Feedback from readers
Thank you for the innovative approach to the annual MFA Issue, in particular “My MFA Experience” (September/October 2019) by Kevin Larimer. I connected with the article not only as a Wilkes University MFA alumnus, but also as a career adviser to creative writing students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Much of the advice and coaching I offer to undergraduate students who are contemplating MFA programs is to take some time to think about what they actually want out of it, to reach out to people who teach at certain programs or those who may have attended. I also encourage them to look for alumni from those programs and to request informational interviews, which is why your article was so refreshing. Thank you for taking the time to reflect the experience of writers (especially nonfamous writers) who sought MFA programs as a means to develop their abilities and connect with like-minded individuals. I find myself assured and challenged to write more after I read an issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. Thank you for continuing to print meaningful content that generates ideas, emotions, and potential roadmaps for future career planning upon every reading.
Steve Almond’s “Manuals for Living: What Our Favorite Novels Teach Us About Ourselves” (September/October 2019) spoke directly to me, a newspaper sports editor and freelance long-form writer. My go-to books whenever I feel like I am having a hard time with a story or figuring out why it’s taking a story subject so long to call me back are My Losing Season by Pat Conroy and My Times in Black and White by Gerald Boyd. I’ve read both books more than a dozen times, and both of the copies I own are dog-eared and highlighted to death. Almond hit the nail on the head with his piece, and I’m glad I got a chance to read it. I plan to purchase a subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine immediately.
I loved “Merwin’s Garden” (September/October 2019) by Dana Isokawa. It is as sweet and meaningful as a Merwin poem. For years I was a resident of Ha‘iku, Maui, and occasionally saw Mr. Merwin at the post office—like the day after the news reached Maui that he had become the U.S. poet laureate. Encountering him was always gratifying, and that day was extra special as the postmistress and I congratulated him exuberantly. He thanked us as if the news and he were no big deal. We knew differently. Mahalo nui loa for your kind attention to the great works—garden and words—of a great man.
Checking in with recent contributors
In January, Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish Cleanness, the eagerly anticipated second novel by Garth Greenwell, whose interview with Ilya Kaminsky, “Still Dancing,” appeared in the March/April 2019 issue. And Kaminsky, whose second poetry collection, Deaf Republic, was released by Graywolf Press in March, won the $25,000 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, given for “distinguished poetic achievement.”
Three of the most popular posts from pw.org
1. “Agents & Editors: Ben George” (September/October 2019) by M. Allen Cunningham
2. “2019 MFA Index: Your Guide to More Than 220 Programs” (September/October 2018)
3. “Reviewers & Critics: Daniel Mendelsohn of the New York Review of Books” (September/October 2019) by Michael Taeckens