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MFA problems #1

September 22, 2011

Just a disclaimer before I get into this, this isn’t a post dedicated to the  recent MFA debates. I’m staying out of them. I’m applying for 2012 MFA programs because I want to, and that’s about as much as I have to contribute.

So, onwards. The first major hurdle, aside from whittling down a list of schools (which might be easier for me than most people, as my location requirements are ‘not England’), is writing the Statement of Purpose. I’ve written these kind of things before, but usually they’ve been academic, almost a narrative CV/resume.

This thing though, oh boy. For 2 pages max, I am supposed to craft some lyric essay that encompasses my development as a poet, my aesthetics and my future and why that would be at X university’s MFA program.

Not easy. Especially when you are used to rattling off your achievements. Here, academic stuff doesn’t matter a great deal. Neither does the volunteering stuff, I don’t think. And surely, everyone has the same story?

My first draft is awful. Even I wince when I read it.

Very tempted to just go Elle Woods on this, send in an ‘audio-visual’ statement of purpose and hope that British accent and lingerie approach works.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2011 11:20 am

    GO FOR IT! Remember that schools like you to call out individual professors that you’re interested in working with, especially since they’re the ones reading your essays.

    I ranted in defense of the MFA a few days ago on the Literary Man: http://theliteraryman.com/2011/09/18/long-live-the-columbia-m-f-a/

    Columbia’s very generous with its poets, as there’s less of a financial future in poetry as there is in non-fiction and fiction.

  2. September 22, 2011 11:31 am

    I have nothing to contribute re MFA debates either. I feel your pain though, even though I’ve never tried one of these applications. It sounds horrific. I think the Elle Woods approach is an excellent idea and you’d think it would work, really. It’s got to be tiresome reading these beasts too, right?
    Best of luck, anyway!

  3. October 13, 2011 4:05 pm

    Getting my MFA in poetry might have been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I studied under poets who really helped me hone my voice and with peers who still challenge me poetically. Go for it and for your essay think of what you would want to read.

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