many classes as mentally and physically possible, met as many mentors possible, and I was glad, because I was able to learn so much and I was able to see the potential we, as students, have. I liked how I could attend poetry and nonfiction seminars/lectures even though my concentration is fiction. It's all about knowledge and growing. There is also an option to where we can change genres for a semester. The workshops were great. Again, the students and mentors are there to help each other out with constructive criticism and encouragement. My manuscript is much stronger than before because of the workshops.

I would say the biggest task to take care of while attending this program is discipline. It can be easy to let things kind of slip behind (especially with us, first semester students adjusting), but I find that doing a bit each day, as opposed to taking a series of days, works much better for me. If you can find a good pace and rhythm, things flow. But of course this doesn't happen all the time, and the cool thing about low residency programs is that you have enough time to adjust, to make up time, and so on.

Anyway, I guess I can go on forever. Not sure if I answered your questions fully or properly, but I hope I helped you out at least a little bit.

Best Wishes and Good Luck!


-shome


Consuelo


Oct 6, 2006, 6:54 AM

Post #1354 of 2652 (19003 views)
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Re: [Shome] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi To All:

I'm an Antiochian as well and also in my first project period. I work more than full-time, have a family and participate in various community/cultural activities. I live in Los Angeles but nevertheless, needed to find a low-residency program that served my needs as both a writer and a person whose life is demanding. I chose Antioch for these and various other reasons.

I also felt very strongly about the mentors who provide guidance and feedback to the submitted work. The residencies offer a variety of courses, rich with literary and experiential opportunities for students to learn. Writers come away feeling exhausted yet profoundly inspired. Because this is a low residency program, students come from throughout the US with incredibly assorted backgrounds and a diversity of perspectives. The contributions students make to the discourse is valuable and valued - something not necessarily found in a traditional setting. I have learned so much as both a writer and a person.

For my residency, I chose to workshop the material I submitted to enter the program. Since I first wrote it, I have edited and rewritten it several times over and through the guidance of my mentor, an established and published writer herself (Hope Edelman) I have the beginning of what I feel is my strongest and best writing yet. The program helps a writer find their stride by understanding the ebb and flow of the creative process and guiding a writer through the tougher times. The mainstay of the program is to teach writers how to identify weaknesses in their own work so that by the end of the two years, a writers knows their work, style and approach better than ever before.

Needless to say, I'm very happy with my choice. It's worked for me on all levels, allowing me to be a mother, daughter and fully employed while still being a student, and most importantly to me - a writer.

Good luck with your choices and write on!

Consuelo Flores

In Reply To
Dear Susan,

Hi, I'm currently enrolled at Antioch University Los Angeles' MFA Creative Writing program. I'm in my first semester after three years of not being in school, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm loving the program so much! I was quite nervous about entering graduate school, but the faculty members do a great job of welcoming the incoming students. I found this to be quite important. We do so much communicating before actually starting school, that it feels like we already know everyone once we arrive.

The amazing thing about this low-residency program is that even though we are all living in different areas of the country, or world for that matter, and that much of our communication is done through online, there is still a very personal feeling that surrounds us. It's very comforting.

The reason why I chose Antioch was because the faculty/mentors are so encouraging and supportive. The program is based around what the students want to study. We come up with our own curriculum in addition to what the mentors would like us to study, and the mentors guide us, let us know what we need to work on, what looks fine, and so on. It's very understanding about our work lives, family lives, and just lives in general. Another reason why I chose the program is that there is no competition. Students are there to help each other out, to help each other learn and progress and grow. I live in the small town of Lafayette, LA, where I don't have too many friends and where the writing community is quite small, but both of these problems were fixed by attending AULA. Also, I love the west coast weather. Oh, and the financial aid department does a great job of helping out the students.

The residencies are fun, tough, exhausting...it's every emotion combined. It's intense, but at the same time, calm, nurturing. During my first residency, I took as many classes as mentally and physically possible, met as many mentors possible, and I was glad, because I was able to learn so much and I was able to see the potential we, as students, have. I liked how I could attend poetry and nonfiction seminars/lectures even though my concentration is fiction. It's all about knowledge and growing. There is also an option to where we can change genres for a semester. The workshops were great. Again, the students and mentors are there to help each other out with constructive criticism and encouragement. My manuscript is much stronger than before because of the workshops.

