"It’s not that masters degrees in poetry, which function as excellent cash cows for universities across the country, are completely worthless. I have one myself, and I can say that they are only almost completely worthless. They do have one serious downside however: students seeking preferment begin to write like their teachers. They then graduate with a degree that is really only useful to teach creative writing in a program much like the one from which they have just graduated. Their students learn to write like they do and so on. This has had quite a deadening effect on contemporary poetry in general, I think."Granted, Yezzi is the Executive Director of The New Criterion, a bastion of dour conservatism in the literary world, so it is fair to assume that he is a grumpy man to begin with. He and his colleagues liked things better the way they were before, when people wore bow ties (like co-editor Roger Kimbrall) and wrote poems that rhymed, goddammit. Still, it's one more voice of dissent against the prevailing model of creative development. He may not be completely right, but he's not completely wrong either.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
David Yezzi: MFAs "only almost completely worthless"
My colleague and alert AWY reader Adele spotted this gem in a MensNewsDaily.com interview with poet David Yezzi: