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WanderingTree


Oct 16, 2009, 12:26 PM

Post #551 of 1018 (19470 views)
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     Re: [honeyhex] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

re: experimental programs (obviously it depends on what you define as experimental. Are you thinking more structurally experimental? (i.e. small vignettes strung together like a collage) or in terms of genre bending?

Notre Dame has a couple of profs that are definitely open to experimental and cross-genre (i.e. magical realism, noir) work. I just read the novel, Wolf Boy, by a Notre Dame alum which incorporates a parallel story in comic book form. Steve Tomasula is also an indicator along with a couple of other faculty (and their experimental spouses which may or may not teach).

Washington U. - St Louis: The program has a couple of profs that have published in markets such as The Fairy Tale Review and Ninth Letter. I can't find a whole lot on this program, but those publications are definitely left of center.

Arizona State University: The journal out of this program, Haydens Ferry Review, is one of the few journals out there that embrace experimental work and magical realism. The English dept. offers classes in magical realism among other things and seems pretty innovative overall. Past posts have described the program as having students with work that was more friendly to the fantastic and surreal.

Syracuse University: Well, if George Saunders is any indicator.

New York University and Columbia: Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Safran Foer at NYU and Ben Marcus at Columbia. Both programs have a rotation of writers that pretty much cover the literary spectrum. These programs are so large that I'm sure almost anything is welcome.

U. Illinois (champaign): Home to Ninth Letter.

Southern Illinois: If Pickney Benedict is any indicator.

I'm almost tempted to put Texas-Austin here because the program has a constant influx of visiting writers that the aesthetic of the program is probably more malleable than others.

(This post was edited by WanderingTree on Oct 16, 2009, 12:30 PM)


bighark


Oct 16, 2009, 1:43 PM

Post #552 of 1018 (19445 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

Tree had some good ones. Notre Dame is a good one. U. of I and Columbia for sure.

Also consider the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. You will not find a place more open to experimentation. You don't even declare a concentration there. You can take all the courses--even those in studio art--and advise with anyone on the faculty. I'm a happy student at SAIC. Send me a PM. I'll be happy to talk.


__________



Oct 16, 2009, 1:45 PM

Post #553 of 1018 (19442 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

You forgot Alabama -- where the founder of Fairy Tale Review teaches.

(Also: George Saunders is experimental?)


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Oct 16, 2009, 1:48 PM)


WanderingTree


Oct 16, 2009, 3:33 PM

Post #554 of 1018 (19411 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

Is anyone experimental? Is anyone traditional? It's hard to say and a lot of these labels have more to do with who the person is than what they are actually writing (i.e. a successful writer of high quality science-fiction may get away with having their books placed in the literature section vs. the sci-fi/fantasy section). Also, as I said before, the definition of experimental is subjective. Most if not all of the writers at these programs are first and foremost "literary" but some of them like Saunders sometimes find themselves dabbling in genres and forms that cannot be easily defined.

(This post was edited by WanderingTree on Oct 16, 2009, 3:38 PM)


klondike


Oct 16, 2009, 5:51 PM

Post #555 of 1018 (19368 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

I personally don't think the label "experimental" means anything anymore. Maybe it did twenty years ago when the market was saturated with dirty realism; back then, anything outside that strict mold was experimental. But now, we have the widest range of styles being published ever. Besides, "experimental" is a condescending label. Every short story should be an experiment. Please, can we retire the word? It no longer means "writing outside the box." Now it means "I don't know what to call this, and I desperately like categories."

As far as MFA programs go, I think you'd be surprised by how varied a teacher's tastes can be, even though his or her writing might be "traditional."


__________



Oct 16, 2009, 6:12 PM

Post #556 of 1018 (19364 views)
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     Re: [klondike] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

I don't think most writers consider the term condescending. In fact, numerous presses embrace terms like experimental, non-traditional, innovative, etc. -- and the idea that not writing the standard one-two epiphany job means you desperately love categories is pretty wacky.

I'll have to take your word for it about this being the golden age of many styles...but I sort of doubt that, too.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Oct 16, 2009, 6:14 PM)


BLUECHEESE


Oct 16, 2009, 6:38 PM

Post #557 of 1018 (19353 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

Yes; mfa programs don't tend to list this, though... although I think most applicants to mfa programs don't quite know what they are looking for going in.

Poetry is worse off than fiction, I'd suppose. There is a major gap between experimental and more traditional writers in the contemporary poetry landscape (although there are lots of poets that are in between, there are some mfa programs that have nothing but traditional writers at them, and a few here and there that are more experimental bent...).


honeyhex


Oct 17, 2009, 10:58 AM

Post #558 of 1018 (19260 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Experiment-Friendly Programs? [In reply to]  

Thanks! That was really helpful.


