Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Application season

Once again it's application season(!)

I wrote a longer post last time, this year I think I'll just hit the major attractions for the University of Houston:

(and hey, maybe some prospective students are already on this blog, considering the PhD...)

Speaking of which, most importantly, there is the dual nature of the PhD/MFA program, where students take classes together.

Houston is also the very rare affordable large city, supporting a wonderful array of reading series, museums, and other weird art events.

Fiction faculty: Robert Boswell, Antonya Nelson, Chitra Divakaruni, Mat Johnson, Alex Parsons.

Poetry faculty: Tony Hoagland, Nick Flynn, Martha Serpas, Ange Mlinko and Kevin Prufer.

Most attractively for some, we do have a history of fellowship success--last year alone including a Ruth Lilly fellow, a Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at Wisconsin, a Parks fellow at Rice, and an NEA literature fellow (we just added seven more of those NEA fellowships this year--two current doctoral candidates and five alumni).

There are many, many good MFA programs out there, and certainly a number of good PhD programs as well. If the above at all encourages your interest in Houston, feel free to check us out at www.uh.edu/cwp or send me an e-mail at jsgottliebmiller (at) gmail (dot) com.

PS. Hope everyone had a happy turkey day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Here's a hypothetical question that comes up in workshops, talking to professors about who you're going to study with, and occasionally among poets when they've had a little too much to drink (so, always?): Yes, that poet is great, but will anyone be talking about her/him in 100 years? Is that poet a (*gasp*) minor poet?

I think the question has its problems--yes I think most of us write in part to be remembered, but I think most of us want to be remembered only by readers who were uniquely moved by what we have written. Also, historical circumstance seems to be an arbitrary measure of a poet's quality (or critical taste).

And yet, let's say you are a minor poet. You do what you do and you do it quite well. You're always getting better. Would you evolve to reach more people, or would you see that kind of evolution as unnatural, and having nothing to do with your writings' needs or interests?

In other words, would you "try" to be a major poet?

(And I think novelist or short-story writer could be substituted for poet, above...)
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