All posts tagged: university of new mexico

Cross-Genre Work

Image: Bruce Guenter I’m afraid I’ve been stepping out on fiction. I’ve been out with Poetry twice, two lovely workshops. Non-fiction, also twice, sorry. Screenwriting broke my heart and dumped me to the curb (once). Now Playwriting. Halfway through my fourth term, when I need to propose a dissertation and stick by her through thick and thin, sickness and health, and pray she doesn’t laugh in my face. I’m surreptitiously measuring ring fingers. Poetry’s fingers are fast and oily and constantly moving. Non-fiction’s ring finger is stout and strong and loyal. Drama’s digits are gripping. Screenwriting is off the list. Fiction’s fingers are so familiar I feel they are my own. Last term, I took a screenwriting course with a professor with an impressive list of IMDB credits. A hell of a comic, full of life and inspiration, he would stand on the table at least once a week and yell ridiculous prompts. The classroom felt like a TV writer’s room for a real Netflix series. We pitched ideas and shot them down. There were …

HOSTING A READING AND A MASTER READING

December: The Other night I went to see Juan Felipe Herrera, the US Poet Laureate, read at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The smorgasbord from the day’s Chicano/a studies event, which included the local public schools, smouldered in the corner of the hall. Chili roja y verde, tostadas, sopapillas, carne adovada, posole, calabacitas and of course, cinnamon rolls, Doritos and donuts—fill the eager full-house, which feels more like a homecoming to abuelita’s, than a public poetry event. Senor Herrera enters to a standing ovation. He’s wearing a straw hat with a cheerful band. He roots around in his mochilla retrieving notebooks while the audience counts backwards from ten. He thanks everyone and thing under the sun, todo la gente, los ninos, la familia, la Universidad, even his driver—the man is a ray of gratitude. He commands the stage like a side-show barker, weaving seamlessly from “Inglesol” to “Espanales.” He riffs and improvises. He sings consonants and dances vowels. His love of sound is contagious. Lines spoken from his hearts: “Even the gun does not want to …

An Outline In October

Image: Moominsean Preface: The beauty of blogging on this platform is that it forces you to set aside the plethora of daily stimuli and take a monthly tally. Chapter One: The routine has been established. The first, or second round for those who went early, of workshop is done. The end of first term is on the horizon. Handing in those portfolios, those lit paper, marking those compositions. The Spring course calendar is out. Funding grants have been submitted. The October gripes hang in the air with the Halloween paraphilia. The energy of summer and starting afresh has dissipated. Chapter Two: What’s working? A voice in your poetry workshop loves your images, the chosen form, the topic of debate. A fiction cohort writes the characters were well rendered, the final paragraph a keeper, the punctuation an experimental gem. What are the opportunities for improvement? The same voice or another beside it claims there are too many images, the stanzas constrict, the topic cliché. Notes in the margin believes the ending is soft, the commas erroneously …

8 Lessons from 8 Weeks at The Elephant Machine.

It’s the last September Sunday night in Albuquerque and you can still sit outside barefoot in shorts and watch the super-blood lunar-eclipse, which last came around in ’82, without even a hint of autumn. I am 8 weeks into The Elephant Machine. Or is in 9? 10? Yeah, we started early. I knew graduate school would be busy, but busy is an understatement. I have learned more than a few things so far, but I’ll keep it to 8: My upper-class men and women are more than a resource. From finding furniture, to taking me camping, to telling which classes to take and avoid, they have not steered me wrong. I share an office with two second-year poets, and although our office hours are not the most productive, the information I have gleamed is priceless. Where to download software? How to mark freshman comp papers in record time? Sample travel grants? Here you go and this is how you do it. I need an apartment. Hey, I’m leaving mine, take the lease. On the first …

The Process is the Point

Image: moominsean I got an email from Interfolio today. My subscription is set to expire in three days, so a year minus three days, I got serious about applying to MFAs. When you put money down, you get serious, at least when you live close to the poverty line. The irony is I never logged onto Interfolio after paying. Lesson learnt. Mistake number one. But I’m not much of a tech person, I remember renting VCR tapes, learning Spanish on cassette, highlighting encyclopedias. So I learned the expensive way, Interfolio was not for me, although it sounded good, because it fed on my biggest application fear: organization. This is what I did, not to say it is the best way, but I did get one acceptance and three wait lists out of seven or nine applications. See I don’t even how many applications were even fully completed. I applied to and paid the fee for UNLV and then they never even sent an email. I feel like suing them. Being ignored is worse than being rejected. Furthermore, …