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!
November hit and the countdown to the end of the semester seemed to commence simultaneously for all of the grad students. This was accompanied mostly with excitement and a little stress mixed in. For those of us graduating in May, the conversation is starting to turn toward the ever-looming job hunt. Within the month of November, we have applied for Spring graduation, enrolled in our courses for the last semester, and have started fielding questions from family members about what’s next. My first though: yikes. There has always been a good amount of stuff to juggle as a student in this program but now it feels like everything is ramping up when it should (theoretically) be slowing down. More and more, I am finding myself continuously balancing the here and now, plans for two months from now, and looming questions about my life six months from now.
It’s the last couple of weeks of the semester (wow, that was quick), so my one credit Cinema Studies class just kicked off. We’re watching a number of classic films and analyzing them and one thing we briefly discussed in class is how difficult it sometimes is as a filmmaker to not over analyze films.
As a producer, I spend a lot of time working with directors but that doesn’t mean I totally understand them or their thought processes. So..
The ~best~ thing about the MAM program is getting to see student work come to life. About a year and a half into this program, we are getting to see each other’s ideas turn into plans and plans turn into work and work turn into fully realized art. The Hokin Project, The Third Mask Festival, and The Fresh Connect are all examples of student ideas becoming reality. In the past few weeks, we have seen another MAM student’s idea take full flight. This would be none other than 2nd year and resident #doordork, Yvvi Atanassov. Since starting the program, we have heard about Yvvi’s obsession with doors, which is fully detailed on her Instagram @enchantingdoors_ (go follow!). Yvvi describes her love of doors through her favorite quote from Julie Powell: “Doors are going to open doors you can’t even imagine exist”. This passion and obsession with doors has led her to create the amazing project below!
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…
I am six weeks away from shooting my thesis film and seem to have reached the point where every bit of good news is quickly accompanied by a setback. It’s a time that’s difficult to process due to how busy it is. In addition to the thesis, I also have classes, an internship, a job and a life (sort of). Time management becomes your end-all and be-all, and self care is definitely important too.
I had the opportunity to chat with the current cohort of graduate students in the European Devised Performance Practice program (shortened to EDPP for obvious reasons) about their experiences. For context, the EDPP MFA program is two years in length. The first year takes place in Berlin, Germany studying at arthaus.berlin. Students then return to Chicago for their final year of study on Columbia’s campus. I asked some of the cohort a few questions about the program to give you all the inside scoop! Check it out below:
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.