My friend, the writer Laura Valeri, has written a thoughtful reply to Ryan Boudinot's "Things I Can Say about MFA Writing Programs Now that I No Longer Teach in One," an article that has engendered much conversation--some heated, some in agreement, some dismissive--on social media as of late. I posted the article here and on my Facebook page, too. As I said then, I don't necessarily agree with all of Boudinot's points, but I think he does raise some interesting questions for those who teach creative writing in the academy, even if those questions lead to paths that are well-trod. Nonetheless, I think this kind of debate/conversation is good for our profession, tiresome as some find it--I find the MFA-bashing tiresome, myself, for the record.
Laura Valeri, "Those Who Can, Teach: A Formal Reply to Ryan Boudinot's Post on Teaching"
My job [as a creative writing teacher] exists because of students who don’t read much, students who love to write but have difficulties expressing themselves, students who really want to excel and be great but are misinformed about the discipline and skills it takes to get there. We as teachers simply cannot dismiss students as “not having it” and “not being born with it” or “too late to get to it.” It’s unacceptable. If we accept them into MFA programs, take their money, and time, and hopes and dreams, then we have to make it work.
O for a muse of fire,