Mfa Creative Writing Reading List

During my years here, I’ve certainly grown as a writer and a teacher, and had the opportunity to build lasting relationships with people who have supported me in innumerable ways.

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However, the best way to prepare yourself for your MFA program (besides definitely purchasing some of the books your future professors have published — that way, you'll get a sense of the kind of aesthetic and form they use in their own work) is to read. You want to read books that give you an idea of the kind of writer you want to become; books that are so unbelievably good, you'll want to cry because you didn't write them yourself.

These books should give you an idea of what is already out there, what has been successful in the literary world, and what you're going to be doing for the next two to three years. Smith is a great example of a poet who follows form (something I hate doing, but respect), but doesn’t allow it to make her work grow stale.

So, you are starting your MFA program this fall semester.

You are nervous, clutching the weathered copy of A Good Man is Hard to Find you bought during your junior year of college when you started to toy with the idea of applying.

If you loved Raymond Carver’s terse but emotional stories, you will love Amy Hempel, a writer who focuses on human tendencies, mistakes, and... And the thing about dogs is that your professors are probably going to tell you to NOT write about dogs. Because it’s been done before (by Amy Hempel) and it’s just hard to pull off (unless you're Amy Hempel). If reading Hempel inspires you to write a good dog story, then go for it. Since we all know math and poetry go together like chocolate and poison, this business is a complete failure. Read this for giggles, as well as really good prose. If you’re craving a strong, female voice, read Don’t Kiss Me. Didion investigates San Francisco and its stagnant youth in this collection of essays, and she really does an amazing job painting a city that reads almost alien-like.

Lindsay Hunter, a relatively new writer who is the cofounder of Quickies! You can read Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, or The Year of Magical Thinking (although, be prepared to sob) and I promise that no one will teach you how to write more concisely or intelligently than Didion. as soon as finish my program, and this book is filled with all kinds of physical and psychological traveling, as well as transformation and change.I took a fiction class last semester, and after not writing any fiction for the last two years, I had no idea where to begin. Anyway, if you’re a poet, absolutely read Dearest Creature. So, I read The Color Master, and witnessed how Bender weaved stories from nothing. Bender shows you that anything is possible, and that stories are everywhere. It’s a collection of magical, whimsical poems that illuminate the fantastical in daily life, whether it’s through the perspective of a caterpillar or a dog (yes! Sometimes I think back to that person telling me to move to NYC, and I wonder who I might be now — as a writer, as a person, as a professional — had I “lived life” rather than pursuing another degree.I’ve probably thought about his offhand comment more than I should, but it also seems to encapsulate some of the larger conversations about the function of MFA and Ph D creative writing programs and the various pros and cons of making a life as a writer within or outside of academia.A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Other Stories , , Amazon It's completely normal to feel terrified or utterly unprepared the few months before you start graduate school.I know before I started my program I had no idea what to expect.Once we do, perhaps we can venture a new, less normative distinction, based not on the writer’s educational background but on the system within which she earns (or aspires to earn) her living: MFA or NYC.Related read: Which Creates Better Writers: An MFA Program or New York City?Chad Harbach theorizes about how MFA programs are influencing both the craft and professional development of fiction writers, as well as impacting the landscape of publishing, in this viral essay.It’s time to do away with this distinction between the MFAs and the non-MFAs, the unfree and the free, the caged and the wild.


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