From the letter:
To put it plainly, the Poets & Writers rankings are bad: they are methodologically specious in the extreme and quite misleading. A biased opinion poll – based on a tiny, self-selecting survey of potential program applicants – provides poor information.
Now Poets & Writers has issued a response, arguing that their survey of writing program applicants – rather than current students, alumni or faculty – provides valuable information:
While applicants are not experts on creative writing programs, they do have a vested interest in researching the various qualities of a number of programs and comparing them.
This back-and-forth is sparking debate about how to judge a writing program and who should be doing it. Perhaps more interesting, the exchange is also raising questions about what’s worth most in a writer’s training.