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Monday, August 23, 2010

AWP responds to Poets & Writers' annual MFA rankings

Good advice on choosing a writing program should help you discover your own literary affinities, but no magazine’s centerfold of academic rankings is up to that task. Although AWP values Poets & Writers as a peer, Poets & Writers’ annual rankings of writing programs cheapen their usual standards. Rankings of writing programs simulate literary affinities; one should never confuse that simulation with finding one’s own authentic literary ties. Such rankings do for creative writing what pornography does for love.


Seth Abramson said...


Just keep in mind that neither I nor (I can safely say) Poets & Writers believe even a single thing David says we do -- as anyone who's read anything I've said or written or published about MFA programs (e.g., the proper use and place of rankings) or anything Poets & Writers has ever published on the subject, would know. Here's just one example -- this video was published online a month and a half before the rankings came out.

David believes applicants can mystically predict who'll they work best with in advance, and that good writers are always good teachers, and that teachers can only effectively teach those who share their aesthetics and methods. It's not just me who thinks that's nonsensical -- it's every applicant I've ever spoken to, as well as common sense, that says so. Anyway, all this is to say that I hope you'll on occasion point your readers toward things I've actually said about MFA programs (hint: there are more than a dozen MFA-related videos in the right-hand sidebar of my blog), not merely what someone I've never met and who appears never to have read anything I've ever written or published re: MFA programs represents, falsely, is my opinion.


Francisco Aragón said...

good excerpt