I would say the biggest task to take care of while attending this program is discipline. It can be easy to let things kind of slip behind (especially with us, first semester students adjusting), but I find that doing a bit each day, as opposed to taking a series of days, works much better for me. If you can find a good pace and rhythm, things flow. But of course this doesn't happen all the time, and the cool thing about low residency programs is that you have enough time to adjust, to make up time, and so on.

Anyway, I guess I can go on forever. Not sure if I answered your questions fully or properly, but I hope I helped you out at least a little bit.

Best Wishes and Good Luck!


-shome



Onyx


Oct 12, 2006, 11:56 PM

Post #1355 of 2652 (18925 views)
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Re: Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post

So the programs I still haven't heard from are Spalding (I know their response time is on the long side) Lesley (deadline was the 1st of this month) Stonecoast and............ Bennington.

I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing I haven't heard from Bennington, since a couple of you guys got accepted already I know they are doing acceptances, however I haven't gotten a rejection letter either, so I have to wonder where I am on the list?

I was going to wait until next week to call and check in on those programs, (and I probably will give Lesley till next week) but I think I will go ahead and call tomorrow. Not sure if it is logical or not, but I don't really want to sit down and think hard about choosing between the 3 I do know I'm in at when I might get in another place and have to re-think it all anyway. I'm already flummoxed about choosing in between the 3 I have heard from, I didn't think it would be hard to figure out where I wanted to go!


coolshoes


Oct 20, 2006, 11:14 PM

Post #1356 of 2652 (18867 views)
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Get busy while waiting [In reply to] Can't Post

Less than a year ago, I was on these boards, waiting to hear, being nervous, etc. It all worked out, but what I wish I had known then was this: Get busy now, start on those manuscripts you will have to send in for the residency workshop(s) [you may want to use some/all of your portfolio, but then again, you may not]...you will be amazed how quickly those deadlines come up after you have given your decision; I know I was. Just get going....keep preparing work you would be happy to workshop, jump on the reading list the minute it arrives, and in general, consider your "semester" to have started the minute you say "yes." Good luck to all!


SP Rankin


Nov 9, 2006, 12:15 AM

Post #1357 of 2652 (18751 views)
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Re: [Dark Horse] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post


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Plus they ask for less critical work, which I--with a too-demanding day job, a small child & a marriage already under some duress--might find a blessing. On the other hand, I like the critical work--not only see its value, but might feel a little gypped, understimulated in a program that *doesn't* engage as thoroughly in the reading life.


I'm a recent graduate of the Queens program. I wouldn't say there is less critical work at Queens, but that the focus is practical rather than academic. There is an extensive reading list (12-15 books on average) in preparation for the craft seminars each residency, with two critical papers due each semester. In addition, each student keeps an annotated reading journal (a graduation requirement), and writes a critical essay and teaches a craft seminar. In the preparation of these last, you work closely with a craft advisor (different from the thesis advisor). My topic was on working with history in fiction, and my essay analyzed Robert Graves and his manipulation of history in his fiction and memoir. My seminar examined the craft challenges of fiction and history.

In the last year and a half, the critical elements of Queens program have been formalized and tightened, but the emphasis at Queens is very much on equipping students to be working writers and not as much on academics. Another goal of the program is to foster an ongoing community of writers after graduation. The program is rigorous (I graduated in May and still don't feel as though I'm caught up on sleep), but it is very, very practical.

The workshop is the heart of the Queens program and the reponsibilities of participation particularly stressed. By the end of the program, I had written nearly eighty critiques (400-500 words each), and I'm positive they helped me focus on my own work more than anything else I did at Queens.


Dark Horse


Nov 9, 2006, 2:59 PM

Post #1358 of 2652 (18704 views)
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Re: [SP Rankin] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post

Believe me, I was mightily impressed with the Queens program. I *really* liked Fred Leebron, and had a hard time opting to go anywhere else.

