Poetry News

Bhanu Kapil Requests Apology From Ryan Boudinot

By Harriet Staff


Well, we kept our eyes peeled, as promised! Bhanu Kapil responds to the recent Stranger article in which Ryan Boudinot, writing of his time at the Goddard low-residency MFA program, suggested everyone quit while they're ahead (we're paraphrasing). Kapil, a former colleague of Boudinot at Goddard and current professor at Naropa, dismantles the piece and requests an apology. "...I think you should apologize. To your former students. The ones you wrote such devastating things about. Things that fall, for me, into the category of academic mobbing." "I am so upset that you would tear down a writer in the time before writing or approaching the writing to come. To summarize, please apologize to your former students -- perhaps on Twitter. If you do, I will honor you and defend your right to free speech -- of course! -- about whether or not MFA programs are the correct path to a life as a writer." More:

You wrote an article trashing the Goddard MFA the other day which, to my horror, was retweeted by one of my literary heroes, Hari Kunzru!!!!! Basically, anyone who writes a novel without flinching is my literary hero. I analyze the confidence of fiction writers; it's like a hobby. I compare it with my inability to write normal books.

Re: Goddard.

I just want to say that my general feeling is that you have missed a chance.

Of some kind.

Although I understand your point about universities being secular institutions -- necessarily non-religious -- I find your general characterization of -- Goddard -- almost incomprehensible.

Goddard is one of the most extraordinary and magical places I have ever taught in -- full disclosure, my regular job is at a Buddhist-inspired university in Boulder, Colorado. And even with that ultra-cool, progressive job with fearless, engaged students -- Goddard dazzles me every time. I have been on family leave -- and each time the moment of the residency comes around, I feel an ache not to be there!

Kapil names visiting writers and former students and, surprisingly, is generous with Boudinot: "I myself have been impressed by your brilliant confidence as a writer. And thought about it. You seemed so nice! Therefore: Please apologize."

Read all of "On Ryan Boudinot and the Goddard MFA" at Bhanu Kapil's blog, Jack Kerouac is Punjabi.