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26 minutes ago, teasel said:

*don't publish your creative materials on a public forum. You might wish to revise and send to lit mags, contests, etc. and it's a great way to make a piece essentially unusable. While not everything is publishing material, why take the chance? There are folks who have had materials from their applications published in top tier magazines after the fact

My bad. I'm just looking for help from people in the same boat. Do you happen to know/suggest the proper place to seek out help/peer reviews? I'm still figuring all this out but would really appreciate a finger pointing to HERE. Where is that magical place I seek? 

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Just now, Cristie said:

My bad. I'm just looking for help from people in the same boat. Do you happen to know/suggest the proper place to seek out help/peer reviews? I'm still figuring all this out but would really appreciate a finger pointing to HERE. Where is that magical place I seek? 

See if you can find something here

https://www.awpwriter.org/community_calendar/writing_group_overview

:)

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5 minutes ago, Cristie said:

My bad. I'm just looking for help from people in the same boat. Do you happen to know/suggest the proper place to seek out help/peer reviews? I'm still figuring all this out but would really appreciate a finger pointing to HERE. Where is that magical place I seek? 

 

The only reason I said anything is because I published some poetry on my social media and didn't realize the repercussions until much later!! You should totally do whatever you want, I just wanted to make sure you knew it would count as "previously published." The lit mag world is full of weird rules that I'm still figuring out too

I use google docs personally with my writing group!  You can leave "notes" and suggestions in the margins and it can be accessed by multiple readers at the same time. It's also possible for you to make a separate, anonymous email if you're worried about privacy in an online group. I think that there are also FB workshop groups for MFA applicants but I understand if that's not a route you're interested in! 

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3 minutes ago, ariela luv said:

In the lawsuit, Iowa claimed they only look at the writing sample, and in borderline cases the recommendations. They certainly admit people straight from ugrad.

It’s hard to say that the undergrad students don’t have a lot of experience though. I’ve seen undergrad students who have been publishing since their teens and have won awards etc. 
 

And that would be specifically Iowa. I don’t think we can say that all programs don’t care about experience.

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6 minutes ago, teasel said:

 

The only reason I said anything is because I published some poetry on my social media and didn't realize the repercussions until much later!! You should totally do whatever you want, I just wanted to make sure you knew it would count as "previously published." The lit mag world is full of weird rules that I'm still figuring out too

I use google docs personally with my writing group!  You can leave "notes" and suggestions in the margins and it can be accessed by multiple readers at the same time. It's also possible for you to make a separate, anonymous email if you're worried about privacy in an online group. I think that there are also FB workshop groups for MFA applicants but I understand if that's not a route you're interested in! 

No, I completely appreciate your wisdom. Thank you!

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On the age thing, adcoms in fully funded programs may not want writers in their 50s or 60s who have never taught before instructing teens or 20 yr olds. (Most fully-funded programs offer tuition reimbursements in exchange for teaching.) I'm speculating here, but I can see from an adcom perspective that there could be generational or "relatability" issues that could adversely affect a teaching environment where there is a significant age difference between an inexperienced adult teacher and students. There could also be the issue of finance. Some one in their 50s may have a decent income and/or accumulated assets and can afford to pay for their MFA. No matter how compelling their writing may be, is it fair they take the place of a younger person who demonstrates talent but who cannot afford to pay? I'm thinking these factors come into play in their decision-making too.

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I'm not sure age is actually a factor since AFAIR there wasn't any form I filled out with my birthdate (or I might have forgotten since putting together applications is a trauma of its own), but I am 40 and got into some programs. Granted they're for PhDs but 40 is still above the average age to get into grad school so who knows.

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I'm a 32-year old man (though I say 'man' but really want to say a tiny 30-year old dork who still looks about 20 when freshly shaven, hah) with a whole life ahead of him.  Thus far, I've been rejected from everywhere I applied (it's also my first 'cycle'), save perhaps BU, though I wouldn't even know how to speculate there.  I spent roughly a month on my SOP and 'preparing' my portfolio; really, these were largely poems I had written within the past year, and which I was quite happy with.  As I mentioned in a much earlier post, I was also a fool for including my favorite college-age poems so the readers could see the progression, if any, in my writing.  See?  Naivete happens in all stages of life (haha).