Mae Fields



Oct 18, 2009, 8:27 PM

Post #559 of 1018 (19141 views)
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     Re: [FreakingOutInBd] Nonfiction programs [In reply to]  

Hmmm, the funding at UO is more than ten thousand annually but is less than say Michener or UVA offer. You receive a monthly stipend of $1250.00 for teaching one class (for nine months). You can apply to teach a summer course. Tuition for the three terms is paid for by the Program, and all fees except $150 a term. You receive free health, dental and vision, for you, and the school pays 80% of the monthly fee to enroll a partner and/or children on the insurance.

The numbers could change slightly next year but that's about what to expect.

* ETA: But, as someone stated above, UO does not offer an official nonfiction concentration.


(This post was edited by Mae Fields on Oct 18, 2009, 8:29 PM)


unsaid78


Oct 19, 2009, 12:03 PM

Post #560 of 1018 (19076 views)
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     Re: [cecilpeoples] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hey Cecil, I get where you're coming from regarding less lit and pedagogy courses and more writing time. At UVA, the first year we don't teach and we are only required to take one lit class (this is flexible, you can really take any class you feel will enhance your writing if you make a case for it, some people take languages, science courses etc.). Then the second year you teach one creative writing class in your genre and have the same course schedule. Tons of writing time.

I saw a single mother in a previous post. I recommend this model for single parents because of the time factor. :)


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


insertbrackets

e-mail user

Oct 25, 2009, 2:26 PM

Post #561 of 1018 (18702 views)
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     Re: [unsaid78] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hey current and future applicants! If you want to get some questions answered by current MFA students who were exactly where you are a year ago, click on over to The MFA Chronicles. It's a collaborative blog featuring bloggers in both full-residency and low-res programs, across all genres at schools like Ohio State, Indiana, UVA, The New School, Oregon, UNC Greensborough, SFSU, VTech, SUIC, and more.

http://mfachronicles.blogspot.com/

If you have a particular question about one of our schools, or about what our application processes were like, or anything else, feel free to post in the comments on our blog. We just put up a "Questions and Answers" post. Check it out, maybe we can help. Good luck!


Who told you I was a racist? Was it...a minority?
-T-Rex, qwantz.com Dinosaur Comics


BLUECHEESE


Oct 26, 2009, 2:18 PM

Post #562 of 1018 (18560 views)
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     Re: [insertbrackets] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Poetry people out there... I thought I'd point you to a rather wonderful program. I decided to cut it off my list (I'm only applying to 10 places, and I'm sticking to the Midwest, so this was a no go for me despite how much I like the program)...

Boise State's MFA

I don't know anything about the other two faculty members, but, Martin Corless-Smith's last two books (published by Fence) blew me away. Janet Holmes poetry is also wonderful. Based on the work of these two, I'd suppose that they are quite open to experimental work.

Further, Ahsahta Press is _absolutely_ wonderful.

They don't fund every student, as the funding is based off of GTAs. You can get in the program and not get a GTA. Still, this seems like it would be a wonderful backup school for a lot of people. And, since I'm not applying there anymore, I thought I'd give it a plug.


BLUECHEESE


Oct 26, 2009, 2:37 PM

Post #563 of 1018 (18551 views)
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     Re: [BLUECHEESE] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Here is the link:

http://www.boisestate.edu/english/mfa/

The visiting writers/faculty look wonderful as well.


FreakingOutInBd


Oct 29, 2009, 2:09 AM

Post #564 of 1018 (18309 views)
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     Re: [Mae Fields] Nonfiction programs [In reply to]  

Thank you Mae Fields. I've just (re)included Oregon in my list.

:-)


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Oct 29, 2009, 3:51 PM

Post #565 of 1018 (18261 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi everyone,

Thanks to those who have been kind enough to share any information/experiences they've had with various MFA programs in this thread. If there are any current or former MFA students (ideally poetry, but I'm not picky!) of the below schools who wouldn't mind sharing their insights on funding, aesthetics, faculty, &c, please don't hesitate to do so. I'm applying this fall to (in no particular order):

1. IWW
2. Cornell
3. Brown
4. Johns Hopkins
5. Columbia
6. NYU
7. BU

I got a pretty good picture of IWW's aesthetics/funding from Seth, but I must admit the rest are a bit of a mystery to me. Some of you who are familiar with these schools might be surprised that I'm applying to Hopkins and Brown—I don't think there are two graduate poetry programs with less in common (aesthetically speaking) than this pair—but I'm not really 100% sure where I fall on the conservative/experimental spectrum, so I thought applying to a wide variety of schools (again, in terms of perceived aesthetics) would be a good idea.

Thoughts?


