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Nick McRae

e-mail user

Dec 23, 2008, 7:10 PM

Post #76 of 145 (9140 views)
Re: [germericanqt] Applicants? [In reply to] Can't Post

Right here with you! ROLL TIDE!


"You got a song, man, sing it. / You got a bell, man, ring it." - Robert Creeley

Nick McRae


Jan 26, 2009, 1:57 PM

Post #77 of 145 (9031 views)
Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone know how many fiction writers Alabama accepts? It appears from Suburban Ecstasies that two have already been accepted. I'm hoping there will be a few more, and that I will be one of them. That would be great.


Jan 26, 2009, 1:58 PM

Post #78 of 145 (9029 views)
Re: [thbeard1] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm thinking they take 5 in each genre.

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


Jan 26, 2009, 2:28 PM

Post #79 of 145 (8999 views)
Re: [unsaid78] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

I only see one fiction acceptance for Bama. Am I missing something?


Jan 26, 2009, 2:30 PM

Post #80 of 145 (8995 views)
Re: [pernicus] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I can't check TSE here at work. Someone tell me what the second report is... when did they find out? Or were you talking about the post I made letting Seth know that Sara had reported an acceptance on the Kealey blog? (I'm rachel on blogspot.)


Jan 26, 2009, 2:35 PM

Post #81 of 145 (8988 views)
Re: [germericanqt] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm only seeing one fiction acceptance for Alabama too. The one in the comments on the MFA blog.

I checked again and the only mention on TSE is Rachel/germericanqt relaying the info on that blog. Looks like only 1 reported acceptance for fiction so far! Good luck fiction folks!

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


Jan 26, 2009, 3:13 PM

Post #82 of 145 (8958 views)
Re: [unsaid78] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

maybe i was misreading the Acceptance Response blog. I think i Interpreted the (p/e) thing as two different acceptances. One phone and one email.


Jan 26, 2009, 3:15 PM

Post #83 of 145 (8955 views)
Re: [thbeard1] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, the fiction acceptance said she received notification via phone and then email. They probably left a voicemail and then sent an email to follow up. So that was just one acceptance.

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


Jan 26, 2009, 9:00 PM

Post #84 of 145 (8860 views)
Re: [unsaid78] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

I called AL today because there had been some confusion with my grad applications earlier (someone from the international school kept insisting that I fill out an international student application, even though I am a US citizen and live here). Anyway, I talked to the very nice woman that worked there and a lot of confusion ensued. She said I was accepted, and then took it back, saying she was looking at the wrong thing, and then they thought I was applying for poetry even though I applied in fiction. I don't know the whole thing was very confusing. I assume I am not accepted.


Jan 26, 2009, 9:47 PM

Post #85 of 145 (8840 views)
Re: [ka2009] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

It's really crazy to think just how selective that is...5 people. Yeesh. This was a terrible idea.


Jan 26, 2009, 11:16 PM

Post #86 of 145 (8810 views)
Re: [fixittuesday] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Guys, I have to share this. I e-mailed Joel Brouwer asking about the process because...well...you all know why. Here's what he said:

Oh Rachel,

Those blogs are a scourge. A scourge, I tell you! Of course you're
curious about the admissions process. So are we all. But it needs to
run its course. Turn off the computer, read a Grace Paley story, and
go to sleep.

All best,


Total brush-off. I am duly reprimanded. But I also had a good laugh.


Jan 27, 2009, 7:40 PM

Post #87 of 145 (8722 views)
Re: [germericanqt] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats to everyone who has been accepted-- now a question--

I just noticed on the program website that Alabama offers a number of 'plums', (are they trying to woo me with fruit references? Because it's working) including fellowships that defer teaching responsibilities, and additions to the stipend.

I was just wondering if anyone who's been accepted has been offered such plums, or had plums mentioned in any way. I like me some plums.

Thanks and congrats again :)


Jan 27, 2009, 7:43 PM

Post #88 of 145 (8715 views)
Re: [HappyCianci] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

No plums yet. I haven't even gotten the official e-mail from Joel yet. I guess we'll see. :)


Jan 27, 2009, 8:04 PM

Post #89 of 145 (8695 views)
Re: [HappyCianci] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

No plums. Just the standard 1st year RA/subsequent year TA + stipend deal. Well, I'm guessing it's standard lol

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


Jan 28, 2009, 1:41 AM

Post #90 of 145 (8610 views)
Re: [unsaid78] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

A "plum" for poet hopefuls? Nice Alabama lady said 2 poets were going to be offered fellowships and if that goes through, there would be 2 more openings for poets. O, please, please, please, please, please.

