Have you wondered about the value of MFA programs or wanted to learn what the MFA candidates learn? Here’s an opportunity to receive enrichment from a recent MFA candidate’s experience–Anne has offered loads of links to journals and writers you will want to know about.
I am pleased by the opportunity to talk with you, Anne. So many of us have heard now of low-residency MFA programs. What you learned is what many seek to learn. I plan on getting to questions about the MFA program as training for writers, but let’s start here: What genre do you write in?
I write poetry and essays. It might be more accurate to say memoir, but it helps me to think of it more broadly while I’m writing. I’m usually trying to focus on someone or something else when the memoir creeps in, and I try not to let it narrow the focus too much.
That sounds like an interesting strategy. Please tell us more about it and about what you mean by the notion that the memoir creeps in without narrowing the focus.
Jim Heynen said something once that always stuck with me about writing “the ignored material of your life.” He was talking about writing fiction and populating your stories with peripheral characters from your own life, the way Chekov wrote characters he knew from his parents’ grocery store. It had never occurred to me to write about my peripheral characters in an essay, but when I tried, I found they gave me back experience that I typically overlooked. Maybe it was incomplete or ambiguous, and didn’t fit easily into a conventional story. Maybe it raised a lot of questions, or revealed someone I don’t fully recognize as me. Whatever the reasons, I’ve found that writing this way allows me to explore more of my interior life, instead of focusing always on
This article is for our members. We welcome you to try Writing It Real today!
Already a member? Login below…