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umass76


Jul 17, 2007, 10:08 PM

Post #501 of 764 (24226 views)
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Re: [toadvine] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

I assume s/he's talking about the Derek Walcott scandal at BU, but I only heard the stories fourth-hand, don't know anything personally.
S.


__________



Jul 18, 2007, 1:13 AM

Post #502 of 764 (24197 views)
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Re: [umass76] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

mingram, benny: I'm not calling anyone lackluster; I'm just saying that if Iowa's faculty died in some kind of We Are Marshall-like plane crash, and were replaced by the janitorial crew, they'd still make the list.

toadvine: the Butler-Wolfe connection (and other Stegner fiascos, like the prize money going to a current fellow's spouse) has been discussed elsewhere on this site. There's also a thread at Foetry.com, I think; it doesn't go super in-depth, charting all the hijinks, but you can at least hold up a list of Butler's students and see a disproportionate amount have been awarded since Wolfe's involvement. One of the fellows was Adam Johnson, who Wolfe also chose for BNAV.

And I'm not the original alleger--just reporting what I've seen documented elsewhere.

But yeah--no Columbia? No Syracuse? Their faculty (and in one case, funding) seems much more impressive than other schools.


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jul 18, 2007, 1:19 AM)


piratelizzy


Jul 18, 2007, 3:23 AM

Post #503 of 764 (24175 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

What good is served by saying things like "if Iowa's faculty died... and were (sic) replaced by the janitorial crew, they'd still make the list"? Is that an attack on the list; on Iowa; on janitors; on all three?

Everyone is going to have a different top ten list, right? Mr. Delaney was just smart enough to get his published. But what's the point of ad hominem attacks to cast aspersions on entire programs?

Answer, damnit.

PS - I believe the Derek Walcott sexual harassment thing is more than mere rumor at this point, right? It's well documented in newspaper articles all over the Internet.


'sup?!

(This post was edited by piratelizzy on Jul 18, 2007, 3:31 AM)


__________



Jul 18, 2007, 4:17 AM

Post #504 of 764 (24171 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

You realize you've essentially come to a discussion forum and asked, What's the point of discussing things? Yes, everyone has a different list; that's what we're discussing.

Saying a school has such a great rep it'll always make the list, no matter what happens, is not an attack. Not on Iowa, lists, or janitors.

And are we like talking third party ad hominem here? Really?

I have answered. Damnit.


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piratelizzy


Jul 18, 2007, 5:06 AM

Post #505 of 764 (24166 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

You know that's not what I'm asking. I'm asking you to play fair. If you're going to say that "Oh, well, I've heard that so-and-so is a pervert and the other one's a juggernaut," then back it up. Or don't use those claims in your arguments. Vague hints that there's another thread on this sprawling board, or intimations about what's been said in another corner of the Internet are not enough.

Since some of us know some of these people you're talking about, and since some of us happen to know that there are janitors who are good writers, some of us want to take you to task on your posts. That's part of discussion, too, right?

Not sure what you mean by "third part ad hominem" so can't respond to that, darnit.


'sup?!


__________



Jul 18, 2007, 5:15 AM

Post #506 of 764 (24162 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

PM me if you really don't know how to use Google. I've given my opinion of the list.


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jul 18, 2007, 5:25 AM)


Zash
Zachary Ash

Jul 18, 2007, 5:51 AM

Post #507 of 764 (24158 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
there are janitors who are good writers

Raymond Carver, for a time, was a janitor.


bighark


Jul 18, 2007, 10:30 AM

Post #508 of 764 (24134 views)
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Sicco [In reply to] Can't Post

Besides the fact that there's nothing wrong with Junior's use of the English subjunctive, I think we should be able to rise above the argumentum ad typo/poor grammar brand of message board position defense going on here.

Message board communication is closer to speech than it is to writing. We're all friends here. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt.


In Reply To
What good is served by saying things like "if Iowa's faculty died... and were (sic) replaced by the janitorial crew...