These boards aren't a scourge, just a purgatory for MFA head bangers to dance together. And, no, I was never a head banger, ...until now.

note: somehow a sweet southern accent does help tame the savage beast of rejection.

p.s. Unsaid78: let us know if you're one.

(This post was edited by Katevey on Jan 28, 2009, 1:42 AM)


Jan 28, 2009, 2:20 AM

Post #91 of 145 (8601 views)
Re: [Katevey] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

You are the queen of info, Katevey! Thanks for it.

The information I received matched up with the funding they mentioned on the program website so that's why I said it was standard. I lol'd because I realize I'm no authority on what's standard regardless. I hope that didn't cause any confusion.

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


Apr 14, 2009, 5:38 PM

Post #92 of 145 (8384 views)
Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Anybody headed to Alabama this fall want to share emails/info, especially on prospective housing? I'll be moving from Wisconsin, & assuming I'll visit and try to sign a lease sometime in May or June. Has anyone already visited and/or found a place?


Apr 15, 2009, 5:07 PM

Post #93 of 145 (8297 views)
Re: [symmetrical] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going this fall and looking for roommates, actually. I could probably afford a place by myself but I want to keep debt as low as possible. I'm PM-ing you my e-mail address. I'm already in touch with a couple of people who are attending this fall so I'll pass along your e-mail address to them as well.


Feb 18, 2010, 10:35 PM

Post #94 of 145 (7410 views)
Re: Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

So, any Alabama admits going to the Admitted Students Weekend (March 4th-7th) besides me? I think that its an incredible sign of confidence in their program that Alabama is covering up to $350 of admitted students' travel costs so that they can come to this.

Gena Goodman

Feb 18, 2010, 11:46 PM

Post #95 of 145 (7395 views)
Re: [Reaper16] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Waitlisted at Bama in Fiction at the moment, does anyone know how large their class/waitlist is this time around? (In related news, no, Reaper-- but I want to hear all about it when you get back, please!)


Feb 19, 2010, 10:03 AM

Post #96 of 145 (7343 views)
Re: [Reaper16] Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm planning to attend! I still have to get a ticket, etc. But I'm excited to go and check things out!


Mar 5, 2010, 5:12 AM

Post #97 of 145 (7233 views)
Live from Alabama! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, all! I'm at the Class of 2010 Admitted Student's Weekend in Alabama and I thought it might be helpful to post some of my impressions for future classes of applicants.

Robin Behn, Joel Brouwer and Peter Streckfus were all kind, engaging and welcoming. Joel, was super nice to me, as a prospective student, but I thought (just my impression) that he was more engaged with the current students -- he was highly engaged with his current students, which was quite charming to watch. Robin and Peter, in my opinion, were much more warm and outgoing with me, as a prospective student. Within 5 minutes of meeting Peter, I started daydreaming about him being my mentor, that's how friendly and engaging he was.

I talked for a bit with a second-year poet, who told me two interesting things: 1.) he said that he has gone back and forth, worked with Joel and/or/then Robin and/or/then Peter (and now with visiting professor, Terrance Hayes), and because he gets different types of value from each of them, he doesn't feel the need to have one specific mentor; and 2.) while talking with another second-year poet, they both indicated that they've taken semesters out to work on their manuscripts with an adviser, independently of workshop (•already•, even though Alabama is a three- to four-year program which means they don't *have to* be at this stage yet). Apparently, maybe because of its longer term, people who get workshop fatigue, or just need some time out to edit and take stock, at Alabama these people can just chill for a bit, work independently with an instructor and then come back to workshop the next semester.

The current students seemed to be a very tightly-knit group, especially with others from their same year. For one thing, counting five per year & then across three genres, it seems like all of the current Alabama writers showed up to tonight's party. Joel and Wendy's big-ass house and their big-ass slate patio (with its sweet woodburning firepit) was packed with people. Also, there seemed to be a lot of genre crossover. More than one person told me, when I asked what genre s/he worked in, that s/he wasn't working in a specific genre, but was crossing between Alabama's three (poetry, fiction and non-fiction). I also got the impression that the prospective students were immediately put into the current students' cool books just because we'd been selected for the program.

