, the Press-Citizen talks
to Lan Samantha Chang, who recently took over the Writers' Workshop in Iowa City -- while elsewhere on the 'net there's some
over a recent MFA Handbook unceremoniously booting
Iowa out of their list of the top-ten writing programs.
It's hard to believe, but it's possible for us to identify the precise moment Iowa began its slow but inevitable decline: March 2002, when they failed to admit every one (Can you believe it? Every single one! The fools!) of the founding editors of Backwards City Review
I heard Lan Samantha Chang read here in Greensboro not so long ago, by the way. I enjoyed Hunger
: You can see some responses to the Iowa demoting at the Handbook's mailbag
, including Tom Kealey's justification for ranking Iowa as at-most #11 in the country.
I didn’t list any program as “top ten” that doesn’t fund all of its students and fund them all equally. I think this issue is extremely important, as it levels the playing field in workshops and makes for a less-competitive atmosphere.
This is hugely important. No writing school should admit students it can't provide for. That's the difference between a valuable and worthy academic pursuit and exploiting deluded people's dreams.
That said, my understanding is that Iowa actually does do a good job of providing for its students. The competition angle doesn't bother me so much, as long as everybody has something
-- and as far as I've heard nearly every student at Iowa, as with nearly every student at Greensboro and most other reputable programs (*cough* Columbia
*cough*), is taken care of.