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


umass76


Oct 29, 2009, 4:30 PM

Post #566 of 1018 (18254 views)
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     Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi Eric,
I think I'd just be mindful that BU is a one-year program--great faculty, but most folks these days prefer long programs because one of the values of an MFA is having time to write. Also, BU's funding is only average, which means there's a chance even that one year in the program will end up being either hectic (because you'll need a second job) or debt-inducing. Your chances (anyone's chances) of getting funding at Columbia or NYU are slim (particularly at the former), and NYC is as expensive a place to live as anywhere in the US. More importantly, do keep in mind the issue of program length--2 versus 3 years--and the fact that some NYC programs do have more of an academic (rather than studio) focus, which not everyone prefers. I think that JHU is a good one for anyone's list--it's slipping in popularity and I'm not sure why (which may be affecting selectivity in a way applicants can strategically take into account), as it's fully-funded and is strong in terms of poetry faculty. Baltimore's no prize, and it's only a two-year program, and it does have some strange curricular requirements, but it still seems worth an application. Brown and Cornell are wonderful (albeit again 2 years), but also extremely selective. If you're dead-set on getting in this year you might think about applying to many more programs than this--other than Columbia, which has a high acceptance rate (relatively speaking), these are all tougher admits than Harvard Law School.
Best,
Seth


owenj


Oct 29, 2009, 6:43 PM

Post #567 of 1018 (18217 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Dude, Baltimore is awesome. Maybe not for everybody, but no city is.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Oct 30, 2009, 10:34 AM

Post #568 of 1018 (18137 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi Seth,

Great to hear from you again. Thanks for all this—and yes, I'm mindful of BU's being a one-year program, and that's really my only hesitation. In particular, I'd be happy to be back near Nashua for grad school, and I've always thought Boston was a great city.

You're also 100% right re: funding for NYC-area schools (where I'm currently located). I've heard NYU is a bit better about it and I'm attending two of their open houses next month, one for master's programs in general and one for the MFA. Hopefully that will help me get a clearer idea of just how good the chances are of getting enough funding to be able to go. As you've said (and I agree), there's no sense going into phenomenal amounts of debt for what is, essentially, an art degree. Doubly true of poetry, where six-figure advances aren't just extraordinarily rare, they simply do not exist.

Re: JHU—that's not great news for the admissions staff/school, but good news for me if it means a decrease in selectivity. I spoke with Mary Jo Salter via e-mail the other day (she's incredibly nice) and got the impression my work wouldn't be considered "insufficiently formal" for a more conservative program like JHU's.

Finally, re: Brown and Cornell—yes, I realize they're extraordinarily selective (as are all the programs to which I'm applying), but I'm really not absolutely dead set on getting into a program this year. I'm still below the occasionally quoted MFA median age of 28 or so, and if I need a couple more years to hone my abilities and built a more robust application manuscript, so be it.


Thanks & all best,

E


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Oct 30, 2009, 10:45 AM

Post #569 of 1018 (18132 views)
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     Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

*Build, rather.


E


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Oct 30, 2009, 10:47 AM

Post #570 of 1018 (18129 views)
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     Re: [owenj] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi owenj,

I have friends in Baltimore and have visited a few times. I definitely think I could live there for a few years. Any advice on things to do/places to go in the city?


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Nov 1, 2009, 3:48 PM

Post #571 of 1018 (17876 views)
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     Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Eric, I'm applying to all the schools you've listed. I'm also in NY and on the younger side--nice to see someone with a similar perspective.

A question for all: I'm making some last-minute decisions and am wondering which schools have a reputation for NOT having an heavy teaching focus. I realize that many schools offer TA opportunities in a financial aid package, but I have no desire to enter the field of academia; the only reason I'm pursuing an MFA is to improve my writing.

Merci beaucoup.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


BLUECHEESE


Nov 1, 2009, 4:49 PM

Post #572 of 1018 (17856 views)
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     Re: [Zuleika Dobson] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Iowa and Austin off the top of my head. I think UC Boulder only makes students teach creative writing.


WanderingTree


Nov 1, 2009, 5:35 PM

Post #573 of 1018 (17836 views)
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     Re: [Zuleika Dobson] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Dobson,

The vast majority of financial packages involve teaching. It's just something you're going to have to accept about MFA programs unless you want to go into 50k-100k in debt. At the end of the day, teaching experience is only going to help you regardless of whether or not you want to remain in academia.


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Nov 1, 2009, 5:52 PM

Post #574 of 1018 (17813 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Thanks for the responses so far.

WT, I definitely understand this, but it seems certain programs are considerably more focused towards creative writing AND teaching, whereas others treat the teaching more as an unavoidable quid pro quo in exchange for fin aid.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."

(This post was edited by Zuleika Dobson on Nov 1, 2009, 5:53 PM)


unsaid78


Nov 1, 2009, 7:45 PM

Post #575 of 1018 (17696 views)
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     Re: [Zuleika Dobson] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

UVA has a low teaching load. No teaching the first year. Only teach 1 creative writing class per year the second year.


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!

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