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Two MFA Students Offer Corrections to their Submissions

It happens nearly every week: a day or two after an MFA student hands out a piece for other students to critique, the all-class email arrives with an apology and at least one correction–sometimes to errors of fact, sometimes for typos. I’ve done it myself once or twice, but I finally decided that the errors that pop out after I obsessively re-read a piece I have just handed in (and that appears to be both universal and unavoidable behavior) are simply part of the process. Typos, after all, are the least of our problems.

Meanwhile, thought I’d share a spoof I sent out to last fall’s class…


From: A. Lincoln
Subject: Sory, email frm Movving Train
To: MFA group (recipients suppressed)
Date: 9/20/1863

Please excuse typos. Laptop ran out of batt. juice on trip, left notepad in office, had to draft piece on old envelope and key into Blackberry. Pls make following changes before Wed:

Line 1: make that “score,” not whore

Final line: please strike out everything after “perish from the earth.” The sentence beginning “Extra starch for collar” was intended for my wife.



From: E. Dickinson
Subject: Correction to this week’s workshop item
To: MFA group (recipients suppressed)
Date: 11/1/1862

I’m so sorry, but I didn’t proofread my last submission very carefully and see I left out some changes. Getting ready to leave the house to come to class is very distracting for me. Could you please write the following corrections on your copy?

First poem

Line 1: change “stop bad breath” to “stop for death”

I went back and forth on this change, but I think the second version really grasps the ‘structure of risk’ our teacher keeps talking about.

Second poem

Line 4: change “heaves of Norm” to “heaves of storm”

Sorry, Norm, I was thinking about you when I proofread this piece. Could you not sigh quite so deeply whilst being workshopped?

Thanks, I’ll try to be more careful next time. By the way, maybe over break this week I can explain to you all why “My period had come for Prayer” doesn’t refer to what you think it does.

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