gradschool, poetry, writing

this week

I turned in a draft of my MFA thesis. It’s a compilation of the poems I’ve been writing over the course of this program.

There have been many times in the MFA where I’ve felt that what I’m writing wouldn’t quite hold together, somehow, as a cohesive manuscript. Seeing it all together, though, makes me happy. I have even allowed myself the indulgence of rereading it just to read it. They do read well together. It’s going to work out, I think.

I didn’t need any help with the whole generating-material thing when I came here. I’ve always been what Dan Chumley called a “fast typer.” First draft a minute. But the time it takes to revise, and the confidence in yourself to believe that revision is something your work deserves, is something I definitely needed support from others to get better at. No one has ever showed me how to revise. It’s only that, here, it is expected. So I’ve done it. More revision than ever before.

My first drafts were good enough for me. Here, I have had to make things that are good enough for others.

If all the MFA does is give you the expectation that you will take your own writing more seriously, then that’s a lot. For me. It has been.

I think of the poems as revised as kinds of performances. I half had a thought the other day of laying them out as if they were in a script, which is how I think of them. But I think there might be something to be said for conforming to the typographical conventions of this genre.

At any rate, I am happier and more relaxed about the thesis now than I expected to be. I am going to revise much more, and generate new material, and probably find a way to get stressed out about it. But I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and I like looking at it. The feeling I have reminds me of the feeling I used to have in rehearsal when the scenes would get to the point that I could just enjoy watching them. I’m not quite there yet, but I can feel it.

This will be such a good thing to have done. I’m so happy I’ve done it. Am doing it.