Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Mailbag, Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Plus some links.

Time for a new official mailbag, dontcha think?

Also, here are some links, just 'coz.

Seth's Open Letter To Poets Who Hate the Creative Writing MFA

Jim Shepard on the art of close reading. Good prep for all those heading into programs next fall, and essential advice for any writer.

April, by Louise Gl├╝ck. Yes, it's bleak. But great. Balm to those applying again next year, or does it just inflame you? Responses in the comments, please.


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Lexie said...


Chelsea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whynotbecause said...

ditto Lexie

Chelsea said...

Subscribing. Because this blog is like crack.

Chrissy said...

Hopefully this will be the last mailbag to which I subscribe. April 15th is right around the corner!

Trokee said...

Has anyone received an official rejection letter from BU? Cause I haven't.

whynotbecause said...

@ Trokee

I think I saw a post yesterday that mentioned official letters were going out today/tomorrow. Also remember seeing that all acceptances/WLers had been notified.

Trokee said...



I know everyone has been called, I'd just like some *closure* : )

Coughka said...

Subscribing; I think I'd feel unpopular without the hundred emails I get in my inbox these days.

Unknown said...

I subscribed to this mailbag to get some answers. How could a Cuban be able to apply to a MFA program? Is that possible?
I would love to learn more about the ways of the word and improve my writing skills.
Ivmart Acosta

honeybadger said...

I have finally made my decision, and it has been so hard. I am going to Cornell this fall for poetry.

It was heartbreaking to let go of the spot at University of Michigan, and I loved visiting--the campus, faculty, students, etc...soooo someone very lucky will be offered a spot at Michigan soon. All the other 9 poetry offers, I'm thinking, have accepted.

I have also given up my waitlist spots at Virginia and WashU at St Louis. (For Virginia hopefuls, it looks like around 4 out of 5 spots have been filled? I know for sure that 3 out of 5 have been filled, but there may be room for one more...we'll see. Anyway, I let go of my waitlist spot, so maybe someone else will have a go.)

This has been quite the journey, glad it's finally over. Here is my final list:

Cornell (going!)

Wash U in St Louis

Syracuse, Michener, Iowa, Houston, Minnesota, Florida, and Irvine (assumed)

Good night, ladies and gentlemen, that's a wrap.

j said...


I read your letter and the responses to it (and your responses to the responses). Question (because I know you will answer):

Why do you feel the need to respond to every bit of criticism directed your way? I've read some wicked funny flame wars between you and other bloggers before--I gotta tell you, when I can't sleep, I sometimes search out Seth flame wars. They are funny; they are entertaining. I always find it funny when someone writes you like two lines and you respond with 1000+ words. At this point you seem like a preprogrammed loquacious bot.

Regarding your letter, I thought it was fiery and entertaining. I'm picturing you ten years from now, surrounded by the empire you've built. That is your plan, right?

Laura said...

Congratulations honeybadger!

laura said...


It seems that most programs are open to international applicants. Browse the websites for programs you'd like to apply to, and then shoot them an email for your unanswered questions.

There are a couple international applicants who post regularly on this blog. One, I remember, is from India, and there are several from the UK. Maybe scan the mailbags for their comments and talk to them about funding, etc, because I think the rules might be a little different.

Sorry I'm not much help!

Woon said...

I'm a longtime lurker and I hardly post, but I thought I'd come out of my shadows to say that I ate a chicken burrito at Chipotle yesterday. This thing is addictive. The blog I mean, not Chipotle burritos.

Laura said...

Oh, Woon. :)

Unknown said...

It's decided: I'm going to Michigan!

And on that note, my list:

Cal College Arts
Rutgers Newark
Sarah Lawrence



Good luck to everyone!

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

My god, ruth! Look at all those acceptances! Congratulations :D

Unknown said...

Dear Seth and friends,

How easy/difficult/common is it to transfer from a low-residency program to a full-residency program? Would I need to justify a transfer more in an application statement than if I don´t attend the low-res and reapply? What´s the success rate for receiving funding in second year applicants?

If I don´t get off the NCSU waitlist, I am thinking of taking a low-residency offer to get started and reapplying for next year to hopefully land a funded spot. Here is my list so far:

Accepted (all unfunded)
San Francisco State
U New Hampshire
Vermont low-res

Waitlist (with potential funding)
North Carolina State

Missed Connections
Wash U - St. Louis

Jamie said...


What genre? Though not for me, I do have a dog in the hunt re spots clearing up.

Laura said...

@ Mary Kathleen,

Just my opinion, if you know that your goal is a funded full-residency program, you might be better off just reapplying in the fall without accepting your low-res offer. Unless you have a scholarship, low-res programs are pretty expensive, from what I've heard, so if you know you aren't going to stay in the program it might be a lot of money spent needlessly. If you want to work on your writing before reapplying, you might be better off just taking a workshop/workshops through an extension school, community program, etc., rather than enrolling in a low-res program. There have been a few discussions in past mailbags about where to find workshops in your area and I'm sure a lot of people on here could give you advice, if you're interested in going that route!

a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

@Jamie: Poetry.

@Laura T: Thanks! And congrats on Emerson.

Mr. Hemlock said...


Thanks, I needed that.

Laura said...

Thanks ruth!

Ali Haider said...

congratulations honeybadger and ruth!

Ruth - that is quite the impressive list! are you fiction or poetry? Regardless, well done.

I'm going to miss this blog when it quiets down. Does it ever quiet down? Or are you guys always around?

Juliana Paslay said...


Laura said...

sahaider, I'm going to miss the blog too. There are so many people on here who I would like to keep in contact with, to know about how they are doing in their chosen programs, or how next year's application cycle goes for those who are reapplying. And, what will I do with all the time I spent reading the blog? hehe. Maybe the MFA Chronicles blog will be looking for some new posters who are beginning a program?

Jamie said...

@ ruth

Sorry I forgot to mention - Big congrats on your choice and successful application season!

Ali Haider said...

Laura, I was also thinking about seeing if MFA Chronicles wanted any new blood. That would be a fun way to maintain contact with everyone online.

Laura said...

Yes! Who is in charge of MFA Chronicles? We should send them an email or something.

Chrissy Widmayer said...


And Congrats to Ruth and Honeybadger! How exciting!

