Probably the first time I was a boss was when I was associate dean of the graduate school at the University of Southern California. I was in my early 30s.
The thing that’s depressing is teaching graduate students today and discovering that they don’t know simple elemental facts of grammar. They really do not know how to scan a line; they’ve never been taught to scan a line. Many of them don’t know the difference between ‘lie’ and ‘lay,’ let alone ‘its’ and ‘it’s.’ And they’re in graduate school!
Given the devaluation of literature and of the study of foreign languages per se in the United States, as well as the preponderance of theory over text in graduate literature studies, creative writing programs keep literature courses populated.
The college graduate is presented with a sheepskin to cover his intellectual nakedness.
I was always very aware of the nature of the place where I was growing up in Gulfport, Mississippi, how that place was shaping my experience of the world. I had to go to the Northeast for graduate school because I felt like I had to get far away from my South, be outside it, to understand it.
If a student takes the whole series of my folklore courses including the graduate seminars, he or she should learn something about fieldwork, something about bibliography, something about how to carry out library research, and something about how to publish that research.
As a graduate student at Oxford in 1963, I began writing about books in revolutionary France, helping to found the discipline of book history. I was in my academic corner writing about Enlightenment ideals when the Internet exploded the world of academic communication in the 1990s.
ACT and SAT each have their own parts of the country. The GRE has its lock on graduate admissions. And so, one could blame the companies, but really, economically, they have no incentive to change things very much because they’re getting the business.
One of my graduate school professors, to whom I started sending poems when I started writing again after a 10-year hiatus, suggested I prepare a book manuscript which he could send to publishers for me.
I started out in graduate school to be a fiction writer. I thought I wanted to write short stories. I started writing poems at that point only because a friend of mine dared me to write a poem. And I took the dare because I was convinced that I couldn’t write a good poem… And then it actually wasn’t so bad.