Reading Elizabeth Clementson's column Down With MFAs left me with a renewed sense of wonder: just how much fraudulence can one aspiring writer pack into one column? The answer: a lot.
There are plenty of others who have already exposed her flimsy, self–involved arguments, so I'm not going to waste time on an extensive rehash.
But I do want to make a couple of points, mostly because I'm so entirely sick of these "outsiders" who blame their own artistic failings on some supposedly inimical establishment that refuses to recognize them.
If you can get past that overly emotional opening, Mr. Almond does indeed make a couple of good points. But from where this outsider stands, it looks like both writers are wearing blinders. I suspect the truth about the usefulness of MFA programs must lie somewhere in the middle. Since each writer takes a unique set of skills and expectations into the classroom, doesn't it stand to reason that each might have a different experience there? I will also hazard a guess that the quality of the programs varies widely.
Well. I'm not going to think about this any more this morning. Let the "serious" writers fight it out. I'm going back to work on my non-literary romance novel.