Saturday, February 23, 2008

NEA application woes

It appears I'm not the only one who finds the new online NEA application process for Literature Fellowships kludgy and confusing. I goofed my first because the instructions are so long and detailed that my eyes glazed over at just the wrong moment and I rashly didn't double-check my attachments. Other people I know have had conniptions trying to download, install and run software to create pdf files (now required). Still others have experiences glitches in the site that kept them hung up on a "Save & Submit" button, with the message that their application is being processed -- for 45 minutes or more.

Sheesh! Software as written by gremlins. Or, as someone said, a new way to weed out applicants. My favorite witticism was Jeffrey Levine's. In response to someone who lamented that she might have attached blank files to her application, he said, "Submitting blank verse will likely earn you points."

Or something along those lines.

Should applying for a grant really be this hard on poets? I suppose they think that if we can find the turn or the iambs in a sonnet, we should be able to create pdf files on our own computers.

As the robot says, "Does not compute."


  1. I'm not sure if this will be useful now, but I use Open Office instead of Microsoft Office. Not only is it free, but it allows documents to be turned into pdfs really easily.

  2. Julie -- Thanks for the tip. From what I hear, lots and lots of poets are tearing their hair out at this very moment over the pdf thing. Maybe some of them will be helped by the program. I'm on a Mac, and you can create pdfs in Word on that platform, but PC users of Word are out of luck. A solution will be much appreciated.