Click Image to Visit the Pecan Grove Press Web Page for Poetry from Paradise Valley


Poetry From Paradise Valley

Pecan Grove Press has released an anthology of poems, a sampling of works published in Valparaiso Poetry Review during its first decade, from the original 1999-2000 volume to the 2009-2010 volume.

Poetry from Paradise Valley includes a stellar roster of 50 poets. Among the contributors are a former Poet Laureate of the United States, a winner of the Griffin International Prize, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, two National Book Critics Circle winners, six finalists for the National Book Award, four finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and a few dozen recipients of other honors, such as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Poetry from Paradise Valley page at the publisher's web site, where ordering information about the book can be found.

Best Books of Indiana 2011: Finalist. Judges' Citation: "Poetry from Paradise Valley is an excellent anthology that features world-class poetry, including the work of many artists from the Midwest, such as Jared Carter, Annie Finch, David Baker, and Allison Joseph. It’s an eclectic and always interesting collection where poems on similar themes flow into each other. It showcases the highest caliber of U. S. poetry."
—Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana State Library

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ranking MFA Programs in Creative Writing

This week, Poets & Writers issued online rankings of all the MFA programs in creative writing across the country for the upcoming academic year of 2010. The findings will appear in an article (“The Top Fifty MFA Programs in the United States: A Comprehensive Guide”) for the November issue of Poets & Writers print magazine. The complete list includes about 140 graduate programs, and the rankings were designed by Seth Abramson based upon criteria outlined in the article for Poets & Writers. As Abramson states:
None of the data used for the rankings that follow was subjective, nor were any of the specific categories devised and employed for the rankings based on factors particular to any individual applicant. Location, for instance, cannot be quantified—some applicants prefer warm climates, some cold; some prefer cities, some college towns; and so on—and so it forms no part of the assessment. Other factors traditionally viewed as vital to assessing MFA programs have likewise been excluded. For instance, conventional wisdom has been for many years that a program may be best assessed on the basis of its faculty. The new wisdom holds that applicants are well advised to seek out current and former students of a program to get as much anecdotal information about its faculty as possible, but, in the absence of such information, one must be careful not to confuse a writer's artistic merit with merit as a professor. In the past, too many applicants have staked years of their lives on the fact that the work of this writer or that one appealed to them more than others, only to find that the great writers are not always the great teachers, and vice versa. Likewise, mentoring relationships are difficult to form under even the best of circumstances, particularly because neither faculty member nor incoming student knows the other's personality and temperament in advance.
According to the criteria developed for Poets & Writers, the following represent a top-20 list of the top-50 MFA creative writing programs in overall ranking:
1. University of Iowa in Iowa City
2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
3. University of Virginia, Charlottesville
4 (tie). University of Massachusetts, Amherst
4 (tie). University of Texas, Austin
6. University of Wisconsin, Madison
7. Brown University in Providence
8. New York University in New York City
9. Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
10. University of Oregon, Eugene
11. Syracuse University in New York
12. Indiana University, Bloomington
13. University of California, Irvine
14. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
15. Brooklyn College, CUNY
16. University of Montana, Missoula
17. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore
18. Vanderbilt University in Nashville
19. University of North Carolina, Greensboro
20. Washington University, St. Louis
The MFA programs are also ranked separately in various genre categories—including poetry rank, fiction rank, and nonfiction rank—as well as for funding, selectivity, and postgraduate placement. When the programs are considered for the genre of poetry only, the top-10 rankings appear as follows:
1. University of Iowa in Iowa City
2. University of Virginia, Charlottesville
3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
4. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
5. University of Texas, Austin
6. University of Wisconsin, Madison
7. New York University in New York City
8. Brown University in Providence
9. Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
10. University of North Carolina, Greensboro
As Abramson acknowledges, the “rankings do not address MA programs in English that offer creative writing concentrations, low-residency MFA programs, or creative writing PhD programs.” He also advises: “Because there are 140 full-residency MFA programs in the United States, any school whose numerical ranking is in the top fifty in any of the ranked categories—the overall rankings; rankings in the poetry, fiction, or nonfiction genres; or the rankings by funding, selectivity, and postgraduate placement—should be considered exceptional in that category.”

In an article (“Creative Writing Programs: Brief Observations and Advice”) that I posted at “One Poet’s Notes” in March of 2008, I noted how “an explosion of growth in the number of creative writing programs during the last few decades has created a wealth of opportunities for young writers; still, the multitude of choices also can cause some confusion or uncertainty. Moreover, although many creative writing programs exist, the pool of applicants to these programs has increased over the years as well. Therefore, the acceptance rate for each program remains quite low and only adds to the anxiety experienced by those anticipating responses.”

Consequently, although the rankings provided by Poets & Writers omit subjective considerations that might play an important role in any applicant’s decision, the data offered in the article permits those considering MFA programs some valuable objective information that ought to be among the significant factors taken into account.


C. E. Chaffin said...

There has been a 40 year history, roughly, of an academic attempt to mass manufacture poets; with such a plethora on our hands, what shall we do? We need more critics and fewer poets to find our way through, I think.

Gwyn said...

I am shocked, shocked, to find that P&W puts Iowa first. I mean, it's like finding gambling at Rick's, or white garments on the Pope. These things just don't happen in our world. It's not like Iowa advertises with P&W or the Writer's Chronicle a lot, or anything -- or as though eager Iowa (etc.) grads were the top answerers of contest/submission classifieds.

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