Wednesday, August 29, 2007

State of the Blog and Advice about Starting a Program

Yes, that's Tom Kealey in a purple shirt, sunglasses, and cowboy hat. I thought about posting a photo from our masquerade dance party at the Blue Mountain Center, but we try to keep this site family-friendly. That's me and my friend Bernadine Mellis, pulling potatoes in the BMC garden.

In any case, I'm back now from the wilds of Upstate New York. To say that I'm pleased and grateful for all of the new contributors to the MFA blog would be a complete understatement. There are so many smart and lively conversations going on here, and I expect that will increase as we get into the academic year. I look forward especially to dispatches from programs around the country.

I'm wondering what to add to the discussion, and what comes to mind is some advice for people just starting a residency program.

1. Go to everything. Every reading, every party, every get together. Later, you'll temper this a lot and get down to writing, but for right now, find out what your program and its people have to offer.

2. Get involved in something outside of the program too. Whether this is a regular yoga class, a part-time job, or a hiking club or the like. You'll be very happy to have this other outlet later in the year.

3. Keep your eye out for your readers. One of the most important elements of any MFA program is finding people who can be lifetime readers of your work. Watch in workshop for fellow students who understand your work and offer good feedback.

So, that's a start on advice. I'd be very pleased if people would add to these in the comments section.

And many thanks again to all of our contributors.

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