Rebecca Makkai talks about ghosts, teaching, chronology in writing, and her new novel, The Hundred-Year House....more
Posts Tagged: MFA
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.
The best writers learn their craft in unexpected places, even from the foot of an improv stage....more
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.
Scott Cheshire explains that he started flirting with the woman who became his wife by telling her he had a novel coming out. Twelve years later, it did. Today, he is a published novelist with a graduate degree, but back then, Cheshire hadn’t even been to college....more
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
MFA is dreamy, and the more MFA talks the dreamier MFA becomes, but there’s a practical you inside you that you have lately been encouraged to develop, and somewhat against your will, this you prompts you to ask, And then?
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....more
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.
Tom Kealey and Robin Tung on why they advocate for prospective MFA students, the MFA application process, and why we pursue MFAs in the first place....more
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.
“Why are you so interested in MFAs and whether they’re a good idea or not?” asked Rumpus friend Sheila Heti, in a recent interview with the New Yorker. Heti, who did not attend grad school, believes that it is possible for writers to fully immerse themselves in their craft without the help of a program....more
Salon tracked down the syllabi of two undergrad courses the writer teaches at MIT, in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Department....more
There are a lot of people who have very strong feelings about MFA programs, but Blake Butler’s Vice piece ”What I Remember from Getting an MFA in Creative Writing,” just sort of lays out the details and holds back on the judgment (not unlike good fiction, really)....more
Ali Shapiro doles out some exceedingly practical advice for job-hunting with the qualifications of a creative writer....more
Jim Behrle has a satirical and biting take on the practicality of creative writing programs at The Awl this week.
Not only does he urge students to refrain from digging themselves into a hole of student loan debt, but he also recommends that there be fewer workshops and more classes on sharpening charisma, grant writing and accounting....more
I had intended this week to write about gratitude. To express my thanks to all the new readers of Poetry Wire and The Rumpus and to wish you all a pleasant Thanksgiving. I wanted to say something about the necessity of thankfulness in art and poetry, to say that this week I rededicate myself to having kind thoughts, to not get angry or think badly about others, to work to the benefit of others as much as I can....more
Each fall, in graduate assistant offices across the country, minor bets are cast the week the first batch of undergraduate stories come in, and they go something like this: Who will get the most zombie stories? Which student will hand in the first Twilight send-up? Will we get more vampires or pirates this semester?...more
The next time you get into a debate over the value of a creative writing MFA, try this handy visualization exercise: imagine that everyone involved is wearing a monocle....more
How to become a writer:
-You can’t carve solitude out of loneliness–you need people to get away from them.
“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”...more