In the words of a famous replicant, "I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe."  I may not have been to the shoulder of Orion, but when I'm quiet with myself, I appreciate all I've let myself live, and experience.

Teaching, and writing, conjuring a thought and letting it crystallize in my mind, letting it atomize and become everything else...  Those are the only things I can say I am "good at" in a professional sense.  But I've also labored incredibly to get to this point, climbed an entire mountain of English to get here, because I love words, I love the sound my fingers make on a keyboard or a typewriter, the way a single comma can jut out and accent a thought, or, bracket it away.  When a phrase comes together exquisitely, it moves me to tears, and supersedes almost every other sensation, except perhaps that of the orgasm.  The first lines of William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence" are proof enough that there is a silver lining to existence, and it is the line that allows us to populate pages with letters, and by extension, with expression.

I have never been told my writing is weak, or bad, or inferior, or even adequate.  And that's because only I have the right tools to decide that.  We can guide each other to a better sound, to a more delicate balance of parallel verbs and tenses, but we cannot judge the writing outside of its structures, not when we write from fucking bone marrow.

How many times have you sat down to face the music, so to speak, and discovered what you want to say...  Doesn't have language yet?  Isn't that the ecstasy of it?  Having the Sword of Damocles peering above, ready to submit judgment on something that hasn't even been born yet?  Some people can write to make money, ghostwriting other people's thoughts or ideas, or even technical jargon.  I can't do that.  And, despite what people say, if any of you have ever read or even attempted writing fan-fiction, then I hope you have an appreciation for how liberating it can be, and how it can be a truer compass to someone's 'talent' or 'worth' than literary fiction (full disclosure: the only fan-fiction I ever wrote was a single story based on the show So Weird, from the Disney Channel, and this was yonks ago, haha).

I'm not certain grad schools anywhere in the universe can claim to be sufficiently equipped to truly accept people on anything but the invisible, tattered, and innately fickle subjectivity of the Moment.  I can't even be upset that no school thus far will have me.  Part of that is math (I only applied to 4 programs), and part of that is my own insouciance...

Maybe I just don't care enough, and so the proverbial cream of my words won't rise to the top.  At the end of my life, though, what will that matter?  And if it does, will it matter more than being able to turn to your own writing, years later, to find a small measure of comfort, or joy, or even a reminder of the pain that keeps the pen filled?

I'd love to tell the stories I have in me, and I'd love for Boston to get back to me and say, "Yes!"  But at the end of the day, I earnestly believe, whole-heart as they say, that if we do not remove the self from this process, we are tainting the experience with simple untruths.

We all have dreams, and sometimes, I think we get so caught up in what that dreams looks like on the surface, we don't heed the tiny little atom that keeps thriving and evolving even as we feel all "hope is lost", the same one that eventually we turn to, the one that whispers, Just because you have a dream, it doesn't mean it will come to you the way you've always dreamed.

I was a member of a D&D group back in college, and those sessions proved some of the most fruitful for me in how to build a character, a real essence of a fictional other.  I spent all those sessions 'writing' even though a single word never went to a page.  Don't forget that we are writing all the time.  Proof is not always tangible to the body, and oftentimes, the most potent form of a thought will never be.  Dreaming of being a writer, published or otherwise, doesn't necessitate the flagellation of a desk or an ink and quill.

The Sword of Damocles hangs above our heads, not because it wants to slice us in half, but because it wants us to remember that there is nothing more petrifying than the not knowing,

And that we are eternally responsible for the answer to that question it torments us with,

What's next?

I'll keep the boulder rolling always.  It keeps my nerves from fleeing.

If I don't hear from BU, I wish all of you, strangers I will never meet most likely, the very best, fully aware that may mean seemingly endless agonies and torments.  More rejections.  More waiting.  Depending on whether I receive a full-time job offer here to teach middle-school English, I may not try again.  If you're in that 'same' boat, don't despair, our dreams will materialize, we just have to be extra vigilant,

Because, and this took me decades,

It wasn't until I stood in the middle of Columbus, listening to "Adagio of Life and Death" by Joe Hisaishi that I understood that a writer, the writer that takes from his or her bones a piece to carve out the words, never stops writing even when the pages stay empty.