(This post was edited by bighark on Jul 18, 2007, 10:34 AM)


sibyline


Jul 18, 2007, 10:46 AM

Post #509 of 764 (24117 views)
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Re: [umass76] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Benny,

Clench makes a v. good point, I've definitely pointed to a worst-case scenario (I tend to think in risk-averse terms). While Cornell (for instance) is famous, apparently, for having a very high yield (one current student mentioned last year that around 80% of accepted students say "yes"), many schools--in fact nearly all schools--accept many more students than are actually admitted.


Sorry I've been somewhat absent but I followed Seth's link from Tom's blog and wanted to give hard numbers about Cornell. In fiction, we've had a 100% yield the past two years and I think a 75% yield the year before that (we only take four people a year so the percentages are like that). In poetry, we had a 50% yield last year, which is apparently extremely unusual. Usually only 1 out of the 4 people in each genre declines at most.


bennyprof


Jul 18, 2007, 11:02 AM

Post #510 of 764 (24111 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Benny,

Clench makes a v. good point, I've definitely pointed to a worst-case scenario (I tend to think in risk-averse terms). While Cornell (for instance) is famous, apparently, for having a very high yield (one current student mentioned last year that around 80% of accepted students say "yes"), many schools--in fact nearly all schools--accept many more students than are actually admitted.


Sorry I've been somewhat absent but I followed Seth's link from Tom's blog and wanted to give hard numbers about Cornell. In fiction, we've had a 100% yield the past two years and I think a 75% yield the year before that (we only take four people a year so the percentages are like that). In poetry, we had a 50% yield last year, which is apparently extremely unusual. Usually only 1 out of the 4 people in each genre declines at most.



Thanks for the info!

How do you llike the program there? How are the teachers in terms of accessibility, one-on-one attention, classroom instruction...? Do you like the fact that it's on the small side (for teacher/student ratio) or do you wish you had the opportunity to study with a larger pool of writers?

Do you happen to know how many applied to fiction last year?

Sorry for the barrage of questions; just trying to get a feel for as many different schools as possible, and Cornell is one I've been curious about.

Thanks,
Benny


sibyline


Jul 18, 2007, 11:58 AM

Post #511 of 764 (24090 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

How do you llike the program there? How are the teachers in terms of accessibility, one-on-one attention, classroom instruction...? Do you like the fact that it's on the small side (for teacher/student ratio) or do you wish you had the opportunity to study with a larger pool of writers?

Do you happen to know how many applied to fiction last year?


The faculty is always there when I need them, which for me isn't that much since I tend to work pretty independently and only show my work at the late stages. The size has advantages and disadvantages. Basically, I love the people I love and have a hard time avoiding the people I"m not as fond of, but that's how it is. The funding is unbeatable though. If I remember correctly, someone was bandying about 300 as the number of fiction applilcants last year but don't quote me on that.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Jul 18, 2007, 1:11 PM

Post #512 of 764 (24072 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

For what it's worth, Cornell was maybe the only school I would have seriously considered over Iowa, mostly because of the awesome funding package, which includes a year of teaching post-grad as an instructor, if I'm not mistaken. As someone gearing up to look for full-time teaching work, I can say that having that under your belt would really help in your job hunt.

On a semi-related note ... and this isn't meant to be in response to Junior's comment specifically, but to several comments I've heard/read in these parts and others, all of which are some variation of "Sure, Iowa grads used to be great, but now they're pretty lame and unremarkable." Since a lot of people make decisions based on what they find here, and because I know how easy it is for rumors to become gospel (I used to believe Columbia was filled with nothing but snarky, backstabbing trust-fund babies, until I met some in person), I would just like to dispel that particular myth.

Just off the top of my head, and including only people who were there when I was there (the class that graduated a year before mine, and the one that just graduated this May)...

-stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Prize Stories, Best New American Voices, and Best American Non-Required Reading.
-stories have been published in The New Yorker, Playboy, the Paris Review, Zoetrope, VQR, Tin House, A Public Space, OneStory, Agni, The Missouri Review, McSweeney's ... pretty much every respectable journal I can think of except Ploughshares, and really, that mag's a total snoozefest these days anyway (how's that for a snarky generalization?)
-at least three collections, and two novels, plus a few more that are under contract/forthcoming
-a Frank O'Conner award and Guardian First Book award winner (both won by Yiyun Lee)
-at least three full-time professors (and lots of lowly adjuncts!)
-a Stegner fellow, a couple Wisconsin fellowship winners, a Provincetown fellow, a Gettysburg College fellow.

One thing I can say about Iowa -- there's never a lack of pressure from your peer group! The other day I was feeling pretty good about myself for having a story accepted by The Southeast Review and another by an editor putting together a Bush Years anthology for a small press, and then I was fishing around online and realized a guy from my first-semester workshop had a story in the friggin' New Yorker.

And then I bought an overpriced 6-pack from the corner deli, arranged myself on the couch, and watched Rock of Love With Bret Michaels until I felt better about myself.


dorchester


Jul 18, 2007, 2:22 PM

Post #513 of 764 (24051 views)
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Re: [mingram] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd like to second that. As Delaney points out in his interview, Iowa is everyone's favorite pinata, largely because they're the oldest and most prestigous program in the country, and it's really unfortunate that this is the case since it's such an amazing program and community. Obviously, the rumors that are spread about Iowa are spread by people who haven't been there or experienced the program, and it's probably best just to ignore them. The quality of the writing and the success of the graduates is indisputable. I can't remember opening up a Best American anthology or an O.Henry Award anthology without seeing at least two or three Iowa grads included. The same is true for almost every other major award. I was there eight years ago, but basically everyone I went to school with has published at least one book by now, and those are numbers you really can't argue with. It's true there's pressure, but there's pressure at any top program in any discipline, and I think that the pressure seems to motivate people more than discourage them. As for the rumors about Iowa being competitive and nasty, I can't really say that that was my experience at all. I made most of my best friends there, incredibly talented writers who remain to this day my best and most supportive readers.

I don't want this conversation to get side-tracked on an Iowa debate, as inevitably seems to happen. I just wanted to agree with the sentiments of the previous post.


bennyprof


Jul 18, 2007, 2:36 PM

Post #514 of 764 (24046 views)
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Re: [mingram] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For what it's worth, Cornell was maybe the only school I would have seriously considered over Iowa, mostly because of the awesome funding package, which includes a year of teaching post-grad as an instructor, if I'm not mistaken. As someone gearing up to look for full-time teaching work, I can say that having that under your belt would really help in your job hunt.

On a semi-related note ... and this isn't meant to be in response to Junior's comment specifically, but to several comments I've heard/read in these parts and others, all of which are some variation of "Sure, Iowa grads used to be great, but now they're pretty lame and unremarkable." Since a lot of people make decisions based on what they find here, and because I know how easy it is for rumors to become gospel (I used to believe Columbia was filled with nothing but snarky, backstabbing trust-fund babies, until I met some in person), I would just like to dispel that particular myth.

Just off the top of my head, and including only people who were there when I was there (the class that graduated a year before mine, and the one that just graduated this May)...

-stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Prize Stories, Best New American Voices, and Best American Non-Required Reading.
-stories have been published in The New Yorker, Playboy, the Paris Review, Zoetrope, VQR, Tin House, A Public Space, OneStory, Agni, The Missouri Review, McSweeney's ... pretty much every respectable journal I can think of except Ploughshares, and really, that mag's a total snoozefest these days anyway (how's that for a snarky generalization?)
-at least three collections, and two novels, plus a few more that are under contract/forthcoming
-a Frank O'Conner award and Guardian First Book award winner (both won by Yiyun Lee)
-at least three full-time professors (and lots of lowly adjuncts!)
-a Stegner fellow, a couple Wisconsin fellowship winners, a Provincetown fellow, a Gettysburg College fellow.

