Ys

Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

(You are very much not forgotten)

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Letters from the front-lines of MFA Land
Ys
ajodasso
As many of you know via my Patreon page, I'm currently a Teaching Fellow and MFA (Creative Writing: Poetry) Candidate at Boston University. I had meant to start blogging more faithfully here once classes started, but the truth of the matter is, four weeks in, I'm completely swamped with work (and therefore completely exhausted). I'm not sure why I found blogging while I was in grad school the first time around in the UK so much easier; my archives on this account are full of personal-essay-like stories of my years discovering England. I'd like to think I have such things to say about Boston, as I've only been back here for a few years now (only to be leaving for England again next summer), but it somehow feels like too-familiar ground. My love letters to Boston are much further back in the archive of this journal, as I wrote them while I was an undergraduate at Wellesley.

My classes started on August 27th. This semester, I'm taking the two core Poetry Workshops (one with Robert Pinsky, one with Karl Kirchwey) plus a course in Creative Nonfiction (taught by Bill Loizeaux). I won't be teaching undergraduates till the spring, so I've had some time to mess around with one of my former UK teaching syllabuses in order to make it functional in a Creative Writing context (the reading selections in poetry, fiction, and drama, I'm pleased with, so those will change very little). I've missed teaching a great deal. My class size here won't be much different from the class sizes I had at York, so that's also reassuring.

I've been remiss in sending out submissions, too, although I did sell three poems to SWAMP; I think those will be coming out in October, so watch this space. I have maybe two submissions out with other journals at the moment, but they aren't journals in my usual milieu by any stretch. They're journals with which I've traditionally had as little luck as anyone else in the SF/F/Spec community, but it's high time I tried them again.

I'm finding more time to read things (that aren't poetry) just for the sake of reading again, which is a pleasure I'd left by the wayside some time ago. I demolished this 534-page book in 48 hours, and that's on top of the intense class-work schedule in which I'm currently enmeshed. Whether you're autistic or not, read it. I haven't read anything so compellingly informative in years. In the meantime, I'm tweeting a lot. Come say hi.

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Lovely to see an update from you. The uni programme sounds intense but rewarding, and I totally understand about missing teaching :) Glad you can reuse some of your old materials though. Good luck!

It's basically a two-year MFA crammed into one year :) Or, rather, you can think of it as running the same way as a UK MA program (three terms of classes + a dissertation). Thank you <3 I hope all's well on your end!

*nod nod* Intense! Good luck with it!

All is well yes, just very busy as teaching has started and I have a lot of new responsibilities, projects, research etc.

As someone who often thinks about applying for an MFA, I'll selfishly say that it's quite helpful to see your updates from the front lines!

Ooh! Which programs/schools have you been considering?

There are four or five programs that interest me (in NYC, Brooklyn college and NYU, and outside of NYC, Minneapolis and Michigan, plus the low-res program at Vermont). Realistically, I think I'd have to keep working through it (because I'm terrified of coming out of school with no job, given the rarity of jobs in the field in which I work), so a local NYC program is probably the most likely option.

Glad to hear that things are going well, if busy! I have that book on request from the library already right now but it looks like it's going to be a while (many more holds than copies available).

I shall pray that you move up swiftly through the ranks *fingers crossed* It's so good.

October 6th we'll be giving a talk around our The American Slave Coast for Linda Heywood, who is doing African American Studies this year at Boston University. :)

That sounds incredible. Thank you for giving me a name in the BU community to watch out for! :)

I'm glad things seem to be moving, and moving in a fascinatin direction!
My wishes always...

And mine to you, my friend *hugs* Things were moving much faster than I'd anticipated, but September arrived and time seemed to slow. This first month of classes has been a grind of constant work, albeit mostly enjoyable work; I'm used to that meaning time flies, but when I live alone, apparently it means the opposite. I'd forgotten that.

A special yay for finding time to read for the sake of reading! <3

I have several other ASD-related books queued up :-D

Wow, you sound very busy. Hope you manage to take some time for yourself to breathe too. :)

So, I made some time for myself between yesterday evening and this evening. I watched Season 1 of Rick and Morty. I'm not sure that was the best way I could've spent my time, but it was at least something that wasn't rabidly working on class-related stuff :-D

I'm so pleased you're in this program, and getting time to read, and particularly that you're getting to study with Pinsky, whose work I admire very much.

I had admired Pinsky's work as an undergraduate, too, and then had grown quite distracted for a number of years (grad school round #1) with reading almost exclusively medieval British poets and modern British poets. As I rediscover the contemporary American poetry scene, I'm getting the sense there's a great deal I've missed!

Hello! I totally get it. I too am having trouble juggling grad school, writing, and other interests. Glad to see you around though (and yes, I do see you around on Twitter! *waves* )

I'm glad we see each other around on Twitter, too *waves back* I feel like I'm more active on Twitter these days than I am anywhere else. Nobody is more surprised about this than me!

It's lovely to hear from you. You're up to your eyes in work, it appears, but happily it sounds all very suited to you. I'm so glad. And I wish you a happy birthday and many more. <3

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