I'm still crawling toward my decision. I really want Hollins to finally reject me. Every time I've asked, I get some muddled answer. Gar. Stop stringing me along, school of my dreams!

Unknown said...

Awesome, ruth!

@ Georgie's earlier comment on his writing instructor winning the Pulitzer; Paul Harding or Rae Armantrout? :]

Jamie said...

My impression is that JayTee (at UVa) is one of the big posters at MFA Chronicles, and might be the person to email. They've got Nick McCrae on board already.

Courtney said...

Just got a TA offer from Montana. I'm committed at Arizona State so that money is going to someone else soon! I had already sent in the response card that declined their unfunded offer--but perhaps that went to the Graduate school. Look alive, unfunded Montana admits!

--Fiction Courtney

Coughka said...


What's your pace for the 4-mile? I'm doing a speedy (for me) 20:30 5K these days.

insertbrackets said...

Re: MFA Chronicles

Jaytee is the person who runs the show. Email her and she will get you set up chronicling and contributing!

Henry said...

Just accepted at NC State!!

No funding, but it's my first acceptance so I'm thrilled all the same!

nattyish said...

The end is nigh...


Chrissy Widmayer said...

Annnnndddd....my wait list will likely turn into an offer. And there may be funding.

How do people do this?! I'm so anxious about this decision, and now I have another school to consider! What do I do? Should I tell my wait list school that I'm falling for someone else and have already invested a lot of time into that possibility? Or should I give the wait list school its due consideration?!

Seriously, how can I make this decision and how do I make it fast?

And, I'm still waiting to hear from Hollins, which could complicate things further.

Gah. I'm so confused.

Jennifer said...

Jennifer from the MFA Chronicles here . . . if you are interested in contributing just email Jonterri. You can find her email at the bottom of the list of contributors on the MFA Chronicles blog.


inkli__11 said...

does the april 15 deadline also hold for responding to unfunded offers?

Woon said...

I'd volunteer to contribute to the MFA Chronicles, but I'd probably end up just whinin' and bitchin' about my students in Freshmen Comp. Other than that, I would update the blog only to tell everyone what I had for lunch and what jokes were cracked in workshop.

Laura said...
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Laura said...

Chrissy, OMG! So awful that you have to make the decision so quickly!! Is funding likely or just MAYBE possible with the waitlist-that-might-become-an-acceptance?

Adam Atkinson said...

@honeybadger: When are we getting a drink? Our little street in Pittsburgh did pretty well this app season :)

Unknown said...

@ henry
congrats! what genre?

many many birdies said...

Chrissy! I'm sure this is so difficult, but still so exciting!

How familiar are you with your wait-list school?

If it seems like it could be a better fit for you than Emerson, then I'd tell them you're very interested in another school and they need to hurry up and give you some information.

If you already kind of know you wouldn't prefer them to Emerson, then consider this a feather in your cap but don't lose too much sleep about it.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to do research/call faculty/etc. so that you know what your decision would be in all eventualities - eg, you know who you would choose if you got funding, if you didn't get funding, if you got into Hollins (with and without funding) etc. I know it probably sounds overwhelming to figure out what you would decide in every possible situation, but, since you only have two more days, it might make sense - that way you won't be stuck trying to figure everything out the morning of the fifteenth.

!!!!! Good luck! And keep us posted!

Zoulou said...

Yay, mailbag! :)

James Cooney said...

@ my fellow across-the-board rejectees

For what it's worth, I thought I'd let you know that when it became clear that I would have to reapply next year, I sought the consultation services of Driftless House. I wanted to get a move on preparing for next year as soon as possible, if only to cope with the disappointment of the last two months.

I gave them my sample (fiction) and paid for the full consultation, i.e. not the spring special, though I'm sure that would be fine too.

Last week I got my feedback (took about 2-3 weeks) and was utterly delighted. I'm using it to plan how I will improve my candidacy over the next 8 months, and already I feel very empowered and optimistic.

I thought relating my experience might be useful to those of you looking for a way to pull yourselves out of the rejection hole quickly and get a jump start next year. The full-service consult is no small investment (around $360) but for me it was absolutely worth it.

And no, I'm not getting a discount for this plug (that I know of).

Zoulou said...

First of all, yay Ink and Beans, for your empowerment! That sounds great, and I wish you luck in your revisions!

Also (on a less happy note), I'm curious about rejections from UNLV and UC Riverside (full-res) - has anybody gotten them yet? Are they in the mail? I'm just getting the itch to bug em and email the departments to ask, but I don't want to do that if I'll be getting a letter tomorrow. I'm in fiction, btw.

Well, good luck everybody, on these last couple days - especially all you waitlisters, I have my fingers crossed!!

Sud said...


Henry said...

@ Mary Kathleen.
Thanks! I'm Fiction.

And I just have to say that I can't freakin' wait for August! I'm about 15 years behind schedule getting my MFA and now Fall can't come fast enough!!

kaybay said...

Heh, interesting news, all. So, I was apparently wait listed at the University of Florida, per email today. Funny thing was that I received a rejection letter in the mail last week and the email said I was wait listed in poetry, haha (I'm fiction). Sooooo, I emailed Carla Blount and she said that the email was not in error, that I was in fact wait listed for fiction, but that all offers of acceptance had been taken. So, that's good to know. Kinda odd, but still! That makes two initial rejections that were actually wait lists. Ha!

I'm just glad to know this for next year, since UF and Notre Dame were my first choices. It's awesome to get wait listed at both of those schools. Cheers for next year, all!!

pdg said...

@ Indiana waitlisters

Have you heard anything new?
Apparently there was a recent email that went out asking if you were still interested, but I didn't receive it.
After receiving the initial waitlist letter, I responded that I had no offers. If you received the 2nd email, did you previously notify Indiana that you had another offer? Just trying to figure it out, and if I should stop worrying about Indiana and count it a loss.

kaybay said...

Just got an email from McNeese that all spots had been filled.

On another note, where the hell are you FSU!!!!!!

Lauren said...


Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Kaybay -- that's both awesome and crazy! Congrats on the waitlist, even if it didn't amount to anything! It is encouraging! How nice!

lisa said...

i'm a glutton for punishment, so i had to break down & ask:

anybody (aside from fiction courtney & lydia e. wright) hear anything from cal state long beach?

just trying to resign myself to the inevitable, but false hope is a stubborn little bitch, apparently.

