Posts Tagged: MFA

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Super Hot Prof-on-Student Word Sex #14: Julia MacDonnell

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Julia was one of those “students” whom you suspect, after maybe fifteen seconds, should actually be teaching the class you are currently (allegedly) teaching. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Greg Baxter

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Novelist Greg Baxter talks about living abroad as an American, writing his new book, Munich Airport, and why he doesn't buy the defeatist clichés that people use to define our world and time. ...more

The Real Deal

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Many of us choose to pursue MFAs; many of us are also plagued with doubts about the value of a degree in creative writing. Former teacher Ryan Boudinot shares his thoughts about programs, publishing, and the unlikely chance that you’re the Real Deal:

I think the instant validation of our apps is an enemy to producing the kind of writing that takes years to complete… If you’re able to continue writing while embracing the assumption that no one will ever read your work, it will reward you in ways you never imagined.

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Girl Not in Your MFA

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That Guy in Your MFA is neither a guy nor a student in an MFA program. He’s actually a woman, Dana Schwartz, a Brown University undergraduate. Schwartz also runs the twitter Dystopian YA Novel that satirizes series like Divergent. She tells Chicago Reader that she invented the alter egos because her writing workshops had too many stories about guys on trains:

“They all had trains,” she says, “and a man leaving his family because he is too complicated and deep.

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The Rumpus Interview with Daisy Hernández

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Daisy Hernández talks about her new memoir, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, feminism, bilingual writing, and working in both the fiction and nonfiction genres. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Rebecca Makkai

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Rebecca Makkai talks about ghosts, teaching, chronology in writing, and her new novel, The Hundred-Year House. ...more

How to Be a Writer and Also Have a 401K

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At The Morning News, seven writers with full-time jobs talk about how they fit (or attempt to fit) writing time into their work weeks, and the general conclusion is:

There isn’t an elegant solution to cramming a writing life into a non-writing life, just like there isn’t an elegant solution to the problem of trying to push a baby elephant into a slowly rolling Volkswagen.

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Mountains, Lowlands, and Archipelagos

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Horace Engdahl thinks that creative writing programs and the walled-off communities academic programs create are hurting western literature. Since writing courses help monetize writing—and fund writers as professionals—Engdahl worries that the courses are removing writers from the real world. Engdahl finds fault with literary criticism, too:

“We talk in the same way about everything which is published, and literary criticism is poorer for it,” he said.

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The Rumpus Interview with Julie Schumacher

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Julie Schumacher discusses going extinct, iPads and iPhones, epistolary novels, and why the number of MFA programs in the U.S. is a non-issue. ...more

An Ideal MFA

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How would a writer without an MFA imagine an ideal Creative Writing degree program? Over at Ploughshares, Rebecca Makkai invites you to consider her optimal 2015/2016 course catalog, warning that “the course offerings will be much more practical than “Problems in Modern Fiction.” We’ll cover the things you need to know.

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Fine the Way You Are

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Homogeneity in the literary scene isn’t a recent development. Earlier this year, Junot Diaz caused a stir by branding the unbearable too-whiteness of his workshop experience. Justin Torres and Ayana Mathis couldn’t help but contribute:

“One of the characters is sort of referred to as having something like almond skin, something that would identify the character as black.

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How to Write (for Actual Legal Tender)

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Over at The Awl, Heather Havrilesky, a writer without an MFA, has some humorous and candid freelancing tips for her MFA students and us readers. Havrilesky knows we’ll appreciate this advice, since she’s “one of the only writers [her] students know who earns actual legal tender from her writing—instead of say, free copies of Ploughshares”:

It’s annoying, to have to take time out of my incredibly busy writing schedule in order to spell it all out for young people, just because they spend most of their daylight hours being urged by hoary old theorists in threadbare sweaters to write experimental fiction that will never sell.

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