This is a veeeerrrrryyyy hipster group of writers. There was some good regional and gender diversity, but there seemed to be only one fashion sense and just one general *type* of personality, both of which = laid back hipster academics. I'm coming from school in New York City and, let me tell you, that room was more Brooklyn than Brooklyn has been since the artists moved out to Queens. I'm sure this is an extremely superficial assessment but that's how they looked, to me.

Tuscaloosa looks and feels like every other suburb in America. There are a lot of Waffle HousesTM and Hardees. We'll get a tour of the campus area tomorrow, which should give me a better feel for what the school environment is like, versus the town environment. I will report back to you on that experience tomorrow night!


Mar 6, 2010, 7:11 AM

Post #98 of 145 (7152 views)
My second day in Alabama [In reply to] Can't Post

Today's activities began at a snack meeting with the major MFA faculty: Robin Behn, Wendy Rawlings and Peter Streckfus. Joel Brouwer is on sabbatical, so even though he's been at the social events, he wasn't at today's administrative thing.

Robin gave us an overview of the program. First, about the required classes:
- A pedagogy class during the first year;
- The creative writing class options -- apparently, you have to take 8 of them over the course of your three to four years;
- The "lit" class options -- apparently, you have to take 4 of them over the course of your three to four years -- and they can come from either the English department or from any humanities department. Robin gave us examples of people who took classes in the social sciences and other, more remote, disciplines because they felt that those classes best informed their writing. You can take lit theory classes, if you want to, but they are not required.

Then, about the teaching requirements:
- You have to tutor at the Writing Center during your first year, where you will get additional pedagogical guidance from the head of that program;
- There's a 2/2 teaching load for all years after the first year;
- You start off teaching comp, but there are four types of classes that MFAs can teach (comp, intro to creative writing, a more advanced level of creative writing & literature survey courses), MFAs who want to teach the more advanced types of classes (beyond comp) have to take additional 1-credit-hour pedagogy courses as prep;
- It is possible to do things other than teach -- work on the Black Warrior Review or do arts administration-type coordination for other departmental programs, like the prison education program or the high school programs.

Then, Robin explained what the three- to four-year plan really means:
- The coursework takes about three years -- the first year is a 3/3 class load with no teaching, but 10 hours of work per week at the Writing Center, the second and third years have a 2/2 class load with 2/2 teaching;
- Taking a fourth year is totally up to you, you can submit and defend your thesis at the end of three years or four;
- You are not required to take classes during your fourth year but if you choose to take additional classes (apparently, many people discover passions for other things while in the MFA program and then choose to spend their fourth year taking Book Arts classes or even classes from completely unrelated disciplines), you still have tuition remission and health insurance during the fourth year;
- You still have to teach 2/2 during the fourth year, although, at that point you'll be teaching literature classes or advanced creative writing;
- Generally, you teach two sections of the exact same class during a semester, but from semester-to-semester you can have as much variety in terms of the type of classes you're teaching as you want -- as long as you've taken the 1-credit-hour classes that you need to take in order to qualify you to teach the higher level classes;
- Basically, there's a lot of teaching and a good amount of pedagogical classwork to support those efforts but people who decide to stay for four years -- who want to pursue a career in teaching -- should be able to leave this program with a more robust list of teaching accomplishments than at almost any other MFA program and with, frankly, a higher quantity of classes.

And then Robin answered our questions, although, I was the only chatty d-bag who had any.

Wendy and Peter talked for about 30mins about some of their favorite class offerings -- Peter's "Writing Salon" sounds f*cking rad-ass! In general, the classes sounded as trans-genre and (due to my lack of a better word) as experimental as you would expect from Alabama. Both Wendy and Peter said that they thought their best class ideas came from student proposals about classes that those students would like to take.

Justin, the brilliant kid who was our tour guide/host for the weekend, took us on a tour of the campus. I've never gone to a big, undergrad-heavy institution like this one -- I grew up on the University of Chicago campus and then went to NYC for college at Columbia -- so I've never seen the type of facilities that having 30,000 undergraduates gets you. The rec center (gym) has to be seen to be believed -- there's a f*cking waterslide at the back of the thing! The food commons was as large and had as much menu variety a suburban mall. The campus has a lot of space, and the humanities seem to have their own little campus in the middle of the university, surrounding the main library. I found the main library a bit paltry, but my library standards are pretty high.

