September 13th, 2013 / 10:53 am

“The problem with creative-writing programs is not the quality of instruction; it’s the enforced isolation with other people who are thinking, eating, and breathing the same things you are.”

from the Reddit AMA with the editors of The Paris Review.

Other highlights: They receive (roughly) 15,000 submissions a year; they will never be “online only” (shouts to trees); they like New York Tyrant; Lorin Stein drinks espresso.


  1. SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 | Half-Sanity's Under-GodHalf-Sanity's Under-God

      […] The Editors Of The Paris Review Did A Reddit AMA […]

  2. deadgod

      That insularity is the… well, a problem with every community.

      Don’t fine-arts programs tend to have, in their varieties of teachers, varieties of interests, agendas, emphases, and so on? Never been in one, but, by analogy, in a writing MFA, I’d figure on, say, one prof who, eh, encourages Hem concision and another who disdains it, one screenwriter who never reads poetry and one poet who hates movies, and so on. I mean that the diversity of students would get re-churned by a diversity of pushes from a staff even as small as half a dozen teachers.

      Sure, there’d be confirmation bias (gravitating to teachers who like what you like–or what you do), witless needy discipleship, town-without-pity scapegoating, and all the pathologies of any institution.

      But is it really so that “creative writing programs” produce pods of writers?

  3. Richard Grayson

      I think you are exactly right. I suspect most MFA programs, like many academic departments from economics to music, have faculty members who disagree violently about some of the basic tenets of their field. That creative tension is good for students, who get exposed to varied points of view.