Monday, November 9, 2009

So long, farewell

by Whitney Gray

Seth Abramson is stepping out of the MFA-spotlight. In a post over at the MFA Blog, Seth writes:

With Thanks

I appreciate how supportive everyone's been over the past three years. I've decided to end my work on MFA programs. That means a number of things, including removing myself as an administrator (or having any special posting privileges whatsoever) for this blog. It's Tom's blog, in any case, and I know he'll continue to offer this blog as a service to all of you, so there shouldn't be any significant effect to this. I wish all of you the very best in the future. I apologize for the briefness of this message; I imagine anything I would have said I've said elsewhere here, or simply elsewhere, and better. I hope I've helped some of you, at least a little, over the years. And I hope I get to meet some of you in the months and years ahead. Be well everyone.

I, for one, found the MFA Blog to be very helpful. I turned to Seth's site (The Suburban Ecstasies) often last year during application season. I was a big fan/tortured soul of the notifications page (and as I went to link to it, I see that Seth's site is completely gone!). I can't say I blame him for leaving the online world of anonymity and haterade. I'm sad to see him go, as he and his resources were very helpful to me last season.


  1. I agree, Whitney. I do not at all blame him for opting out of the mess. While I haven't always agreed with everything he says, I think he's probably made a lasting, and overwhelmingly positive, contribution to the discourse surrounding MFA programs, and I appreciate him for that.

  2. This is very strange. I'm not quite sure I agree with the decision, as it'll be difficult for me to even think about MFA applications without thinking about him.

  3. I was applying for MFA programs more based on Tom's work than Seth's but I'm with Emily in that I didn't always agree with Seth but he did provide some important work to the MFA community. But, i can definitely understand cutting back. I am starting to feel the need to cut back on how much internet involvement I have as well :) Wish him well!

  4. What a surprisingly sudden departure for this lightning rod in the MFA applicant blogosphere (tiny world that it is).

    I too found his work helpful, although I had various methodological and philosophical problems with it. I can't say this move doesn't make sense, though: the work must have been a real headache, and the guy did seem to think that he was fighting the good fight alone, against tireless enemies.

    It did seem strange to me that he would claim he didn't have any support, as he did recently on this blog, when previously three other people had defended him (just a few posts prior, I guess maybe he missed it), and when people were constantly thanking and defending him on the MFA blog. Yes, that some of his detractors were anonymous was lame. And it is too bad that it got so heated on this and also the MFA blog. And yet, I don't think the debate couldn't remain healthy, if only people put their opinions out there and then acknowledged them as differences in opinion, and not somehow facts that were right or wrong.

    Well, I hope he does well in his next project.

    And Jessie, I do agree with you, about Tom's work enumerating important criteria for applicants being also, if not more useful than Abramson's polling. Props for the funding and fellowship stats, though.

  5. I'm shocked. I always wondered if he was concerned if the negativity would affect his future career in education. IDK. Bloggers usually re-emerge eventually. So we'll see...

  6. Jeeze Louise!

    Man...I enjoyed reading his blog, not just for the MFA stuff, but I loved his political and legal insights and his music posts. I hope he does reemerge.

  7. Wow, what a dramatic exit! I wonder if it wasn't only the online community and AWP but also academia who came down on him after
    that P & W article came out.

    Either way, his exit from the blogosphere is certainly a loss for the applicant community. I would even wager applicant numbers dip in subsequent years unless someone takes up the torch. I know I personally decided to apply to three schools based primarily on information from Seth's blog. He even answered a couple of questions personally for me.

    Well, Seth, I always wondered how you made time for writing poetry with all the MFA research and the chaos that surrounds it. Now, perhaps, there'll be more time for poems. Best of luck to you and your work!

  8. More time for writing. Good on you, Seth.


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