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EllaJ


Jan 26, 2011, 2:33 PM

Post #2251 of 2662 (17548 views)
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Re: [ahanridge] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi! I'm new to this board...Or, to clarify, I'm a new poster, but an old lurker. :) I just found out this morning that I'm in at Spalding! I am still waiting to hear from a few other schools (mostly low-res, one traditional), but Spalding is definitely one of my top choices. I loved the *extremely* informative website and the fact that the program has received such rave reviews from current students. (Thanks for all the info, everyone!)

I know some of you have touched on this already, but if you are/were a student at Spalding, what made you choose it over other programs? I think what appeals to me most is (what I perceive to be) the solid sense of community--one that extends beyond graduation. Is this on the mark? Thank you in advance for any input!


lmorris


Jan 26, 2011, 3:58 PM

Post #2252 of 2662 (17534 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations, EllaJ! I can't give you much feedback on Spalding because I have applied there myself, but obviously am not yet a student. I'm just curious, though, are you applying for the Spring residency or the Summer residency? And when did you send in your application materials? I have applied for Spalding's Summer residency but have not yet heard! I only sent in my stuff a week or so ago, but I'm anxious, especially if they've already started accepting new Summer applicants...


lmorris


Jan 26, 2011, 3:59 PM

Post #2253 of 2662 (17533 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, and if you don't mind telling me, how did they contact you? Was it through mail, e-mail, phone, carrier pigeon? :)


EllaJ


Jan 26, 2011, 4:19 PM

Post #2254 of 2662 (17521 views)
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Re: [lmorris] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you :) I'm in for the May residency and submitted my application about a week and a half ago. I found out today that it actually wasn't complete (all my recs weren't in) but they looked at it anyway. Oh, and they notified by phone, though carrier pigeon might have been equally thrilling!

ps: I think you mentioned earlier that you and your husband are in your twenties with no kids? Same situation here :) I am also in total awe of those who are balancing grad school, work, and children...


ahanridge


Jan 26, 2011, 8:03 PM

Post #2255 of 2662 (17480 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations EllaJ!

I chose Spalding for many reasons. Spalding definitely has a supportive culture noticeable throughout the program and that approach attracted me. I also like the emphasis on cross-genre writing and exposure across the arts, stressing the interrelatedness of the arts. I also like the editorial experience with The Louisville Review, the esteemed literary journal associated with Spalding, and the ability to obtain graduate assistantships working with TLR. The faculty, also, are wonderful and interested me in Spalding.

Those were my varied reasons for choosing Spalding.

Hope this helps,

Best,

Amy in AZ


greenpenquills


Jan 26, 2011, 10:38 PM

Post #2256 of 2662 (17451 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I also got a call from Spalding this morning that I'm in for May! Although, I submitted my application six weeks ago. Not sure what took them so long.

Now I have to make some really hard decisions. Spalding and Vermont were my top choices. I'm heavily leaning toward Vermont for a few reasons, but Spalding isn't totally out of the running yet.


EllaJ


Jan 26, 2011, 10:54 PM

Post #2257 of 2662 (17444 views)
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Re: [ahanridge] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, Amy. Thanks for the reply. It definitely helps :) Spalding sounds like such an amazing place!

I have a question that a friend in a traditional MFA program prompted me to ask: Do you find that there is a lot of support in terms of finding agents/editors/other venues for your work? (Even just advice on how to start the process?) I know it probably depends on the student or mentor, but I thought I'd ask. Thanks again!


EllaJ


Jan 26, 2011, 10:56 PM

Post #2258 of 2662 (17442 views)
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Re: [greenpenquills] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Greenpenquills, congratulations on both your acceptances! It definitely sounds like a tough decision. Are you waiting on any other schools?


greenpenquills


Jan 27, 2011, 12:41 AM

Post #2259 of 2662 (17428 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm still technically waiting on Goddard, Bennington, and Lesley. However, Bennington and Lesley apparently won't give me a decision until at least mid to late March, so that takes them out of the running for me.


pongo
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e-mail user

Jan 27, 2011, 10:22 AM

Post #2260 of 2662 (17402 views)
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Re: [greenpenquills] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Goddard and Vermont have the advantage of being near or in Montpelier, one of the best small towns in America.