We had a group lunch with Dean Francko, the dean of the overall graduate school. He probably says this to every group he meets with, but he told us that the MFA program gets a lot of attention and support from the university because the program brings so much prestige to the university. He said that Alabama's sports and alumni boosterism bring in a lot of money and name recognition, but that the achievements of the MFA grads brings the university a lot of academic recognition, so the graduate school goes out of its way to support the requests of the MFA students and faculty.

Dean Francko said something that really hit home for me. It's kind of basic but he reminded us that, as graduate students, we needed to come into the university focused on building our CVs. To support our efforts, he told us that the university has no limit on the number of conference attendances they would fund -- nationally or internationally -- for graduate students to present papers. Well, d'uh! Still, this hit home for me because, as a creative writer, I think I forget about this part of my CV. Other humanities grads come into their programs already planning to go to Frankfurt or Buenos Aires to present. Francko had a good point with his observation to us: Yes, you need to write your book but it is also in your best interest to get out into the world in order to produce a CV that shows you've gone out there.

The landscape is totally different for us versus the other humanities, so I'm not sure of what the practical opportunities are for creative writers -- I think you have to be more a more established writer than a lowly MFA poet to get the opportunity to read at poetry festivals. But I am going to look into it and I think that, as a group, we MFAers should be more proactive in this area. Also, for those of us who plan to take lit classes, how about trying to use the papers from those classes as an opportunity to present at a conference? This approach may be unrealistic, but I feel like our perspective on literature and the humanities could add a lot of depth to any larger discussion that is happening on the world stage.

Also notable:
- the MFA student population makes up half the English department;
- MFA students at Alabama typically outrepresent their numbers in university awards;
- Some type of international work (a semester abroad) *seems* to be possible for MFAers but the details were not completely clear to me -- I do translation and I write fiction in a second language but I'm not sure if this is enough to get me a funded semester abroad since, presumably, the English department wouldn't send me to Rome to work on my Ungaretti translations.

Well, that's all I've got! I hope this post is helpful, next Fall, for people who are thinking of applying to Alabama. Obviously, this information comes from my notes and observations over the course of only two days -- please take this info with that grain of salt! If anything here interests you or sparks questions, you should totally contact them over at Alabama. All of the admin people we met were super nice and went out of their way to be helpful -- I think they go out of their way, in general, to make a point about Southern Hospitality.


Mar 6, 2010, 7:28 AM

Post #99 of 145 (7149 views)
Two things I forgot: [In reply to] Can't Post

The Black Warrior Review is completely student run. It's staff isn't selected by the faculty and there is no formal application process. Any MFA who wants to work on the journal just has to show up for the appropriate editorial meetings in their genre, there are no other hurdles that you have to leap. The chief editors, though, are elected to their positions by the vote of the BWR staff in their genre.

A lot of the work at the Writing Center, apparently, is in helping students for whom English is a second language, so some people choose to take their Writing Center work as the starting point for moving into ESL education.

Rama Jama

Mar 7, 2010, 11:46 PM

Post #100 of 145 (7059 views)
Re: [Trilbe] Live from Alabama! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Trilbe,

You do realize, Trilbe, that all of those students which you so rudely disregard as "hipsters" (although, thankfully, they passed your "regional and gender diversity" requirements--yes, they are from different places, and, yes, there are both men and women enrolled) are the same people who went out of their way to make you and the entire group of visiting prospective students comfortable and welcome? Please also realize that this means that many very generous people provided places to stay and devoted a lot of time that would usually be spent studying and writing. Keep in mind, also, that these students do not get anything out of the deal, and do not expect anything, except for, in many cases, the smallest amount of gratitude--as opposed to this sense of entitlement you seem to be compelled by, to publicly pass absolutely uninformed judgment on an entire group of very decent people.

Please, Trilbe, think before you make these posts. Better yet, stop posting to this message board, which is utter garbage anyway. Your posts, and perhaps the very existence of a venue for them, help devalue a discipline that many of us love very much (writing), by reducing it to all of this petty politicking, and by promoting writing programs to--and populating writing programs with--petty politickers.

Roll tide.

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