Monday, February 21, 2011

The future is here.

So...those of us who are in two year programs are graduating in May/June! Crazy, huh?

I don't know about you all, but I'm ready to go lol. My thesis is complete. I'm working on making it a first book manuscript and preparing to start sending out to contests in a few months. So basically, I did what I came to an MFA to do. Do yall feel like you got what you wanted to get out of your MFA programs?

There is a huge question mark over Fall of 2011 though. Almost exactly like the question mark that existed during the notification season prior to starting in a program. Who will win the fellowships? Who will get residencies? Who will get jobs? Please post info as soon as you hear about notifications. I, for one, am literally dying to hear something!


  1. Congrats! To add to your "to send to" list: The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry from Briery Creek Press. They're good people; check them out!

  2. Oh, dear JayTee! I can't believe it is time for you to graduate! I'm in a 3 year program and in a way I envy you--I feel kind of ready to move on out of school into my real writing life. But on the other hand I've learned SO much that I want to hang out another year and keep learning from the amazing faculty we have at GMU. Wow the years have flown by, haven't they?

    I wish you every wonderful fellowship out there!

  3. I'm there with you, JayTee! Turned in first complete draft of these this month, will get it back from my readers in March and revise for final submission in April. Then I graduate in May. I also am eagerly, anxiously waiting to hear about the fellowships I applied to. I think next month will be when most of those get announced, yes?

    I guess I'm almost exactly there with you, in that I'm going to keep at the thesis ms and send it out to first book contests. I'm ready to leave this town and go back to/figure out my real life somewhere else.

    Good luck to you! And to everyone else graduating this spring. Who else is in a two year program?

  4. Super duper congrats to @JayTee & @Emily; I cannot imagine having a complete manuscript at this point in my schooling. I'm so glad I have another year to pull my shit together!

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  6. As someone deciding whether to attend an MFA program this year, I'm curious to hear about job prospects. Do any of you feel that you are in a good position to get a decent job - or are you pretty much where you were when you started - with the exception of being better writers. Did the MFA program make for good networking? Thanks!

  7. @Open Spaces- The MFA does qualify you to at least apply to a lot of different fellowships and jobs that you couldn't otherwise apply to. So for that, I'm thankful. I did make a ton of great contacts and built relationships with people that feel like they'll last a lifetime. There are jobs with private schools/boarding schools that we qualify for. Well, people with a BA qualify for those too, but we beat them, at least lol. I feel like I have a good shot at getting something this year. Or not. Either way, the MFA was worth it.

  8. @ JayTee and Emily, Congratulations on your upcoming graduations! It must feel great to turn that thesis in and know it might be what your first book looks like.

    A question for both of you: Do you think you're going to move on to a second manuscript while you shop around the first, or keep tweaking the first until it gets published?

    As someone who writes way too many poems, I'm trying to keep in mind what people want to do with their own thesis collections (especially given all the great advice you're probably getting from fellow thesis workshoppers and professors)--as I'm trying to figure out how to approach my thesis workshop.

    Did giving the book a shape mean a theme, for instance?

    And again, congratulations!

    @Open Spaces, The conventional wisdom is that you shouldn't get an MFA as a way to get a job, because the job market (mostly at the university level) is fairly flooded. There are still jobs out there, but you're far less likely to be disappointed if you go get your MFA primarily to improve your craft, with getting a job a secondary priority.

    What that means for most people is the advice to not get a degree where you don't get funding, because the amount of debt can be very hard to pay off relative to the employment opportunities, and especially when so many schools do offer funding.

    At the very least, the MFA is better for improving craft, job prospects, and networking than not getting an MFA...


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