I was lucky enough to have a choice. To this day, it doesn't really seem like I could've made a wrong one. (Of course--ha ha--I haven't started the program yet.) But it was ultimately an intuitive pick, and as such idiosyncratic and probably not very easy (or necessary) to support.


Vermont


Nov 9, 2006, 4:15 PM

Post #1359 of 2652 (18694 views)
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Re: [LitKnit] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post

 


(This post was edited by Vermont on Jan 3, 2007, 10:05 AM)


lapwing


Nov 15, 2006, 8:54 AM

Post #1360 of 2652 (18618 views)
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Re: [Vermont] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post

I’ve just spent some time evaluating low-residency programs. Here’s what I found, in case someone else might think it useful. Please note: I learned what I learned from Web sites, the odd book, gossip, and Google. The best way to get information about these programs would be to e-mail current students. I didn’t do that but maybe you should. So: grain of salt, just my opinion, etc. I may be confused — check for yourself. Also, and this is very important: I was looking only at fiction and creative nonfiction, not at poetry.

What helps me keep all the low-res programs out there sort of straight is to divide them into three categories based on the faculty setup. 1. Regional Powerhouses are programs with faculty that represent the depth of creative writing talent in a particular geographical region; the teachers may be affiliated with the local universities as adjuncts or emeritus retirees, but they aren’t full-time professors, and some of the teachers are “just” self-supporting writers who live in the area. 2. All-Star Teams collect full-time creative writing professors from MFA programs or undergrad English departments across the country; the summer/winter residency schedule allows these teachers to keep their regular jobs but still work in the low-res program. 3. Hybrids combine the attributes of each of the previous two; these are programs that seem to be evolving toward becoming All-Star Teams. I focus so much on faculty because, well, we all know we're going to be paying between about $22,000 and $30,000, staying where we live, and working with mentors, so faculty quality becomes that much more important than it would be in a res program. Another way to distinguish low-res programs is around whether you get mentor feedback only, and you don’t have a responsibility for critiquing other students’ work, or mentor feedback plus peer feedback via online workshops (e.g., instant-messaging chat), and you do spend a lot of time critiquing other students’ work. Then there are too many other factors and distinguishing differences to get into except in your own private calculus of things to consider . . .

Here are the programs that have caught my attention so far. Spalding is I'm sure worth a look, too, but I haven't gotten there yet:

Queens University of Charlotte: So many kinds of blindness prevented me from checking into this program until recently (the idea of spending time in Charlotte doesn’t appeal to me, for one; sorry about that) that I almost missed what I now see as perhaps the best program for me and my bizarre compendium of strange MFA needs. An All-Star Team type of faculty that is extraordinarily accomplished at the New Yorker and Paris Review level; yes, I was floored by the quality of the faculty (and when I speak of the quality of the faculty, I’m just talking about what they’ve published, not how well they teach, because I don’t know). Rumor says that the program director is unusually helpful to prospective students; we know he’s a brilliant writer. Queens claims to focus strongly on craft, less on literary criticism that isn’t from a craft standpoint. Combines the mentor and peer feedback models. Has unusually short residencies at 7 days. A bit more affordable than some others. So if you’re looking for a program with strong faculty, short residencies, a consuming focus on craft, and peer feedback, and at a decent price as low-res programs go, well, I guess Queens could be it.

Pacific University: Pretty much a new program. With Rick Bass, William Kittredge, David James Duncan, and Pete Fromm all teaching there at the same time (or so it appears from the Web site), Pacific was an unbelievably powerful Regional Powerhouse in recent times. It looks like several of these folks aren’t there anymore; however, Pacific still has a dream of a faculty for anyone for whom the word “Montana” is among the language’s most resonant. Looking at the faculty, it’s like they outsourced the teaching duties to the University of Montana MFA program and threw in a famous Iowa Writers Workshop veteran for good measure. I started drooling even more when I noticed that one of the residencies takes place on the Oregon coast. It would get to be expensive (close to $30,000) if you needed to buy plane tickets and rent a car for five residencies. The students have published a lot, mostly poetry. I’m going to watch this one to see whether everyone else leaves, too.

