Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Humble Observation

Why is the creative writing MFA the only "MFA" that ever gets shit on? Why do we never hear someone say: "That goddamn NYU film school--all it churns out are clones?" Or, of graduates from Juliard,--"those pricks play a piano too much like those other pricks." This exasperation with poetry MFA's, in particular, seems to me a lame, unimaginative holdover from the Donald Hall school of exclusionism, which is now close to 30 years old. Sure, there are an inordinate number of MFA (and, now, PhD) creative writing programs willing to confer degrees on far too many uninspired (and uninspiring) writers. And sure, it's easy to slam many of these students and their teachers as purveyors of a kind of blandness. But this argument is too easy. It's all well and (more than) good to be suspicious of group-think, mediocrity, and Po-biz industrialism. But since most, if not all, of us are graduates from such programs, maybe we should all just shut up and write our poems. Maybe we should be content with that.

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