MFA at Warren Wilson

From 1995 to 1998 I was enrolled in Warren Wilson’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing (poetry). Because I didn’t have a background in literature, I took 5 semesters instead of the usual 4. The program is "low residency," which means that most of the semester takes place off-campus at home. Each semester is structured like this: There is an initial 11-day residency with readings, workshops, graduation activities, and classes, followed by at-home work. At the residency, each student is assigned a faculty member with whom the student works.

The bulk of the semester consists of writing new work, exchanging comments with the faculty supervisor, reading poetry, and writing annotations. An annotation is a small essay which is a close reading of a work through the lens of a craft element such as repetition, rhyme, imagery, etc. The first 2 semesters are exactly like this, the third focuses on producing a longer essay on a topic of importance to the work on the student, and the fourth focuses on producing a book-length manuscript of fiction or poetry. Additional semesters can be done at various stages.

My first semester was with Heather McHugh, and here are my annotations with her. My second was with Stephen Dobyns, and here are the annotations with him. My third semester was with Michael Collier, and here are my annotations with him and the essay I wrote. My fourth and fifth semesters were with Thomas Lux, and here are the annotations for the fourth (containing the full text for Bill Knott’s hard to find "Nights of Naomi") and fifth semesters with him. At the final residency, each student teaches a class. Here are my final manuscript and class slides.. And here is a bibliography of everythuing I read while at Warren Wilson.