Friday, January 10, 2014

Blue Field Writers House

I wanted to let all of you know about a new writers residency called Blue Field Writers House.  It is a nurturing and supportive communal residence where writers can come to spend concentrated time completing their writing projects.  Writers can apply for residencies from two weeks to two months in length, and they will be provided with a private room, 24/7 access to the fully-stocked community kitchen, Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, parking, and, most importantly, uninterrupted time to write.  Located in the University District of Detroit, writers will have the opportunity to explore all the cultural and artistic events that Detroit has to offer.  Blue Field Writers House will also provide each of its residents the opportunity to do a public reading of their work-in-progress.  Please visit the website,, for more info. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MFA Fiction Advice from Elizabeth McKracken

Fiction writer Elizabeth McCracken -- who is one of the MFA application readers at UT-Austin -- tweeted advice this autumn for fiction students applying to any MFA program. The fine people at GalleyCat collected them for us (there are over 30 of them), so do check them out. Lots of gems here.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Check out a very wise article from Robin Tung over at Affording the MFA. "Statements: How Much Can They Help?"

One of many highlights:

Don’t apologize (explicitly or implicitly). If you’ve been out of school for a long time,  have never taught, worked at a paper mill for the last decade, grew up destitute or still live under the poverty line–whatever it is, find or impose a narrative line that shows the knowledge and experience that has come out of it. These are origins or outcomes  you couldn’t have changed for a number of reasons. Be a little generous with yourself while still being honest; view yourself from a different viewpoint. Your viewpoint influences the language, which controls the tone of your writing. Don’t put yourself down.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Advice from The Millions

Edan Lepucki has written a wonderful article, offering an overview of the "MFA DEBATE", but more importantly, there is a great list of things that potential students can do in preparation for their MFA. Check it out!

2. Join a writing group and/or enroll in a class.
Here’s an opportunity to meet fellow writers, to get feedback on your work, to figure out what’s bad advice and what is helpful. To get deadlines. To hear about new books. To receive guidance from a teacher. (I teach privately and for UCLA’s continuing education program, and I just pretend most of my classes are graduate-level. I think other teachers do the same.) And if you live in a small town with limited options, research online classes. If you don’t do this, then at least find a friend with whom to exchange work.

Poets and Writers Basics

A great resource is the MFA entrance page on Poets and Writers. They offer quick answers about Choosing and Applying to MFA programs.

Also, there is a list of deadlines on the right side of the page. And, a link to the MFA Program Database.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

LitBridge Interviews with MFA Programs

 The terrific website LitBridge has a number of very helpful and insightful interview with MFA Programs. Yes, some of the information here is a little sugar-coated, and much of it is quite insightful and relevant, going way way beyond what the programs offer via their websites. Some of the programs featured are Ohio State, Hollins, Florida State, Purdue, San Francisco State, Syracuse, Alabama, Houston, Arizona, Montana, UNLV, Oregon, Notre Dame, UNC-Wilmington, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

October MFA mailbag

Okay, it's not snowing much yet, but it is the month of Halloween. I love these USPS ghosts! They definitely delivered some very scary bills to me this last week.

Of course, October is also a ramp-up time for MFA applications. I've included a post earlier to Katie Cruel's FAQs, and that should cover a lot of things, and our own Top 7 FAQs also covers much of this ground.

But send on any new questions. I'll be traveling a lot in October, but I will check in as much as I can, and hopefully our collective knowledge and experience can help those of us wading through the spooky MFA landscape.


Katie Cruel has written a very informative FAQ essay about her experience applying for MFA programs.

To me, this is a must-read for any prospective MFA student. There are few absolutes in the application process, and Katie Cruel's essay offers very direct and wise insights into the process as she sees it.

5) I don’t know where to apply! Where should I start?!?!!
Here’s my very unorthodox method of deciding where to apply: I sat down with a list of the Poets & Writers magazine rankings, determined I wanted to apply to 25 schools (yes!) and got out a highlighter. I decided four schools from the top ten, four from the top twenty, etc, etc. As far as selecting schools, it’s really up to your preference. Schools without fully funding or >10 cohort sizes were out. Then, I picked universities that were in cities that appealed to me, and did lots of research on their websites. It was important for me to submit to all sorts of schools–ultra dream schools, quasi dream schools, oh yeah! schools, etc. (There are no such thing as safe schools.)

MFA Day Job

Leah Falk has a wonderful blog over at MFA Day Job. It looks particularly at the post-MFA world, but it has some very useful and insightful observations relevant to prospective students as well. Check it out! Thanks for all of these terrific interviews and essays, Leah!