All posts tagged: rhetoric and composition

Carlos Alonso Chism Introduction (University of Maryland ’18)

Image: N’charallah Jasper During my college application process at the end of high school I felt starved of choice. While my friends were figuring out what they were looking for in a school and visiting several universities, I knew I would wind up at the local Penn State campus. My mother taught there, allowing me to attend with a 75% tuition discount. It would have been financially foolish to go anywhere else. It seemed as if everyone else were at a buffet, tasting different foods and figuring out what they liked and didn’t like. This was probably the reason I spent a large amount of time researching creative writing MFA programs. I read articles in major magazines, looked at several programs’ web pages, and scoured obscure forum threads. All of this fueled my romantic notions of a writerly life—making a living by writing books, and occasionally teaching. I wanted get my MFA directly after college, and savored the idea parsing out the differences between programs as much as the idea of attending a program. I …

Katharine G. Monger Introduction (Washington University in St. Louis ’17)

Image: Alice Popkorn Is there a typical MFA admission story? I’m not sure. Mine feels atypical, but perhaps that’s a self-centered need to be a special snowflake. I’m a second round applicant. I first applied during my senior year at The University of Iowa, because, even though the MFA friends I had gotten close to in college had advised me not to, and even though my professors advised me not to, and even though blogs and Facebook groups and forums told me not to, I was stubborn. I ended up applying to eight programs, all in fiction except for my alma mater, where I had to choose between applying for fiction and nonfiction. (I chose the latter, but that’s another post.) Round 1:  Brown University (R)[1] The University of Texas-Austin (Michener Center) (R) Washington University in St. Louis {W}[2] University of Notre Dame {W} University of Montana (R) Cornell University (R) The University of Iowa (R) University of Massachusetts-Amherst (R) [1] (R) Rejected [2] {W} Waitlisted (official and unofficial) Complicating my self-made abyss of MFA applications was my …

Eight Thoughts About Teaching College Kids

I teach Writing and Rhetoric II to seventeen art school kids. Pretty much all I do is use extensive metaphors to explain somewhat simple points. The metaphors make things far more complicated, albeit far more memorable. I use a lot of PowerPoints to keep me from embarking on stream-of-consciousness lectures, a la Virginia Woolf. The students know what kind of class it is going to be based on the level of powerpointing that occurs. At the beginning of each session, I ask, “Who can summarize what we did last class?” My favorite response: “We learned that humanity is just a bunch of boats with crab legs.” In that class, I was attempting to portray the concept of “passing as normal”, which involved a cartoon music video and a ship with legs. In the video, there was a moment when a boat grows crab legs and traverses the land—but, towards the end of the clip, the boat goes back into the water, sucking his legs back in, and the audience just looks at him, a normal …