MommyJ said...

I'm not rejected yet. I got an email from the director today saying he'll have a definitive answer for me by the end of the week. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh, this is the PhD program.

Perpetua said...

Crossing my fingers for you MommyJ and all the other people out there still waiting to hear back.

Unknown said...


Did my undergrad at Long Beach St. Loved it. Creative Writing faculty is pretty solid across the board. Poetry is my Genre, but I took Fiction and Non-Fiction workshops during my stay there, too.
I didn't apply to their MFA Program last year though...wanted to move out of CA...although, if Locklin waited a few more years to retire, I would've applied for sure...he's wonderful.

Vanni said...

Just got accepted to SDSU's program for poetry.

Annieo said...

@woon it was a long day without you buddy. I mean, how am I supposed to feel good about myself for running AND eating at Subway without your Pollo Loco updates?

@kaybay take that wait list encouragement and run with it. awesome!

Morgan said...


i thought it would never come.

Perpetua said...

kaybay - good for you. Just stay the course and it will all come to you.

Michael said...

Ruth, what genre are you? I'm trying to count the people who are declining to attend NYU. I was waitlisted there for fiction, and would very much like to go : )

charlotte seley said...

I'm a lurker, leaving a question comment I've had on my mind for a while. I've turned down all offers I received except Emerson, however, I'm still active on the Brooklyn waitlist (for poetry). Brooklyn told me they are not notifying anyone on the waitlist until the 19th (and can't tell me where I am on the waitlist either which I didn't expect them to but what can ya do). Emerson requires a deposit by the 15th (which I guess is across the board). I'm curious to know what you'd do in my situation... would you wait around for Brooklyn or go to Emerson? I'm looking to gain strong teaching experience, which is very important to me. Location isn't an issue, I did my undergrad in NYC so a change of scenery would be nice but I could go either way. Neither school has given me any information on financial aid, as of yet. Any information for and/or against either school would be helpful. As for where I stand right now? I'm not really into gambling so I'm leaning toward Emerson but I'm already in a "WHAT IF???" state.

T said...

@ Fiction Courtney re: Montana

Looking alive.

Maybe there's a couple more like you.

Mr. Hemlock said...

@ charlotte seley

If you're in state, Brooklyn's tuition is very cheap. Unless you have a full tuition wavier and a teaching assistantship from Emerson, Brooklyn is a better deal. I'm not aware how the poetry faculty compares at either school.

As far as teaching, from what I understand teaching at Brooklyn isn't a sure thing. Though, if you get it, a teaching assistantship more than covers tuition.

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Charlotte -- having met you at the Emerson Admitted Student Reception (hi!), I can tell you that I'm Emerson-biased. But having been taken off the wait list at one of my schools TODAY, I'd also suggest you give Brooklyn a call and explain that you have another offer and have to let them know by Thursday, and they might give you more info than you expected (that's what happened with me).

Also, you could get an extension on telling Emerson yes or no. They seem to be very kind about that. So if you explain to them your situation, you could possibly hold off on letting them know until you've heard back from Brooklyn.

So...it's entirely up to you. I do know that Emerson seems to do everything in it's power to help students get jobs (in teaching, etc.). They're a career oriented program, whereas most other programs are art-oriented. So that's something to consider as well.

But, selfishly, it'd be nice to have you around at Emerson if that's where we both end up!

charlotte seley said...

@ Mr. Hemlock: Thanks for weighing in. I would be getting in state tuition so Brooklyn would be better financially by far. Especially if I end up getting zero funding.

@Chrissy: Hey! It was very nice to meet you last week. It would be awesome if we were classmates up in Boston. You have very good advice although I am pessimistic that Emerson would give me an extension. I had e-mailed Brooklyn to ask where I was on the waitlist but I don't think I told them that I had an offer elsewhere. It doesn't hurt to try, I suppose!

inkli__11 said...


i haven't heard anything since the follow-up email i received on march 6th. apparently phillywriter received a similar email a few days before me. i hadn't emailed any information about other offers prior to receiving the email. it seems like they are checking in with people one at a time as spots open up and they go further down the list. hope this information is helpful..

inkli__11 said...

by march 6th, i mean april 6th--or sometime around then..

Kate said...

Hey dudes

I got a call this afternoon from Heidi at UMASS that I have a funding offer! A TO posish, teaching 1 class in the fall and 2 in the spring.

Haven't accepted yet, but most likely will and will be turning down an unfunded acceptance at UWashington and WLs at UIUC, OSU, and NYU.

It's bittersweet for me: my gf of 2 1/2 half years is going to USC in SoCal. We both applied to 10 programs about so that we could move together, and had to live apart for a year before while she did her first year of MA. It really is a great opportunity though, so I'm most likely gonna nab it!

Good luck, everyone. I'm sending you all luck!!

Otkuda said...

Those still waiting on Brooklyn--I JUST received their rejection letter by snail mail (they took their merry ole' time, didn't they now!) They recommended the MA, instead (trying to fill up seats, eh?)Wonder who else will get the MA shove over:/

Anyhow, I guess you'll be hearing from them soon.

And, again, anyone for sure headed to City College this Fall and would love to chat, shoot me an email (gmanuilova at Yahoo dot com )

Alex said...

@Kate, congrats! I'm so happy for you about the funding, and so sad you don't get to move with your awesome lady friend.

Have a wonderful time at UMass, if that's where you decide to go.

Also, I still have no word on funding from Washington...

Rosie said...

ARGH why isn't San Diego notifying fiction people, too?! I NEED CLOSURE!

phillywriter said...


Same story as inkli. I had not written them anything about other offers, and then I received the follow-up e-mail on April 5 (the day before inkli). So, I'm guessing they're just making their way down the list or something.

Speaking of which, I'm completely frustrated at the apparent silence from Indiana! We know there are at least two fiction spots that opened up - is it possible that both spots went to non-bloggers and hope is already lost? Or is IU just delayed in making offers?

Truly going crazy over here.

About said...

Any TNSers out there plan on looking for housing in NYC? My friend and I are heading to NYC from Honolulu (he will be studying library science at Pratt). We'd love to find a third roommate or someone with knowledge of the city who can point us toward a safe/inexpensive place to live!

Coughka said...

Hey Xavier,

New York Magazine just ran an article about the 50 most livable neighborhoods in New York City.

