Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Second MFA

Not So Anomalous But Maybe Someday So In Colorado...

Reginald Shepherd has two MFAs. He didn't go the PhD
route. Instead, he did his first MFA at Brown and a
second at Iowa. Are there others who have gone this
route, or is Shepherd an anomaly? Is this more common
in poets or fiction writers? What's the downside to a
second MFA? the upside?

Any other insights? Where would a low-res program fit
into this?

Not even my man-facting tendancies will allow me to answer most of these questions. I simply don't know anyone who has done two MFAs. Though I know plenty of people who have mixed M.A. and MFA, and Ph.D..

The upside, I'd assume, is simply more time and more attention. More time to work on craft, more time to finish a project. I don't think it's unusual for a student to graduate from a program and think, "Okay, I just figured this out. I just found my voice. I wish I had another year or two."

A second MFA allows for that extended chance. As always, and actually especially this time: I'd place funding near the top. You don't want to go too far in the financial hole for a second degree.


Anonymous said...

I experienced exactly what Tom described: I just got my MFA, and wanted more time because I felt as if I'd just found my writing voice at the end.

My big question was whether I should mention in my application materials that I had an MFA already. I did, and I went 0-for-5 in the application process, including a couple applications to low-tier programs I sent based purely on their location.

I might not have gotten in, anyway, but now I wonder whether I should have kept my mouth shut about my first MFA.

I should also add that now that I'm done with my grad program, I'm glad I didn't get in anywhere else. I think I've had enough workshop.

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