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/


KatyY
Katy Yocom

Jan 27, 2011, 10:40 AM

Post #2261 of 2662 (17397 views)
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Re: [lmorris] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi lmorris,

About the debt question ... at Spalding, you can choose to take the extended semesters, which means you're paying tuition less frequently (and have time to save up more money in between)! The Spring Stretch semester begins with the spring residency in Louisville in May, and the semester technically doesn't finish up till the following March (though you'd finish your workload in January or February). The Summer semester has the residency abroad followed by the same schedule as Spring Stretch. Either way you'd be paying tuition once a year instead of twice ... though if you go abroad you'll rack up more expenses because of the travel costs.

Food for thought!


lreisenbichler
Lori Reisenbichler

Jan 27, 2011, 11:39 AM

Post #2262 of 2662 (17384 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi - I'm also a Spalding grad. I went nuts and applied to 8 programs, got accepted at five of them, and ended up choosing Spalding. Here's why:

1- the size of the program -- I wanted to have a lot of choices when it came to the faculty. I was less interested in an all-star faculty and more interested in being able to select the type of mentor I needed for they work I was doing at the time. More faculty= more choices.

2 - the flexibility of the international residency and stretch semesters. My first year, I did my residency in Paris and took a full year to complete one semester (which allowed me time to finish my novel in progress). Second and third semesters, I did the Louisville residencies at the normal pace. Final semester, I went to Barcelona for the residency and took another year to complete a second novel in progress.

3. Sena Jeter Naslund. Damn.
(I didn't know enough to be able to say this until my final semester, where she led my workshop in Barcelona.)

As far as the community goes, my lasting connections were made in Paris; all of us chose to travel to Barcelona together; and we now (after graduation) go on writing retreats together twice a year. You have to work at keeping the connections active, but yes, it is a good mix of academic rigor and emotionally supportive. I learned those two are not mutually exclusive, contrary to my dog-eat-dog corporate experiences.

Hope this helps.


lmorris


Jan 27, 2011, 12:20 PM

Post #2263 of 2662 (17370 views)
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Re: [KatyY] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I will definitely be doing the four-year program at Spalding (if I get in). Thanks for pointing that out, KatyY, because as you said, it gives me four years instead of two before I have to start paying back loans, AND it gives me more time to save up to pay those loans. Someone else asked about Spalding's benefits, and the four-year option (four nine-month semesters instead of four six-month semesters) is part of the reason I'm attracted to Spalding. I am a full-time teacher, and I am worried I will lose my mind if I try to pack everything into two years while working. Others may be able to do both at once, and I admire them greatly, but I am not one of them!

Also, just like someone else said, the faculty is another positive factor of this school. I am a HUGE fan of both Sena Jeter Naslund and Silas House (LOVE his stuff), and I have been following their writing since before I even considered doing an MFA program or knew they were involved with one of these programs.

And lastly, I am a big planner and researcher, so I've spoken through e-mail with several different "friends of friends" who have been students at the Spalding program, and they both said the supportive, friendly atmosphere was a big positive for them and that many of the students maintain relationships after graduating. I've applied to several schools, but Spalding is my first choice for these reasons.


vweaver
Vickie Weaver

Jan 27, 2011, 1:10 PM

Post #2264 of 2662 (17333 views)
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Re: [lmorris] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

hi! i graduated from spalding's low-res program fall 2005. i knew, my entire life, that i wanted to write novels and be published, but was not able to attend college until late in life. at 44 i enrolled at IU East, graduated in 2000 at age 48. kicked around the idea of an MFA, and when spalding's program opened (3 hours from me) i took it as A SIGN. Smile - i enrolled in 2003 (but i graduated before the summer residences abroad were offered, so can't address that question). is this a fun trip with writing on the side? i think that's how your question was worded. this is a REWARDING trip with writing as the focus. all day, every day and into the night. it was fun for me in the sense that i enjoyed being immersed in writing, and i made many new friends who share my passion. many of those friendships continue today, and these friends understand the highs and lows of the writing life. they are my support system, and i try to be as supportive to them. you can get the nuts and bolts of the program on spalding's website, but i'd like for you to know that spaldng's program was life-changing for me. the one-on-one mentoring is priceless. yes, my BA was in english and creative writing. yes, i was a good writer with that. BUT spalding tipped the scales and made me a better writer, and i've been successful. this, however, did not happen magically, but with hard work. spalding, and my mentors, fine-tuned my skills. i love and respect all my mentors - in particular, kenny cook has been my inspiration in being relentless about submitting my work. i've built my credits slowly, with short stories in literary journals, and in 2009 won the leapfrog literary contest and my first novel, BILLIE GIRL, was published. i know none of this would have happened without spalding. this is not to say that other low-res programs are not good ones. but if someone asks me about my experience, i cannot say enough about spalding's quality program, whether you study fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, etc. - and writing is explored in conjunction with music, and art - cultural events are part of the program. i could go on for hours. if anyone would like to email me personally, you may do so via my website, www.vickieweaver.com, and it's vickie@vickieweaver.com just put SPALDING in the subject line please.
i hope i've answered most of your questions. and by the way, i happen to be in louisville today (my home away from home), to attend a book signing for the program director, sena naslund, whose vision for the spalding program is to nurture every talent, and that is the reason for its success.


