September/October 2012

Our sixth annual MFA Issue features a special section on graduate programs in creative writing, including roundups of leading full- and low-residency programs; plus profiles of poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, novelist Emma Straub, and poet Larry Fagin; an essay on marriage, parenthood, and poetry; and more.

Features

This Time, This Voice: A Profile of Natasha Trethewey

by Kevin Nance
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Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey, whose fourth poetry collection, Thrall, is out this month, has far exceeded the woefully low expectations some had placed on her. And the new poet laureate is just getting started.

Emma Straub's Life in Letters (So Far)

by Eryn Loeb
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For the thirty-two-year-old author whose first novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, is out in September 2012 from Riverhead Books, the years of hard work and rejection, during which she wrote four failed novels, are finally paying off.

The Glass Filter: A Profile of Larry Fagin

by Porter Fox
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For over four decades poet Larry Fagin has delivered no-nonsense writing advice during private classes held in a setting that is decidedly unacademic: his own New York City apartment.

The MFA

The 2013 MFA Index

by Staff
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A roundup of 85 leading full-residency programs, including a comparative look at funding, student-faculty ratio, job placement, and more; plus a roundup of 29 leading low-residency programs.

The Teachable Talent: Why Creative Writing Can Be Taught

by Gregory Spatz
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Having witnessed firsthand the merits of one student’s MFA education, author and creative writing teacher Gregory Spatz considers the well-worn debate on whether creative writing can be taught, and what he himself learned from his mentorship role.

MFA Bookshelf: New Books by Program Faculty

by Staff
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A list of eighteen notable authors with newly published books who teach at MFA programs across the country.

The MFA in Creative Nonfiction: What to Consider Before Applying

by Lee Gutkind
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Author and editor Lee Gutkind offers advice for prospective students on the questions to ask before applying for MFA programs in creative nonfiction.

The Aha! Moment: Oscar Cásares of the New MFA Program at the University of Texas in Austin

by Michael Bourne
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Oscar Cásares, director of the new MFA program in creative writing at the University of Texas in Austin, discusses the moment when he encountered the work of emerging writer Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, and offers line-by-line reactions to Ruiz-Camacho’s...

News and Trends

Q&A: NYU's Landau Directs Paris MFA

by Michael Bourne

As director of NYU’s creative writing program, Deborah Landau speaks about the university’s new low-residency MFA program in Paris and the storied literary history of the City of Light.

The Written Image: The Odyssey

by Staff

In this issue we offer a look at Seymour Chwast’s graphic novel adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey, to be released by Bloomsbury in September.

VIDA's Powerful Point

by Melissa Faliveno

With its buzz-generating statistical count of male and female literary bylines, nonprofit organization VIDA: Women in Literary Arts has raised awareness of gender disparity in publishing and created a space in which women can exchange ideas and be heard.

Building a Museum of Their Own

by Alex Dimitrov

Plans are under way by the American Writers Museum Foundation to develop the first national museum dedicated entirely to the history and influence of American literature.

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue’s MagNet features the Hudson Review, BOMB, Esopus, the Rattling Wall, and the Believer.

Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovative and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features H_NGM_N BKS, the independent publisher of full-length collections by emerging poets, chapbooks, and reissues of out-of-print books.

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue and Frederick Seidel’s Nice Weather, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

The Practical Writer

Bullseye: How to Submit to Arcadia

by Staff
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The editors of Arcadia offer tips on how to submit to their biannual journal of poetry, prose, drama, and art.

The Literary Life

Lives of the Civil Servants: The Choices We Make

by Jesse Browner
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After reading about one famed writer’s seemingly carefree existence, novelist Jesse Browner ruminates on his personal decision to forego the romanticized bohemian life and contemplates every writer’s choice to pursue the trade-offs writers face...

The Art of Reading Gina Berriault: Climbing and Falling

by Daphne Kalotay
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Author Daphne Kalotay celebrates the fiction of Gina Berricault, and examines the forces behind the oft-overlooked talent of the late short story writer.

Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Notes From an Old Publisher

by Paul Zimmer
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After working as a scholarly publisher for three decades, during which he launched three ongoing poetry-book series at university presses, Paul Zimmer looks back on the work of tending to emerging poetic talent and takes stock of changes in the...

Lives of the Civil Servants: The Choices We Make

by Jesse Browner

After reading about one famed writer’s seemingly carefree existence, novelist Jesse Browner ruminates on his personal decision to forego the romanticized bohemian life and contemplates every writer’s choice to pursue the trade-offs writers face between artistic aspirations or financial security.

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