Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fuck Tarts


Applying for an M.F.A. fucking sucks. There's the initial suckiness of obsessing over your portfolio and statements of purpose and deadlines and what all, and then there's the even shittier corollary suckiness of waiting for acceptances, coping with rejections, and not knowing where you're going to be in half a year.

I'm not saying don't do it. Just, you know. Be prepared.

I just got off the phone with Judith Kroll from UT-Austin. She complimented my portfolio and was generally very kind. She said they couldn't admit me to the Michener Center, but they'd like to put me on the waiting list for the UT M.A. program in poetry writing. That's cool enough: the M.A. gives plenty of financial assistance, I'd be taking the same courses as the Michener students. It's a two-year program instead of three, though, and I'd have to do some T.A.-ing.

I'm happy I'm not getting, like, machine-gun rejected or anything, but here are the responses so far:

Michigan: wait-listed
Florida: wait-listed
UT: wait-listed
Iowa: rejected
Houston, Colorado State, Arkansas: still waiting

You can see my frustration, no? Like, three wait-lists? Is that normal? I figured a wait-list would be so small that my odds would be better to be accepted (or rejected) outright than to be wait-listed three fucking times. How should I interpret this? What's keeping me from breaking through to the immediate acceptances?

The questions! It's kind of fun, all this uncertainty, but it's keeping me from functioning normally and from viewing life through any reasonable sort of perspective. I hope if/when you decide to apply to grad school, you handle yourselves with more dignity than I.

Anyway, pardon my bitching. To keep this blog from devolving into a self-involved gripe forum, I'll include a poem:

Store-Brand Cola

The photo shows black men
in white daylight: bleached bones
under dark leather.
Time, great file,
had gnawed at the gutters,
knocked in the fence's black teeth.
It's an uneven match.

Even our stubborn square of earth,
thick dirt and gated windows, bends

from these cunning winds.
Out of the compact soil,
the stunted redbud lifts
a crooked arm
up through the bars
of sunlight, shakes off
a few pink nubs while

a bird lifts off for elsewhere.


c.harris.stevens said...

The prolonged prolonged process. Thanks for volunteering your experiences. I dreamt i worked for the mafia, and if that were the case, I'd "talk to some people". I can still talk to some people, but they'd say, "who the hell is this?" and wouldn't care what i had to say.

This poem is different than other poems I've read of yours. Perhaps during your break you began observing other things. I wonder why. The sentence about the wind, I'd put the wind as the first subject to give more activity to the cunning, but I'd use "cons" or something else. Just a few word order choices and then flush out what you want out of the rest of the poem.

Fran├žois said...

Ah, the MFA application process. I didn't really worry about it. Just sent my packet to one school and a month later Paul Hoover gave me a phone call (on February 14th, to be precise). But then again, SFSU was the only school I wanted to apply to, mostly because of the translators who teach there. What's your reason to choose yours?

garbage blanche said...

I chose to apply to those schools partly because of the faculty teaching at each. My main incentive was funding, though.

How do (did?) you like your translation program? I imagine it'd be good, hard work and a great inspiration for your own writing.

Fran├žois said...

I'm not in a translation program, but am working with a poet who is also a translator. I would be very bored if the only thing I did was "write poetry." But, yes, the translation is finding its way into my writing.