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David Biespiel Loves on Paris Review app, Recommends it Over MFA

By Harriet Staff

Here’s David Biespiel’s Poetry Wire for The Rumpus, in which he praises the Paris Review app and suggests it is better than getting an MFA.

A sample:

Released just the other day, the new Paris Review app is slender, simple and, for the cost of absolutely nothing, is already worth as much, nay more, than any MFA education now on the market. Why? Because the free app gives you access to an amazing assortment of the magazine’s storied interviews from the 1950s to the current issue.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not MFA hater. Writers should do whatever they want to be writers. But I don’t care what MFA program you went to, are attending, or hope to attend, you will never get that much advice, insight, and joie de vive about the process of writing than you will from downloading this app, shutting the door to your studio, focusing on what matters to you as a writer — your artistic compulsions, concentrations, empathies, and fierce loyalty to language — and set about to reading. And if you have no interest in attending graduate school to become a writer…well, here you are, late 20th century’s Faculty from Parnassus. It’s the iLiterature syllabus extraordinaire.

To have this resource, this treasure on my tablet, man, it’s like wandering inside the pixilated brain of world literature. It’s like the crib notes for a Literary SAT of the imagination. It’s like thinking to yourself in the morning that you’d like to get a thought by Auden in your head for the rest of the day, and then swipe, tap, dink, dink: “If I had to ‘teach poetry,’ which, thank God, I don’t, I would concentrate on prosody, rhetoric, philology, and learning poems by heart.”

Sure, the archive has been online for a few years. But reading at the tabletop or on the laptop is just so ’90s, isn’t it? I got the Paris Review app for my phone, too, but it would have to be one, interminable wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles for me to accept squinting at it that long. Translation: My reading eyes are shot. Bu t— on a desert island, now, that would be different. A desert island, that is, with electrical power to recharge my phone so that, sure, then I could tough out the small print.

Full article here.

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, October 12th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.