The History of Literature #49 – MFA Programs (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)


For decades, the Master of Fine Arts degree has quietly dominated the American literary scene. There are now over 100 programs where professors and students go about the business of turning dreams into fiction through the alchemy – or as some would say, the meatgrinder – known as the writing workshop. It’s a phenomenon like no other in the history of literature. What goes on at these MFA programs? What good comes out of them? And what impact are they having on contemporary American literature? The President of the Literature Supporters Club joins Jacke for a discussion of MFA programs.


Show Notes: 

You can find more literary discussion at and more episodes of the series at

Contact the host at or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

2 thoughts on “The History of Literature #49 – MFA Programs (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

  1. Making an academic exercise of creating writing is an oxymoron, surely? It scares me how academia can over analyze an art form that struggles to challenge the limits of structure


  2. There is something a bit problematic about it… I would say, though, that the best creative writing professors keep this in mind and try not to stifle genuine creativity. (Are they successful? I’m not always sure.)


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