BRChicago


Jan 27, 2011, 1:10 PM

Post #2265 of 2662 (17333 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Ella,

I am a graduate of the Spalding MFA in Writing and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a VERY supportive community with wonderful mentors and staff. I miss the community and keep in touch with several of my MFA colleagues via email and phone calls.

One of the main reasons I chose Spalding is that one can study in more than one genre - I majored in Creative Nonfiction and minored in Fiction, which was terrific. (Also, I published my first chapbook about a month before graduating in May 2010.)

Good luck!

Brian


warmaiden
Colleen Harris

Jan 27, 2011, 1:21 PM

Post #2266 of 2662 (17324 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

EllaJ - Congratulations on your admission!
I'm a November '09 Spalding grad. I applied to Spalding because I wanted to go back to Kentucky (I spent 10 years there and loved it), as well as due to the rave reviews the programs got from various editors and writer-friends I knew at the time. I will say that I made friends quickly and still keep in touch with folks from my own class (as well as folks outside my graduating class). The support you get from fellow students during the program - in terms of feedback on your writing, but also as folks who can simply help you muscle through full time work plus a life PLUS the rigor of the program - is invaluable.

I've spoken with grads of other MFA programs where the spirit is competitive rather than supportive, and am glad I went to Spalding. We celebrate each others' successes, and nurture each others' talent. Spalding is the reason my fourth book is coming out this year (my first book came out while I was *in* the program; it was an incredible chance to celebrate with the folks who helped make it happen), the reason I'm involved as the poetry editor of a lit journal, and still call up the gals I was close to in the program - two years later - and we chat into the late night (and are discussing setting up a yearly girls' writing weekend at a cabin somewhere to try to recreate the incredible creative atmosphere we had at residencies). We all still keep in touch via Facebook as well as at Homecoming, and we jockey to be residency assistants just for the chance to go back and participate as grads.

I hold multiple graduate degrees, and I tell everyone I know that my Spalding MFA is by far my favorite and my most valuable :) You'd be well-served by the Spalding experience, in my opinion.

~Colleen S. Harris


EllaJ


Jan 27, 2011, 1:30 PM

Post #2267 of 2662 (17320 views)
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Re: [warmaiden] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi everyone, thank you so much for your thoughtful responses and congratulations on all of your many impressive successes :) Your insight into the program has just about quadrupled my excitement... It's great to see the Spalding community in action!


RLKaiser
Rob Kaiser

Jan 27, 2011, 1:40 PM

Post #2268 of 2662 (17315 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hi! I'm new to this board...Or, to clarify, I'm a new poster, but an old lurker. :) I just found out this morning that I'm in at Spalding! I am still waiting to hear from a few other schools (mostly low-res, one traditional), but Spalding is definitely one of my top choices. I loved the *extremely* informative website and the fact that the program has received such rave reviews from current students. (Thanks for all the info, everyone!)

I know some of you have touched on this already, but if you are/were a student at Spalding, what made you choose it over other programs? I think what appeals to me most is (what I perceive to be) the solid sense of community--one that extends beyond graduation. Is this on the mark? Thank you in advance for any input!



RLKaiser
Rob Kaiser

Jan 27, 2011, 1:54 PM

Post #2269 of 2662 (17304 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Apparently I typed my reply in the wrong field last time, so let me try again. :-)

Go with Spalding. It's the two years that keep on giving. You'll become a better writer than you ever dreamed you could be, you'll make connections that will sustain, support and serve you for the rest of your life and you'll open doors for yourself you never even knew were there. The years I spent in the Spalding MFA program were among the most enriching and rewarding of my life. I can't say enough about the faculty, the staff or the administrators. Spalding is about great individuals and great community too.