One thing I can say about Iowa -- there's never a lack of pressure from your peer group! The other day I was feeling pretty good about myself for having a story accepted by The Southeast Review and another by an editor putting together a Bush Years anthology for a small press, and then I was fishing around online and realized a guy from my first-semester workshop had a story in the friggin' New Yorker.

And then I bought an overpriced 6-pack from the corner deli, arranged myself on the couch, and watched Rock of Love With Bret Michaels until I felt better about myself.



Thanks for the insight!

Along the same lines as what you were saying toward the end... almost every book, thread, or blog I've come across has referenced Iowa's tiered funding situation as a bad thing (creating a competative environment instead of a supportive one.) Then, I asked one of my undergrad profs -- who has had five books published and got his PhD at Florida State -- what he thought about Iowa, and he kind of shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "I know its reputation for being a top program, but other than that...," but when I told him about their tiered funding he brightened up. He threw out the comment that that type of environment might push you, make you want to write better, a perspective that seemed incredibly obvious to me the second he said it, yet flew in the face of everything I'd read previously.

It's one of those key principles for improvement in any field: surround yourself with those who are better than you are. Like golf, for example... my handicap hovered at around 100 for about five or six years. Then, one summer, I started playing with a roommate of mine with a 5 handicap. Within three months, I'd shaved ten strokes off my game. It wasn't just that he gave me pointers as we played; it was that I pushed myself to try and beat him on every hole... and I actually did every once and awhile.

Okay, I'm rambling -- and hungry -- so I'll stop for now.

Again, thanks for the post, mingram!

-Benny


Clench Million
Charles

Jul 18, 2007, 4:50 PM

Post #515 of 764 (24007 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

Would someone with this issue of the Atlantic be able to post the other lists in the issue? Not the top 10 programs, but the list of notable programs with good funding, programs with the best faculty, etc.

???


Dewey

e-mail user

Jul 18, 2007, 6:30 PM

Post #516 of 764 (23981 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Would someone with this issue of the Atlantic be able to post the other lists in the issue? Not the top 10 programs, but the list of notable programs with good funding, programs with the best faculty, etc.

???



Here's everything from "The Best of the Best" MFA break down courtesy Edward J. Delaney and The Atlantic:

Ten Top Graduate Programs in Creative Writing
(in alphabetical order)
Boston University
University of California at Irvine
Cornell University
Florida State University
University of Iowa
Johns Hopkins University
University of Michigan
New York University
University of Texas, Michener Center
University of Virginia

Five Programs With Notable Alumni
Boston University
University of California at Irvine
Columbia University
University of Iowa
University of Virginia

Five Highly Selective Programs
Brown University
University of California at Irvine
Johns Hopkins University
University of Texas, Michener Center
University of Virginia

Five Programs With Distinguished Faculty
Boston University
Columbia University
University of Iowa
New York University
University of Virginia

Five Innovative/Unique Programs
University of Arkansas
Brown University
Chatham University
University of Nevada at Las Vegas
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Five Well-Funded Programs
Brown University
Cornell University
University of Michigan
University of Texas, Michener Center
University of Virginia

Five Up-and-Coming Programs
Brooklyn College
University of Mississippi
Ohio State University
Rutgers University at Newark
University of Wisconsin

Five Top Low-Residency M.F.A. Programs
Antioch University
Bennington College
Pacific University
Vermont College
Warren Wilson College

Five Top Ph.D. Programs in Creative Writing
Florida State University
University of Houston
University of Nevada at Las Vegas
University of Southern California
University of Utah

That’s it.
Clench,
Email me if you want the companion piece, "Where Great Writers are Made." It’s pretty long.





