All posts tagged: Claudia Rankine

Contractual Community: Minority Students’ Place in the Creative Writing Program

Image: Conal Gallagher A lot has happened since the events of last semester as detailed here. I thought about what it might look like for me to give an update on promises given, what has improved, what hasn’t. And yet, I feel like it’d be unnecessary, in a sense, to give another somewhat in-depth barometric of things overall. A problem had been pointed out, namely the program’s inadequate approach, specifically under the helm of the current director, Jeff Lockwood, to address issues uniquely relevant to minority students. A call had been made and had been heard. Anymore expended emotional and intellectual energies, other than acting for the sake of my own survival if necessary, would be undue labor on my part, at least in my view. Then, there’s simply the matter of our program’s change in directors starting next year, from Jeff Lockwood to Brad Watson. So rather than go in that direction, I thought I would discuss a topic endemic to the creative writing program generally: problems with the notion of “community.” (Although, if …

THERE IS TIME IN A TEPEE.

THE BRUTAL REALITY OF TIME-MANAGEMENT Facing the sixth week of term two, if I had a dime for every time I said, “man, this MFA-thingy is really getting in me way of me ole’ writing” I’d have, say, twelve sixty. Today I was told I have a comma problem. I said I’m Canadian. The cowboy-prof laughed, chaps ajangle. They don’t use Oxford commas in Oxford and slipping non-existent punctuation into quotes is as stupid as owning a gun. When Trump gets my vote, I might change my mind, if it still works. Tax time approaches, I’m afraid to log into accounts. But the G-men are docking my funding at thirty-five percent. Emails go unanswered. Deadlines and deadline and deadlines are met or discarded or cussed. I’ve stopped counting words and running. Now I count the minutes. I’ve started the William Shatner diet—a burrito a day at 9am. Keeps the healthcare away. I’m taking editing and style, fiction and non. I’ve started reading in the shower. Of course, my eyes are bigger than my belly and my …

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Master Class

Happy Halloween! I can’t believe it’s already the end of October. Fall is slowly settling in to Columbia. It was warmer these past few days, but today it is cloudy (my favorite) and I am relishing the cooler weather. The highlight for the month of October was definitely the master class with Claudia Rankine. She gave two lectures/readings at the university and candidates in the MFA program got to take a master class. We were told to write down a microagression and bring it. The class was larger than I expected, maybe around 15-20 people, but it was because alumni were invited, as well. Professor Rankine first asked our name and then we read our microaggression; she closed her eyes while she listened. She did not have a paper copy in front of her. She just listened and, when she spoke, pinpointed exactly what was working in the piece and what wasn’t. She told us to pay attention to the language that was used; the language carries its own stories. To carry these pieces forward, …