Graham314
Graham Shelby
e-mail user

Jan 27, 2011, 3:01 PM

Post #2270 of 2662 (17271 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey,

I'm a recent Spalding grad (2010 - CNF) and it's just a fantastic program. One real advantage is the sheer number of pages you can have professionally critiqued. One of my instructors (bless her) has read my complete memoir manuscript THREE TIMES! The whole thing. And she totally let me know when it was working and when it wasn't. Different instructors have different standards and capacities for this, but they are, to a person, supportive and encouraging. The faculty and staff do a great job of holding you to account for the commitment you've made to the program, while also making it clear that they will do everything they can to help you succeed. Once you're in, you become part of a welcoming and supportive community of writers. As Sena tells us every residency, we're not in competition with each other, the competition "is in the library." Good luck wherever you end up.


Graham Shelby


keywestwriter
Dan

Jan 27, 2011, 3:42 PM

Post #2271 of 2662 (17261 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a Spalding graduate in Fiction (2006) and without being too dramatic-- Spalding changed my life. I had written commerically in my professional life in advertising and marketing, kicked around some magazines, and at 40+ was ready to take my writing seriously. Spalding and the faculty, students and alumni challenged me, nurtured me, gave me the encouragement and pushed me to be the best writer I could be. It also made it possible for me to workas full time faculty teaching Composition and literature at a university (a career I never considered -- but now love). Since Spalding, I have published 15 short stories in Literary Journals, completed two novels (not sold yet) -- but most important found the discipline to write -- and write-- and keep trying. The faculty at Spalding are supportive, understanding, challenging and realistic. They are also there for you long after you walk away with degree in hand. The community of Spalding-- the community of writers and friends-- is priceless. I am not sure where else you will find such a caring talented group, but you can be assured, you will find it at Spalding.


harpermi
Joan Donaldson

Jan 27, 2011, 5:22 PM

Post #2272 of 2662 (17227 views)
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Re: [keywestwriter] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a 2008 Spalding graduate in CNF/Writing for Children. I chose Spalding because they would allow me to concentrate on two genres. I could spread the process out over four years, making graduate school more affordable, plus as a farmer, it would be impossible to study during the growing season. Spalding also gave me a scholarship my first term and I worked on the Louisville Review to cut my costs for another term. But one of the main reasons I was thrilled to find Spalding, was that the program emphasizes the inter-relatedness of the arts. As a folk artist and musician, I appreciated learning in an atmosphere that recognized my other gifts that greatly influence my writing voice. In 2004, there was no other program like Spalding with that slant, now others have copied what Spalding began and continues to improve.


Avigeorge
Barry George

Jan 27, 2011, 6:59 PM

Post #2273 of 2662 (17208 views)
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Re: [harpermi] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

What I would emphasize about the Spalding Brief-Residency MFA program is the quality of the mentors. I'm a 2009 Poetry graduate. I had a different mentor for each of my four semesters - each one distinctly different, each one first-rate. It's obvious that the poets who teach in the Spalding program have been chosen both for their considerable talent as poets and for their teaching ability. They enjoy teaching. They take time with your work. They understand that teaching writers involves tuning in to what you are trying to do as an artist, and sharing what they know to help you do that better.


dharrity01
Dave Harrity

Jan 27, 2011, 10:05 PM

Post #2274 of 2662 (17182 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a grad of the program also, and a couple things helped me decide...

1) Community! You can't beat it--it's nice to be able to walk into a room and know that there are writers who have your best interest and growth in mind. The relationships I had at Spalding have helped me as a writer, professional, and as a person.

2) The academic rigor! I've talked to several other MFA grads from around the country (several from 'Ivy League' programs) and none of them had the critical preparation that I had at Spalding, which always shocks me. Though it is tough, the semester where you write your Extended Critical Essay pushes you deeply into your craft and discipline, and you emerge a better writer and thinker--no doubt.

I hope you get in! Best of luck!


relsek


Jan 28, 2011, 8:31 AM

Post #2275 of 2662 (17136 views)
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Re: [EllaJ] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Ella,

Just to reiterate what other Spalding grads are saying here, you'll find the Spalding community a supportive one. The administrators, the mentors, and fellow students all pull together to make the MFA experience rich and fulfilling. Every mentor I worked with gave his or her all to my work, and each one challenged me in ways I needed to be challenged. I graduated in poetry in '09, and am still savoring the experience. Best of luck to you!

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