From Our Staff | November 17, 2010

Tip of the cap to TMR pals Kyle Minor and Lincoln Michel for this one. The Faster Times has a new piece up by Chloe Cooper Jones on the state of MFA programs, a freewheeling conversation between her, George Saunders, and Deb Olin Unferth.  One of the concerns with any discussion of contemporary literature and the effect of creative writing programs is that the dialog tends to fall into an either/or shouting match: they are good, they are bad; you are with us or you are against us.  And this piece is a nice and welcome shift from such static thinking.  Here’s an appetizer:

I think it’s easy to stand outside of or at the edge of a community and call it dull. That is, I think it’s easy for people not involved in an active, engaged MFA program to look at it from afar and see monotony and repetition. This is because we see dullness everywhere—all landscapes, all communities. You can look at any space, at any group of people, and see dreariness, self-absorption, the long trod to death. Or you can look at the same space and people and see longing, hope, heroism, and disappointment that will break your heart. If you squint just right at an MFA program, you see both.

Read the entire article here.

Michael Nye is the managing editor of The Missouri Review.