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Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014)
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Ellen E

Dec 19, 2014, 2:58 PM

Post #176 of 180 (4015 views)
Re: [bluesgrass] Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014) [In reply to] Can't Post

I am here! Going through horrid cycles of thought that lead to: maybe I shouldn't be doing an MFA after all! And then ultimately, again: no, it is the only thing for me!

I am, last minute, as always, applying to:

University of New Orleans
University of Central Arkansas
Hunter College
maybe Tallahassee?

I can't even think about the money right now. I just want to see if I get in. Then I'll worry. (Actually I am worrying all the time...do I really want to move somewhere new? Is it really worth the money? Should I only go based on funding? And thus starts the cycle...) One thing at a time. I really didn't realize that applying is like a whole job unto itself. Sadly, I did this same thing for finishing undergrad, after taking four years off: finally decided I must finish and then made a quick decision, based on timing and money.

In the end, I want to focus my life on writing, and so....
Right now, I'm living in Brooklyn and have a job I like in Manhattan, although it has nothing to do whatsoever with writing. I dream of living in smaller towns (as evinced by my application list) and yet I'm also a bit scared of starting over in a new town (again-- I've moved so many times) and that's why Hunter is on my list, (as well as because I really liked the tone and plain-ness of the website, and Hunter's price.)

Anybody feel me out there!? Nice to relate to others on these board.

Buy this book!

e-mail user

Dec 19, 2014, 7:31 PM

Post #177 of 180 (3998 views)
Re: [Ellenia] Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014) [In reply to] Can't Post

A job that has nothing to do with writing has many advantages. Consider how many of the great 20th Century writers worked in insurance or as mail carriers or whatever. When you get home, you aren't burnt out on words. It can be hard to do words all day at work, and then come home and do more words.

The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.


D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Dec 22, 2014, 9:31 AM

Post #178 of 180 (3917 views)
Re: [littlefoot] Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014) [In reply to] Can't Post

You might want to consider a low-res program if you'd like to keep your job for now. The chief downsides are (a) generally no funding and (b) generally no teaching opportunities. On the flip side, you get a much closer mentorship relationship than you would with a full-res program and it's good prep for balancing work, life and writing for after the MFA. You can most likely score a shot at at least one class as an adjunct (likely intro composition at a local community college) after you finish the MFA to address (b), but (a) is the bigger deal. I, for one, would not recommend going into a penny's worth of debt for an MFA. The payoff just isn't there (I was fortunate that when I decided to get mine, I had been saving up to take a year off from work so I had enough money to cover the whole cost of the degree in the bank already, but now my sabbatical year has been pushed deeper into the future). \



Andrew Wright

May 27, 2015, 9:21 AM

Post #179 of 180 (1726 views)
Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014) [In reply to] Can't Post

I was recently reading an article that mentioned how each MFA program has its own particular focus and style it likes to cultivate. The article listed a few specific examples, schools that were interested in social justice writing, or science fiction or experimental writing. While this may be common knowledge within certain circles, it's not something that is widely circulated and publicized. Rather, it's the sort of information that is passed around through word of mouth.

My question then is, knowing that each school has its own particular flavor, where are the schools with a more traditional, conservative approach to writing and little patience for politicized, identity writing?

Eric Wojcik

Jun 1, 2015, 2:19 PM

Post #180 of 180 (1648 views)
Re: [mortimerkhan] Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014) [In reply to] Can't Post

It may be an exaggeration to say each program has its own focus, but you're right -- if there is a focus, or a lean, to any program, it's often found by word of mouth. I'd also suggest contact schools directly should you find them otherwise interesting. I would think they'd be happy to answer that sort of question.

Otherwise, your question is a bit loaded. Indiana, for example, has a reputation for trying to fill out its cohorts with students of some diversity, while Iowa has a reputation for burnishing its students into a similar style of writing. Are those signs of a politicized department, in your eyes, or a one that is more traditional?

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