Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Sreedhevi Iyer)

Sreedhevi Iyer: “MFAoC?”   Permission. So much of my time was wasted seeking it. Perhaps it is a marker of upbringing, perhaps an expectation of a social role as a woman of color. To appear grateful and toe the literary line, at least in public. ‘Too white’ is not a term I could even bring [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Kaitlyn Greenidge)

Kaitlyn Greenidge   One of the best pieces of writing advice I heard in my MFA workshop was when my professor asked of a story, “Where is the money coming from?” It’s a simple question that many writers often overlook and gets to the heart of the issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. It’s [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Rigoberto González)

Rigoberto González   I was glad when Junot Díaz broke the lid open on that issue, not because I thought we would be anywhere near a solution, but because I knew we would be closer to a conversation. And indeed, many folks chimed in with testimonies about dealing with the indignities and injustices of being [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Xu Xi)

Xu Xi: “The Writing Race”   Let’s talk about race. This is not an easy subject, especially for writers in America, where race is the thing to deny you care about as you desperately try to climb the writerly ladder of fame. Let’s talk about desperation, which all MFA (and beyond) writers have, even the [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Craig Santos Perez)

Craig Santos Perez   At the 2014 annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), I attended the plenary session for writing program directors. The main topic of the plenary was “hallmarks of success.” During the discussion, I recommended that AWP add faculty and student diversity as a hallmark. I was one [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Alex Espinoza)

Alex Espinoza   1. As the United States continues to undergo radical demographic shifts, it is no wonder the debate over MFA programs and their handling—or lack thereof—of “otherness” (both in terms of the discourse propagated by writers around the workshop table and among the professoriate) is on many a mind. I appreciate the honesty [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Afaa Michael Weaver)

Afaa Michael Weaver   POC and MFAs. Well, let me be specific in terms of the African American community and HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and say I would like to see more growth of MFA programs in that world. For black people the idea of a “practical” education has favored instruction in conservatory [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Nina Sharma)

Nina Sharma: “Year One” “Tell me, Nina, have you experienced any racism before, really?” Over the expanse of two Staples-variety folding tables, I looked up at the professor, a blue-eyed white man, and saw in his open, waiting face that he really did want an answer. This was the third workshop of my first semester [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Janine Joseph)

Janine Joseph   A few weeks ago, I plugged an old external hard drive into my laptop in search of the application materials I submitted to MFA programs ten years ago. My advanced creative writing students were looking into graduate programs that week and I thought I would share one of my own applications as [Continue Reading…]

Speak No Evil Forum Response: “MFA vs. POC” (Jennifer Hayashida)

Jennifer Hayashida   “For once in my life, let me get what I want.” —The Smiths, Please, please, please let me get what I want   “It’s fun to do that, like rhyme about handguns.” —Das Racist, Rainbow in the Dark   This is the kind of thing you want to write anonymously. After all, [Continue Reading…]