Park Slope came in at Number 1, controversial but not a bad choice. I'd check out Green Point or the Lower East Side, which also placed high (and would put you closer to TNS, geographically).

Summer said...

Jeez - I've gotten word that I'm behind one person on Michigan's waitlist for the one remaining poetry spot. I wanted to know so badly, and now I wish I didn't.

m.elise said...


Cal State Long Beach has had some postal problems... never fear though, letters are just now being received.

I got accepted for Poetry by mail on Monday (yesterday). It was dated 6 April.

I would call the English office if you haven't gotten an answer from them though.

EmilyA said...

I don't know if this has been asked before, but does anyone know anything about DePaul's (Chicago) MA in Writing and Publishing? It looks interesting and has rolling admission.

m.elise said...


Locklin still roams the campus, has even taken over a poetry class or two in the past few semesters.

However, the entire faculty is completely, amazingly wonderful.

Adam Atkinson said...

@Kate: I hope you try and stick it out! Semesters are like decent-length residencies, really, and LA would be lots of fun to visit.

I'm headed to Baton Rouge - as in your case, the offer is just so good, and the program seems great - while my boyfriend is currently choosing between the art institute in Chicago and Columbia in New York (for art). Either way, I'm looking forward to some nice winter breaks and summers with my man - and in a great city to boot!

lisa said...

@espy congratulations on your acceptance! & thanks so much for responding. i don't care what they say: no news is never really good news to me.

patience is a virtue... it just isn't one of mine.

Unknown said...

Xavier - I am also in at TNS and looking to move up there during the summer

message me at

lrsevilla75 at gmail dot com

phillywriter said...


You're going to LSU? Are you fiction or poetry?

I'm still first on the fiction waitlist at LSU, so maybe I'll be joining you there. I just need one fiction person to turn them down, but it's definitely getting close to the wire.

Carmen Machado said...

I'm sort of late to the MFA blog game, but I wanted to share: I've finally decided between The Michener for Writers at UT-Austin and Iowa. I'm off to Iowa this summer!

Carmen Machado said...

Er, that would be fiction, btw, not poetry.

Woon said...

I've been watching the Seventh Season of Mission:Impossible on DVD. In the third episode, they used the exterior footage of a mansion which, I swear, was used in an episode on a different show. Now, it's driving me crazy! What other show was it? Grrrrr.....

frankish said...

Post a screen capture....

Adam Atkinson said...

@phillywriter: I'm a poet, and I wasn't pulled off the waitlist until just before AWP. I hope you make it there - Pennsylvania represent!

DL said...

It's my first post--here's my list of schools for Fiction.

Johns Hopkins
Penn State
Rutgers Camden
Rutgers Newark
Southern CT State University
U. of Baltimore
UNC Greensboro

I decided to go to Rutgers Camden. Excited for the fall!

Sarah said...

@Charlotte Seley

DEFINITELY contact Emerson about an extension---as soon as I found out I wasn't getting merit aid I asked for one and they immediately gave me till May 1st (by which time, I'd hope, they might have a second round of merit aid from the people that turned them down).

@xavier I'm in at TNS for Writing for Children, though I have a roomie (hopefully---she's in at Pratt and Parsons but is also looking at a CA program, so we'll see). Just got my official letter today but got a call last week.

charlotte seley said...

@Sarah: Emerson sent you a letter about funding? I haven't gotten anything so I assume I am not a part of the first round. I just e-mailed the Admissions office asking for an extension. It just seems too easy to me, like, wouldn't everyone who didn't get aid ask for an extension? I'm always looking for the catch in things, though... anyway, good luck to you!

burlaper said...

I just turned down my offers of admission in poetry at both West Virginia and Bowling Green. I'm not sure if anyone here is waiting to hear from either of these programs, but I figured I would let you all know just in case. Both offers included a TA position, so a few someones should be getting some good funding news here pretty soon!

So close to a decision. Gulp.

koru said...

ahhh ... 14 april (here, at least) ... video of the day, here

fingers crossed for people still waiting to hear funding news and/or waitlist news. :-)

Sarah said...

@Charlotte Seley

I emailed them around when people first started saying here (and on the facebook group) that they had received letters, and they let me know by email that I hadn't received funding, whereupon I emailed to ask for an extension. They were really nice about it. Good luck!

Brittany said...

Subscribing AND.. got into Arizona for fiction off of the waitlist! Notified today via email. Am declining as funding is unlikely and I have a lovely funding offer from Montana under my belt!

Hopefully my acceptance will move on to someone on the blog!

la said...

@ dimethirwen

Congrats! Mind sharing what helped you choose IWW over Michener?

Carmen Machado said...


There were a lot of factors, but the big one was program size (I realized that I didn't want to be in a teeny-tiny program). That was really the only major one - my financial offers were comparable, so that didn't factor in at all. I think that if Iowa had offered me less money and a different fellowship re: teaching, my decision might have been different.

I visited both programs and liked them both, but I preferred the "feel" of Iowa - unfortunately I don't know what it was, but I think that I sensed that writing in a smaller, quieter community would be preferable to having this big, cosmopolitan city around me.

On a personal level, I've spent the last six years of my life in big cities (Washington, DC/the Bay Area), and I feel like I'm ready for a break. Also, I have family close to Iowa.

When it came down to it, the differences weren't that big - I think I would have done fine at either. But I'm happy with my choice, and relieved that I made the decision. The ambiguity was making me nuts.

Carmen Machado said...

Oh, and thanks. ^_^

Anonymous said...

I was wondering how possible and workable people think it is to transfer from one full res. program to another. I was rejected all the places I really wanted to go and accepted at a state university program in Cali. that's very obscure and unprestigious (but vaguely commutable from where I live) and it might be fairly cheap as far as actually paying for a program goes for me to take courses there. They have a pretty late deadline to accept and I'm still researching but have some serious doubts whether I want to really do their full program. If after visiting and researching I still feel that way, but also feel I could get benefit out of maybe going part-time and taking some of their workshops, do people think it makes much sense to start going there and then try to apply for another program this winter to transfer in fall 2011? Maybe I'd have some better stories for sample apps., but would those profs. even be likely to give me a good rec. if I was bailing on their program? I guess it also depends on how my grades actually are there. Any thoughts much appreciated..

m.elise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m.elise said...

