If the MFA program is a necessary evil, a necessary--broken--evil. If the MFA isn't even necessary but, rather, an ever-present evil that is not going away. If "poetry" and MFA continue to go hand-in-hand. If a poet without a degree in poetry. If a poet who is not professionally certified. If one can only get a teaching job with a book and a fancy degree. If I dropped out of an MFA program because it was not intellectually rigorous (but plenty racist and classist). If my foot hurts because I don't have insurance and can't see a doctor because I can't get a job with my MFA degree.
If so. If so. Is there a better "model" for an education in poetry? What to make of the workshop? I know Kasey M. has written/thought about these issues in a much more thorough and erudite fashion than I have, but I'd like to reopen the dialogue.
Recently a poet whom I respect, currently in a fairly conservative MFA program, said something like: a lot of MFA programs are diploma mills, but MY program has a long list of heavy hitter alums!
My question: does it matter who your poetry student graduates are? Does it matter how many books they have, how many endowed chairs they occupy, how "famous" they are? Does it matter....to poetry? Well, of course not. Is it a good idea to go to an MFA program to "get a job?" (Well, no. I mean, it's not like there is a slew of poetry teaching jobs out there. There are, however, far too many MFA grads working in bookstores and coffee shops.)
So why go? What's the alternative?