Low-Residency MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Creative by Lori A. May

By Lori A. May

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By Lori A. May

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Her work has appeared in the Chaffin Journal, The Clockwise Cat, among other publications. Joan Hanna is currently enrolled in Ashland University’s lowresidency creative writing program. She is completing a cross-genre study of poetry and creative non-fiction. Joy Gaines- Friedler, student, is a writer- in-residence for InsideOut Literary Arts Project in the Detroit Public Schools. Mayapple Press published her first poetry book, Like Vapor, in 2008. The program Stephen Haven, director: The Ashland MFA program is distinct from any other MFA program in the country in that it offers degree tracks in two genres only — poetry and creative nonfiction.

I chose her after hearing her read her own work. Then I sat down with her at the first residency and told her I wanted to try a novel after attending a workshop by another faculty member who suggested the “page-a-day” routine. His workshop stressed writing a page a day, without looking back until you reach 100 pages. I had always wanted to try a novel, but I’m such a perfectionist; I can spend months on an opening paragraph, and I just didn’t think I’d live long enough to spend that much time on a novel.

Sena Jeter Naslund, director, Spalding University: Our intake varies but, as an example, our biggest incoming class was forty-two and last year’s class was twenty-five. Sometimes an applicant will have no workshop experience and that’s reflected in the quality of the writing sample. We will encourage them to work on their craft a little more, grow as a writer, and invite them to reapply in the future. We’re pleased to see applicants who have been previously rejected come back and try a second time.

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