Poets & Writers Magazine welcomes feedback from its readers. Please post a comment on select articles at www.pw.org/magazine, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Editor, Poets & Writers Magazine, 90 Broad Street, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10004. Letters accepted for publication may be edited for clarity and length.
THE WORD’S WORTH
As someone who works at a law firm, I couldn’t agree more with Monique Truong (“The Taste of Memory” by Renée H. Shea, September/October 2010) that writers should think like lawyers and recognize that they possess a valuable, marketable skill. In fact, English departments would do their students a real service by making them aware of the many career opportunities outside of academia for people who can write well. No one at my alma mater ever advised me to become a law firm marketing manager, but my day job has proven to be an excellent complement to my life as a poet.
Bronx, New York
THE PUSH I NEEDED
Thank you so much for Rachel Kadish’s article “Face the Fear: A Rallying Cry for Writers” (September/October 2010). Like many writers, I have been discouraged by the current economic climate and wondered if my lifelong dream to write and teach is impractical and foolish. Kadish’s words were the push I needed. I will refer back to them as a reminder that my contribution to the world will always be important and, dare I say, necessary.
JENNIFER E. JONES
I liked the way the September/October 2010 issue fell together like a puzzle, motivating me to persist in writing—from Kadish’s advice to try what hasn’t been tried to Renée K. Nicholson’s encouragement to write as if nobody is looking in “Why We Write: Notes From Reconstruction.” Kevin Larimer did a fine job as well in the Editor’s Note telling us the watchword is “patience.” We do need that.
DEDRIA A. HUMPHRIES
THE GREAT AMERICAN SCRIPT
Congratulations to Sean McGrady (“The Porn Star Who Came to Dinner: My Dad and the Great American Memoir,” September/October 2010). If he has the time and inclination, he should write the film script himself—the one about the reporter who had the guts to go with his gut. I like it!
Rockaway, New York
RATING THE RANKINGS
I discovered Seth Abramson’s graduate program rankings last year and couldn’t wait for this year’s (“The MFA Revolution: Ranking the Nation’s Best Programs,” September/October 2010). They are an integral component of my MFA quest. Having so much useful information gathered in one place is an inestimable help.
Excerpted from a comment posted on pw.org/magazine by BRETQUINN
As coordinator of the University of Texas Michener Center for Writers, I’m moved to comment on Abramson’s second annual ranking of MFA programs. My criticism doesn’t concern his methodology, which could be compared to asking people waiting in line for a table at a restaurant—where, in truth, they may never get in—to review food and service they haven’t yet received. My problem is with his statement, “In a decade or so we may well be saying that two or more years of fully funded, minimally restrictive time to write in one’s chosen genre is the birthright of every emerging literary artist in this country.” Whoa! While James Michener’s generosity in endowing our program may even have started this trend, we try never to lose sight of the fact that the money was earned by a hardworking author who didn’t feel the world owed him a dime. I shudder to envision a future full of aspiring young writers who feel it’s their “birthright” to be supported.