I have to admit, there is a mixture of emotions traveling through my body—there are moments were I feel happy as I just finished my thesis..
This post was originally going to be a spotlight, highlighting and celebrating the works of two Columbia College Chicago instructors, renowned poets Tony Trigilio and David Trinidad. Both were going to part take in a reading with another phenomenal poet, Aaron Smith, whose work has been assigned by both Tony and David in various class—Aaron’s poetry collection has been well welcomed, well received, and has even become a general fan favorite of many Columbia students in the MFA program (especially in my cohort!).
January 28th, 2020 was my officially my last “first day of day school” as it was the first class of my last semester in the poetry program. Leading up to the day, I felt a bit of excitement—I felt a moment of pride knowing that my work and dedication to my poetic craft was not too far from cultivating an accomplishment that appeared unattainable during my undergrad years: walking across the stage with a Master’s degree!
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…
Roughly a week ago, I did a reading at the Poetry Foundation as part of their Open-Door Series alongside poets Lani T. Montreal, Shina Davis, and Columbia College Chicago’s very own Tony Trigilio. While the experience was incredible—and a bit surreal as I look back on it—there was plenty of preparation I needed to do beforehand.
Last month, I wrote about how I had slacked a bit when it came to writing. While I took strides to get myself out of this rut through Virgil Abloh’s art, I realized that was not enough. I read some more poems and penned a few things, but I was not quite there yet—whenever I raised my pen and opened my journal, I could still feel that I was a bit out of my element. I knew I should probably venture out and find somewhere to build off the momentum I had started. That’s when the light bulb in my head turned on—I knew I needed to go to the Poetry Foundation.
I will be totally honest: now that I am reaching the midway point of my summer break, I realize I have slacked quite a bit on the writing and editing. It was not intentional, but after giving myself time to recharge after the grueling endeavors of the last school year, I let my mind stay in relaxation mode longer than I should have. Sure, I have moments of inspiration written in the “Notes” section of my phone, but that is as far as most things have gotten so far this summer. I’ve gone through anger and regret with myself for allowing that to happen, but after reveling in these feelings longer than I should have, I finally decided that it was time for me to take some action.
My first semester as a graduate student ended a few weeks ago, and to be honest, I am still adjusting to the freedom. There are no papers to worry about writing, no poems to edit for a workshop, and no assigned books for me to read. Aside from my full-time job, it now finally seems like I have all the time in the world to do almost whatever. It took a few weeks to adjust my sleeping schedule though, as I still found myself waking up at 7 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Nevertheless, my first couple of weeks out of school were spent doing non-writing things, because it is important to take a break every now and then.
Sometimes it takes something that goes beyond simply reading to find the spark for your next poem.
Writing is what I live by; it’s the reason why I’m in grad school getting an MFA. Still, with the stress of classroom assignments, worksho..