Guest contributor: Bill and Dave

The Best Writing Program in the Country!

categories: Cocktail Hour



No more questions.  No more methodologies.  No more knife fights in the back stacks of the great libraries.  Science has spoken.  The greatest writing program in the country is…  VERMONT COLLEGE!

And what’s more, this unseeded, non-traditional, low-res, upstart CRUSHED the competition at every juncture.

The match-ups:

The inevitable Iowa will live to see another day of course, but George Mason advanced from the Sweet Sixteen on an upset, crushing Arizona state only to face the Alabama juggernaut and their vatic chants (dicks, elephants, tides, RTR, RFMT, and so forth, boo-rah!), enthusiasm unbounded, gentlemanly Michael Martone at the helm.  A mix-up in Bill’s head led to two San Diego programs taking the floor at the same time against the New School, hardly fair, but it all worked out for the bleached blondies down there at SDSU, that is till the Crimosn Tide came back strong, the moon more full than usual, and swamped their beaches.  The blood feud in Arizona had exhausted its combatants, it seemed, a lackluster match that barely made it to the buzzer, the teams just standing there panting.  What a game between OSU and UNCW, however.  Coach Gessner throwing chairs and his dog Missy onto the court shouting “Simplify, simplify!” and getting ejected, wonderful stuff.  But the cooler heads (and Lee K. Abbott) of OSU prevailed.  Ashland and Virginia tech played a nailbiter, but in the end it was scrappy Ashland who prevailed, and maybe got a little cocky: because here came the Monster from Montpelier!  Who’da thunk Vermont could take on OSU?  But they did so with ease, garnering more votes than their whole half of the bracket combined.

The final matchup, Vermont vs. Alabama, was a shocker, tied at the half, then no contest, ‘Bama tripping over their extraordinarily long dicks while meanwhile, triple-triples for the whole Vermont team.


Bill and Dave are speechless, but the system has spoken.  Best MFA program in the land?  Vermont College of Fine Arts, ladies and gentlemen, VERMONT!

This is the last word, of course, at least for 2012.  Bill and Dave’s has spoken.  All other rankings are obsolete, refer to them no more.  Let’s celebrate in the comments column.  And don’t forget to drink responsibly.  Riot police are standing by.


Our top 16 programs in the country:

1. Vermont: 192
2. Bama: 64
3. OSU: 51
4. McNeese: 44
5. Goddard: 43 (a spate of late votes would have made G number 3, but…..)
6. George Mason: 35
7. UNCW: 23
8. Ashland: 22
9. SDSU: 21
10. Virginia Tech: 15
11. Arizona State: 13
12. BGSU: 9
13. New School: 7
14. Arizona: 7
15. Iowa: 7
16.  Penn State RIP: 5

Unlike in the Abramson system, these voters have tasted the food, baby.

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  1. Mark Lupinetti writes:

    Ohmigod! Now they’re going drug test ALL of us.

    • Bill writes:

      We take this comment as an admission of guilt. But performance enhancing concoctions are all part of our game, so no penalty, unless it’s early death.

  2. Rebecca Van Slyke writes:

    VCFA all the way! Uncomfortable dorm beds aside, the faculty is fabulous, the quality of the students is top-notch… plus there is that one afternoon off, the party & dance… and The Wine Pit!
    I’d turn around and do it all again in a heartbeat.

  3. Donigan Merritt writes:

    An interesting debate would be to consider whether or not MFA programs in creative writing ought to exist at all, but since they they do exist, one might as well be though of as the best one, regardless of criteria.

    • Bill writes:

      That would be interesting. We’ll have to have a post about that. What’s your feeling? Valuable or no, this whole MFA model?

      • Donigan Merritt writes:

        Sorry for the delay; I had the flu.

        Seems to me that mainly the MFA exists to offer a teaching credential to writers who — the 99% — are not going to make a living writing and must do something else, so they go into the business of helping other wannabe writers get a degree that will allow them to get a job teaching other … and so on.

        I have one of these (MFA, Iowa, 81), and although I never did teach writing afterward, its main benefit seems to be the cachet of listing that degree in the “about the author” bio blurb on my book jackets.

        While I do believe that aspects of the craft of writing are taught, and must be — the essential structure of language, punctuation, composition — I do not believe that the art, the creative element of creative writing is taught; in fact, I am of the opinion that “creative writing workshops” are more likely to deflect and corrupt a potentially fine writer.

        It took quite a while for me to overcome my own MFA workshop sessions.

        Thank you for asking.

