In this episode of Saturday Show Podcast, Frank discusses the true value of obtaining an Masters in Fine Arts degree, the enduring influence of MFA-less Ernest Hemingway, and much, much more. As always, literary fiction techniques are discussed as well. The audio player above uses Flash. Here is the link to the show on

Saturday Show #28. Relevant Links and Show Notes:

Is an MFA Really Worth It?
Ask the Writing Teacher –

Posted by Frank Marcopolos

Frank Marcopolos founded "The Whirligig" literary magazine in 1999, which has been called "a landmark, demonstrating the power of the literary underground." It has been said that "you get this true lion-roaring sense that Editor Frank Marcopolos knows what he likes, and how to read, and how to publish, and he has guts, and eats insects on Wheaties with bleach." His long-form fiction has been reviewed with such praise as "thorough-goingly entertaining" and "highly readable...recalls the style of Michael Chabon or John Irving. A literary gem that should not be missed." A broadcasting-school graduate, his unique literary-audio work has been featured in movie trailers, scholastic environments, and on YouTube, with one of his audiobooks achieving over 100,000 "views" there.


  1. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I feel that you simply need to write additional information on this! Good podcast, bro. Very informative.

  2. Evangeline Alleshouse 14 August 2013 at 08:16

    I just want to mention I am just a beginner to blogging and absolutely like your website. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog. You absolutely have wonderful posts. Bless you for sharing.

  3. Wilby Nixdown 16 July 2013 at 11:14

    Sweet. Excellent points on the podcast. I’m considering an MFA myself, so this was useful. Thanks, Frank.

  4. Awesome! Loved it!

  5. Bill Fordman 16 July 2013 at 10:22

    Typically I don’t write-up sites, but need to say that your podcast required me to do so! Your podcast astonished me. Thanks, I learned a lot.

    1. Thanks, and you’re certainly welcome!

  6. E. David Vittberger 16 July 2013 at 05:33

    I was just searching for this information for a while. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative web sites in top of the list. Normally the top websites are full of garbage.

  7. While having a basic understanding of the English language, story structure and a strong handle on a diverse vocabulary are basics to “good writing”, I do not feel that having an advanced degree is necessary. In fact, I think in some ways, too much structure and “learned perception” (because to me that is all the facts are-someone’s perception of what akes something good) can actually hinder the creative process as well as the raw unimpeded emotions and feelings of the writer that can come out when not worrying if the writing is adhering to a particular writing methodology.

    I also feel that what makes something “good” can only truly be determined by the individual reader. What makes something good to one person, might not appeal to another. I’ve ready things that the powers that be deem as classic only to feel disappointed. Conversely, I’ve ready little known works that amazed me.

    All this rambling to say that YES, I think the internet and ebooks, etc. will have a profound impact on writing and how and what things are deemed great works.

    thanks for the podcast and sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thanks, and be sure to spread the word. Sharing is caring.

  8. Here’s me leaving a comment, damn it.

    I really liked this episode, especially the talk about the MFA. Like you, I do have a suspicion that such a degree does help get you published. You also mentioned this–and I agree as well–there are certain connections that are easier to make in that sort of program. Someone you know goes on to be an editor, for example, and then–boom–maybe you have a little easier go at the whole business. I think it’s good to know people in any pursuit, and an MFA program provides a forum to meet people in the industry. Is it worth 2-3 years? How much will it cost out of pocket? Can you achieve your goals without it? Is the MFA the MBA of writing?

    Please continue the discussion in future podcasts.

    1. haha Thanks for chiming in, Michael. I’m thinking about talking more about the larger context of this issue and how the MFA fits into that for future podcasts.

Comments are closed.