Warren Wilson: Its venerability, as low-res programs go — it’s been around for a couple decades or more, depending on how you figure it — lends WW an aura that other programs don’t have. So I think of it as kind of the Iowa of low-res. This would be silly of me if it weren’t for the remarkable publication record of its graduates (several novels with major houses that I could find); it appears that there is a basis for that aura. WW is the epitome of the All-Star Team approach, with big-name writers (to me Charles Baxter is among the biggest of big names) from some of the better schools around the country. Studying there must be like jumping from one outstanding MFA program to another without leaving your basement. No creative nonfiction. The Web site is subpar, but maybe you can do that when you have an aura and everyone wants to be your best friend. Very surprisingly, it isn’t grotesquely expensive.

Lesley University: Another fairly new program. This is the Regional Powerhouse for Boston and environs; when the region itself is unusually powerful in terms of sheer writing talent, that makes for an intriguing program. Many of the teachers appear to be emerging writers with well-reviewed first novels. So: a younger-skewing program than most, although they have some big names who are venerable enough to have retired from college teaching. In my opinion, not as strong a faculty as, say, Warren Wilson, Bennington, or Queens (again, I’m just talking about what they’ve published, not how they teach), but maybe I’m deeply confused. There’s a Harvard flavor here because some of the teachers are Harvard adjuncts or graduates of Harvard. When it comes to creative writing, I don’t know how important the Harvardness of Lesley is, but it at least means that these people probably are conscientious mentors. You get much more than just fiction and poetry here; cross-training appears to be gospel at Lesley. Not too expensive. Rumor has it that the program staff is very welcoming and nice.

Goddard College: A well-known brand name, although it seems that the original Goddard low-res moved to Warren Wilson. Appears to be very, very strong right now in playwriting and screenwriting and in writing from lesbian/gay perspectives, but it’s unclear that it has other tremendous strengths. Then you see that Darcey Steinke teaches there and you get even more confused. I wonder about the publishing success of students. The faculty seems to be bohemian to the nth degree and highly dedicated to teaching. Is the program rigorous enough? Are other programs too academic?

Stonecoast: If the Web site is any indication, Stonecoast puts a lot of energy into thinking about teaching and into teaching well. You just get the sense that these folks care about individual students. It’s a Hybrid program, with a former poet laureate of Maine (Regional Powerhouse) and teachers from universities in Minnesota and elsewhere (All-Star Team) on the faculty. Now, the faculty doesn’t seem tremendously impressive to this casual evaluator, at least in fiction and creative nonfiction, except that they’ve published plenty and THEY REALLY SEEM TO CARE ABOUT TEACHING. I guess I just don’t know enough to judge. Anyway, the location is certainly attractive (right on the ocean) and the cost is the lowest that I can find (just under $5,000/semester). My suspicion is that it’s easier to get into than several other programs, and I’m thinking of it as a “safety” program that I would be glad to attend, but this kind of not-so-veiled denigration of Stonecoast will probably ensure, via instant karma, the rejection letter with my name on it.

Bennington: Another All-Star Team low-res program with an aura. This would be the Warren Wilson of the north, although Vermont College might bridle at that. The Bennington creative nonfiction faculty consists of what are to my mind four huge names and one highly regarded emerging writer — unless you hit visiting writer paydirt at Goucher, you can’t beat Bennington’s creative nonfiction faculty for reputation. Can you imagine having Phillip Lopate as your one-on-one mentor in the art of the personal essay? Yikes. By the way, does anyone know if the “gender composition” of the faculty matters one whit? The fiction faculty at Bennington consists of many other huge names, virtually all of them supremely talented novelists who happen to be women, and, in that, it’s kind of the opposite of Pacific, which has mostly men on the fiction faculty. Bennington seems to be keen on having students write a lot of criticism. So it’s got that academic bent. I get a strong whiff of big-league New York publishing world from Bennington; probably a good place to make connections. Residencies take place in a beautiful spot. Tuition is at the more expensive end, which shows you what programs with an aura can do.

Vermont: Just didn’t get a good sense of this program for some reason. An All-Star Team program that can point to tremendous publishing successes by students. The level of faculty publication appears to be excellent but maybe not mind-bogglingly superlative. Still, this looks like another Warren Wilson of the north: an All-Star Team laden with mentor talent. At the expensive end.