@ Daniel

It depends on if you really think it's worth it to do a sort of "half and half" system (1 year one place, 1 or 2 years at another)... is it worth it? Personally, I would rather have the whole package, the whole experience. Keep in mind when/if you do transfer, your peers will already have a year on you: in comradeship, experience and know-how of the school, a relationship with the professors, etc. If you're okay with that, then by all means, go for it.

It also depends on how friendly your current professors will be to your situation. Obviously they have accepted you because they see something in you that they want to bring to their school, and intend on you staying the full term. I don't think I would ask for a recommendation from them, but that's just me... you may find someone sympathetic to your situation. I'm just wondering... why the rush? Is there any real reason why you can't put it off for a year to decide on a place that makes you truly happy?

Or, give the state school a shot. Sometimes it's not about the prestige; it's what it can do for you, and what you can make of it. It really depends on the person if that school is the right fit, and it's okay either way... but I think you would just be short-changing yourself if you were to transfer. I'd say pick a spot (either go to the school, or try again in the fall) and get comfortable with it.

noam said...

Hi Seth,

I hope this isn't too late to be helpful but here is my application list for 2010:


U of Alabama
U of Arizona
U of Iowa
U of Montana
U of NC- Wilmington


Michener Center
U of Wisconsin- Madison
Washington U. in St. Louis

Thank you for all of the amazing work you've been doing for MFA applicants everywhere!

Zoulou said...

@Daniel (and everyone, really!) - do you know if you could do one year, and then just start over at another MFA? Because, seems to me, if it's at all affordable, then a year of schooling might do wonders toward beefing up your sample and application - plus, more importantly, the year would probably be really valuable in general... I guess the question I would ask myself is, would a year at this California school be more valuable than what you'd be doing instead?

Prestige isn't all that, IMO. I mean, a really selective, famous school is awesome! Maybe I should say... LACK of prestige gets a bad rap. Just because the school isn't a name everybody recognizes doesn't mean you can't learn a ton while you're there.

If it were me, it'd all come down to financials, and a year in creative writing school versus a year doing whatever else I'd be up to instead. If the year of schooling is possible, I'd say, go! Who knows, you might love it there and never want to leave :) That's what happened to me in undergrad - I showed up as a freshman with all kinds of blank applications in my luggage, and turns out the college was an amazing fit.

In any case - congrats on your acceptance! And here's wishing you luck :)

Unknown said...

This is my first comment posted to the mailbag. I've been reading the discussion for the past month. It's been very helpful to see that lots of people were in similar situations. (It's perhaps telling that I came across the blog by searching for the term MFA rejections.)

I've been offered a spot at Houston. The funding for a TA position is still in limbo, so no decision quite yet.

Here's my list of applications for fiction:

Iowa (rejection)
Syracuse (rejection)
Houston (acceptance)
Virginia (no word)
Hollins (no word)

Best of luck to everyone as it gets closer and closer to crunch time.

Ena said...


In in at Michigan for poetry...and it's looking like I'll be declining, if my TA details are what I think they are...

So don't lose hope yet, it's not over til it's over!

the duchess said...

Are we there yet?

If anyone has questions about NYC, you can email me (click on my name for link).

the duchess said...

Also - high five to CSULB people! I'm from the LBC - great city.

golightly said...

Hey Seth,

Just a heads up for your funding rankings - the Alabama-Tuscaloosa MFA site (under Support)specifically mentions health insurance as included. Your ranking currently says "unstated".

Thanks for the rankings, btw. One of their myriad uses which, for me, rises above the apparent occasional controversy, is to show one's parents, friends, and relatives just how tough these programs are to get into, and just how many different reasons a program can be valued or fall short. (You know, how programs are more prestigious, or better funded, or less well funded but guarantee funding for longer, etc.)

golightly said...

Also, my list for poetry:

Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
Johns Hopkins

Courtney said...

@ Hollins accepted students

Is anyone reading this blog planning to attend Hollins next year? If so, would you like to exchange e-mails? I'm visiting next weekend to help make my decision. Thanks!

-nonfiction Courtney

oh and just a heads up, there is a CNF spot opening up at George Mason...hope this makes someone on the waitlist happy!

MommyJ said...


Kati-Jane said...

Well, on the South Alabama front, my online app status just went to "Decision Made / Pending - In Dept For Review." I don't know if anybody else out there can sympathize, but it's April 14 and that's the first I've "heard" about either of my two measly applications. My heart rate just jumped the moon. :)

Unknown said...

For Seth,

Fiction list

Rutgers-Newark (committed)


Washington, St Louis

Best to everyone in writing!

koru said...


Sorry, I turned down my Hollins spot (in poetry). LOVE the programme, but it came with only partial funding, so I just couldn't consider it, given there were 7 other offers that came with full funding.

I'm jealous you're visiting next week. It's the perfect time of the year to visit ... I'm from somewhat near there, and I miss home right now in springtime!

xx koru

kbtoys said...


Thank you so very much ahead for all of your help. I am on TNS and Sarah Lawrence waitlist. I think my chances of being accepted into Sarah Lawrence are pretty good (at least sooner). I was wondering why Sarah Lawrence shot down on your rankings this year, whereas they were generally neck and neck with The New School last year?

Chelsea said...

Congrats to those getting pulled off the waitlists this week! Last minute hurrah, still exciting!!

My question is to anyone in a similar situation and/or someone who applied last year and might have something to suggest...

Waiting on final word on funding for my top choice. We all know what day tomorrow is. Knowing this, should I sit tiiiight and wait for them or call their office..see what's going on?

Haha, I don't do too well with patience.

inkli__11 said...

april 14th.... phillywriter, are you as tempted as i am to write to indiana and ask what is going on and whether the show's over, so to speak?

Liz said...

Just gave up a spot at George Mason for those on the waitlist.

phillywriter said...


Actually, I broke down and wrote to them last night just to make sure that it was still a possibility. I got a nice reply this morning saying that if I could I should hang in there and that hopefully they'd have things worked out by tomorrow. Hang in there!

frankish said...

@Chelsea - Unless you've been calling and asking them every day, I would just call and see if they have an update. I'm sure that they are as aware as you are that other schools are asking for decisions by the 15h.

Good luck!

Julia said...

@ Chelsea,

If you do call, let us know what you hear! I can't call until after work, so I figure I'll be leaving them a message.

