Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ideas for the blog

by Jonterri Gadson

Keely mentioned on Twitter that it might be a good idea to start a post where people could discuss any ideas they had for the blog. One idea she mentioned was to include posts concerning writing theory along with the personal narratives. I'm cool with that. Those who aren't interested in reading or discussing theory would still have the option of reading many other posts about other things. There are so many contributors (yay!) so we have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of interests here. I'd say anything that would be of interest to MFA students (and a lone PhDer lol) is a go here.

For instance, here's a helpful post from someone who's been where we are, Saeed Jones, an MFA student (poetry) at Rutgers-Newark. He's also got some great posts about his approach to his thesis.

If anyone else is thinking, "Man, we could do THIS on that blog!" let's talk about what THIS is here.

**Update** Margosita suggested that when we make our individual posts we might consider putting our names in the blog title or at least including a thumbnail pic. She said it would help readers get to know who we are. I think that's a good idea. So maybe we could all come up with a small pic to add to our individual posts.

I tried adding the name to the title but I think the byline looks better.
I'll edit this post as an example of how we might consider posting.

**Update** Denis suggested that we use our bylines to insert a link to our blogs. Good idea!

**Update**Reader, Chloe, comments "I'd love to hear about student life at each program. Level of support, community, age ranges (I too will be applying at 21, out of undergrad), etc. are all things that seem to me to be pretty important but are tough to find information about on program websites."

I agree. We could definitely keep the things she mentioned in mind as we begin posting about our programs once they start.

Further suggestions are, of course, welcome!


  1. I am going to write something on subject matter and aesthetic in poetry, particularly in regards to location. For the past two months, I've been in contact with my cohort and have been workshopping pieces with them online. I've become fairly acclimated to their work, and coming from LA I see some interesting differences in our work (most of them are midwesterners of various kinds).

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  3. I think my next post is going to be on the California budget crisis and how it's affecting MFAers at the UCs and CSUs. After that I'm not sure. A friend of mine who's a second year MFA at Mills says there's some tension between SF's vibrant slam poetry community and the more academic poets, so maybe I'll write something about that if I see that in my own experiences. I was planning to cover a lot of poetics theory in my own blog, not sure if I'll end up writing posts on similar topics here. I think we could have some cool discussions about genre and craft and whatnot though.

    P.S. This is my last comment before I go on internet blackout, so you probably won't hear from me again for a week or two. Can't wait to come back and read people's post ideas.

    P.P.S. I really like Tory's post idea.

  4. Oh, dear, my lack of an English major is going to show already. What is writing theory?

  5. Jennifer- I think Literary theory might've been a better way for me to phrase that. I haven't studied this yet (and I was an English major). Here's a wikipedia link on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_theory

    I don't mind the exposure to it here. I always had a blank stare in my undergrad workshops when theory was discussed so I should stop avoiding it lol

  6. Keely, I look forward to reading about Slam vs Academic Poet Street Wars. Someone should adapt that into a Broadway show in the vein of West Side Story.

  7. Hey all-- check the update on this post. A reader suggested that we add thumbnails and our names to the titles of our posts.

  8. I agree with adding images to posts so that we know who posted. I was going to suggest that as well.

  9. Last comment and then I have a train to catch.

    By writing theory I didn't mean literary theory, I meant more posts about poetry as a genre or a craft rather than my experiences as a poet. For example:

    Posts about poetry

    -Is rhyming poetry dead?
    -Do you use meter in your work?
    -Who are some poets who have influenced you, mine are thus
    -A decrease in poetry reviews published in newspapers and magazines is the single greatest problem facing poetry's visibility today, discuss

    Some posts about my experiences as a poet
    -I break into a cold sweat whenever I submit work, how about you?
    -I found teaching to be really different from tutoring, go figure
    -I attended my first workshop today and the teacher set me on fire as an example to the other students, wasn't expecting that, perhaps I need to work on my people skills

    I hope this makes sense because I won't be able to clarify further for awhile. Will miss you guys. Talk to you in a few weeks.

  10. Oh my bad on the theory thing. :) I like that type of discussion better lol

    Post away.

  11. One suggestion: put "by your name" at the top of your post, as Jonterri and Tory and I have done, but make your name a link to your blog or whichever personal site you wish to promote. That way, people don't have to search your name on the sidebar (which can be a bit of a hassle).

  12. I think I'll put together a weekly post called "This Week in The MFA Chronicles" and link to the week's posts and mention any highlights. I'll start tomorrow because that will end our first official week!

    Denis's suggestion gave me the idea to link our names in the sidebar to our intros.

  13. Hi, I'm not a contributor, but an eager reader/MFA applicant this year. Tory mentioned on Tom Kealey's MFA handbook blog that topic suggestions would be welcome, so I just thought I'd write what I did there, which is that I'd love to hear about student life at each program. Level of support, community, age ranges (I too will be applying at 21, out of undergrad), etc. are all things that seem to me to be pretty important but are tough to find information about on program websites.

    Thanks so much for starting this blog--it's a great and helpful resource for those of us who are looking at programs! : )

  14. I'll probably follow this blog a whole lot. Hopefully it's around for a couple years, because I'm doing an MA and then applying for a PhD or MFA program.

    My only concern (concern? not quite I guess) is that with there being no anonymity I know I wont get to see much - if any - that is critical of particular programs. It seems it could be risky for a contributor to comment negatively on his or her program.

    If someone smarter than me could think of a good way in which occasional anonymous posts could be added to this blog, they could be valuable. I don't know. We know who is at which schools, so we can't really hear specifics.


  15. I would support criticism. I'd hope that it was valid and addressed problems in whichever program was criticized, but I wouldn't moderate any posts just because they were critical of some aspect of a program.

  16. That's a valid concern, Cashew. We'll just have to see how things go. I'm open to setting up a means of anonymous posting should people feel the need for it later. I also don't mind addressing any areas for improvement my program may have (as myself, not anonymously) once I get in and get familiar. Will definitely keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks!

  17. Well Cashew, I can all ready give you one criticism, though whether it is the kind you are after is unknown to me. I think OSU needs to do more to outreach students because the program has a lot of great perks, it seems odd that it receives so few applications. I think OSU is beginning to turn wheels in the direction of publicizing itself, but the program also seems content with itself. I don't know...that is the only thing, thus far, that has been bugging me.

    Keep the suggestions coming!


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