Sunday, August 2, 2009

Keely Hyslop (SFSU Class of 2012)

My name is Keely, I'm 25 years old, and I hate introductions. In elementary school I was that kid who, when it came time for everyone to take turns saying their name, forgot what it was from the pressure of having to say it on cue. OK, not really. But it felt like that every single time.

*Deep breath* You seem like a friendly group. I’m surely we can get through this together.

On August 24th I’ll be starting the MFA in poetry at San Francisco State University.

Prior to that I was working as an SEO content writer and prior to that I had just graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a double major in philosophy and literature with an emphasis in writing.

SEO, unlike poetry, can actually grow into a fairly lucrative career, so I’m a little nervous about the wisdom of straying from that path. It was difficult writing the MFA application essays because they always asked, “why do you want to be a poet?” I constructed an answer based around the urgency of the question, but whatever else I wrote the simple truth was that I started writing poetry in elementary school and spent the next 17 years unsuccessfully trying to convince myself that I wanted to do something else for a living, something sensible, like business management or molecular biology.

Well, I’ve given up the ghost. I’m a poet and getting an MFA is my way of admitting that to myself.

With that admission out of the way, I'm currently pondering what it means to be an activist poet. I'm also a feminist and an avid advocate of LGBT rights who would like to become more involved in the anti-racism and immigrant rights movements because oppression sucks. I'm also queer and polyamorous. Plus, I read comic books. If I think of any other ways to marginalize myself from mainstream culture I'll let you know.

I’m delirious with anticipation at being a poet in San Francisco. I hear there are readings and small presses everywhere you turn. I’ve always wanted to live in a place that positively hums with creative energy and from what I’ve seen and heard about San Francisco it might just fit the bill.

I have a blog called Becoming the Living Poet. You can also find me on twitter. My handle is thelivingpoet.

I'm really excited to be participating in the MFA Chronicles. I think we're all going to learn a lot in the next couple of years both from our programs and from each other. Nice to meet everyone!


  1. Yay Keely, nice to meet you too! I hear many of the same things you mentioned about SF (I've only been there 2-3 times just to eat seafood lol) so I can't wait to see what your experience is like!

  2. Hi Keely! SF sounds like such a fantastic place, and I'm glad you're excited about it.

  3. Nice to meet you : ) I'm a big fan of SF, too, I've made a couple visits and I know you're going to have an amazing time.

  4. Keely, nice to meet you! I'm so excited to hear about your experiences as a poet in San Fran. I think you're right about the creative energy! It sounds so cool!

  5. Hey Keely! I'm an MFAer in SF (though I am starting my second year at USF... and I'm in fiction, not poetry). It is a fabulous, foggy, literary city. You'll love it!

  6. Hi peoples,
    Thanks for the warm welcome. It's so nice to be connecting with other MFAers!

    Hey Margosita,
    Just saw you on twitter. We should chat more in the future. I'd love to pester you for info. on where the good readings are.

  7. Keely you sound super cool! Yay for being queer poets and comic book aficionados! I can't wait to hear about your SFSU dispatches :-P

  8. Haha: "If I think of any other ways to marginalize myself from mainstream culture I'll let you know."

    If you aren't an atheist, you could try that. Also, scientology is good for being disliked. They recently overtook atheists as the most disliked group, according to some poll I will not try to cite.

    Also, try out being sick and uninsured (if you aren't), because these days that means you are lazy and "probably an illegal."

  9. Keely are you climbing ah???
    Get easy cash at your door step


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