Clench Million
Charles

Jul 18, 2007, 6:53 PM

Post #517 of 764 (23971 views)
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Re: [Dewey] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for posting that info. I have no idea what innovative means in this context and can't comment on up-and-coming or low-residency. However, the five well-funded and five with notable alumni would be exactly what I'd pick. Notable faculty 4/5 what I'd have gone for.

The one category that surprises me a bit is five highly selective programs. Those programs are all selective, but THE most selective? Wouldn't Cornell have to top that list? A few on those programs I know go way through their waiting lists which should damage their selectivity, but maybe that wasn't factored in.

Interesting though.


ETA:

Are those other rankings in order, because they don't seem alphabetical?


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Jul 18, 2007, 6:58 PM)


Dewey

e-mail user

Jul 18, 2007, 7:43 PM

Post #518 of 764 (23955 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for posting that info. I have no idea what innovative means in this context and can't comment on up-and-coming or low-residency. However, the five well-funded and five with notable alumni would be exactly what I'd pick. Notable faculty 4/5 what I'd have gone for.

The one category that surprises me a bit is five highly selective programs. Those programs are all selective, but THE most selective? Wouldn't Cornell have to top that list? A few on those programs I know go way through their waiting lists which should damage their selectivity, but maybe that wasn't factored in.

Interesting though.


ETA:

Are those other rankings in order, because they don't seem alphabetical?



I'm not sure how he organized the various categories, it (the article) doesn't say either. That's pretty much all there is in that, "The Best of the Best" article, no added commentary.


__________



Jul 18, 2007, 7:57 PM

Post #519 of 764 (23952 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the list. I know Arkansas has an innovative application process (manuscript first, other stuff if they like it), and Brown is 'experimental' and has the e-writing class.

Maybe this list is just a good jumping-off point. Seems like all the schools could fit just as easily into other columns. Mississippi, for instance, is highly selective (four students per genre, last time I checked), has a great faculty, and is just as on-the-rise as those other risers.

I'd just like to say again, too, that my Iowa comments had nothing to do with the students, but with the school's excellent reputation, how it's just a given on any list. It's like how my old roommate used to make a Nine Other Hottest Women! list every year, because Scarlett Johansonn was always number one.


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toadvine


Jul 19, 2007, 2:28 AM

Post #520 of 764 (23904 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You know that's not what I'm asking. I'm asking you to play fair. If you're going to say that "Oh, well, I've heard that so-and-so is a pervert and the other one's a juggernaut," then back it up. Or don't use those claims in your arguments. Vague hints that there's another thread on this sprawling board, or intimations about what's been said in another corner of the Internet are not enough.

Since some of us know some of these people you're talking about, and since some of us happen to know that there are janitors who are good writers, some of us want to take you to task on your posts. That's part of discussion, too, right?



Yes, this is exactly what I was getting at with my earlier post. All due, Junior Maas, you seem to cast an awful lot of aspersions and give little in the way of basis or support. I tried to find the other threads you allude to and was unsuccessful, but I did find other threads in which your claims seemed to outstrip your knowledge.

Piratelizzy makes an excellent point: some of us do know the people or institutions you're talking about. And implying nepotism and sexual harassment and the like doesn't strike me as idle message-board chat.


(This post was edited by toadvine on Jul 19, 2007, 2:35 AM)


__________



Jul 19, 2007, 3:07 AM

Post #521 of 764 (23900 views)
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Re: [toadvine] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps your judgment's clouded if you're really palling around with Tobias Wolfe, Robert Olen Butler, Derek Walcott, various other BU harassers, or, I dunno, Julie Orringer. I deal in facts. And I didn't name any criminals; I said I thought I'd heard of harassment in connection with BU. And I was right. Umass76 and piratelizzy provided the name.

If a school's rankings are affected by nepotism (or in the case of Florida, one stellar writer chosen four times for BNAV), it deserves a mention.

Fact: Orringer was awarded the Stegner when she was either engaged or married to Ryan Harty, a current Stegner fellow.

