Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Versatile Programs?

Phleeing Philly writes in...

I'm interested in versatility. I want an MFA
program in which I can take mostly fiction workshops
but also a healthy dose of poetry workshop as well.
Not necessarily a 50-50 split, but a fair dose of the
other. I know the University of Houston does that, but
I'm not too keen on living in Houston.

So, do you know of such an MFA program? And, if your
readers do, might they share as well? I plan to apply
for schools this winter, and I feel like I should at
least be deciding now where to apply. (Any other
suggestions on what I should be doing now? I'm all
ears.) Thanks.

I'm not thinking clearly this week. I'll look at it again on Sunday. In the meantime... I know that the Texas Program has a lot of versatility. Help me out if you're reading this: What other programs offer versatility in writing in different genres?


Anonymous said...

You might want to look into Virginia Tech. They require 5 workshops -- at least two of which must be outside your genre. Also, most of their faculty have published widely in both fiction and poetry.

Anonymous said...

emerson has had a pretty bad rap on this site (and probably rightfully-so) but if money's not an issue for you, one of emerson's big perks is that they encourage (and even require) you to study multiple genres.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom and Ph. Ph.,

UMass seems to be very good at that. (Was it like this when you were there, Tom?). You're required to take at least one workshop in "the other" field, and there's a fluid, healthy contact between fiction and poetry faculty. And they really encourage genre-crossing among students. That was very palpable when I visited.

Anonymous said...

There aren't very many, I guess. It's because when it comes down to it, people generally don't have the time to be good enough at more than one genre. You can be mediocre in a few genres, or really good at one. But good luck anyway.

Anonymous said...

RE: last poster. I don't think the point should necessarily be to try to excel at more than one genre. The main thing, I think, is that being exposed to other genres nurtures and improves your main genre. Of course, it depends on your aesthetic commitments and views, but as a rule of thumb, I think it's obvious that genre-crossing does help fiction writers be better fiction writers, poets be better poets, playwrights be better playwrights and so on.

Jason Michael MacLeod said...

Howdy. I'm currently heading toward a hybrid thesis of fiction & poetry at the University of Montana. Basically the power that be said that as long as I get a fiction facutly member and a poetry faculty member both on my committe then I should be all set. I know a guy a year or two ago here did a hybrid non-fiction/poetry thesis as well. It's not common, but you can do it. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Check out Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond -- very flexible on required and elective workshop credit hours, relatively affordable (state school) *and* good funding.

Anonymous said...

university of alabama lets you concentrate in one and moonlight in another ... very flexible, it seems like. also, the new school lets you apply for a dual emphasis.

Anonymous said...

At Ohio State University, you can take up to two workshops (of the required six) in another genre, and a cross-genre thesis is possible.

Oh gosh said...

I think Indiana encourages forays into other genres, as well--and their funding is excellent.

Anonymous said...

To everyone giving feedback here: Thank you. This is good to have, and a few of these schools will likely end up on my list.

aka Phleeing Philly

Kathryn Peterson said...

I know this is an old question, but I thought I'd weigh in and say that U of Houston actually does NOT allow writers to mix genres. It does require one crossover course, and there are a fair number of electives, but I think you are thinking of the University of Texas at Austin instead. The Texas Center for writers (in Austin) actually requires writers to be as well versed in one genre as another, and there are even possibilities for foraying into a THIRD genre. But as far as I know, UH does not allow a mixed genre thesis or dissertation.