The writing is the world, and we all deserve to make that visible to our selves, and if we can, however we can, to others.

Pass the parcel, everyone.  Maybe one day we'll get to read each other and never even know it.

That's a world I'm goddamn thrilled to continue writing in.

 

Be merry while ye wait for your final results!

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34 minutes ago, ariela luv said:

In the lawsuit, Iowa claimed they only look at the writing sample, and in borderline cases the recommendations. They certainly admit people straight from ugrad.

I read about that lawsuit. It got a lot of press. Unfortunately, the guy who brought it did not make the most compelling case for his rejection based on age. Assuming his submission portfolio resembled his self-published work that commentators on the case pointed to, his rejection is not surprising.

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8 minutes ago, jujubee said:

I'm not sure age is actually a factor since AFAIR there wasn't any form I filled out with my birthdate (or I might have forgotten since putting together applications is a trauma of its own), but I am 40 and got into some programs. Granted they're for PhDs but 40 is still above the average age to get into grad school so who knows.

That's weird bc every single program I applied to (except McNeese) requested a birthdate. I don't think it was optional. In any event, they could guesstimate well enough from my undergrad graduation date.

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Just now, ariela luv said:

 

 

I'm surprised Blackhole changed heart and agrees with Boomer’s argument that older people should be disfavored on theories of

i) they are less likely to teach young students well.

ii) they might have their own money, so shouldn’t waste the school’s 

jujube forgot. Every schools require you give your age.

I don't agree with that bit about money. I just want to agree with what she said about age and getting an offer. I can't afford grad school without aid. and no, no change of heart. 

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16 minutes ago, oubukibun said:

I'm a 32-year old man (though I say 'man' but really want to say a tiny 30-year old dork who still looks about 20 when freshly shaven, hah) with a whole life ahead of him.  Thus far, I've been rejected from everywhere I applied (it's also my first 'cycle'), save perhaps BU, though I wouldn't even know how to speculate there.  I spent roughly a month on my SOP and 'preparing' my portfolio; really, these were largely poems I had written within the past year, and which I was quite happy with.  As I mentioned in a much earlier post, I was also a fool for including my favorite college-age poems so the readers could see the progression, if any, in my writing.  See?  Naivete happens in all stages of life (haha).

In the words of a famous replicant, "I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe."  I may not have been to the shoulder of Orion, but when I'm quiet with myself, I appreciate all I've let myself live, and experience.

Teaching, and writing, conjuring a thought and letting it crystallize in my mind, letting it atomize and become everything else...  Those are the only things I can say I am "good at" in a professional sense.  But I've also labored incredibly to get to this point, climbed an entire mountain of English to get here, because I love words, I love the sound my fingers make on a keyboard or a typewriter, the way a single comma can jut out and accent a thought, or, bracket it away.  When a phrase comes together exquisitely, it moves me to tears, and supersedes almost every other sensation, except perhaps that of the orgasm.  The first lines of William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence" are proof enough that there is a silver lining to existence, and it is the line that allows us to populate pages with letters, and by extension, with expression.

I have never been told my writing is weak, or bad, or inferior, or even adequate.  And that's because only I have the right tools to decide that.  We can guide each other to a better sound, to a more delicate balance of parallel verbs and tenses, but we cannot judge the writing outside of its structures, not when we write from fucking bone marrow.

How many times have you sat down to face the music, so to speak, and discovered what you want to say...  Doesn't have language yet?  Isn't that the ecstasy of it?  Having the Sword of Damocles peering above, ready to submit judgment on something that hasn't even been born yet?  Some people can write to make money, ghostwriting other people's thoughts or ideas, or even technical jargon.  I can't do that.  And, despite what people say, if any of you have ever read or even attempted writing fan-fiction, then I hope you have an appreciation for how liberating it can be, and how it can be a truer compass to someone's 'talent' or 'worth' than literary fiction (full disclosure: the only fan-fiction I ever wrote was a single story based on the show So Weird, from the Disney Channel, and this was yonks ago, haha).

I'm not certain grad schools anywhere in the universe can claim to be sufficiently equipped to truly accept people on anything but the invisible, tattered, and innately fickle subjectivity of the Moment.  I can't even be upset that no school thus far will have me.  Part of that is math (I only applied to 4 programs), and part of that is my own insouciance...

