A combination of hard data from programs that release funding and admissions figures to the public and a vital survey of what the individuals comprising the next generation of U.S. poets and writers have to say about their own priorities in choosing a postgraduate program, here is a ranking of the nation's top fifty MFA programs.
Article Archive: Special Section
Articles from Poet & Writers Magazine include material from the print edition plus exclusive online-only material.
An editor reveals how the best agents—Molly Friedrich, Jud Laghi, Chris Parris-Lamb, Scott Moyers, and Jennifer Joel among them—work behind the scenes to help their clients’ books get the attention they deserve.
Fearless, inventive, persistent, beautiful, or just plain badass—here are some of the living authors who shake us awake, challenge our ideas of who we are, embolden our actions, and, above all, inspire us to live life more fully and creatively.
Author-artists Michael Kimball, Michelle Wildgen, Jesse Ball, Abha Dawesar, and Jen Bervin talk about their "other" creative pursuits—cooking, photography, bookmaking, painting, and drawing—in relation to their writing.
In this excerpted version of his article from the November/December 2009 issue, contributor Seth Abramson reveals the methodology behind his ranking of the top fifty MFA programs in the United States, plus a ranking of the additional eighty-eight full-residency programs. For the full article and additional data for each program, including size, duration, cost of living, teaching load, and curriculum focus, see the November/December 2009 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.
Creative writers stand at the edge of a digital divide. On one side: the traditions of paper. On the other: the lure of the Internet. As glossy magazines die by the dozen and blogs become increasingly influential, we face the reality that print venues are rapidly ceding ground to Web-based publishing. Yet many of us still hesitate to make the leap.
One way MFA programs provide funding to students is by hiring them as teaching assistants to teach writing classes in exchange for a stipend and, often, tuition remission and health insurance. While each program defines its teaching assistantships differently, in general there are a few things you should know before applying and preparing for one.
After a brief but torrential thunderstorm in mid-June, eight writers of poetry and prose, myself included, huddled around a picnic table crowded with three-buck beer and leaves of printed-out poems, stories, and essays in the concrete garden of a Brooklyn bar. It had been almost a year since I'd taken a seat at a table with other writers to talk about the stuff, the meat of our writing and the project at hand every time each of us settles in to confront the blank page.
For Ethan Canin, writing has never been easy—or, for that matter, pleasurable. Despite the sprawling achievement of America America, his newest novel might just be his last.
With more than forty years of experience in the business, agent Lynn Nesbit discusses how she signed some of her biggest clients, how a writer can get an agent’s attention, and what’s wrong with the publishing industry.
Slowly but surely, the independent press Host has established a reputation as a publisher of literary translations from countries such as Brazil, Chile, Poland, Belgium, and Uruguay.
The Edward F. Albee Foundation in Montauk, New York, gives writers room to write—in one of the most inspiring barns in the country.
During the last three years, some of America’s most respected poets—Richard Wilbur, Mark Strand, and the late Anthony Hecht, among others—have published British editions of their books with Waywiser Press, a virtually unknown publisher based in London.
Northeastern Wyoming is a rugged place, where the ruins of turn-of-the-century homesteads still stand in the tall grass, and communities gather every spring to watch cowboys wrestle their calves down for branding. An average of five people per mile populate this High Plains landscape of low, bison-backed hills and rushing creeks. Such rough, isolated grace makes the region an ideal, though unexpected, environment for an artists colony—or better yet, two of them.
Last April (the 22nd, to be exact), I received an advance copy of the New York Times review of my debut story collection. The piece, which appeared in the Sunday Book Review,
began as follows: "There's a postadolescent period many of us would
rather forget: that summer or decade when we have no idea what we're
doing. Days are measured in beer, TV and dead-end jobs. It is a dull
time to live through, and duller still to read about. "Which doesn't
stop young writers from writing about it."