        • Bill writes:

          I’ve known quite a few very successful writers who also teach. Some are great teachers, some aren’t. And I’ve known many, many writers of great talent who haven’t made enough of a living out it and do other work, including teaching. Some or maybe most hold the MFA. But not all. Sounds like you had bad teachers–usually the cause of overly traumatic workshops. Though of course our own egos may be involved as well. I really loved my MFA years, just writing and reading and reading and writing and socializing with others doing the same and reading and writing and then teaching and reading and writing and writing and teaching. It beat kitchens and bathrooms, which is what I was doing before. But what I want to hear about is Buenos Aires! How now?

          • Donigan Merritt writes:

            Buenos Aires was a fine place to spend the 3 1/2 years we spent here, but we are moving this week, actually leaving tomorrow, and after 3 months in the States, will be going to Mexico City next. Buenos Aires is one of the top 3, maybe 4, world cities that have a large and distinctive literary café culture — there are at least 50 grand cafés in the city that provide that special atmosphere for writers. I have been to only 3 other cities than can complete with Buenos Aires in this regard: Vienna (always #1), Paris, and Rome. BA would be a shoe-in 4th. But sadly rampant inflation and a probable looming financial crash would make it a dubious place to live now. Unless you had a steady income in dollars and did not depend on pesos. Then it wouldn’t be so bad. We did have our income in dollars, but friends who do not are hurting. If you check out my blog at and use the search function for Buenos Aires, you will find a lot of stuff about the city’s literary life.

  4. Jewel writes:

    I am TEAM VCFA all the way! Wowza!

  5. MEK writes:

    YES!! VCFA, of course!

  6. Andria writes:

    I KNEW there was a reason I fly from one side of the country twice a year and sleep on incredibly uncomfortable dorm beds for two weeks. Other than I like to spend money I don’t have and I enjoy waking up with back pain.

    Woot, VCFA!!!

  7. Jodi Paloni writes:

    Somehow this helped make writing my student loan check today a little easier. Celebrate good times…

  8. Simmons writes:

    Just 7 votes for Arizona? Lame. I blame the border wall.

  9. Jeanne Gassman writes:

    VCFA all the way! Not only do we have great writers, teachers, and mentors, we also have a resident ghost and a talent show that rocks!

    Yay, VCFA!

    • Bill writes:

      The talent show rocks.

      • Andria writes:

        Wait! There’s a talent show? I’ve never been invited to that. 🙁

        • Bill writes:

          Andria, you are invited to the Bill and Dave’s talent show.

          • BeebeeSomewhere writes:

            Andria – everyone is welcome at the VCFA talent show. Can I come to the Bill and Dave talent show? I live for talent shows.

            • Bill writes:

              The Bill and Dave’s talent show will be open to the Universe. Still trying to figure out how to pull it off. Suggestions welcome.

              • BeebeeSomewhere writes:

                Thinking – how to put together a virtual all-Universe talent show. Suggestions forthcoming.

  10. Cory Paul Harrison writes:


    Socko accounts.


    Tuscaloosa Runs This, with legitimacy.

    Elephants, y’all.

    • Bill writes:

      Time to start building. I’m hearing noises from Florida State, Pacific University, American, Bard, Mills, St. Mary’s, just to name a few! And how about Billie Holiday singing “Moonlight in Vermont”?

      • BeebeeSomewhere writes:

        I hear the Village People’s YMCA – changed to VCFA. Much more upbeat, like VCFA itself.

  11. Nina Nelson writes:

    Woo-hoo! Go VCFA!!!

  12. Sarah Marian writes:

    VCFA all the way.

    • Bill writes:

      Are they throwing burning couches off the balcony down there in Montpelier? That’s what they do after the Sugar Bowl.

      • louise writes:

        Yeah, it’s like Mardi Gras here this morning – Vermont style, that is – but then again, it’s kind of like that every day!

        • Bill writes:

          I saw the video of Bernie Sanders on stilts and covered with beads and bling!

  13. Michael Martone writes:

    I was really happy to see that McNeese tallied 44 points.

    • Bill writes:

      McNeese rocks. Watch out next year! And Bama, of course. Great program, great people, great spirit! Finest coaches in the land.

  14. Jennifer Cary Diers writes:

    No contest, really. VCFA is the best choice I’ve ever made… aside from marrying my husband, of course. But he’s reading over my shoulder.

  15. Steph F. writes:

    As if there was ever any doubt…VCFA all the way, baby!

    • Bill writes:

      There was doubt in some circles. But here it is: scientific, peer-reviewed, mathematically unassailable proof that low-res programs can play on the same field as the rest, with results!