Remember the day you received the telephone call or opened the letter that read, "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Poetry MFA Program...?" Remember the buzz? The celebration? Now, two or three years later, after having invested $30,000-45,000 (or worse, borrowed that amount or more), armed with a manuscript of your 48 best poems, you set out to conquer the literary world.
You apply to several colleges and universities for a teaching position in the creative writing department (you were told that the MFA was the terminal graduate degree in creative writing), send out your manuscript to a dozen first book contests, fill out applications for a few grants and fellowships (until the creative writing job comes through), and wait.
Maybe you're one of the fortunate few (for every 100 MFA graduates there is one teaching position in creative writing departments), who does land a teaching position or get your manuscript published the first year. But maybe you're not. And maybe the job of making a living (or of raising a family or of a hundred other responsibilities) to pay off your loans has crowded into your writing time and you haven't produced any new work in months and you're questioning why you ever got that degree anyway.
That's what this blog is about. How to keep on writing poetry and growing as a poet after your poetry MFA.
We'll look at the Post Poetry MFA life through the successes and failures of real live Poetry MFA graduates--what's worked for them and what hasn't, as well as provide links and resources to help you stay on track with your first and most important task: continuing to write!
Hopefully we'll also build a community of poets along the way who help one another grow and help one another reach their professional goals in the same way they helped one another while earning their Poetry MFA.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
You Have Your Poetry MFA...Now What?
was born in the Midwest, grew up in New Mexico, and has lived in the San Francisco bay area for over a decade. Terry has published in numerous literary journals, including Best New Poets 2012, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Great River Review, New Millennium Writings, and The Comstock Review. His work has garnered six Pushcart Prize nominations. He is the winner of the 2014 Crab Orchard Review Special Issue Feature Award in Poetry. His chapbook, Altar Call, was a winner in the the 2013 San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, and appears in the Anthology, Diesel. His chapbook, If They Have Ears to Hear, won the 2012 Copperdome Poetry Chapbook Contest, and is available from Southeast Missouri State University Press. His first full-length collection of poems, In This Room (CW Books, 2016), is now available, and his second, Dharma Rain, was released by Saint Julian Press in October of 2016. Terry is a 2008 poetry MFA graduate of New England College, an assistant editor at Trio House Press, and a free-lance poetry consultant. For more information about him and his work see www.terrylucas.com