All posts tagged: university of mississippi

At What Point is Self-Care Toxic?

Image: Photo by Abby Breaking News: I figured out that graduate school is hard. At the point when this happened, I was facing around eleven of my classmates. I was to present an essay we read in my Contemporary African Lit. class. I had read this article maybe five times before I had a speech ready, and I was going to do this. But there was a block, and I started stumbling, and I turned red, and people jumped in to help me, and I was spiraling. Two people gave presentations after and killed it, too, so when I left I was ready to go home and eat leftovers and cry. As my friend drove me home I expressed how humiliated I had looked, and she promised it would get better. In fact, everyone has said that the first semester is very hard. They say: The first semester of graduate school is the hardest, and that’s not to say it gets easier. It doesn’t. You’ll just adjust to how difficult it is. So here I was, …

I Am Not My Personal Statement

Image: Lidyanne Aquino While I was applying to MFA poetry programs in late 2016- early 2017, I was simultaneously figuring out how to come out as non-binary. I was writing personal letters, bios, anything that described me, and they were slowly morphing into queer testimonies. I found that I was taking the application process a little too seriously, a little too defensively. I was refreshing my Gmail App almost every thirty minutes. I was butterflied, I felt, by the interrogation of personal statements and essay responses. I was trying to impress someone, and I was trying to be myself, and I didn’t believe myself. The University of Mississippi’s Derrick Harriell called me to offer me a TAship in his program. I wanted to say, “Are you sure? I’m not my personal statement.” In fact, each school that accepted me got a version of Jennie on the phone who I can’t defend. I was scared and guilty of having changed dramatically since I sent my personal statement. Yeah, sure, my resume hadn’t changed, and sure, my …

How to Be a Black Boy in an MFA Program in Mississippi in (Trump’s America) The America You Have Always Known

“I won’t get started./history is what it is. It knows what it did”- Danez Smith I hate hot takes, and have tried to avoid the firing from the hip school of analysis for the length of this slow panic attack we have called a year. I am aware enough to know it’s not a hot take if it is something you have always known, I am aware enough to know it is history whether it kills you or not. “ “The apocalypse, then,” per Berger, “is the End, or resembles the end, or explains the end.”– Junot Diaz If this is how I am to view the apocalypse then I have to concede the setting is painfully domestic, I’m in my professor’s house observing another kind of history, of Brown people watching change with all the doors locked, all the lights on. The air outside is like the air inside; tense with the dull roar of Autumn giving way to the time that must be Winter. It gets cold at night in Mississippi when the …

What The Kudzu Taught Me About Gratitude

Image: Janet Moore-Coll Outside the window of my apartment what should be Fall still wreaks of Summer, in the moment I am sure that there is a magic here in Mississippi by which nothing that should be dead is. This is of course, deeply untrue, but gratitude has a way of magnifying a moment until only the gratitude is true regardless of context. Anyway both me and everything outside my window are alive and I’m grateful for that as the wind stirs a tree covered in Kudzu until even the tree drowning seems like something holy. Funnily, it is less the cotton that shocks me about my recently transplanted life here in the South than it is the Kudzu, “the vine strangling the South”, this benevolence that grew thousands of wanting teeth. I mean to say that Kudzu, like me is also an migrant to this place that is not perhaps our place. Unlike me, the Kudzu does not care, the broad green leaves are everywhere taking up all the sun, making everything look alive. …

Julian Randall Introduction (University of Mississippi ’19)

We Ain’t Even ‘posed to Be (Here): The Brown Boy Considers Mississippi On His First Day Image: Visit Mississippi I swore we would not begin in history, but I am a remixer of promises where it suits me which is a pretty way of saying that I knew that was a lie when I swore it to myself. It is a morning in the thick suck of August in a future I would have called a lie less than a year ago, not just a lie but a bold lie. That I might at the end of the indisputably hardest thus far year of my life be an MFA candidate, Black as I am, Brown as I am? Unlikely. That I might do so in Mississippi was something for which dialogue around the South had never truly prepared me. Where my family and the concept and reality of South have historically met is always a matter of flight. I am what some might call African American and I call Black on my father’s side. 136 …