Monday, April 02, 2007

phoenix rising

in an email sent out last week, we learned that the faculty person nominated for the program by her colleagues had chosen to accept the position, now also extended by the administration. the weight of the words from the week before had been rescinded! we joyfully continued the analysis of poems aplenty. and i await what will be borne from the ashes left behind from the fires that looked to burn forest, field and stars.

below was my last ditch pitch sent out march 26th when all seemed most bleak and dire.


Hello Ms. xxxxx,

I have been writing poetry for a long time and never really foresaw it enveloping me on such a large scale before last year. Having worked in the business community for almost five years, I believe I understand what makes a good business work and can make a good business fail. Good communication and organization, such small but crucial elements can make or break a company. When I began the arduous process of looking for the right school, I made color charts of pros and cons, along with an entire list of faculty at each school, dedicating myself to researching them to ascertain who I wanted to learn from and why. The asterisks and highlights flew all over my list of current xxxxx faculty. What you have with this core faculty is a camaraderie that extends down into the student body and leaves little room for power distance between teacher and student. I had such a sense of this before attending my first residency and was not disappointed.

As a first year student, we all shared with each other especially how on graduation night, we had truly landed in the right community where each of our different gifts could be nurtured and grown. Today, I felt the first pangs of disillusionment about the whole messy affair. Deep down, I want to believe this is mendable. And I still believe, along with the whole lot of us that it is. The thing here is that I could have chosen another school- we all could have, but we chose this one and we are still here, hanging on by a thread.

And the thing is I want to study about narrative poetry under xxxxx. I want to understand how xxxxx can so innovatively make form enjoyable to my non-trained ear. I want to hear xxxxx sing before he opens up a reading or reach down and find the right anecdote to set up the poem he's about to read. I want to learn from xxxxx how to show and not tell in my poems and then chat about our similar backgrounds in journalism during the tea break. I want to listen to xxxxx moving readings of his work that bring tears to my eyes. I want to learn how to dissect a poem into multiple parts the way xxxx skillfully does. I want to experience more of xxxxx poetic energy first hand and then eat a grilled cheese sandwich next to her for dinner. I want to learn how to tighten and pare down my thoughts from xxxxx and hear more of his most current collected quotes. I am thrilled that I have xxxxx as my mentor this semester- she is truly one of the reasons I found the pull so forceful to come to this school.

These are things that cannot be replaced. These people cannot be replaced.

Please reconsider the rotating directorship beginning with the representative voted in unanimously by the faculty. This seems a good checks and balance system through which self-governance can maintain itself. If they thrive, so does the program and school. They do not want to fail in this endeavor- they believe in it too much, which has been evidenced in last week's blanket resignation. Please allow them the opportunity to give it a go and allow the students a voice in this seemingly powerless situation.

Please consider the mediation suggestion put forth by xxxx as a viable path- it may be expensive, but more so would be the cost of losing an entire program that is unique unto itself in the United States. I don't have to be in school to be a poet, but it has thoroughly turned my world upside down and I voraciously want to find reconciliation to restore a modicum of what we, the first years experienced during our first residency. It is still not too late to mend things. It takes great courage to proceed down the harder path, but this is a path worth the effort. The smattering of current MFA students and many alums' emails point to this. Please everyone- faculty and administration- reconsider.



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