Sunday, November 28, 2010

MFA vs. NYC: America now has two distinct literary cultures. Which one will last? - By Chad Harbach - Slate Magazine

The following article is excerpted from the latest issue of n+1 magazine. This article is available online only in Slate.

‎"No one with 'literary' aspirations will expect to earn a living by publishing books; the glory days when publishers still waffled between patronage and commerce will be much lamented. The lit-lovers who used to become editors and agents will direct MFA programs instead; the book industry will become as rational—that is, as single-mindedly devoted to profit—as every other capitalist industry."

Will? Is it not to a considerable extent already so?

The author marks the boundaries of literary Brooklyn as DUMBO and Prospect Heights, but it is more accurate to draw its boundaries as a triangle that goes from Greenpoint in the northwest to Victorian Flatbush in the east to Red Hook in the southwest.

As a native New Yorker, Brooklynite, alumnus of a CCNY graduate creative writing program, poet/translator and fiction reviewer I am on the periphery of both literary cultures, and much of the article resonates with the ring of truth. However, in an era of government budget cuts I don't see MFA programs continuing to proliferate; indeed, they may prove vulnerable to the budget ax.

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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