This is the first of a set of daily blog posts I intend to write about the residency for my MFA at the University of Tampa. I’m currently on a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Tampa, with a suitcase full of clothes and books, a carry-on with a bunch more books, manuscripts, iPad and laptop, and a banjo in the overhead bin.
I got a thick packet of preparatory reading material leading up to the residency, along with another packet of writings from my peers for the workshops. I’m a little behind on things. I’ve finished all the required readings, but I’d like to finish reading Arthur Flowers’s Good Loving Blues and Lofty Dogmas, the anthology of poets writing on poetics. I also have three stories left to finish my critiques of. I won’t say anything about the stories or details of workshops in my posts since it’s important, I believe, to maintain the privacy of workshop, a privacy as sacred as that of a therapist’s office or the confessional.
I’m curious about how some logistics of the residency will work. We have two genre workshops where we’re meeting all as a single group, plus a wildcard workshop where we spend one session with a different faculty advisor than is our usual advisor. I’m not sure how or if we’ll be able to consider works before the session and if not, how much we’ll be able to do with so little time to both encounter and critique writing.