Chelsea said...


I'm scared, haha. Even though Jim's office is always accomodating I can just imagine the assistant rolling her eyes as I say my name.

I know I have every reason to call. But I'm a wimp. I'm sure I'll still call.

RebCon said...

For Seth's research, all in fiction:
West Virginia (probable funding)
UC Riverside (no word on funding


No word:
UC Davis

Julia said...


Oh, I'm terrified. I'm also a wimp about phone calls, so you're definitely not alone.

I doubt the assistant will be rolling her eyes, though. :) I bet she understands.

Andrew McSorley said...

Hey all,

Haven't commented too much. Just wanted to put in my list because I can't remember if I already posted it.

In poetry:

- Iowa
- University of Michigan
- University of Illinois
- Western Michigan
- Notre Dame
- Indiana University
- Purdue
- Northern Michigan
- Southern Illinois
- University of Minnesota
- Bowling Green
- Washington University, St. Louis
- University of Kansas
- Mankato State

Just declined funded spots at Mankato State and Northern Michigan yesterday. Don't know if that helps anyone here. I'll be attending Southern Illinois University in the fall, so any current or future Salukis should come out of hiding and we can chat about the program and Carbondale!

Good luck and congrats to everyone!

Unknown said...

hey everyone

I've been on and off the blog these past 3 weeks... out of town, busy times at work, blog anxiety finally got to me, etc.

first, anyone heard from UNCG on the $$ front? (Dreux, I'm hoping for your sake that they can finagle something.)

second, any UNCW fiction acceptees make any decisions over the past week or so? accept or turn down? I am so. tired. of. waiting. I'm. going. insane.

then, happier thoughts:

@ kaybay
CONGRATS ON YOUR WAITLISTS!!!! Sorry for not reacting sooner to your great news. You should be so so so proud!! I may or may not be joining you next year in reapplying, still waiting on UNCW, but I know next year is going to bring awesome things your way.

Jeffery said...

@ Meredith

UNCG funding is dire, as in there isn't any. Last I heard no one had funding yet in fiction. Don't know about poetry.

The administration (the higher ups, not Jim or Terry) seems intent on destroying the program by not funding it. All grad level funding is being diverted to undergrads.

Don't give up, but I wouldn't count on it.

Ena said...

Alright, it's decided! My final list for poetry:

Minnesota (funding)
Montana (funding)
Michigan (funding)
Maryland (funding)
Houston (funding)
UNCG (1st called, so probably funding if they have it)

Austin, TX

I have just turned down my offers at Michigan and Houston (the others I already did) and I hope someone benefits from them. I am attending at Maryland!

Austin said...

My final list for poetry

Houston (some funding)
Maryland (with TA) (attending)
UTK (with funding)



Mr. Hemlock said...


Jim Clark emailed me last Saturday and asked if I still wanted to be considered for possible funding. He said he wouldn't know anything until the 15th. I told him I had accepted a position somewhere else.

Henry said...

Also received an email from Jim Clark over the weekend to see if I wanted to remain in the pool of applicants until the 15th. He didn't mention funding, just "additional openings."

Ah, vagueness... you make my world... something... or... whatever.

I'm fiction, btw.

Mr. Hemlock said...


I'm curious. What made you decide on Maryland?

m.elise said...

Just declined a spot at CSULB for poetry.

Look out, wait-listers :)

The program is stellar. The faculty will amaze you with their intellect and generosity (of time and materials).

Though I had to decline, I was very, very sad to do so.

Best of luck to those still waiting.

m.elise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@espy and @Zoulou -

Thanks a bunch for the advice and thoughts, I'll keep it in mind.

I have another question/concern. The school where I got in actually is San Jose State Univ., and so far their faculty/staff has been welcoming and helpful and approacheable, and most of my concerns and questions I expect to get cleared up in the near future by visiting and talking with students and faculty.

However, when I look at the program's curriculum/required courses, it looks a bit like an MA in English (heavy in lit. classes analyzing themes, rather than craft-focused) with some workshops and a creative thesis tagged on. Is that normal?

Personally I'm not sure how interested I am in taking a lot of courses analyzing themes in lit. I did that 10 years ago in my BA in English and am not too keen to do a great deal more.


Chrissy Widmayer said...

Everybody waiting on Hollins: I've been told via email that they're notifying all decisions this week.

But, seriously, I need to know RIGHT NOW. This is hardly helpful. FRUSTRATING!

Juliana Paslay said...


Thank you so much! I am glad to have a time frame! That was all I was asking for before but nooooooo. I am glad they told you all the same...

Unknown said...

thanks Mr. Hemlock, Henry, and Twin! These final days are killing me. I never thought I'd still be in limbo at this point.

Congrats to everyone who's heard good news recently, and yay for everyone who has decided where they're headed in the fall! I can't wait for this show to be over....

m.elise said...


SJSU is not the only MFA program that balances lit and workshop. However, there are some programs that weigh heavier on workshops and writing, and others with lit and theory. But, I think most MFA programs do have some lit and theory with workshops and writing; the ratio just differs.

It's entirely up to you which you would prefer. But I would expect both (to some extent) in any MFA program... but anyone, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Coughdrop -- Yeah, well, this is the third or fourth time I've called them. They're probably really sick of me. And they didn't say how they'd be notifying, just that it'd be this week. I bet you ten bucks they'll be mailing rejections, or something, so we'll still be in limbo for about a week.

I emailed back, asking if there was someone else I could get more info from and telling them that most schools have tomorrow as a deadline, and that I have to accept one of my offers by tomorrow, so they need to tell me NOW!

So, we'll see what happens. Fingers crossed!

Chrissy Widmayer said...

P.S. This is absurd, and will likely give me high blood pressure for the next 28 hours.

Juliana Paslay said...

Well, I have no idea whether or not to trust them at this point but the email I got on Monday said that we'd receive decisions by email. Which is a relief at least. But, I'm with you, its APRIL 14 they NEED TO FREAKING TELL US.

Julia said...

@ Fiction UNCGers

Word from Jim that they secured just one RAship for us prose folks and that it's been accepted. Not sure where that leaves the rest of us, but I thought you'd like to know.

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Coughdrop -- I was literally thinking of telling them just that (since I'm very stressed at this point), but I thought it would be rude. I settled for "Most schools, including the one I'm considering, have tomorrow as a deadline. I have to decide by 5PM and really don't want to miss an opportunity at Hollins."


