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It is strongly suggested that the student begin planning the thesis early and develop a work that approaches a publishable book in concept and form.


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When nearing completion of the program, a student applies for a thesis committee with a chair who works closely with that student to make a work plan, develop the final manuscript, and schedule a thesis defense. Menu Social Navigation. Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing. November 6, October 30, Utility Navigation.

Lack of Instructors

Site Navigation. Creative Forces. Emerson Life. My childhood dovetailed with the beginning of word processors in schools, and watching words creep across the screen from my fingertips still gives me a thrill. Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process?

Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes? Poems generally pop out whole, fairly quickly. I try to catch as much as I can in the moment, then leave them alone to germinate. Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?

In Praise of MFA Programs

A poem most often begins with the listening part of my brain receiving some sort of radio transmission. A weird image, a line, an experience. The sluice gate is open, and a small flood has come in.

As they accumulate, the pieces might start to point to themes, and so I can write to fill in the gaps. Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings? I love readings. In terms of creative process, readings feel like a great testing ground and conclusion for a piece of work. I enjoy engaging with the electricity that an audience brings to a space, respecting and trying to add to that energy. I want to present in a way that expresses gratitude and gives something back.

I also usually get to hear from other poets during an evening, which can inspire the poetry part of my brain to pull up its socks. What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

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But where I point my questions might be unique to me. I like to use language to pick apart the mechanics of life to find the magic. I wonder if the current questions include things like How do we do better? My little attentions are modest runs at those concerns. What do you think the role of the writer should be?

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So maybe I think of the writer as chronicler. At summer camp, we carved our names into our bunks. We were here, we were here, we were here. Both, oh my land, both. Having Michael Kenyon edit Lift made the book so much more than it was to begin with—he pushed me, very gently, on the order of the manuscript, the poems included and left to the side, the section headings, the themes.

But I really had to keep coming to the table, and it was raw.

How to Survive Your M.F.A. in Creative Writing

I took a day off work in the fall to implement a round of edits and ended up spending the day wandering my apartment in circles crying this is probably the most poet thing I will ever admit to. The editing process felt like someone had pulled all the feathers off my beautiful poems, and I had to decide how to reassemble them. This is zero commentary on Michael, he was a gem. I love darlings. More darlings. When in doubt, sleep on it. What do you see as the appeal?


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How does a typical day for you begin? Routine is a wonderful idea that I have in no way been able to implement the last few years.

3 Myths About the MFA in Creative Writing | Jane Friedman

Like many writers, I work full-time, so my Monday to Friday is a cycle of getting up, going to work, giving my best energy, and then coming home to lie down. I did everything but write: I went to therapy. I switched careers.