There I was, thinking of applying to do an MA in Creative Writing, when I realised that wasn’t quite what I wanted. Five or six years ago perhaps, it would have been right. But the more I thought about a course centred around a weekly writing workshop, the more my heart sank a little.
I began delving into the detail of my chosen course, and my second-choice too: was there enough reading and studying of other poets’ work, as well as writing? Was I really going to be immersed in poetry from a range of periods, or was the focus on contemporary? Was I going to have to take classes in novel writing, drama or other types of creative writing in which I have no interest? What was/were the experience, specialisations & interests of the tutors? What were research students working on? Was there much/any potential for crossover into the rest of the English department, or opportunity to take contextual modules?
Then I discovered an MA in Poetry and Poetics at York University. No other British university appears to offer such a thing. The more I read about it, the more I felt it was for me. Taking a part-time course at a Uni that’s 300 miles away isn’t a cheap option but it’s doable. When I was looking at Creative Writing, I did consider a distance-learning option elsewhere, but York doesn’t offer that on this particular MA, and actually when I realised that ‘distance learning’ means email and online text-based chat, without any face-to face-video seminars, I wasn’t so keen anyway.
So, the York course was the way to go, and I’m delighted to say I’ve been offered a place. I absolutely know this is going to be a real stimulus to my own writing, as well as being enjoyable in its own right. Now I’ve got a month or so to get my head around it, start organising travel/accommodation and so forth. At least I’ll have plenty of four-hour train journeys to do all that reading!