A little over two years ago, I got the call that I’d been accepted into The New School’s MFA program. I left my lovely life in Texas behind to come to New York and follow a dream I’d had over half my life. Now, after so many trials and so many successes (and so many damn hours at the kitchen table writing poetry) I am a Master of Fine Arts!
The New School threw me for some loops, and I don’t know if I’ll ever pay back my student loans– but dammit if I didn’t end up with the finest teachers I could have asked for. Catherine Barnett changed my life as a writer by making me more aware of the dimensions and choices I had in moving through poetry. Mark Bibbins assigned readings and led discussions that broadened my mind in ways I could have never predicted pre-NY. And Robert Polito came in clutch my last semester of classes– his incomparable genius inspired me to sit down and put more time into my work every day. All these forces combined with my own work ethic have left me feeling like a thousand times the poet I was when I arrived.
And the real stars of the show are my fellow MFA candidates, the friends I’ve made who have wowed me with their brilliance and growth, supported me, cooked for me, joined me at poetry readings, shared nips from their flasks with me, kissed me, edited my poems with love, honesty, and a desire to make the finest art we can make. These friends, these talented people that The New School brought into my life, they made it all worth it.
So anyways, here I am. A master of poetry. And what’s next? Exactly what I’ve been doing all this time– I’ll keep writing. Because poetry has value. I’ve spent the last couple years of my life walking around with a shit-eating grin because devoting myself to poetry makes me feel like the kind of person I am meant to be.
Mary Ruefle suspects a poet is “someone who is moved by everything, who just stands in front of the world and weeps and laughs and laughs and weeps.” So here’s to a long life of laughing and weeping and weeping and laughing– and writing it all down.