Maybe I just don't care enough, and so the proverbial cream of my words won't rise to the top.  At the end of my life, though, what will that matter?  And if it does, will it matter more than being able to turn to your own writing, years later, to find a small measure of comfort, or joy, or even a reminder of the pain that keeps the pen filled?

I'd love to tell the stories I have in me, and I'd love for Boston to get back to me and say, "Yes!"  But at the end of the day, I earnestly believe, whole-heart as they say, that if we do not remove the self from this process, we are tainting the experience with simple untruths.

We all have dreams, and sometimes, I think we get so caught up in what that dreams looks like on the surface, we don't heed the tiny little atom that keeps thriving and evolving even as we feel all "hope is lost", the same one that eventually we turn to, the one that whispers, Just because you have a dream, it doesn't mean it will come to you the way you've always dreamed.

I was a member of a D&D group back in college, and those sessions proved some of the most fruitful for me in how to build a character, a real essence of a fictional other.  I spent all those sessions 'writing' even though a single word never went to a page.  Don't forget that we are writing all the time.  Proof is not always tangible to the body, and oftentimes, the most potent form of a thought will never be.  Dreaming of being a writer, published or otherwise, doesn't necessitate the flagellation of a desk or an ink and quill.

The Sword of Damocles hangs above our heads, not because it wants to slice us in half, but because it wants us to remember that there is nothing more petrifying than the not knowing,

And that we are eternally responsible for the answer to that question it torments us with,

What's next?

I'll keep the boulder rolling always.  It keeps my nerves from fleeing.

If I don't hear from BU, I wish all of you, strangers I will never meet most likely, the very best, fully aware that may mean seemingly endless agonies and torments.  More rejections.  More waiting.  Depending on whether I receive a full-time job offer here to teach middle-school English, I may not try again.  If you're in that 'same' boat, don't despair, our dreams will materialize, we just have to be extra vigilant,

Because, and this took me decades,

It wasn't until I stood in the middle of Columbus, listening to "Adagio of Life and Death" by Joe Hisaishi that I understood that a writer, the writer that takes from his or her bones a piece to carve out the words, never stops writing even when the pages stay empty.

The writing is the world, and we all deserve to make that visible to our selves, and if we can, however we can, to others.

Pass the parcel, everyone.  Maybe one day we'll get to read each other and never even know it.

That's a world I'm goddamn thrilled to continue writing in.

 

Be merry while ye wait for your final results!

Sniff...Thank you for sharing that. Powerful stuff. I don't know if I want to kiss both your cheeks or get on the phone like a mad momma and call those programs and wtf them for you...or smack you for not writing prose. Tell me you applied somewhere for fiction and/or non. This is a compliment by the way. And never knock the "dorkiness"    

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On 3/18/2021 at 3:35 PM, Ydrl said:

Hello there! You're on the creative writing thread, but it's nice to see someone else enthused about Maryland! I'm on the waitlist, but it's my dream school.

Hi, did you get email telling you about the waitlist? I have not heard anything from them...

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18 minutes ago, Cristie said:

Sniff...Thank you for sharing that. Powerful stuff. I don't know if I want to kiss both your cheeks or get on the phone like a mad momma and call those programs and wtf them for you...or smack you for not writing prose. Tell me you applied somewhere for fiction and/or non. This is a compliment by the way. And never knock the "dorkiness"    

totally agree :)

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53 minutes ago, oubukibun said:

I'm a 32-year old man (though I say 'man' but really want to say a tiny 30-year old dork who still looks about 20 when freshly shaven, hah) with a whole life ahead of him.  Thus far, I've been rejected from everywhere I applied (it's also my first 'cycle'), save perhaps BU, though I wouldn't even know how to speculate there.  I spent roughly a month on my SOP and 'preparing' my portfolio; really, these were largely poems I had written within the past year, and which I was quite happy with.  As I mentioned in a much earlier post, I was also a fool for including my favorite college-age poems so the readers could see the progression, if any, in my writing.  See?  Naivete happens in all stages of life (haha).

In the words of a famous replicant, "I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe."  I may not have been to the shoulder of Orion, but when I'm quiet with myself, I appreciate all I've let myself live, and experience.

Teaching, and writing, conjuring a thought and letting it crystallize in my mind, letting it atomize and become everything else...  Those are the only things I can say I am "good at" in a professional sense.  But I've also labored incredibly to get to this point, climbed an entire mountain of English to get here, because I love words, I love the sound my fingers make on a keyboard or a typewriter, the way a single comma can jut out and accent a thought, or, bracket it away.  When a phrase comes together exquisitely, it moves me to tears, and supersedes almost every other sensation, except perhaps that of the orgasm.  The first lines of William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence" are proof enough that there is a silver lining to existence, and it is the line that allows us to populate pages with letters, and by extension, with expression.

I have never been told my writing is weak, or bad, or inferior, or even adequate.  And that's because only I have the right tools to decide that.  We can guide each other to a better sound, to a more delicate balance of parallel verbs and tenses, but we cannot judge the writing outside of its structures, not when we write from fucking bone marrow.

How many times have you sat down to face the music, so to speak, and discovered what you want to say...  Doesn't have language yet?  Isn't that the ecstasy of it?  Having the Sword of Damocles peering above, ready to submit judgment on something that hasn't even been born yet?  Some people can write to make money, ghostwriting other people's thoughts or ideas, or even technical jargon.  I can't do that.  And, despite what people say, if any of you have ever read or even attempted writing fan-fiction, then I hope you have an appreciation for how liberating it can be, and how it can be a truer compass to someone's 'talent' or 'worth' than literary fiction (full disclosure: the only fan-fiction I ever wrote was a single story based on the show So Weird, from the Disney Channel, and this was yonks ago, haha).

I'm not certain grad schools anywhere in the universe can claim to be sufficiently equipped to truly accept people on anything but the invisible, tattered, and innately fickle subjectivity of the Moment.  I can't even be upset that no school thus far will have me.  Part of that is math (I only applied to 4 programs), and part of that is my own insouciance...

Maybe I just don't care enough, and so the proverbial cream of my words won't rise to the top.  At the end of my life, though, what will that matter?  And if it does, will it matter more than being able to turn to your own writing, years later, to find a small measure of comfort, or joy, or even a reminder of the pain that keeps the pen filled?

I'd love to tell the stories I have in me, and I'd love for Boston to get back to me and say, "Yes!"  But at the end of the day, I earnestly believe, whole-heart as they say, that if we do not remove the self from this process, we are tainting the experience with simple untruths.

We all have dreams, and sometimes, I think we get so caught up in what that dreams looks like on the surface, we don't heed the tiny little atom that keeps thriving and evolving even as we feel all "hope is lost", the same one that eventually we turn to, the one that whispers, Just because you have a dream, it doesn't mean it will come to you the way you've always dreamed.

I was a member of a D&D group back in college, and those sessions proved some of the most fruitful for me in how to build a character, a real essence of a fictional other.  I spent all those sessions 'writing' even though a single word never went to a page.  Don't forget that we are writing all the time.  Proof is not always tangible to the body, and oftentimes, the most potent form of a thought will never be.  Dreaming of being a writer, published or otherwise, doesn't necessitate the flagellation of a desk or an ink and quill.

The Sword of Damocles hangs above our heads, not because it wants to slice us in half, but because it wants us to remember that there is nothing more petrifying than the not knowing,

And that we are eternally responsible for the answer to that question it torments us with,

What's next?

I'll keep the boulder rolling always.  It keeps my nerves from fleeing.

If I don't hear from BU, I wish all of you, strangers I will never meet most likely, the very best, fully aware that may mean seemingly endless agonies and torments.  More rejections.  More waiting.  Depending on whether I receive a full-time job offer here to teach middle-school English, I may not try again.  If you're in that 'same' boat, don't despair, our dreams will materialize, we just have to be extra vigilant,

Because, and this took me decades,

It wasn't until I stood in the middle of Columbus, listening to "Adagio of Life and Death" by Joe Hisaishi that I understood that a writer, the writer that takes from his or her bones a piece to carve out the words, never stops writing even when the pages stay empty.

The writing is the world, and we all deserve to make that visible to our selves, and if we can, however we can, to others.

