All posts tagged: Introduction

Katharine G. Monger Introduction (Washington University in St. Louis ’17)

Image: Alice Popkorn Is there a typical MFA admission story? I’m not sure. Mine feels atypical, but perhaps that’s a self-centered need to be a special snowflake. I’m a second round applicant. I first applied during my senior year at The University of Iowa, because, even though the MFA friends I had gotten close to in college had advised me not to, and even though my professors advised me not to, and even though blogs and Facebook groups and forums told me not to, I was stubborn. I ended up applying to eight programs, all in fiction except for my alma mater, where I had to choose between applying for fiction and nonfiction. (I chose the latter, but that’s another post.) Round 1:  Brown University (R)[1] The University of Texas-Austin (Michener Center) (R) Washington University in St. Louis {W}[2] University of Notre Dame {W} University of Montana (R) Cornell University (R) The University of Iowa (R) University of Massachusetts-Amherst (R) [1] (R) Rejected [2] {W} Waitlisted (official and unofficial) Complicating my self-made abyss of MFA applications was my …

Sarah Abbott – Introduction (University of Kentucky ’16)

When you go whitewater rafting on the New River for the first time, you don’t know what to expect. Climbing with a crowd of other people into an old yellow bus, you clack helmets and paddles against one another before settling in for the trip down to the departure point. The bus smells a little like mildew as it careens around kiss-your-hiney curves. Along the way, the head rafting guide tells you all the things that can go wrong when you are out there on the rapids. What to do while you’re in the raft; what to do if you fall out. Then you’re out on the water, feet wedged firmly under the seat in front of you, and the guide’s warnings drift away like the damselflies that perched for a moment on your paddle. The river is tranquil, but you can hear the whitewater coming. Anticipation thrums through your fingers as you tighten your grip. A reckless smile spreads across your face. Just as you enter the first set of rapids, you realize there …

Jennifer Obi Introduction (Northern Arizona University ’16)

It’s probably providence that I waited to the absolute last minute to write this post. I’m constantly doing that when I have writing deadlines, and I guess old habits die hard as they say. I spent a long time trying to figure out the perfect way to write this introduction. What should I highlight? What should I speak on as an authority? It was all a waste of time. I’m no authority, and there isn’t any right or wrong thing to highlight. But I guess that speaks to who I am as a person. Always trying to figure out the right way and trying to figure out if just being me is enough. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I should start from the beginning. My name is Nkechi. My name is Jennifer. I go by Jen. Just call me Jen. I’m a pieces, and as any pieces will tell you, I’m entirely ruled too much by my emotions. And the last couple years for me were pretty bad. Really bad. I’ve always …

Roy G. Guzmán – Introduction (University of Minnesota ’17)

Five Songs to Put that MFA Dream into Overdrive Poets are lauded in Latino communities for their vision, but very few of our members embrace or understand the ramifications of pursuing this vocation. For instance, I grew up idolizing Rubén Darío, but it wasn’t until college that I studied his work; in Miami, José Martí’s words echo in salsa songs, but his influence is disappearing with the passing of older generations. When you’re a Latino in the United States poetry is inescapable because your reality frequently switches between anguish and hope, un-documentation and patriotism, a lack of identity or an ethnic oversaturation. The Replacements’ “I Will Dare” is my oblique attempt at inviting the MFA dream into my life. Any step is important. I was born in Honduras, and during my first few years in the United States I was undocumented. Through my stepfather’s Cuban refugee status, my mother and I obtained our green cards. However, all that time I wasn’t able to go to school. Mom had no choice other than to take me …

Gillian Douple Introduction (Columbia College Chicago ’16)

The chronic bad dreams started when I was 17. They continued for the next seven years all the way to last night, where I had a dream that two of my family members died on the Fourth of July. During my years as an undergrad, I had much of what my father calls “exam dreams”—that is, the genre of dreams where you suddenly are forced to take a huge, future-determining examination you haven’t studied for (and maybe you’re naked, too, just to spice things up). During my volunteer year at a soup kitchen, some mornings I would wake up with bad dreams blending with the calling of the homeless three floors beneath my window, which had me wondering what was actually real and what was a dream. And while working and traveling through Europe, whether sleeping on some stranger’s floor, in a hostel, or in my tiny caravan, I would get complaints that I kept talking in my sleep. The dreams were just as bad as ever, and they ranged from me bleeding out pounds …

Lauren Westerfield Introduction Post, Applicant ’15

Note: Throughout the 2015 application process, we will be following and featuring writers who are currently applying to creative writing programs. This fall marks my third foray into MFA applications. By the time I submit the last batch of samples, transcripts, tears and hope, I’ll be thirty. I’d like to think there’s something auspicious about all these “3’s” — that they signify manifestation of dreams, maybe, or even good old-fashioned luck. But looking back, I’m mostly just grateful: for the false starts, trials, errors and confusions of the past two cycles that have landed me here, finally ready, finally clear on what I want to explore as a writer and how an MFA best fits into that dream. Of course, there are those who think it’s crazy, applying three years in a row. Those who, in the thick of their first “draft season,” take to Facebook with a chorus of, “how does anyone ever do this more than once?” and “I would never survive the stress.” If you are or have been one of these folks, …

J.R. Dawson Introduction (Stonecoast ’16)

I didn’t go to my senior prom. Instead, I went to the after-party at the local YMCA. Somehow around three in the morning, I got wrangled into having a session with the tarot card reader the school had brought in for entertainment purposes (right between the hypnotist and the raffle drawing for QT gas cards). The guy was nice enough; he had a big beard and some weird little top hat. He said I reminded him of his daughter. I said he didn’t remind me of my father. And then he pulled the cards.