Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Link Corral: Why an MFA?; Myths about Mr. Dickens; R.T. Smith on Redux

Are you at the point where you’re wondering in an MFA might be right for you?  Or what you might gain from enrolling in a low-residency MFA?  This article by Robin Black is required reading:

“Yesterday, I was on the phone with a private student, discussing the pretty wonderful memoir on which she’s working, and at a certain point in the conversation I said, So, tell me why you wouldn’t be applying to low residency MFA programs now?

“Before I get to her answer (and then my answer to her answer) let me tell you why I asked the question – because it isn’t something I bring up with everyone. (Though it is the flipside to a question I’m asked a lot: should I get an MFA?) Despite my own degree and my belief that going to grad school ranks among the half dozen best decisions I ever made, I don’t necessarily think it’s right for everyone. Not everyone will benefit from the experience and not everyone needs it – obviously. Some of my favorite writers don’t have MFA’s.”

(Also, the deadline for applying to the Converse Low-Res MFA is next week:  February 15!)


Happy birthday, Charles Dickens!  I thought this Washington Post article was interesting:  "5 Myths About Charles Dickens":

“1. Dickens’s novels are so long because he was paid by the word.

“This is perhaps the most insidious deprecation of Dickens, implying a greedy author rambling on needlessly. The claim is untrue. Book contracts for “Bleak House” and “Little Dorrit,” for example, pegged Dickens’s earnings to sales, not the number of words.

“This legend comes from the fact that Dickens committed to his novels’ length in advance, often promising a story in 20 parts, of 32 pages each. But he was not compensated by the length.”

Read on.


I might be biased because R.T. Smith is one of my fabulous colleagues at Converse, but his poem posted this week in Redux is particularly stunning; do check it out if you haven’t already.


When Odysseus descended to the underworld
and crossed the dark river to learn the key
to his destiny, he poured the ritual milk and honey,
the wine and barley and blood to summon the dead,
but he never expected to find his mother among
the shadows who were filled with mist and sifted
with the wind which had no source. …


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.