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The Low-Residency MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Creative Writing Students [Paperback]

Lori A. May

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Book Description

Jan. 13 2011
<div><font size=3 face="Times New Roman"><em>The Low-Residency MFA Handbook</em> offers prospective graduate students an in-depth preview of low-residency creative writing MFA programs. Interviews with program directors, faculty, alumni, and current students answer the many questions prospective graduates have, including: What happens during the non-residency semester? What are the brief residencies like? What community is established between faculty and fellow students? What opportunities are there for writers to gain pedagogical training through a low-residency format? And, most importantly, is the low-residency model right for you? These questions, and more, are answered in detail. The guide also clarifies the application process and offers application tips from program directors and alumni. It also considers funding, program structures, and unique opportunities such as editorships and assistantships. For prospective graduate students looking for detailed information, <em>The Low-Residency MFA Handbook</em> provides a personalized and genuinely useful overview.</font></div>>

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"What an invaluable handbook! Lori A. May has done her research, knows her stuff, and, what's best, lets the programs speak for themselves through her extensive interviews. There's a chorus of quotes from faculty, students, and graduates in The Low-Residency MFA Handbook. Anyone making the decision to apply for an MFA should consult this wise guide. May's clarity and authority make it a gold standard." - Molly Peacock, author of The Second Blush

"The Low-Residency MFA Handbook is an important book, not only for prospective students, but for program faculty and administrators as well. This guide will prove invaluable for students preparing to apply for low-residency MFA programs and will inform them of what to expect once they gain acceptance. The low-residency MFA in creative writing is increasingly popular, and there has been a lack of resources available to students, faculty and administrators. The Low-Residency MFA Handbook fills that void." - Derick Burleson, author of Melt

About the Author

Lori A. May is a part-time writing instructor and a member of the AWP, MLA, and the Michigan College English Association. She is a frequent guest lecturer and workshop presenter at writers' conferences and graduate writing programs. In addition to her freelance writing, May is the author of two novels and a poetry collection. More information is available online at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary read for those consiering a low-res MFA program! Jan. 23 2011
By Rhonda S. White - Published on
Within less than a day of receiving this reference text, I'd read it cover-to-cover, not simply because of my looming application deadlines, but because it answered so many of the questions that have been circling my brain since deciding to attend a low-res MFA program. Yes, I'll admit I've spent over three years intermittently researching low-res MFA programs, narrowing and expanding my target list, but if this book had been published sooner, much of that work and note-taking would have been unnecessary.

I'd already read Tom Kealey's text, "The Creative Writing MFA Handbook," but this text greatly expands that and narrows the focus to low-res programs. It was encouraging to read comments by faculty, directors and alumni of the programs, and it helped me to scratch off a few of the programs on my list for which, only a few days ago, I'd been preparing application packets.

An MFA is huge investment in time and money, so it's important to find the program(s) that best suit your needs. May's discussions on teaching philosophy, format, residency community, pedagogy (or lack thereof), and even life after the MFA held priceless information that helped to direct me to programs that will best fit what I need and desire.

Highly and strongly recommended to anyone considering a low-residency MFA program. Kudos to Lori May for putting together such an informative, concise piece of work!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource Sept. 8 2012
By desiwriter - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Found this to be an excellent resource and the only full-fledged book available on low residency programs, especially in the US. Strongly recommend reading to those considering low residency MFA. HUGE thanks to Lori May for writing this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars What about Fully-Online Programs? Oct. 7 2014
By Frank A. Montesonti - Published on
This book provides some good resources. Future editions should include a section on fully-online, no residency MFA programs like the one at National University. Fully online programs are good for students who can't afford or can't attend even the brief residencies required in the low-residency models. Completely online MFA programs are going to become increasingly popular because of increasing synchronous video technology and other online learning tools that recreate an on-ground experience via distance learning.
5.0 out of 5 stars helps you decide if MFA is for you Feb. 12 2014
By SunshineAndRain - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you're thinking about making the big commitment of a low-residency MFA, check out this book. It's mostly valuable for those people in the early stages, that is if you're deciding whether to apply and if so, where to apply.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book for Prospective MFA Students Dec 12 2013
By Tasha Cotter - Published on
Lori has created a comprehensive resource for anyone thinking about attending a low-res MFA program. The book is full of great information.

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