With so many voices in the discussion about what is wrong with MFAs in creative writing, it’s worth looking back at one piece of criticism that asks a vital question, namely: how can the MFA be improved?
With so many voices in the discussion about what is wrong with MFAs in creative writing, it’s worth looking back at one piece of criticism that asks a vital question, namely: how can the MFA be improved?Tags: Types Of Organization In Compare And Contrast EssaysThesis Radio WaveSolve Any Maths ProblemMfa Programs Creative Writing RankingsMinority Report Book CharactersEssay American Dream Conclusion
In recent years, Ph Ds in Creative Writing have emerged as an opportunity for creative writers to gain some purchase in the academic world.
With the emergence of these programs, the MFA is no longer a terminal degree.
Is it simply a degree that offers writers time and space to work?
If so, students often enter into a program with no expectation that they will learn about the history of their art, their place in it, or how they might cultivate professional prospects.
In general, a poet presents a work-in-progress which is often treated as if it is a final draft and is critiqued until it is drained of all vitality.
Such an approach has little to do with fostering creativity and opening up a dialogue.
Workshop was seldom about the work, but rather about the personalities of the poets at the table. Despite the best intentions of the faculty and administration, most MFA programs are not focused on educating the poets as not just writers of verse but as scholars of it.
During the best moments in workshop, there was the kind of engaged critique that should be the norm for graduate-level study: rigorous, thoughtful and, most of all, informed.
The degree holders seldom have a substantive baseline of experience and knowledge that they can impart to future creative writing students.
With outcomes so uneven, it is no wonder that MFAs are the bastard children of English departments, often bringing the ridicule and even the sly contempt of the rest of the English department faculty.