Goucher: Creative nonfiction only. This is mostly an All-Star Team. Unique in that, because of the single-genre focus, some of the all-stars work for newspapers and magazines; not everyone is a professor of creative writing. The Washington, DC/Baltimore Regional Powerhouse aspect means that some of the teachers are from the Washington Post and Preservation magazine (headquartered in DC). Also has interesting connections to the noted Pittsburgh creative nonfiction scene. Appears to emphasize literary journalism/narrative nonfiction as opposed to the personal essay/memoir, although there are a couple of accomplished mentors available in the latter. Joseph Mitchell, you bet; Joseph Epstein, probably not quite so much. Small price to pay when you see who’s part of the resident and visiting faculty, and especially small when you see who’s on the advisory committee. Gay Talese? Jane Kramer? Tracy Kidder? What??? Not sure what roles these celebrity advisors play. The program has a “vocational” feel. May be the only MFA program that is a good career move: you’d learn how to write stuff that major magazines and newspapers pay for. Relatively affordable. One residency per year instead of two, but it’s a long one at 2 weeks. Bottom line: this program has all the appearance of an unbelievably generous gift to creative nonfiction types everywhere.


Vermont


Nov 15, 2006, 9:18 AM

Post #1361 of 2652 (18618 views)
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Re: [lapwing] Acceptance [In reply to] Can't Post

 


(This post was edited by Vermont on Jan 3, 2007, 10:10 AM)


coolshoes


Dec 18, 2006, 5:43 PM

Post #1362 of 2652 (18451 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Stonecoast [In reply to] Can't Post

I heard from Stonecoast in Feb. for a summer start; they were very amenable to holding off about 3 weeks past their reply-by deadline date, as I was waiting to hear from 2 other schools with much different timelines.

So far things are good, but I can answer you more specifically if you want to contact by via private message.



In Reply To
I got into Stonecoast for the January '07 residency in nonfiction. .... Coolshoes, when did you find out you were accepted to Stonecoast and how long did they give you to accept their offer? Also, who are you working with? Oh yeah, and how do you like it so far?

Anyone else run into the problem of having to decide before all your acceptances/rejections are in?



hayleyk


Jan 8, 2007, 10:43 PM

Post #1363 of 2652 (18312 views)
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Re: [Consuelo] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,
The posts are so helpful here - but haven't heard anyone speak of Fairleigh Dickinson in NJ. I can gather it's not one of the top (Bennington, Warren Wilson), but just curious if anyone's heard anything about it?

Thanks-
hk


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Jan 9, 2007, 6:27 AM

Post #1364 of 2652 (18295 views)
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First Impressions Queens MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I am in my first residency at Queens MFA w/ concentration in Poetry.
I have to make this quick because I need to head off to campus and get some reading done.

Sunday: Orientation and meet and greet. There was about 20-25 new people between Poetry, Non-F, Fiction and
Stage/Screen. I am very shy by nature but we were all chatting away by the end of the evening. There was a
reception w/ good food when the current students came in as well as faculty. Then a non-f and fiction reading
by faculty before I stumbled home exhausted from anticipation! Oh, we also handed out manuscripts. I am in a
small group w/ two other poets and teacher. We also had to prepare a manuscript for a larger group that will
be two of the smaller groups combined.

Monday: 10:15 first seminar was w/ Robert Polito on writing Literary Critcism for Poetry. We had four books
supposed to be read before adding (well not for the new folks who have time to complete their work) Then
lunch at 12. Then optional attendance at graduating students craft presentations at 30 minutes a piece. I
attended two and thought both were very well prepared and presented. (One of the requirements for graduation
is that you research and prepare one of these presentations). The morning before class I spent reading and
writing short critiques (on the back) for peer review for the workshop afternoon. We had two to read at about
5 poems each. My afternoon workshop was w/ Sally Keith and Robert Politio, but I am being switched, another
story for another day.

After that I attended a graduating students reading before again stumbling home. Lots of others were actually
going out but I am local and have other responsibilties as well.

