Posts Tagged: MFA
At Lit Hub, a former student talks with Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, about expressions of emotion in personal essays and why “confession and sentimentality [are] taboo.” For Jamison, the investigation of writing emotion began in her MFA program: “I hated this sort of smug assumption that we all knew what was bad.” At the same time, Jamison says, “I was deeply afraid of being seen as someone who was making too much out of a personal experience that actually wasn’t that hard.”...more
Can women really have it all? Like, all of it? But how could they possibly have multiple things at the same time? How can they even think human thoughts after they’ve subsumed their corporeal selves into an all-encompassing prison of motherhood?...more
Here’s what I mean by not centering the author of the workshop piece: I always tell my students, following the lead of my favorite MFA professor, that the truth is that workshop is most helpful to the person talking, not the person being workshopped.
Clichés are tempting because they do the work of communicating for us. In a manifesto against workshop jargon, Helen Betya Rubinstein warns us of the dangers of sticking to old models:
…because you’d have to remember all the way back to the first time you heard this cliché against clichés to actually see, once again, that clichés are ineffective because they prevent you from seeing.
The MFA is only two to three years out of a writer’s life. Those years don’t outweigh decades of signaling from the publishing industry, major newspapers, and magazines about what type of fiction is popular and publishable.