All posts tagged: University of Texas at Austin

On Reading Poetry and Poetry Readings

Do you read poetry out loud or in your head? Do you read so slowly you lose interest or so quickly you have motions sickness by the end of the poem? Is it okay to space-out during a reading? Are boredom and confusion acceptable experiences to have when, say, you read a poem that doesn’t stick, that slides right off your mind back onto the page? This semester, in Lisa Olstein’s seminar class on sixties poets, we’ve been reading a poetry collection weekly and discussing the effects they have on us as readers. Two poets we’ve read recently have taught me one thing: No one can tell you how to have an experience. My gratitude for this lesson goes out to John Ashbery and W.S. Merwin, and to their books, Rivers and Mountains and The Lice. Ashbery is notoriously difficult and polarizing in certain ways—a divide usually opening up between “I don’t get it” or “I don’t get why it matters.” I’ve loved Ashbery for years but also always felt myself space-out during his longer …

Uprooting

I’m lying on my couch, an air mattress, adjusting my elbows, which every few minutes scrub a crumb—probably KIND-brand cinnamon oat cluster granola. I was accepted into the Michener Center for Writers (after being accidentally rejected) in March and moved to Austin on August 9th, floating around for a month before landing a spacious apartment close to campus. But, in Austin, unless you want to live in one of those industrial, small-town-sized apartment complexes (you know, with a pool and visitor parking that’s never open anyway) you’re getting an unfurnished spot, and now that I have a real bed and felt too lazy to deflate this mattress, which was eight dollars at Wal-Mart, I have a couch, too. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised, mostly, in Orlando, Florida. My family is pretty much all Nuyorican, and the other side is all Cuban, all living in Miami since 1966, when they won “the lottery”—which is not 300 million dollars taxed at 82% but more like a get-out-of-Cuba-free card. But that was a long time …

4 Steps for Grad School Self-Care

Heading into my first semester of grad school, the biggest phrase I heard was “self-care.” Likewise, I had the TA opportunity of a lifetime and was given the honor of working with a freshman class, which involved as much life coaching/chatting about adulting as it did grappling with the course work. While everyone and every program are different, here’s a few thoughts/tips about getting through that semester intact. Sleep Sleep enough. We’re here to do big deep thinking. Know your magic number for sleep and do all you can to honor it. Sleep makes everything else go better. Eat Well Grad School’s intense. Figure out the pre-made foods/substances that you can grab and go and that will keep you going. My top three are: Peanut Butter, Protein Bars, and Hardboiled Eggs. Everyone has different dietary restrictions, but I found it immensely helpful to know what I could emergency pack to have food throughout the day even if I didn’t have a chance to leave the studio. While on food, bulk cook and know your breakfast. …

Daria Miyeko Marinelli Introduction (UT Austin ’19)

The Basics Name: Daria Miyeko Marinelli Age: 28 Hometown: Hartsdale, NY Day Job: Figure Skating Instructor Program: University of Texas in Austin Degree: MFA in Playwriting Size of Program: 4 (2 in Theatre and Dance, 2 w Michener Center for Writers) Financial Situation: Combo of Loans, Fellowship, TAing, Teaching Skating Applications Also Applied To (Size): Yale (3), Brown (2), Juilliard (4-5), Hunter (5), Brooklyn (5) Rounds Applied: 2 First Year: 1 School, Brown Second Year: 6, See Above On Writing The Cocktail Party Pitch: I write immersive theatre and work that seeks to redefine the theatre going-experience. What That Actually Means: I like writing work where you’re not just sitting and watching. Maybe you’re wandering around, maybe you’re eating something. I like writing work that’s experiential (whatever that means) and weird. I like work that surprises you. Other Things You’ll Find in My Work: Strong female protagonists, because, yes. Wild broken things. Poetic stage directions. The agony of choice and the suffering of love. Literary Heroes: Tess Slesinger, Arundhati Roy, Ebony Stewart, Faulkner, Salinger, Junot …

Leaving My Heart in San Francisco

I decided to apply for an MFA my junior year of college, shortly after declaring as a creative writing major. The more I sat in workshop and seminar, the more I understood that there was no place I would rather be. I never wanted to leave and I realized if I could become a publishing poet who taught creative writing, I would never have to. I could vacillate between my writing desk at home and a classroom for my entire life; spending my days reading poetry and talking about it with my students and colleagues, and my nights writing. But, I had no idea what it actually meant to apply—to wait, to cry and thrash in anticipation of 12 rejections, to be sure you have been found a fraud, only to finally receive not one but multiple acceptances—and to then have to decide. I had no idea at the time that not only would applying for an MFA mean making a decision that would impact the next two years of my life and maybe its …