Unknown said...


Where did you decide to go?

Perpetua said...

I wish it was April 15th and I wish all the decisions were made and I could finally get over this blog! Argh!

We probably won't have all the answers tomorrow will we? Argh!

Hilary Dobel said...

It's looking more and more like I'm going to be sayin' "no" to Columbia (poetry), which will free up a partial fellowship ($15,000/year, renewable) for somebody. I'm still going to their admitted students event, though - I'm hoping for some sort of epiphany that will push me into a decision for sure. Or to meet Lucie Brock-Broido in person.

I guess no hanging out at BU next year, though. Le sigh.

Jeffery said...

Just got the big decline from Madison. UNCG probably isn't going to work out.

This is the second year I've been strung along like this and I don't know if it's worth it.

Ena said...

@Mr. Hemlock

My boyfriend and I wanted to go together and Maryland was the place. Also, because Stanley Plumly basically taught most of the good faculty for poetry out there to be what they are, as well as making Michigan and Houston's programs great. And unlike some other well-known faculty he won't be gone most of the MFA at other colleges to visit.

Leslie said...

Ena--I took an undergrad CW workshop with Plumly at Michigan eons ago, when he was a visiting writer. Fantastic class. Congrats to you and your very impressive acceptances.

Alex said...

Well, the wait is over for me. The TA position that I was on a waitlist for at Washington got claimed today.

So... I'm headed to Ohio State! Already declined my offer of admission at Washington, so I hope that helps anyone who was on a waitlist there.

@koru, I'll be seeing you in the fall! I'm disappointed about Washington, but happy, happy, happy about Ohio State!!

Anonymous said...

@espy -

thanks again. Previously I was mainly comparing SJSU to Chatham Univ. in Pittsburgh where I was also accepted but didn't get funding and couldn't afford to go there (and had other reservations). In first reading, Chatham's MFA course listing(when compared to SJSU) appeared to have a lot more of a writer's/craft emphasis even in its lit. classes.

That said, I just had a long chat with Nick Taylor, the main fiction prof. at SJSU (and an extremely nice guy), and learned that in fact SJSU recently changed around its MFA curriculum requirements (the website is out of date) to slightly less lit. and more workshops, and also he explained how there are several lit. classes each semester taught by either MFA specific faculty or "MFA-friendly" English lit. faculty, where craft is incorporated into lit. readings.

My concerns were allayed. Thanks again, though!

koru said...


You have NO idea how happy I am to hear you'll be a classmate of mine at OSU! YAY!! :D We're gonna have an awesome group! :D

(sorry about there not being any U Wash funding, but only a little sorry, lol!)

Emma said...

@ Sutpen --

I don't know anything about this stuff, and I don't know where you are on the funding waitlist, but it seems as if Montana is going pretty far down its waitlist, which means that they are getting declined by a fair amount of people.

I don't think it would hurt, if you really want it, to write an email and say, "If you offer me funding, I will accept immediately, with no questions asked." I mean, worse comes to worse they ignore you, best comes to best they take you up on it.

That's my two cents... coming from someone who is without a doubt headed to Montana, I am worried I will have no classmates!

many many birdies said...

@ Adam,

I hope you don't think this is too forward of me, but I have some friends who live in Baton Rouge who are gay and pretty active in the local queer community, and who recently finished the MFA program at LSU. Would you like me to give you their contact info?

Hope that's not a weird question. It's not like I think all gay people like to hang out together or something. I just know the culture in LA is pretty different from a lot of other places, and I know my friend would have liked to know other people who were familiar with the queer community down there when she first moved there. She LOVES baton rouge now, but it was a bit of an adjustment.

many many birdies said...

Fingers and toes crossed for you, MommyJ!

Man, this is rough, so many schools really holding out to the very last minute....

Summer said...

@Ena - Congrats! I'm glad this decision period is finally over for you, and I want to weep over your list of acceptances.

There is one guy ahead of me for your spot at Michigan. I hope to God he committed to ludicrous funding at Iowa weeks ago and just didn't notify Michigan. Fingers crossed? :D

red said...

@ Daniel

I took my very first writing class back in 2004 with Nick Taylor. He's fantastic! I hope you have a great time at SJSU.

Lauren said...

Just got rejected from Florida State, via email, a few minutes ago. Heads up, Florida State people.

Zoulou said...

UNLV rejection, by email - heads up folks!

Congratulations Ena! (Whoa, what a list!)

@Summer - wishing you lots of luck... fingers crossed!

Constance Culver said...

My final list for poetry:


U of Miami-(w/TA)
Brooklyn College


UT-Austin (Michener)


U of Oregon
U of Virginia

Never heard from:


Glad it's all over! Good luck to everyone, I bet there will be a lot of spots opening for waitlisters tomorrow...

kaybay said...

FINALLY got my rejection from FSU (thanks for the heads up, Lauren. Sorry it didn't work out for you). I have to say, I'm not a big fan of their admissions process. They leave people in the dark for so long and don't reject anyone until all of their acceptances have been taken. I don't know, seems unnecessary. I imagine I was rejected a while ago. Hurumphsters!!

That is officially it for me :D I've had three wait lists at McNeese State, Florida, and Notre Dame (two of which did not turn into an acceptance and one that will likely not turn into an acceptance but has not given official notice yet). Although the toughest part of all this is that I will not be attending a program this fall, I'm ridiculously happy with where I was wait listed and it gives me hope that with a stronger sample next year, I'll (hopefully, hopefully, hopefully) be offered admission somewhere next year, and maybe even to one of my top choices *cough cough UF and Notre Dame*

In the long run, it's kind of a good thing, since I will have more money saved up, making a move much, much easier.

By the way, is anyone else still checking this blog fervently even though they aren't really waiting on news anymore?? What's wrong with me?

kaybay said...

I said I was going to give up this blog, too. But I can't :(

Unknown said...


I still check it every few hours, and I signed a few weeks ago...So you are not alone in just hanging out on this blog that is slowly going to die away until next year...

kaybay said...

@Lauren, where have you decided on next year?

