MFA programs

Saturday Bits

THIS SEEMS A GOOD TIME to say a word of thanks to those of you—you brave few—who take time to email with your own names. I am glad to have them, glad for that brief moment where the curtain of anonymity gets pulled back. It delights me to know that there are real people behind the pen names almost everyone uses. But why is there is so much reluctance to using a real name on a blog like this? It is so totally nonthreatening. Continue Reading
The Pathos of the MFA, part II

IT WAS BARNETT NEWMAN, I think, who said: “Aesthetics is for art what ornithology is for the birds.” That is a gravelly way of getting to the point that philosophies of art are written for philosophers. Artists are not the intended beneficiaries. They need not approve and can easily cripple themselves if they try. Yet MFA programs still insist on cudgeling artists with syllabi soaked in a jumble of philosophy, art theory and aesthetics. Much of it clusters around the concerns of literary theorists. Continue Reading