Notes toward a Writerly Education—Or: Can We Please, Please, Please Have a Different Debate

Great ideas. The anti-MFA debate is so tiring.

As It Ought to Be

typewriter

Notes toward a Writerly Education—Or: Can We Please, Please, Please Have a Different Debate

by Okla Elliott

1.

I can think of few current cultural debates more frustrating and fruitless than the one over MFAs in creative writing. There are problems with the ways writing programs are run, and there could be a productive discussion about how best to help a writer develop in our educational system, but the incessant repetition of tired talking points on both sides of the argument does nothing to ameliorate the actual shortcomings of writing programs and does nothing to further the conversation about writing pedagogy or personal development as a writer. My primary goal here will therefore be to move us beyond the well-worn rhetorical ruts this debate has been stuck in for over three decades now. But before I attempt to move us past the current debate, I feel I should summarize the…

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