Poets & Writers just published their rankings of both traditional and low-residency MFA programs for creative writing. I confess, I took a peek. The idea that I somehow need an MFA nags at me ever so often, although to date I haven’t quite mustered any full-board justification or enthusiasm for starting to file my applications. But as I scanned the rankings, something unexpected caught my eye.
It was an eight point – disclaimer, if you will – posted in the rankings’ Guide to the Methodology. (Scroll down in the guide to find this section.) It’s worth reading all eight points, but in the interest of brevity I’ll repost only the first one:
(1) MFA programs are not for everyone, and many poets and writers will find their energies better spent elsewhere as they attempt to explore and augment their existing talents;
I’m glad to see P&W acknowledging this truth and making the other recommendations they do, including #5, don’t go into debt for an MFA.
P&W‘s comment offers a great segue for me to talk about The Writer’s Loft Program at Middle Tennessee State University. The Writer’s Loft is a low-residency certificate program in creative writing that is built around two main components: orientation/workshop weekends and one-on-one mentoring. (Full disclosure: I am a new mentor in this program, although I’ve been a fan a long time. I am not one of the “wonderful mentors” mentioned below.)
Sandy Coomer is a recent graduate who’s representing the Loft well: [Read more...]