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Sep 9, 2015, 8:14 AM
Post #183 of 198
You can teach some people to write, and some people can help almost everyone to be better writers.
Most of the pre-MFA writers had mentors of some sort, sometimes many mentors, who taught them craft and structure and, sometimes, art. So when we think of them, we should also think of their support systems, which for us are MFA or other programs. Wordsworth didn't go to Bread Load; instead, he hung out with his sister and Coleridge, and they workshopped each other's poems (although they wouldn't have called it that). And that was after they had been taught the basics of rhyme and meter in school -- it was part of the standard curriculum then, along with drawing and music.
Does this mean everyone needs an MFA? No, of course not. But each of us has to decide if it's right for us, and for some of us it's necessary. I wouldn't be where I am (geographically and in my writing career) if it hadn't been for the MFA. But I know plenty of good writers who don't have or need the academic training.
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