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piratelizzy


Mar 14, 2007, 1:32 PM

Post #76 of 213 (5201 views)
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Re: [pongo] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Biography, too. Sure you can get creative with biography. How about creative journalism? In Cold Blood is probably close to being some form of journalism.

I'm going to go ahead and give props to John McPhee, too. His Coming Into the Country is absolutely one of my favorite books. He makes writing look effortless. Or at least he makes reading effortless. And a great pleasure. Nothing about that book feels forced. It's very beautiful.


'sup?!


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 11:06 AM

Post #77 of 213 (5126 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey everybody,

I joined this site as a recommendation from Kealy's MFA blog, and, Christ, what a great venue! When reading everyone's posting (some instructive, some informative, some hilarious), I adore how we're all passionate about the written word and, of course, it puts a nice smile. After seriously reconsidering my academic career plans with three-years of research (i.e. pondering whether a MA and Ph.D in American Studies or English literature is even worth the effort), I decided to make plans to get an MFA in Fiction. As for preparation, I'm taking various classes through an esteemed creative writing workshop in NYC called, "The Writer's Studio." I plan on taking five different classes through their program, work up a writing portfolio, and possibly use it as a writing sample. Also, on the side, I'm writing book reviews for various literary journals to keep my writing sharp and in shape. So, as for advice, can anyone tell me whether I'm on the 'right' track in pursuit of an MFA? Again, I'm strictly interested in writing fiction (short stories). Also I've researched the schools in where I want to attend (and, of course, it's based on faculty strength, funding, etc). Here's the list:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison (my favorite writer, Lorrie Moore, as you all probably know, teaches there)
2. Cornell University ('nuff said!)
3. Florida State University
4. Syracuse University
5. Brooklyn College
6. University of Virgina

Once I get a good grasp on craft and technique, I think I'll start focusing on the other grueling aspect: taking the GRE, writing POS, getting LORs, etc etc.

Thanks for listening and, as always, keep on writing!

Guy Anglade


hamlet3145


Mar 29, 2007, 1:49 PM

Post #78 of 213 (5083 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Guy,

I think you are definitely on the right track. Also, by all means, polish up and send out work that you generate while taking these writing courses. There is no rule you have to have an MFA to publish and getting into journals can only help your application. You picked some great programs there on your list. Know though that Cornell and Virginia have extremely low acceptance rates. (The others are just very low) =) I think what you will likely hear from folks on the board is to add a couple of more program to your list. The going rule of thumb these days is to apply to at least 8 programs with 12 being ideal (if you can afford all the application fees).

Good luck!

--Jason


(This post was edited by Hamlet3145 on Mar 29, 2007, 1:52 PM)


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 2:12 PM

Post #79 of 213 (5064 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Jason,

Thanks for your suggestions. Upon looking at my choices, I realized that I'm applying at some tough schools (esp. Cornell and UVA). Yeah, right now I'm slowly trying to get into a writing 'habit' (i.e. write, at least, an hour per day while working as an editor and part-time bookseller. Though, it's a good thing considering all of my work consist of words, words, and words). During my time at the Writer's Studio and work, I'm keeping a bird's eye view on the literary marketplace for publication; you know, Ploughshares, StoryQuarterly, Tampa Review.

I tried to think of eight to nine schools, but couldn't find any. Can you suggest other MFA programs specifically in the east and midwest? For some reason I'm not impressed with Michigan nor OSU's faculty. And how's your time (am I correct?) at Montana? Is that in Missoula? Thanks again

--guy a.


piratelizzy


Mar 29, 2007, 2:29 PM

Post #80 of 213 (5051 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Guy,

Look here:

http://www.pw.org/...11/MFA%20Listing.htm

and here

http://creativewritingmfa.blogspot.com/

for lists of programs all over the country.

Best of luck, and let me know if I can help you with questions about the application process.

~Lizzy


Quote
I tried to think of eight to nine schools, but couldn't find any. Can you suggest other MFA programs specifically in the east and midwest?



'sup?!


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 2:50 PM

Post #81 of 213 (5035 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Man, i've been searching for the pw.org creating writing program listing link for days. (Slaps forehead!) Thanks a bunch, Lizzy. Thanks for the lists, piratelizzy! I'll let you know if any questions pop up.


lculli18


Mar 29, 2007, 3:21 PM

Post #82 of 213 (5016 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison (my favorite writer, Lorrie Moore, as you all probably know, teaches there)


I heart Lorrie Moore! :)


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 3:27 PM

Post #83 of 213 (5012 views)
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Re: [lculli18] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

No joke, lculli18. Lorrie Moore's Birds of America and Like Life changed the way I read fiction, life, and reinvigorated my interest in short stories. And its for those (and other) reasons is why I want to take fiction writing seriously. Christ, I mean, what a terrific writer. I can't wait to see her read in a few weeks!


hamlet3145


Mar 29, 2007, 3:32 PM

Post #84 of 213 (5009 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm, other schools in the Midwest and east. I take it other geographical locations are completely out?