Today: getting ready to go read my manuscripts and get more reading done for the seminar this morning w/ Claudia
Rankine. I have until the next residency to complete two two page response papers. I could go into more detail
on that, but later. I also am to keep a reading journal of books I read for a graduating annotation.

Basically, I am loving this program. It is giving me interesting books to read w/ out excessive paper writing. There
are a diverse group of students and faculty and from what I can see so far great talent on both fronts. I think this
program is what you make of it. you could do the bare minimum and get through but then what is the point of
getting an MFA if you are not preparing yourself to be a better writer and perhaps a better teacher, publisher etc?

I'll try to post more but feel free to send me questions etc.

**exhausted in Charlotte **

Jessie

The afternoon was first


http://jessiecarty.com


flatiron10


Jan 22, 2007, 2:24 PM

Post #1365 of 2652 (18190 views)
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General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I have been trying to sift through this thread, but I figured if I have questions, other people do too.

For low-res programs, does every school that has each student work with a mentor change mentors each semester? Does the student have any say in who is his/her mentor each semestor? Which schools do what?

Also, for the schools that have a teaching requirement (like Goddard, I believe), how does that work? Has anyone done this before?

Hopefully some people can give attention to the Low Res section despite the fury of impending applications.

Thanks!


writerle


Jan 22, 2007, 5:38 PM

Post #1366 of 2652 (18143 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I am in my second semester at Vermont College right now, so I might be able to help with the question about mentors. At VC, we do work with a different faculty advisor each semester. It's possible to work with the same faculty member more than once, but you have to get permission, and most people don't do it. There are so many wonderful faculty members to choose from, and we only get four semesters in the program. It seems better to try to work with as many different people as possible, in my opinion. You learn something new about your writing, and yourself, from each advisor.

Yes, we do get some say in who our advisor will be, at VC at least, though this does improve as you get further along in the program. First semester students don't have much input (you pick 8 names, in no particular order, and you will get one of the 8 on your list), but by the time you reach fourth semester, you are virtually guaranteed to get one of your top three choices.

I hope this helps. VC doesn't have a teaching requirement, so I wouldn't know anything about that, but let me know if you have any more questions.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Jan 22, 2007, 6:36 PM

Post #1367 of 2652 (18129 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jenna! I can speak for my first semester at Queens.

My understanding is that we get a different advisor/mentor for each semester to work in the long distance workshop.
I have been told you can ask for someone specific, but I haven't thought of doing that yet. I know at Queens they try to give you a variety of male/female etc.

That is for 4 semesters then for the final residency you have to have a thesis advisor, a seminar advisor (for the short seminar you will teach in the final residency--30 mins) and you also select two readers of your thesis. Not sure how all that works b/c I am not to that stage yet.

Feel free to post me more. If you send me a private message we can communicate by email as well.

Good luck trying to select! I am also very partial to where I am because I love it!

Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


pongo
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Jan 22, 2007, 8:14 PM

Post #1368 of 2652 (18105 views)
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Re: [jacarty] General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I can speak to the teaching requirement at Goddard. You have to organize your own course; you then teach it and arrange for an observer to report on it, and finally you write an assessment of the experience.

Also at Goddard, you can work with any mentor for no more than two semesters, so most people wind up with at least two different advisors. I had three, some have four, and a few -- who stay for more than four semesters -- go even higher.


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/


flatiron10


Jan 22, 2007, 10:04 PM

Post #1369 of 2652 (18084 views)
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Re: [pongo] General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Pongo, jessie and Writerle.

Your responses are very helpful. I like the idea of a low-res MFA mostly because it seems structured around turning writing seriously into a habit. My only concern at this point is that I would like to teach creative writing at the college level and I worry that even with a program like Goddard where you do some teaching, that it wouldn't be enough.

Has anyone here gone from a low-res program to teaching? Is that less likely than from a "traditional" program?



edwriter



Jan 23, 2007, 9:36 AM

Post #1370 of 2652 (18048 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] More Low-Res [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're looking for a tenure-track job teaching creative writing, what you should focus on most is publishing a book in your main genre. That, plus teaching experience, is what you're going to need. You're right that traditionally, low-residency programs tend not to offer much teaching experience (the graduating craft seminar aside).