Fact: Butler's students win a disproportionate amount of Stegners. Look at the list of winners and where they went to school. A lot of people have said this is because Butler is pals with Wolfe, and Wolfe usually throws him a bone. Teachers like to see their students get ahead. Because who knows, someday the Atlantic may rank you in the top ten.

Fact: Wolfe chose Shimon Tanaka for BNAV, then gave him the Stegner.

Fact: Wolfe chose Adam Johnson for BNAV, then gave him the Stegner.

A few Stegners that were Butler's students: Adam Johnson, Rita Mae Reese, Russell Franklin... There are others. Do I know them all? No. Because I'm not interested enough to spend hours on Google.

Heck, have you even read This Boy's Life? The back cover mentions Wolfe's "stunning act of reinvention". Do you know what that was? Falsifying documents to get into a good school over more qualified applicants.

I first read of this Stegner stuff on Kealey's blog (no, I'm not going to dig around for the link). Kealey didn't correct or remove the comments, as was his habit with false or negative information.

I'm weally sowy if these things have hurt your weetle feewings. However, they do effect my estimation of a school's integrity. They do effect where I'll choose to apply. And I will discuss it even if your mom's daddy's cousin shared a hot dog with Robert Olen Butler.

Here's a link with more people chiming in on the whole Stegner issue:

http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=817.0


Here's a list of recent Stegner winners going back to 2000. Unfortunately, Orringer, Harty, or Johnson are no longer on that list. Perhaps you could Google them if you're really that interested...

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/english/cw/currfellows.html



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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jul 19, 2007, 3:22 AM)


Zash
Zachary Ash

Jul 19, 2007, 3:59 AM

Post #522 of 764 (23890 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm unfamiliar with most of these alleged literary scandals, but I have read This Boy's Life. While it's true a young Tobias Wolfe forged documents to gain admission to an elite prep school, the Hill School, I believe, he was eventually expelled because he couldn't pass the coursework. He wound up, instead, in Vietnam. So, is it likely that today, as a renowned teacher and writer, he would repeat the same error? Especially, in light of the fact that the whole world knows of his past? I don't have an answer. And also, isn't possible that Robert Olen Butler is not only a terrific writer but a terrific teacher, and so his students exceled and wrote top-notch stories and deserved the honors they won? Perhaps I'm naive. But Wolfe and Butler are two of my favorite writers, and it distresses me to learn they may be involved in shady dealings.


__________



Jul 19, 2007, 4:14 AM

Post #523 of 764 (23887 views)
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Re: [Zash] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

Dunno. Is it weird that Butler's students excel only in prizes that Wolfe awards? Do people really change over time?

I don't have the answers. But I have enough to ask the questions.


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mingram
Mike Ingram

Jul 19, 2007, 9:02 AM

Post #524 of 764 (23865 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm weally sowy if these things have hurt your weetle feewings. However, they do effect my estimation of a school's integrity. They do effect where I'll choose to apply. And I will discuss it even if your mom's daddy's cousin shared a hot dog with Robert Olen Butler.


Fact: This is the most condescending post I've read since the last rankings debate. What is it with this topic?

Fact: Foetry.com isn't exactly The New York Times. I have about as much faith in that site as an arbiter of truth as I do Wikipedia, or redstate.org.

Fact: This board is much more pleasant when people treat each other like adults.


__________



Jul 19, 2007, 9:58 AM

Post #525 of 764 (23852 views)
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Re: [mingram] Benny [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I tried not to derail things...until they attacked my grammar. I have impeccable grammar!

Personal opinions of Foetry aside, I linked to that thread because it points out simple, verifiable facts, which are ostensibly what folks were asking for. You don't have to pick up the NYT to learn where someone went to school, or that the dude who hands out the Stegners gives them to people he's already awarded, or to spouses of current fellows, or students of...etc.

Carry on...


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jul 19, 2007, 10:16 AM)

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