Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Other Lit-Bloggers

Life is a dud. Sobriety at every turn. No escape from the mean-- the ordinary; the brainless crowd; ten thousand trained demi-puppets mistakenly calling themselves writers. Earnest students of medieval scholasticism. Multiplying blogs; comical dreams. Sarvas and Green, their prose ponderous and slow-- performed out of duty not enjoyment. Nothing light-footed about it. Expend 5,000 words making the slightest point. Even their attempts at lightness ("au contraire") are predictably leaden. If this be the result of MFA programs the schools should be closed at once! and save these eternal scholars the task of being chained to their computer screens like Sisyphus-- surely their writing must pain them as much as it pains us.


Jeff Potter said...

King Wenclas is serious about making literature relevant. I was on the East Coast for a bout of entrepreneurialism last week. On short notice, King made the train ride to where I was and we had a fine literary pow-wow over tasty beers. We got all revved up---King even started letting his voice out of the cage. I was wondering if any of the locals in the supposed uber-literary town we were in would notice our rantings, but no. Anyway, if you ever want some non-wimpy talk about lit and you're in King's vicinity, give him a shout. He won't back down!

We came up with something interesting during our ranting that I hadn't quite thought of before: MFAers don't even want to be writers! The supposed literary system set up in the USA is meant to make TEACHERS! Get it? The lock on money related to writing is really meant for teachers. No, it's *meant* to go to writers, but it has been derailed, diverted against its charter. The students have been abusing it and their profs have been letting them slide.

Now, teachers aren't bad folk. We need these orderly people to manage the occasional mob of students and keep the grades straight and the papers tidy.

But there seems to be a HUGE confusion here with the MFA in Writing. The degree is in FINE ART. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TEACHING! Yet most everyone in these hundreds of programs today want to be teachers, not writers. And they do the kind of term paper writing and boring lit-journal and blog publishing that lets them get hired as teachers. ---Orderly, consensus writing. Obedient writing. Hierarchical. With a light tone, like cocktail party banter. Or politically followerist. Raise your hand before you ask a question, junior!

OK: here's what has to happen. Everyone who is in an MFA program today who wants to be a teacher needs to be expelled and sent to a teacher's college. Then all the funds in MFA writing dept's need to go to needy writers instead. Writing can't be taught. So just send the bucks on out. There won't be many left. Give it to those who haven't let poverty and disapproval hold them back: the ones who've been getting their writing out via a zeen, and who've been doing readings whenever and wherever they can.


Adam Hardin said...

That is a good point.

What is also happening is that in order to be hired with an M.F.A. as a teacher, you better have some publication credits. And so people who aren't really even writers are sending their garbage to magazines and journals for publication credits and generally filling up space with garbage as well as taking grants and fellowships that real writers need.

The Poem to an M.F.A. Professor is the same as a Sociological Paper to a Sociologist. They are looking to get it published and get acclaim for it so they can get a better job in Academia.