It is possible, of course, to acquire teaching experience through the fellowships many post-MFA students seek/win, though I'm frankly not all that aware of the relative numbers of low-res graduates who have won those fellowships (Olive B. O'Connor Fellowship at Colgate, Axton Fellowships at the University of Louisville, etc.).

But some low-residency programs do encourage concurrent professional development through internships, independent study, and so on. And teaching can definitely be part of that. Some, but not all, of those opportunities do seem easier to arrange if you live in the area of the low-residency program itself (for an example, see the Pacific University Teaching Associate Program). I'm aware that teaching is also something students in the Lesley program explore (I'm currently an interdisciplinary advisor in that program).

Don't know how much that helps. I'm also a Queens alum (though pretty distanced now--graduated in 2003). I thought the focus on "gender balance" in assigning students to mentors/workshops, which jmcarty alluded to, was a little misplaced/not necessarily the best way to go about the assignment process. But the primacy of that criterion (that students should ideally work with 2 male and 2 female instructors over their four semesters) may have faded somewhat since I was there. Send me a private message if you have other questions.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



pongo
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Jan 23, 2007, 11:40 AM

Post #1371 of 2652 (18022 views)
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Re: [edwriter] More Low-Res [In reply to] Can't Post

I went pretty much straight from my Goddard degree into teaching, although for some time it was adjunct work, and I haven't gotten much in the way of creative writing classes. But I haven't gotten the book published, either, and that is (as Erica says) the most important factor.


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/


Ms. Proulx


Jan 23, 2007, 11:15 PM

Post #1372 of 2652 (17962 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For low-res programs, does every school that has each student work with a mentor change mentors each semester? Does the student have any say in who is his/her mentor each semestor? Which schools do what?

Also, for the schools that have a teaching requirement (like Goddard, I believe), how does that work? Has anyone done this before?

Warren Wilson has students work with a new "advisor" every semester. They say it's possible to work with the same faculty twice, but it's unlikely. I've only heard of it happening once, and that was ages ago. At WW, the students can request specific faculty but must name a minmum of three. They make a big deal about matching faculty to student work, and so far, they seem pretty successful. Also, all of this is done in the first two days of the ten day residency. At New England College (which is poetry-only), the students request faculty before arriving at the residency. And, for the most part, these requests are granted. As one administrator told me, "It's easier that way." At Leslie, one student worked with the same faculty twice. I think that's unusual, but she said she begged and they granted her request. As for teaching, WW has students teach a one-hour class in one of their two final semesters. While this in no way is the same as teaching a semester-long class, it does give you something for when you apply for jobs. Of course, book and journal publications and prizes are key for a real job, but for adjunct, it's really being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right person. If you're there and they need you -- and you have a master's degree -- they'll probably hire you. This is my first post. Be kind. Ms. Proulx


SP Rankin


Jan 26, 2007, 4:11 PM

Post #1373 of 2652 (17879 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] General Low Res Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I graduated from Queens in 2006, and a <i>lot</i> of Queens alums are teaching now. Of course, it's a stuff like freshman comp, but that's probably what most MFAs without significant publication (yet) are teaching -- in other words, most MFAs period! But that's what you do if you want to teach writing -- toil away in freshman comp and get published.

Queens does still assign students to two male and two female faculty members. The assignment process is partially based on suitability, and mostly arbitrary, with gender providing a little structure to the arbitrariness.


Onyx


Feb 7, 2007, 1:47 PM

Post #1374 of 2652 (17784 views)
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In at Spalding [In reply to] Can't Post

I decided to accept Spalding's offer and I start in May. Will anyone else from here be going?

(Also, I must admit to a little bit of jitters - I'm sure it is normal, but I can't help wondering if I made the right choice or not - It was hard choosing between my top three)


flatiron10


Feb 7, 2007, 1:57 PM

Post #1375 of 2652 (17776 views)
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Re: [Onyx] In at Spalding [In reply to] Can't Post

Awesome Onyx! How about the rest of you Low-Res folk—where did you get in? Where are you going?

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