All posts tagged: New York City

Jess Silfa Introduction Part Deux: Brooklyn College ’18 Edition

Image: Sven-Kåre Evenseth I never thought this could be my life. Since starting grad school I’ve been giddy. Excited. Thrilled beyond belief. The summer was a slow, ticking rise up the roller coaster track and these last two weeks in grad school have been the wondrous fall. I’m still feeling the adrenaline.  I already wrote an introduction of sorts back when I was an applicant blogger here at The MFA Years—feel free to read it if you haven’t already. Since my last blog post I chose to attend Brooklyn College. I packed up my apartment near Columbia University and moved with my roommate to Flatbush to be closer to the school. So far everything about Brooklyn College is what I wanted in a school environment: it’s accessible, near family, and the faculty is wonderful. So are the other students. There are fifteen of us in the fiction concentration and we see each other every week. We’re all in one fiction seminar together and then split up between the various workshops offered by the program. The fiction …

Location / Acclimation

The last thing my workshop professor told me as my MFA’s first semester concluded was: you get three significant breaks: winter, summer, winter—write, use them well. Then she said something about something magnificent always happening during a break, but the pressure of having to produce work was enough for me to worry about. I flew back to Florida to visit my family, naturally—to make the story short—not much work was done—(two poems?) which I feel many people would see as miraculous progress, but I tend to throw away most of what I write anyway, so who am I kidding? Someone in my program told me that Roger Reeves told them that reading is also writing, so, in any case in that sense, I was productive as hell. But, I guess, the question I’m dancing around is: how much work is expected of us in the MFA? And, where does self-discipline come in? I don’t know if it’s the classes I took this semester, teaching methods, or whether I’m just not feeling poetry at the moment, …

Francisco Márquez Introduction (New York University ’17)

Image: Vincent Desjardins As for the poet thing, this is the story I like to tell some people: My grandfather was an art collector. He was the son of farmers from Italy who at the age of eighteen decided to enlist in the Second World War, and then upon surviving, moved to Venezuela to start a life in a country that would with the passing days turn into the mecca of the world’s oil industry. I never met him. I just met him through the looming ghosts of his artwork, and the art he feverishly collected. So much so that when he died, his art gallery, the one he built given his enormous support for local artists, failed, and as a solution for the space, it was converted into my grandmother’s house. I spent a large portion of my time in an art gallery turned grandmother’s abode: sleek white walls with studio lighting inhabited by floral-pattern green sofas and 1960s glass tables. I tell people that growing up in a bubble of art in Venezuela, …

An Inside Look With Matthue Roth, Brooklyn College ’14

What was it like living in New York City? How far does your stipend go there living wise? Oh, I was completely stipend-less. Somehow, the directors of the program would sometimes find some partial scholarship to distribute among the students, which was awesome — a few extra hundred dollars in your pocket is like buried treasure when you’re a student. But the real value of the Brooklyn College program is, it’s a top-tier school and you’re paying state-school tuition (actually, city-school tuition). Most of our professors also teach at Columbia and New School and NYU, but, you know, paying tens of thousands of dollars a year less. What was the workshop environment like? Supportive! Weirdly, totally unexpectedly supportive. Our cohort was so varied — you can probably read that as me saying “they were all so weird.” There were magical-realism people, gritty realists, two people who were playing around with speculative fiction, a graphic novelist. Everyone respected each other (our program was so small and diverse that competition wasn’t really a thing) but more to the …