“It never struck me that writing was something anyone could teach you—or if anyone could, it was the great masters, which meant going to the library and reading with great care the authors I most loved and admired. It struck me that an MFA program could be not just helpful but actually harmful.
There’s an orthodoxy of style at MFA programs, and it’s a style that turns me off. It’s the stone soup parable. Lots of people who don’t really know what they’re doing tear your work to shreds. No matter how robust you are, it has to be a painful experience and change your work, and probably not in a good way. I’m all in favor of grad school for surgeons and car mechanics, but less so as we get towards art, where I don’t think it does much good.”