@Katie-Jane, I'm hoping your good news status update will turn into an official acceptance. I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to apply there, even though it's close to my mom. The assistantships they offered only paid $6000 (!) and while the tuition is waived, I'd have to take out a lot of loans. Since I still want to get my MFA and might have to take out loans for that, I didn't want to tack on more debt. Good luck to you, though!!

golightly said...

Kaybay, I'm checking regularly to see the outcomes... Congrats on getting waitlisted (x3!), and good luck next year, for sure! The whole process is such a crapshoot, isn't it? Don't be disheartened, and saving up money for a move is a very savvy thing.

Adam Atkinson said...

@megan - Not too forward in the least! I've been forthcoming with LSU about my anxiety re: TEH GAY IN DA SOUTH. They've been quite helpful - but I'm most interested in day to day life kind of stuff. Please do send me those emails.


(And I hope I'm not offending any Southerners here. LSU is popping my Southern cherry, and it feels a bit like signing a mortgage for a house on Mars.)

Vanni said...

@ zoulou,

just received a unlv rejection as well, but i did get an email from ucr asking me to call them regarding my application (poetry). called, no answer. i assume they're AFK.

Airships said...


After our exchange of words last week, I received a a call and email today from University of South Carolina pretty much offering me full funding. Thoughts on Idaho and USC? South Carolina is ranked incredibly low on the list. How much does that matter. It is also much more invested in theory than Idaho. Anyway, I'd be interested to hear from you.



Unknown said...

With one school left to hear from, at 5:30 today i get a cheery voicemail that says "we have *some* good news for you, please give us a call tmw." am i waitlisted? i had completely pumped myself up about reapplying (and likely still will) as i think i could really do A LOT to improve my sample, haha, and hopefully have some options. and it's probably better to do an MFA when i have advanced further on my own--you know, go from good to great rather than mediocre to better-than-average, right? still, this is a heartwarming thought that perhaps i was not a slam-dunk rejection?

good luck tonight everyone!!! sleep tight!

Rosie said...

I just got accepted to SDSU, fiction, via email and am having a heart attack.

Mr. Hemlock said...

Finally got my rejection from FSU.

MFA Blog, I just can't quit you.

T said...

@ Emma,
Thanks for the advice. I did tell them that Montana is my number one choice, and I'd do anything to be there. I also turned in my first deposit to law school today, so we'll see (how my entire life turns out).
I would love to be classmates though!
You are fiction right?

Unknown said...

Kate and Constance Culver -

I’m also headed to UMass (just decided yesterday)this fall.

I’m curious – what are your plans/thoughts on finding housing?

If you want to swap emails –

Unknown said...

Looks like I'm out of luck this year, but I hope your SDSU experience is a great one!

Morgan said...

SO awesome Rosie, congrats!!! I know you were super excited about the program. Are you going??

herglands said...

Waitlisted at TNS

MommyJ said...

@Rose, congrats on your heart attack!

@kaybay, I sure you'll be able to parlay this year's waitlists into acceptances next year, and you will have choices.

April 15 forever forward will remind me of this process rather than tax day.

Ashley Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley Brooke said...

Congrats! :)

kaybay said...

SUPER congrats to all who received good news today!!

koru said...

@Ashley Brooke,

like I said towards the end of the last mailbag, I'm all for doing away with this MFA programme monogamy. Let's all have menage-a-trois with a couple of MFA programmes each. :D

I myself covet a second school though I could only accept one offer.

Kerry Headley said...

I've been missing in action, taking care of non-blog life stuff. But I guess I am ready to share that I accepted a TA-ship at UNCW -- CNF. I'm very happy about it. Now excuse me while I get back to pondering another cross-country move...

Best of luck to the rest of yinz!

Rosie said...

Thanks Spartacus, Morgan, Mommy and Ashley!

I probably won't go to SDSU because EWU offered me a TA-ship which includes a full tuition waiver. SDSU MIGHT offer me an out of state tuition waiver and that's it. I can't get a hold of anybody at SDSU at the moment so I'll probably have to call tomorrow.

...but EWU wants an answer by tomorrow. I want to ask for an extension but am SCARED. LOL ETC.

I never thought I'd be so distressed by such GOOD NEWS.

Rosie said...

Anyway, I've been dying to do this, so here is my FINAL LIST:

Texas: Rejected.
Syracuse: Rejected.
Maryland: Rejected.
PSU: Rejected.
New School: Rejected.
U. of Arizona: Rejected.

EWU: Accepted with FULL FUNDING (TA-ship)
Emerson: Accepted with funding.
SDSU: Accepted with a possible out-of-state tuition waiver.

I'm too frail for this and am crying. I kind of wish only one school had accepted me. Then I wouldn't have to make a decision. LOL.

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Rosie--yeah, It's the worst best news ever, right? :) Congrats again!

@MommyJ--maybe I missed it, but any news on your PhD program? I'm rooting for you!!

Ena said...

Thank you everyone! I wish you guys the best of luck and remember--it's not over until it is: there's still tomorrow! (And for those on waitlists with no acceptances, there's still summer!)

Lisa said...

Have to decide between Long Island University (in Brooklyn) and University of Miami. Both are offering me funding. Any insights into either program?

I'm having a really tough time with this decision...Not gonna sleep tonight.

koru said...


I am a big proponent of throwing darts at a map and going to the school closest ....

Andrea said...

Congrats Kerry!

And congrats to Rosie and Chrissy for awesome late-in-the-game news, even though it's driving you crazy.

I can't believe this is all coming to a close.

Michael James Gossett said...

@Austin @Ena

Congratulations, both of you. I'm attending Maryland for poetry as well. Lucked into a TA position and a Dean's Fellowship since Monday. Big relief.

I'd like to get in contact with you guys. Never too early for some camaraderie.


or you can search that e-mail via Facebook.

Take care.

threes said...

Congrats, Kerry! (and everyone!) I'm also heading to UNCW, with a TAship in fiction.

Kate said...

Hey Yinz:

I tried to write this twice today at work, but my boss kept coming over and I had to X out of the site!

I accepted at UMASS today. Pretty exciting (to be honest, bittersweet as the gf is headed to SoCal).

The best of luck to everyone who is still on pins and needles. I had thought for sure that I would not get funding at UMASS and that I was done for the year and would be reapplying, but a TO position opened up at UMASS!

I already emailed Ali, but if any other UMASS people want to get in contact with me, my email is kate.litterer[at]gmail.com.

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