Interview with Poetry MFA Ju’Juan Day

Interview with Poetry MFA Ju’Juan Day

A selfie of Ju’Juan that most likely came after some poetry writing and editing.

For this blog post, I thought I would try something a bit different. Sure, you’ve seen me discuss plenty of topics: how to prepare for a reading, places I explored during the summer, and even how to get out of an uninspired writing rut. But I thought it would be nice to see someone other than myself provide their own insight on these topics.

To do that, I decided to pick the brain of a current Columbia Poetry MFA candidate, Ju’Juan Day. In this interview, I ask him a couple of questions on growth, writing process, and his experience as a Graduate Student Instructor.

What have you discovered about your writing after a year in the poetry program? Has your approach to craft changed?

My writing has definitely improved after spending a year in the poetry program. With the help of my classmates and professors, they challenged me to express myself even more and to not restrain my creativity because my audience/readers desire that. After several rebukes, I have grown in my writing to make sure readers are having an impactful, yet surprising experience when they dive into my world. My approach to writing has definitely changed just by adding more details, but still providing my passion for music and autobiographical experiences.

As a Graduate Student Instructor, what would you say is your favorite part about teaching at Columbia thus far?

Honestly, it is to see my students in attendance and participating! Being a Graduate Student Instructor has definitely impacted my perspective on life. Learning that your students will take the wisdom and knowledge of expressing themselves creatively within writing and discovering their own voice is mind-blowing!

Has teaching influenced the way you approach your own writing and process?

Teaching has not influenced the approach to my own writing and process, but thinking about the readers and their perspective on my writing aids me to brainstorm some ideas towards how I want my work perceived.

What are you currently reading now?

I am currently reading Target Practice by Carvens Lissaint.

Are there any books, poems, or writers that you find yourself returning to often?

Since I have an overwhelming love for music and being a songwriter, song lyrics are what I return to often. So, that would be Mariah Carey’s entire discography, Jonathan McReynolds, Michael Jackson, Sylvia Plath, etc.

Lastly, why don’t you share one fun fact about yourself!

Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons because of fashion, weather/nature’s scenery, Christmas music, and of course giving to another around Christmas time!