Academic Requirements MFA
FOR THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS (MFA) IN POETRY
PROGRAM, PLEASE SUBMIT, IN ADDITION TO THE
1. Type written manuscript of 10 pages of recent poetry.
2. Brief (2 to 3 pages) autobiographical/personal essay
citing your literary influences, an assessment of your
writing in terms of its strengths and weaknesses,
your experience with critical evaluation of your
work, and what you hope to gain from attending
the MFA program in Poetry.
3. Brief (1 to 3 pages) critical essay on a particular poem
of your choice other than your own work.
4. List of the ten most influential poetry books you have
read in relation to your creative work as a writer.
5. Two letters of recommendation: at least one letter should
attest to your creative writing ability as well as your
qualifications for graduate study.
MFA Academic Requirements
The New England College MFA in Poetry is a four-semester program (64 credits) with a final fifth residency devoted to manuscript preparation and professional development. Twice a year, students attend eight and ten-day on-campus residencies followed by a correspondence semester with a faculty mentors.
Residencies at New England College
Faculty and students gather every six months on the New England College campus as a community. During the two residencies (which are held in January and June), poets participate in a rigorous schedule of workshops, lectures, afternoon electives, one-on-one conferences, readings and informal discussion. Students also meet with their assigned faculty mentors to design their study plans for the following correspondence semester.
Afternoon electives during the residencies provide students with in-depth experience in several modes of poetic expression, including performance, multi-media/electronic presentation, translation, prose writing and teaching. Winter writing workshops are devoted exclusively to generating new writing.
Non-matriculating Poetry Residency application
A limited number of participants who are qualified to do graduate-level work may attend the MFA residency as non-matriculated. Acceptance into the residency does not guarantee acceptance into the MFA program in Poetry at New England College.
The semester-long correspondences during the academic year adhere closely to the individual study plans that faculty mentors and students have collaborated on during the previous residency. In addition to their creative work each semester, students are expected to read up to twenty books of poetry and criticism, write eight short critical papers, and memorize one poem each packet period. (Students recite all four of their memorized poems during the following residency.) Every three weeks faculty respond to student packets with extensive comments and suggestions. Study plans establish both curricular content and deadlines each semester, providing a clearly designed individualized course of study, as well as a contract between each student and faculty mentor. A total of four packets are exchanged each semester--every three weeks--with responses from faculty occurring no later than one week after the receipt of the packets. Students commit to at least 20 hours of work each week in preparing their packets, which consist of a two- to three-page cover letter, four to five new poems and two short critical papers. Students are assigned a different faculty mentor each semester.
A book-length manuscript of poems and a fifteen page critical paper represent the fruition of each student's course of study. Students take part in professional development sessions (which include opportunities to teach) and give a reading during their final fifth residency. A New England College MFA indicates that a student has acquired the necessary mastery of his or her literary genre, developed critical acumen, and accrued a broad comprehension of literature.