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Laura

Atlanta doesn't so much suck for poets anymore, Laurel. (PS We missed you tonight at the reading---it was fab!)

Simmons Buntin

Thanks for the story Laurel---very interesting and good advice I think. I wonder if the perspective is the same for "older" students---say mid-30s on---who decide to pursue an MFA. Is it the same ladder? Do they find the same mentoring "opportunities?" Hmmmm.

Laurel

I think it's all about equal, at least at Iowa... some people do, and some people don't (find mentors, agents, etc) but I never noticed age to be a real factor. Iowa gets a fair amount of older students, people with families and professional lives...

What I WILL say is that I think the older students are less susceptible to the bs, since they have more important things in their lives than worrying about popularity, status, etc. They've got kids to feed, you know?

I think the older students tend to take the "education" (overall) more seriously...

Of course, there are many exceptions to every rule...

Laurel

I think it's all about equal, at least at Iowa... some people do, and some people don't (find mentors, agents, etc) but I never noticed age to be a real factor. Iowa gets a fair amount of older students, people with families and professional lives...

What I WILL say is that I think the older students are less susceptible to the bs, since they have more important things in their lives than worrying about popularity, status, etc. They've got kids to feed, you know?

I think the older students tend to take the "education" (overall) more seriously...

Of course, there are many exceptions to every rule...

erin

As a non-Iowa grad who's just around 10 years out, I think this should be required reading for anyone who comes anywhere near an MFA program. Thanks for sharing.

Leah

I've been writing in ATL for some time. In several ways, it does such for poets. The Tech program helped. The colleges host some things. But, the community seems clichish and closed. Hum. I am finding the friends I have met through writing experiences give me more than the city, although I never thought that would be the case.

Scott Hartwich

In the MFA program at the University of Montana, I found the professors and "career" writers were more likely to mentor those without families, and those they championed during the admission process. My teachers were very helpful and often inspiring, but I don't think they knew what to do with a forty year old gray hair with two small children. It took two years out of school before I was able to really write again, and for all the right reasons--and not to satisy potential mentors, impress workshop participants, or get noticed by editors. The key is perspective, and eternal patience.

Antoine Wilson

Laurel, this is a great piece. I only saw it today while poking around the blogosphere. As someone, um, what, five or six years out, who just stumbled into my first book deal, I can certainly concur. The hardest part comes when you've got to reconcile the afterglow of MFA-land with the abyss of real life. And keep writing.

Bill Howden

Ah, the narcotic of being read. Oh, the struggle to write authentically. Just say, "No!" to publishing.

TAMEKA23Stewart

Set your life time more simple take the credit loans and all you need.

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