Here's several of note though:

East:

George Mason University
UMASS Amherst
University of New Hampshire (pretty new program but good buzz)
U. Maryland
UNC Greensboro
UNC Wilmington
University of Florida
Brown

Midwest:
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Minnesota
Columbia College Chicago


And if you can be persuaded to look at the north-west, Oregon, Montana and Washington are a cluster that folks often apply to and are of similar caliber. I've had a great time at Montana; the only real drawback to the program is that only about half the students get a TA. The new director, Prageeta Sharma, has said that funding for all is a major goal of hers however and I actually have a list of tricks to make out of state tuition more bearable. Beyond the great faculty and classmates the major selling point is the location. Western Montana is pretty much the most beautiful place I've ever been (and I grew up in Maine). Campus is nestled against a mountain and the town, well, it’s bisected by one of the more literary rivers in this country:


Quote

”Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.” ~Norman Maclean



--Jason


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 4:14 PM

Post #85 of 213 (4990 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah. I did picture Montana (and the school) has a very serene and great location. I perused the UMinnesota site and what they offer looks really good. Sometime later tonight I'll give the other programs a try and jot down notes on funding, etc. I almost feel overwhelmed (and I have yet to submit a story for publication!) Either way, as Mos Def would say, big ups!

--guy a.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Mar 29, 2007, 6:01 PM

Post #86 of 213 (4961 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're interested in a young program, the University of Kansas just started an mfa. Also Indiana is good. And Southern Illinois at Carbondale.


(This post was edited by wilmabluekitty on Mar 29, 2007, 8:38 PM)


bighark


Mar 29, 2007, 6:36 PM

Post #87 of 213 (4943 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a list of funded Midwestern MFAs. This is not exhaustive.

Bowling Green State University
Purdue University
Southern Illinois University
The Ohio State University
University of Illinois
University of Indiana
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Notre Dame
University of Wisconsin
Washington University (St. Louis)


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 9:50 PM

Post #88 of 213 (4902 views)
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Re: [bighark] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Bighark,

Thanks for your list. I did look at Purdue's MFA program as I, at the time, was thinking about pursuing a MA in Lit and American Studies. As a city, West Lafayette doesn't seem like an appealing city. UW-Madison is a top choice and I may relook into Iowa's (although it's the toughest programs around) and OSU's website. Minnesota, however, looks VERY intriguing especially since Charles Baxter teaches over there. I like how the site presents each writer's teaching philosophy. So far, my list--albeit tentative--looks like this:

1. UW-Madison
2. Emerson College
3. Cornell University
4. FSU
5. UVA
6. Brooklyn College
7. University of Minnesota
8. Syracuse University

I'm going to start, possibly this weekend, outline all of the schools funding, deadlines, and admission requirements to get a clearer picture. I know Cornell's funding package is sick!


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 9:58 PM

Post #89 of 213 (4898 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey piratelizzy,

Answer this one for me: before even starting the app process, is it even necessary to start taking the GRE? I know some schools don't even require the GRE and place more emphasis on one's writing samples, personal statement, and recommendations. But, curious to know, should I begin? The plan is to attend a MFA program when around fall 2009 (I think attending school at age 30 sounds plausible, n'est-ce pas?).

--guy a.


rpc
ryan call

Mar 29, 2007, 9:58 PM

Post #90 of 213 (4898 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

and just a quick update on mason
which maybe ive already said somewheres around here

we just hired helon habilla and courtney brkic
which i think will be good for the program
will add some new, diverse faculty voices to the mix


courtney has a new story out in the current missouri review
and i think helon just published anew novel?


<HTMLGIANT>


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Mar 29, 2007, 10:02 PM

Post #91 of 213 (4895 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

If you need funding, plan on taking the GRE. No need to foucus on non-writing related fields. Just the writing and the verbal.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 10:25 PM

Post #92 of 213 (4882 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

10-4, wilmabluekitty. Copy?


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 29, 2007, 10:26 PM

Post #93 of 213 (4880 views)
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Re: [rpc] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

That's interesting. I just published a book review in the current missouri review. I'll have to give the story a read once it comes in. I'll look at George Mason as well.


hamlet3145


Mar 30, 2007, 9:04 AM

Post #94 of 213 (4832 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing about the GRE--it's the Grad School that cares about it not the creative writing department. You basically just have to clear whatever minimum they have established. (Usually not a big deal at all).


