Do you worry about the MFA bubble that was written about in I think it was The New Yorker last year. This idea that MFAs exist to train MFA instructors and soon we’ll have more MFAs than we need?
I’m not concerned about that at all. That’s a concern that’s been around a while, and it makes sense if you think about us as a vocational school where we’re training writers who now need to get jobs as writers. One thing that is true about BYU—and I think it’s probably more true about BYU than many programs, certainly thnt the big prestige programs, certainly more than Texas-Austin or anywhere else—is that a great many of our writers aren’t planning on careers in writing. They’re good writers and they want to keep writing but for a lot of reasons that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the job market. I don’t think our writers are by and large thinking about going on to jobs in teaching.
I think a lot of them are hoping to go on to publication. That market may be oversaturated as well, but it’s oversaturated in a different way and has been for a longer time than the teaching market. more →
Stephen B Tuttle is a writer of fiction whose short stories Amanuensis and The Weather Here I am happy to recommend. After finishing his MFA and PhD in creative writing at Utah, he became what he is still: a professor at BYU. He currently represents BYU’s new creative-writing MFA on the graduate committee and has been one of the architects of that new MFA. I spoke with him in mid-May, shortly after the close of the program’s first full year.
So maybe the first question I’ld like to ask is, what is the difference between the M.A. in creative writing and the M.F.A. and why did B.Y.U. decide to upgrade? more →
If you know anything about Angela Hallstrom, you should know that she is a person of taste and a keen parser of literariness.
And if you followed my Twitter reviews of her new short story collection (archived here–scroll up for the key), then you know that I did not feel equally positive about every story she collected. In fact, some I didn’t really care for at all. But not liking a story in a collection–or even several stories–is a far cry from disliking a collection.
Wm writes: Every year since 2000, Andrew Hall has put together a Year in Review for all of the major genres of Mormon letters. AMV is pleased to bring you Andrew’s Year in Review for 2008. The review concludes today with a look at poetry and short fiction. Read the other entries in the series.
Part III: Poetry and Short Fiction
I am aware of two major poetry collections published by Mormon authors in 2008. Neil Aitken’s debut collection, The Lost Country of Sight, won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. Aitken, a graduate of BYU, is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California. C. G. Hanzlickek, a judge for the Levine Prize, wrote, “It’s difficult to believe that Neil Aitken’s The Lost Country of Sight is a first book, since there is mastery throughout the collection. His ear is finely tuned, and his capacity for lyricism seems almost boundless. What stands out everywhere in the poems is his imagery, which is not only visually precise but is also possessed of a pure depth. The poems never veer off into the sensational; they are built from pensiveness and quietude and an affection for the world. ‘Travelling Through the Prairies, I Think of My Father’s Voice’ strikes me as a perfectly made poem, but poems of similar grace and power are to be found throughout the book. This is a debut to celebrate.” more →
As mentioned in my post on the 2008 AML Awards, this week’s Short Story Friday features the 2008 winner for short fiction — it’s awesome that the story is available online because oftentimes the winners aren’t. Next week something from Popcorn Popping and the week after that another story from Dialogue. Still looking for someone to pull a story out of the Sunstone archives. I’ll see what I can do about that in the next couple of weeks, but if something comes to mind fill out the form that’s linked to below.