How to Survive #AWP20

Next month (March 4-8, to be exact), I’ll be heading to San Antonio for the annual AWP conference: that’s the Association of Writers and Writing Programs for anyone who doesn’t recognize the acronym. It’s three days of writerly bliss, overstimulation, anxiety, and information overload, when 10-15,000 writers descend on a city. After many years ofContinue reading “How to Survive #AWP20”

The MFA Writing Sample: How long?

Sometimes the best advice is the most practical advice, so with that in mind, I want to revisit the MFA Writing Sample to ask a question about optimal length. Those of us who teach undergraduate writers often make paper assignments that are 5-7 or 8-10 pages. In those cases, hitting the minimum is required, but toContinue reading “The MFA Writing Sample: How long?”

MFA Writing Samples

May I just say that one of the tasks I most look forward to this time of year is reading the letters and writing samples from applicants to our low-residency MFA program? I know we won’t be able to accept everyone, but I open each file with a sense of promise and hope. For thoseContinue reading “MFA Writing Samples”

It’s nice when you’re #1

 As I’ve written before, I’m not the biggest fan of ranking MFA programs, though I do think those rankings have some value. For one, they tell you what programs other applicants are likely to apply to. When they’re despcriptive, they can give you some valuable information as well. Though I don’t take a lot ofContinue reading “It’s nice when you’re #1”

Writing Digital Literature

My article “Crossing Genres in Digital Writing” is available at the Macmillan International Higher Ed blog. They are my publisher for A Writer’s Craft. I decided to write on digital writing because it’s an area I’ve been exploring recently. One of the most fun classes I get to teach in The W’s low-residency MFA programContinue reading “Writing Digital Literature”

Happy 100th Birthday, Shakespeare & Co

This week marks the 100th birthday of Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris. Shakespeare & Co. is an amazing place, both for its beautiful interiors with floor to ceiling wooden bookshelves and for its long history as a meeting place for Modernist writers. It was also the scene of one of the most magical literaryContinue reading “Happy 100th Birthday, Shakespeare & Co”

The Personal / Universal Paradox in Art

The other day, one of my low-res MFA students, Dani Putney, and I were conferencing a poem and we got into a side discussion of the personal and the universal. Dani’s stance, which I agree with, is that the Universal doesn’t exist. (I’ll use a capital letter here, though Dani didn’t since we were talking byContinue reading “The Personal / Universal Paradox in Art”

Word Processors for Poets

Today’s my birthday, so my gift to you is a recommendation of free software. Poets get a bum rap for never having money (it’s true!), but that’s not why I’m recommending two free word processors today. And it’s not because poets are so anti-establishment we have to fight against Microsoft’s domination with alternatives to MSContinue reading “Word Processors for Poets”

How to Prepare to Apply to an MFA Program, Part 1

Okay, so you want to apply for an MFA in Creative Writing, but you don’t know whether you’re good enough or where to start. You want to brush up on your writing and you want to put together the best application you possibly can. But how? In this post, I’ll try to give you someContinue reading “How to Prepare to Apply to an MFA Program, Part 1”

Meet Me at the Book Festival

One of the great developments for writers in recent years has been the inception of state-wide or regional book festivals across the country. Mississippi holds its @MSBookFest in August on the Capitol lawn, and I’ll be there next weekend, August 17, for the fifth year. My first time, I went as a volunteer. My second year,Continue reading “Meet Me at the Book Festival”