Books Magazine

MFA Programs: The Eternal (God Help Us) Debate

By Gabrielscala

MFA Programs: The Eternal (God Help Us) Debate

So, I’m reading Mark McGurl‘s piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “The MFA Octopus: Four Questions About Creative Writing,” and I’m thinking: aren’t we done with this yet? I mean, haven’t we all heard the many arguments both for and against the MFA program? And what is all this debate and discussion getting us anyway?

I took two years out of “real life” and did an MFA. Does that make me an elitist? A cookie-cutter writer? A self-absorbed navel gazer? I suspect that if I were, in fact, any of those things (and I’m not saying I’m not), the MFA program had little, if anything, to do with it. In all likelihood, I was those things to begin with. I can’t speak for all MFA graduates out there, but what the experience gave to me was time. Time to write. Time to focus on my writing. Time to spend with more experienced writers. Time to read and discuss and consider. Because, and here I feel pretty confident I can speak for all MFA graduates out there, in the “real” world, time is in short supply. And there are a whole host of other elitist, self-absorbed, navel-gazing activities out there to occupy what little time there is. Like learning to make the perfect martini and house hunting.

The answer to this debate is quite simple. If you don’t believe in MFA programs, don’t enroll in one. Work your job behind the register of an independent bookstore, stay up late reading Tolstoy and write your 18th century-esque novel about cobblers and chimney sweeps. I don’t care. But don’t kid yourself into thinking that just because you’re too “good” or “original” be hobbled by an MFA program that you’re not an elitist, self-absorbed navel gazer. Because you are.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Artisanal Skincare Holy Basil Cleansing and Toning Water Review

    Artisanal Skincare Holy Basil Cleansing Toning Water Review

    As we all know how important the toning step is in our regular CTM routine. Lately I have been loving floral waters or hydrosols as toners and so far I have... Read more

    9 hours, 2 minutes ago by   Skincarevilla
  • Soon By You Episode 4: The Dates | Soon By You (video)

    Soon Episode Dates (video)

    David and Sarah finally go on their first date. Jacobs explores foreign avenues for a love connection and Noa, Ben, and Z take up volunteering. Read more

    10 hours, 18 minutes ago by   Gldmeier
  • Locaflea Summer Jam 2017 Starts Today in Ahmedabad

    Locaflea Summer 2017 Starts Today Ahmedabad

    Shopping is the best remedy, someone said it and it’s true, especially when your city is boiling and the temperature stays beyond 38 throughout the day or even... Read more

    10 hours, 28 minutes ago by   Hetal Shah
  • Summer Makeup Tips for Long Lasting Makeup

    Summer Makeup Tips Long Lasting

    Hey everyone today’s post is very informative and very useful for the hot scorching summer time. I am going to talk about my most used summer makeup tips for... Read more

    10 hours, 42 minutes ago by   Sugandha Choudhary
  • A Very Nice Day

    Very Nice

    Thursday dawned bright and clear and rather cool -- a perfect day to be outside! Shelia, my friend since 7th grade, was in town and offered to come over and pul... Read more

    12 hours, 51 minutes ago by   Vickilane
  • 33, And Counting…


    I have 33 job applications out there. …Have taken 5 Interviews so far, and every day at work is like trying to survive a crawfish boil…as a fucking crawfish. Read more

    13 hours, 25 minutes ago by   Shewritesalittle
  • Hypermasculinity – Sometimes It’s Not All About The Girls

    Hypermasculinity Sometimes It’s About Girls

    16th December 2012. A 23-year old student was not just gang-raped but tormented and beaten in the most barbaric way possible on a moving bus. Read more

    14 hours, 43 minutes ago by   Scribe Project