Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

Q. Describe your personal writing process:
A. It usually begins when I am just walking around; I am always thinking about poems. An idea will spring up in my head, and I will write it down in a notebook, a napkin, or whatever I have around. From these words and images I will sit down and free write on my computer. I will put that away for a few days, come back to it and start revising.

Q. What are your creative influences?
A. My influences come from everyday life. I have to try to find the words to understand the experiences I observed.

Q. Why did you choose Drew’s MFA Program?
A. I looked at a lot of MFA programs for a long time. I grew up in this area, and as a kid always wanted to go to Drew. When I learned that Drew had this program, and saw who the faculty would be here, I decided to apply.

Q. How have the faculty helped you in this writing process?
A. The faculty is amazing. During the residences, they are with you 110% of the time. They are always open to new ideas and new words in our poetry. They motivate me with their body of work, and then they take the time to push me in my own. I know that what really matters to me also really matters to them. They truly care about every single student.

Q. Describe the residencies in the MFA program:
A. They were intensive. We worked with other students and poets from breakfast in the morning to readings at night. Our mentors teach us everything from how to break up a line of poetry to the history of poetry in the 20th Century. We build a community very quickly, and the information in the residencies motivates and excites us. We go home with many different ideas to help our writing.

Q. How did the home mentorship differ from the residencies?
A. While the residences are extremely helpful, in the end, you need to be alone to write poetry. I send assignments, letters and poems to my mentor monthly, and I receive detailed constructive criticism from them. It really helps me to perfect my craft.

Q. How will you use this program in the future?
A. I hope to always stay involved with Drew by coming to readings and meetings with the faculty. I live and work close to the University, and it is wonderful to have a poetry community right in my neighborhood. I currently work at The College of Saint Elizabeth as an Academic Affairs Coordinator, and my plan is to use what I have learned here to teach poetry at the college level. Of course I also plan to publish my work as well.