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October 01, 2009 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

'the b-sid

weekend
essentials
Oct.1 to Oct. 4

" The Michigan Daily I michigandaily com j Thursday, October 1,2009
0*

*- *
-* 0@
* *
} M
e9
"Degreesf
creatiVity A
B Wt
By Jeff Sanf6r ,Daily Arts Writer

ON DISPLAY
Every day this weekend
* from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
the Special Collections
Library at the Grad
Library is exhibiting
a selection of books
published by Ardis, an
Ann Arbor publishing
house that specializes
in printing censored
20th-century Soviet
works by authors like
Vladimir Nabokov.
Admission is free.
CONCERT
Fuck Phish. Well, not
really. But if you want
to get your jam on, the
Michigan Theater is
the place to be tomor-
row night. Umphrey's
McGee will be tear-
ing up genres - and
guitars - with its
molotov cocktail of
progrock that chan-
nels equal parts Steely
Dan and Mahavishnu
Orchestra. Opening
are local jazz-jammers
The Macpodz. Tickets
are $22.50 and the
show starts at 8 p.m.

6

n the basement of the newy remodeled Uni-
versity of Michigan Museum of Art, a sizable
crowd has gathered in a sleek, sterile-looking
auditoriufm. It's a Friday night in Ann Arbor,
and you can almost hear the sound of cheap
beers cracking open throughodt the city. But
for those sitting in UMMA's Helmut Stern Auditorium,
the only sound that echoes is the voice of Kyle Booten,"
who is center-stage, reciting his ambitious, abstract
brand of poetry. Booten - along with a large percent-
age of his audience - is a student in the University's,
MFA program. The atmosphere is warm and'congenial,
and the sense of community amo-g tfiose assemblid is
akin to that pf a congenial family.reunion. As the night
wears on, it becomes clear that the University's MFA
students are unlike most other graduate students.
Short for Master of Fine Arts, an MFA program is an
often overlooked and misunderstood two-year gradu-
ate program in which students prepare for careers
writing poetry, fiction or both. The MFA program.was
first introduced at the University of Iowa 70 years ago.
Now MFA degrees are offered at more than 150 uni-''
versities across the nation. Despite, the success of the
MFA movement, it's been surrounded by a fair degree ,
of controversy. Most of the flak'arises from the very }
nature of an lM7FA program. In essence, it attempts to
p teach something historically considered unteachable: .O
creative writing. qJ For more pragmatic types, .it may
be hard to fatholi how c" why such programs Rifst.
Unlike in law or medical school, there is no standard-
ized set of information students must master before
graduating from an MFA program. The idea of teach-
ing something as slippery and subjective as creative
writing seems to some an impossible or even absurd
undertaking. qi Quotes abound by writers and profes-
sors who decry the utility of MFA programs. The New
Yorker's Louis Menand complains that "Creative-writ-
ing programs are designed on the theory that students,
who have never published a poem can teach other stu-
* dents who have never published a poem how to write a
publishable poem." The idea is reductive, yes, but not
so far off. The crux of any MFA program is the writ-
ing workshop, in which students - most of whom have'
never been published - read and critique each other's
work in a small, generally supportive classroom setting.
This is, so to speak, how the magic happens.
See MFA, Page 4B

/
f
/.

jf

0.

r +
9
Once
considered an
unteachable
skill; creative
writing found
an academic
h dome in the
Master.of Fine

Arts $egree.
The University
of.Michigan
now boasts one
of the best MFA
programs in the
country.

FILM
Zombies are awe-
some. Seeing zombies
for free is even more
awesome. There's a
free screening of the
new movie "Zombie-
land," starring Jesse
Eisenberg, Woody
Harrelson and the
revolting living dead,
tonight at 9 p.m. at
the State Theater. Get
there early to guar-
antee a seat and do
your part to spread
zombie awareness.
ON STAGE
Tomorrow at Hill
Auditorium, The Uni-
versity's Symphony
Band will be per-
forming for the first
time this year. The
performance, called
"Influences and Atti-
tudes," will connect
past compositions to
present and future
music. Make sure to
catch the discussion
with composer Steven
Bryant at 7:15 p.m.
The concert is free
MAN/Daily and starts at 8 p.m.

i

ILLUSTRATION & DESIGN BY ALLISON GHA

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