I had this email from the Missouri Review yesterday. If you’ve been putting off entering – now’s your chance.
We wanted to let you know that The Missouri Review has decided to extend the deadline of our 2012 Audio Competition by an additional week. The new online submission system and our pay-by-donation entry fee caused some confusion early on, and we would like to give all entrants a chance to adjust to those changes. Entries must now be postmarked or emailed to us no later than Thursday, March 22nd.
The Audio Competition offers prizes of $1,000 in each of three categories: poetry, prose, and audio documentary. It’s easy to enter! All you need to record your work is a microphone, a computer, and free recording software, such as Audacity or GarageBand. Entries and payments can be submitted online.
I lifted this shamelessly from the Missouri Review’s email to me. It sounds like fun, and a different way to reach people with your work. GC
The Missouri Reviewinvites you to submit to our 2012 Audio Competition for a chance to win $1,000 and to have your entry published on The Missouri Review’s website. Send us your recordings of original poetry or prose or your audio documentaries on any subject. All you need is a computer, microphone, software such as GarageBand or Audacity, and a great script.
This year, in an effort to expand the contest, we have opened submissions (previously $20) to a pay-by-donation entry fee. Your contribution of any amount includes a one-year, digital subscription to The Missouri Review, and all of your donation goes to support the production of The Missouri Review and its related programs.
Winners and select runners-up will have their work featured on The Missouri Review’s website and as part of our iTunes podcast series. Entries will be judged by TMR’s editors in collaboration with guest judge Julie Shapiro of the Third Coast International Audio Festival.
A number of writers in our Writers’ Café have MFA’s in Writing and we asked them to comment on the value they felt they’d received from their 2-year low-residency writing programs. Lisa Calderone, a Guilford resident, who did the marketing for the first ever MFA program at Fairfield U and completed the degree course herself, explained the main benefits of an MFA.
“Overall, the most important benefits were a sense of community and a thorough grounding in the craft of writing,” said Lisa. Others agreed with her when she said that having academic expectations forced her to write, even when she didn’t necessarily want to. Jane Sherman of Westport added that this course of study helped her set up a writing routine, which she still uses to ensure she writes every day.
I asked about the faculty. Our MFA graduates felt that having access to a high quality of faculty during their studies was a huge benefit. “It helped me form a network of writing contacts which I wouldn’t otherwise have had,” said Christine Shaffer of Westport, who was featured recently in Poets & Writers’ online magazine: http://www.pw.org/content/portraits_from_MFA_nation .(Here’s her blog on Open Salon: http://open.salon.com/blog/frenchgirl.) In fact, the article (not Christine) and the list it provided of top MFA schools in the US, provoked an angry reaction from 190 writers and teachers, who claimed the list was unfair. Alison Flood, of the Guardian newspaper in London, was moved to write a whole article about it. Since she explained it much more succinctly than I could, I’m posting the link to it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/sep/16/ranking-creative-writing-courses .
Back to the benefits of an MFA. With an MFA degree, you’re qualified to teach writing (while you’re waiting for your novel to hit the NYT best seller lists). For example, Lisa Calderone will be teaching an online journalism course next semester for Fairfield U. She’s also the founder and editor of Mason’s Road, the university’s literary journal. Here are their submission guidelines: http://www.masonsroad.com/about-2/submission-guidelines/ . Another graduate, AJ O’Connell, is also teaching at the university level. All in all, our graduates were happy with their degrees, and the new friends and connections they made as a result of taking the course.
At our last Café, Alex McNab brought information and some suggested reading about the granddaddy of all the MFA programs, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (http://www.uiowa.edu/~iww/). Here are a couple of books he suggested on the subject:
Mentor: a Memoir, by Tom Grimes
We Wanted to be Writers: Life, Love and Literature at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop by Eric Olsen & Glen Schaeffer
So, it’s up to you. If you need an incentive to get you writing, these graduate courses will provide you with structure, deadlines and potentially great or even famous mentors. All you need now is a little time and a credit card. If you decide you’re serious, check out this web page for masses of information to help you decide: http://creative-writing-mfa-handbook.blogspot.com/