Pass the parcel, everyone.  Maybe one day we'll get to read each other and never even know it.

That's a world I'm goddamn happy to continue writing in.

 

Be merry while ye wait for your final results!

this is so beautiful. I want to save it and put it up on my wall. the bit about the bones and carving out the words. not just that. the whole thing actually :)

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Hey, sorry if this doesn't flow with the conversation right now. But I'm curious: what's your writing aesthetic or style (addressed to all)? I know literary fiction is the general path of an MFA and I would agree that I write literary fiction. But it is riddled with the sentiment of diary (Kafka's diaries, Kate Zambreno, Rilke, Jenny Offill, etc.) and the interrupted (natural) pattern of the loosely kept thought (how Ocean Vuong speaks of our generation as the fragmented writers, post 9-11) as well as surrealism (moments one might call prose-poetry) and magical realism, while the foundation, at times, hints of a new lore being built. I truly write hybrid literary fiction. It's everything. And it refuses to be one thing. And that's what I submitted this (so far) unsuccessful cycle. I would never change the core of what I write to appease a program which may hold itself in contract to the (how, oh how should I put this) more normative (sane, safe if you will, those are the words)  literary fiction of popular yearly awards lists. But I would love to know if that's what these programs really want: the thing that strikes an emotional societal chord and will, essentially, sell when standing up against the last great literary sale. So, anyway. I'm just curious. The term is Weird Fiction, I suppose, if I had to give you a quick blurb on my stuff. So yeah, just curious, especially to those who have gotten as many rejections as me: what, essentially is your aesthetic or style or what is the religion of your craft? This can be answered as loosely as you'd like or not at all. For me style is an ever-changing current that might bend to the will of the work's deepest sentiment. However, like I said, it's probably Weird Fiction on the whole....So, what the hell. Let's talk about it. Or DM me if you'd like. *(And might I quickly add, I ask out of curiosity and to see if there are any other boundary-pushers out there. Ultimately, I know there is still much improvement to be made on my work. So this isn't meant to disregard that fact.)

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11 minutes ago, SofiTheCatGuardian said:

to see if there are any other boundary-pushers out there.

Hand up. That's me. I break all the rules. I start sentences with conjunctions, write in fragments, rarely use determiners. Know I need help with timing and pace. Feel free to read the story I posted on here (and shouldn't have-Dark Dressage). I submitted THAT, one chapter from a genre fiction novel I wrote, and a published nonfiction short story. I thought it would be good to show a mix of my writing. I'd say the one I posted asking for help is weird fiction. You tell me?

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I thought of something to add to the great age/experience debate (if someone has said this I'm sorry, I just wrote this so I didn't forget it). I was told by some people that MFA programs want you to be moldable(?) as well as talented and dedicated. Not "teaching you writing" a.k.a making everyone into the same writer, but that your professors have the ability to form you in the best way they know how. You have to have grown enough, but not too much that they can't work with you. If they think they will be able to help you and you feel the same, then it's all the more reason for them to want you in the program.

Side note, I noticed some of you applied without doing too much research. It's helpful to read the professors' work ahead of time and figure out who you want to work with (you don't have to buy all the books, just read some of their work online).

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7 hours ago, ni2021 said:

Hi, did you get email telling you about the waitlist? I have not heard anything from them...

I did get a new email regarding being on the waitlist, but all it said was that someone from the program would be answering our questions in our private zoom meetings. So I'm gonna assume that my question regarding waitlist ranks/ pools vs ranked waitlists will not be answered until my Mar. 29th meeting.

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1 hour ago, Ydrl said:

(you don't have to buy all the books, just read some of their work online).

Libraries are beautiful, amazing organizations that allow you to take books home with you for FREE! And often, they have a process for patrons to request books that are not yet in their system. I regularly request poetry books for my library to purchase, and my requests are almost always approved. 

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Just now, cecsav said:

Libraries are beautiful, amazing organizations that allow you to take books home with you for FREE! And often, they have a process for patrons to request books that are not yet in their system. I regularly request poetry books for my library to purchase, and my requests are almost always approved. 

I love libraries haha, I basically lived in libraries for most of my childhood. There's something about a large library that makes me very very happy. Maybe I should renew my membership.

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