Tell us about your creative work—do you have a preferred genre or aesthetic? Are there forms you want to try?
I’m currently studying why poetry matters, how it’s relevant to digital communication in business, and how these reasons correlate to the black community’s redlined social and cultural situations. My thesis will involve poetic anecdotes about my own experience living on a red-lined street that divided all-white and culturally diverse communities. Because this project is focused on telling a story, I’m more interested in free verse as it allows me to touch on multiple subjects without needing to go down a rabbit hole on one topic. However, exploring non-fiction as a second genre allows me to do just that when I want to dig deeper into a situation.
What are you reading right now? Which books might we find on your bedside table right now?
The Making of a Poem by Mark Strand and Eavan Holand. As a spoken word artist, I typically write free verse, but I know a craft book like this is what I need to become a great instructor. I just received a copy of African American Poetry 250 Years of Struggle & Song edited by Kevin Young and can’t wait to dig into it. You’ll also find his book of poems along with June Jordan, Jericho Brown, Toi Derricotte and of course, all my MFA and creative writing workshop mentors!
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I don’t consider myself athletic, but I discovered kickboxing which became a therapeutic activity for 2020! I love watching movies because I like writing screenplays. I mess around with a little improv from time to time. I also design custom journals—mostly because I like designing book covers. I recently started selling them on Etsy. Oh, there was a time when I traveled…Hoping that comes back in style.
Why did you decide to pursue your MFA? What did you find most attractive about our low residency program and the low residency format?
When I was working as a copywriter for an agency and small businesses, I noticed the marketers relied heavily on the writing department while not fully understanding the process to create satisfactory copy. They also didn’t seem to realize how crucial poetry is to the work nor the time it takes to craft it. Quite, frankly I’m pursuing my MFA so that I might teach aspiring writers and prepare them for real-life writing careers outside academia. I also want to enlighten businesses about the benefits of having a poet on their writing team.
I like that Converse’s Low-Residency Program allows for the flexibility to study poetry in a way that is interesting to me, making it helpful to research cultural and social issues that are relevant to my career as a poet and writer.
In what ways do you hope your writing will be further developed by our Converse core faculty, visiting faculty, and students? Do you have any writing goals you hope to accomplish?
Converse admits students from across the country and they bring in a diverse canon of visiting faculty who are well-accomplished authors with impressive accolades. My cohorts are amazing! They’re already terrific writers, so it’s both encouraging and humbling, because I learn from them too. Being in the company of such talent, I can only become a better poet and writer—and there are new students coming in every semester, so the program never gets dull! Every new student brings new energy and a new perspective.
In addition to your work on writing craft, how has the Converse program helped you in terms of other writing world activities or connections?
I’ve become part of a network of resourceful poets and writers who share creative ideas and information who encourage and help me better understand that I can have a rewarding career as a poet.
Why would you recommend the Converse College Low Residency Program to an MFA applicant?
I’d recommend anyone who has ever had a desire to explore their talent as a serious writer to the Converse Low-Residency Program. While it’s designed to work around busy schedules, this incredibly intense program also provides students the flexibility to dive as deep into their chosen area of study as they want. There’s also an opportunity for students to become published authors before they graduate—fingers crossed!