2018-01-06 MFA Residency Wrap Up

I arrived home last night to a quiet house and a kitten who was happy to see me. I left all my bags in a pile in the bedroom, had a snack and finished up some writing, and went to bed. I was utterly exhausted.

If I were to sum up my experience these past 9 days, I would say it was very trying. I was exhausted most of the time and that was in large part due to the combination of not enough sleep and having to be with people for most of the day.

I liked all the workshops and lectures. I think I got a at least a little something, if not a lot, from each one. I was most interested in the poetry lectures naturally and I now have a much better idea about how much of a big wide world of things there are to learn.

I learned that cliches are bad. Don’t use the moon, or sun, or flowers, or stars in poems. Avoid overused things. Adjectives are bad. Telling about something instead of showing something is bad. Repeating things unnecessarily is bad. The stress on syllables matters. Not being too cryptic matters. Rhyme is bad (that’s going to be a tough one for me to come to terms with, I think). When you are done writing, you should just keep writing to get further past what you thought was the end of the poem. There are many, many, many different types of poems that fall into a few categories. You can’t be afraid to cut and edit and throw things away and start over. You should consider the reader. And lastly.. sometimes, you just have to toss out all those rules out and make it what you want.

There is, apparently, a right way and a wrong way of doing things and I see my biggest goal this semester is to sort of sort that all out.

Some mentors seemed to focus their lectures more on the creative process itself and writing anything at all, whereas some zero’d in on the rules and the revising process. I enjoyed the former more than the later, but realize I don’t really have any trouble with the former so that makes sense. Again, I have a lot to learn. If poetry can be taught, I can learn it.

By the time I hit day 6 or 7 I was ready to go home. I wanted to not only get back to my normal routine, but I was really ready to dive in and start reading. I ordered the 6 books on my reading list this morning and so they will probably arrive in a few days. By that time, I will have less than three weeks until my first packet is due which has to include new poems, revised poems, and critical essays on what I am reading.

I spent most of the day today just trying to have a normal day, but then had K’s annual holiday party to go to this evening so I’m still not quite settled back in yet. I’m glad I have one more day before I have to start working again.

Tomorrow I am going to brave opening all the feedback I received on my poetry during workshop. I was, of course, in the room when it was verbally discussed, but people also make comments on the pages and then hand them to you to review later. There could be comments that someone was too timid to say outlaid and there could be more than what was shared with the group. I know my stuff needs a lot of work and I’ve been afraid to look until now (mostly because I was too busy and not because I’m worried about it).

Tomorrow I’m also going to make a goal for myself to turn in all the lecture notes which is due in less than a week. I attended way more lectures than I needed to so that should be cake, just cutting and pasting the notes I took.

I’m fairly close to falling asleep as I type this, so I’m going to close it up now.

Peas Out,
~Miss SugarCookie

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