HopperFu


Mar 30, 2007, 9:10 AM

Post #95 of 213 (4830 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
is it even necessary to start taking the GRE?


Many if not most schools require the GRE (just the general test, not the English specific) for admission by the graduate school, which is not the same as admission by the writing program which is 95% writing sample with statement of purpose and letters of rec mostly the other 5%.
As for making a list of schools, one of the things you'll find if you go through and track who has been accepted where, is that there is no such thing as a safety school. There are plenty of people here who have been admitted to "top" schools and rejected from so called "safety schools." Don't rule out a school that you want to go to just because it is hard to get in, and don't assume that less prestigious schools are easier to get into. If you want to go to an MFA program (as opposed to one specific or a few specific ones), the general advice is to apply to 8 - 10 schools or more depending on what you can afford and your tolerance for the pain of paperwork....

My advice, by the way, is to get the GRE out of the way with so it's one less thing to worry about. Also, line up your letters of rec early so that you have time to follow-up and to make sure that they get in.
The main thing is, of course, the writing sample, but the other stuff needs to get done as well.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 30, 2007, 9:25 AM

Post #96 of 213 (4821 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Great advice, HopperFu. I did noticed, as you pointed out, that there's really no such thing as a 'safety school.' I've read under the "GRE and GPA" post that some were accepted in top schools with really low GRE scores and a low GPA. So really, it's all a crapshoot. I suppose I'll probably take it around mid-summer, even though I plan on attending either for 2009 or 2010. From what I recall, you're studying at Cornell n'est-ce pas? As noted in previous posts, it's one of my top two schools.

--guy a.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 30, 2007, 9:28 AM

Post #97 of 213 (4817 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I noticed that with some schools. The general consensus is basically this: whip up a writing sample, get recommendations, and work on my statement of purpose. I should probably take few notes on what I'm going to write about.


piratelizzy


Mar 30, 2007, 10:37 AM

Post #98 of 213 (4800 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

C'est ca, Guy. Take the GRE early and knock it out of the way. I took mine about a year and a half before applying.

Don't just "whip up" a writing sample, but give yourself enough time to polish it to a shine. If there's one thing I wish I'd done more of, it is revision. Start early and keep working on it. Your classes should help with this. (By the way, since it sounds like you're in NY, I've heard good things about the workshops at the 92 St Y and at the West Side YMCA at W 63rd).

Then I'd secure those recommendations. I've been out of school for a while, so those were a source of stress.

Oh, and if I were you, I'd try to add at least two more schools to that list.

Good luck!


'sup?!


eesa


Mar 30, 2007, 10:50 AM

Post #99 of 213 (4786 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
Hey piratelizzy,

Answer this one for me: before even starting the app process, is it even necessary to start taking the GRE? I know some schools don't even require the GRE and place more emphasis on one's writing samples, personal statement, and recommendations. But, curious to know, should I begin? The plan is to attend a MFA program when around fall 2009 (I think attending school at age 30 sounds plausible, n'est-ce pas?).

--guy a.


I took the GRE a full year before I sent in my applications, and I am so glad I did. I knew there was a chance my scores would be important in determining funding, and it turns out that they will. I studied over a winter break between semesters, when nothing was happening. I'm glad I didn't have to worry about taking it when I was working on putting together the applications. [Make sure you don't lose your score sheet, though, like I did, taking it so far in advance. It wasn't a big deal but I don't know my scores off the top of my head so I had to call up and pay to find out.]


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Mar 30, 2007, 10:51 AM

Post #100 of 213 (4786 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] MFA General questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if I should call or e-mail my professors. I called up one of my former professors to ask if she can take a look at my book review (which, unfortunately, she didn't considering her teaching and writing schedule consumed her time). I wonder if I should let them know immediately that I'll be applying for a MFA program within the next two years? Any suggestions? May will make it three years since I graduated.

And, you got it, I am living in NY (Brooklyn, but born and raised in Harlem). Yes, 92nd St Y offer some fantastic lit (and writing) courses taught by a diverse group of writers and such (Joyce Johnson and Hettie Jones (?), I believe, teach one or two courses at the Y). I did schedule one course in book reviewing, which was later cancelled because of low enrollment. Poo!

I think 8 schools should suffice (just to, at least, save myself from all of the paperwork). I have enough money to pay for two more, but I'll save it for the second round. Regardless, piratelizzy, we'll see.

Yeah, I'm going to try and write (and revise or "deepening" as my teacher calls it) as much until sending out my best piece. O the hard work!

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