Seth Abramson, Steve Fellner, MFA programs...
Step right up, kids, because there's another dust up in po'biz land. No, this isn't another "death of poetry" proclamation (that's next week), but a blog kurfluffle with threats of lawsuits and claims of corruption, evil and tainted ethics. It's practically dark-sided.
In one corner you have poet/attorney Seth Abramson, who has started a consulting firm to help MFA candidates polish their submissions to the glut of writing programs, and received his MFA at Iowa, which, if you believe everything you read on the blogosphere, is the Death Star. In the opposite corner is poet Steve Fellner, who critiques other poets on his blog and has enough axes to grind to keep whetstones turning night and day in every barn across the nation. Fellner called Abramson's consulting firm "evil" then took the post down for fear of a lawsuit. Abramson said his feelings were hurt. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...blah.
As usual, the voice of reason in this current teapot tempest is poet Barbara Jane Reyes. Every writer should have this statement posted over their desk:
No one needs a MFA in order to become a writer. If you do not believe you are a writer, a MFA will not make you into one. If you are an average writer, perhaps a MFA program can help you become a sound, competent writer. There is no reason to foment hysteria and anxiety about the MFA — it’s just a degree — unless you got a panacea to peddle to the frothing masses.
Now I must return to my "aggressive self-promotion" of Conquering Venus. Kisses, Eduardo.