Grad School At a Glance
Ashland University MFA
It's been a rough day. I woke up earlier than I wanted to, but
still later than I get to during the week. Ten minutes before
lunch, I realized I couldn't find my key. I was crawling all over
the apartment in my white jeans. My interpreter found it in
seconds. I also had to pee during the craft seminar. Since it
would cause too much of a commotion to get me out of the room, I
did the only thing I could -- hold it.
On the plus side, I learned how to turn the AC off in my
apartment. Even better, my laundry is finished. The timing was
perfect because I got soaked on the way back after the seminar.
Next year I need to bring a rain coat.
The seminar was more of a reading today. They had several alumni
students return to share with us. I noticed their poems were
quite short. Does that mean we should write short poetry? Or were
they instructed only to read short poems?
Apparently there was a student in the program who died. They had
people reading her poetry. Of course, I never met Anna. But it
was still sad and beautiful.
I am in pain! We had a big shing-ding poetry thing with music...
for three hours. I think my muscles died before we hit hour two.
I like the idea of combining poetry with audio and visual arts.
But parts get lost on me.
I probably didn't look so great wearing a denim shirt with my
nice clothes. My mother would roll over in her grave if she were
dead. I'm glad she's not. Man, they keep it as cold as a morgue
around here. Ad to my list of things to pack next year: Winter
Royal ranting time! Why does everyone seem concerned about
Joseph's where-about? He does have a father, and my parents are
very supportive. Joe is with his dad. If I was home right now,
Joe would still be with his dad.
Crank up the volume! Turn on the heat. The pressure is on. It's a
whole new beat.
They spoiled us last week during session one. We just didn't know
it then. Session two began today. OMG!
Kathy Winograd is a great teacher. That's part of the problem.
She asks good questions, and I feel like an idiot when I can't
For example, I volunteered that a student's sand metaphor was
strong... I could almost feel the sting of the sand on my own
Kathy asked, "What happens next?"
I didn't know for two reasons. First, I can't look at the poem
during discussion time. I need both hands for communication.
Also, I'm not the best at figurative language. I couldn't follow
the rest of the poem. I admitted that I got lost. Kathy wouldn't
let it go. I felt so stupid compared to the other students.
Tomorrow I have to lead the discussion on a guy's work. I don't
really understand his poem, either. I'm missing something.
So, now we have a whole lot of homework. I ran into other
students from session one who have different teachers for session
two. They said the same thing. I thought it was just me, but I
guess all the first year students are freaking out. Only four
more days to go. It feels like 400.
Something unexpected happened tonight before the evening reading.
I ran into someone I know from the Wick Poetry Center at Kent
State. I accused her of following me. I guess she went to Ashland
and knows most of the staff. She and Kathy were already talking
about me. Is that good or bad?
I got two parts of my care-package from the BF. Scott is worried
about me not eating well. He sent protein bars (which have not
yet arrived,) fruit and nut bars and white chocolate Kit-Kats. He
knows me well enough to include some sweets. Bed time.
It was another killer workshop this morning. I wasn't prepared.
The teacher asked, "Don't you remember when I listed the poems
we'd be reading today?"
I vaguely do remember that, I I couldn't write it down. By the
time I was ready to do homework, I couldn't even remember the
name of a student's work that I would be serving as discussion
guide for. It took some searching for me to find the right poem.
I explained that I can read 12 poems the night before, but I
won't remember much of it. I can't remember the details and words
used in order to be part of an in depth discussion. Kathy thought
about that and agreed she couldn't do that easier.
Then I told her how I can't read the work during class because my
hands are busy with communication. For the same reason, I can't
take notes. I think she's starting to understand. The result is
that I feel stupid. I can't participate. I haven't done the
reading, or I can't remember it well enough. The only thing I'm
getting good at is saying, "I don't know" in different ways.
Kathy and I talked for 30 minutes after class. talked to her
about how I only recently fell in love with poetry writing.
That's why I don't have a good base of knowledge or famous poetry
to draw from like the other students. Plus, I'm weak with
understanding figurative language.
She laughed at that. "You write wonderfully using figurative
language. Your metaphors are strong."
All I could do was shake my head. I do write using figurative
language. I often look back over my work and say, "Did I really
write that?" But I have so much difficulty understanding other
She said to relax. "Write it. We'll work on understanding during
That would seem to be a good meeting. But then I couldn't follow
the craft seminar at all. I'm still fretting because it was a
My body died during the nightly reading. I knew the time was
coming. I've been using Biofreeze and stronger pain med. But I
couldn't go on with all this sign for long.
contact me at Angie.C.Orlando@gmail.com