Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Visiting Writer Thing

by Jonterri Gadson

My visiting writer experience started off when I met with Tony Hoagland, 2 of my classmates, and Greg Orr for lunch yesterday. Hoagland started off his day by having conferences with each of the other two students and then my conference was scheduled for after lunch. The best part about lunch was hearing them both talk about when they were interviewing and getting hired for teaching positions. Funny story:

Hoagland: I fell flat on my face in that interview.
Me: Literally?
Everyone else: No. (laughing)
Greg: Metaphors, Jonterri.
Me: Oh! (laughing)
Greg: Geez, you narrative poets... (shakes his head)


So my conference with Hoagland was great. It was 50 minutes of him talking about the packet of poems I submitted to him about a month ago. I think the best thing about having these new eyes on my work is that he was able to see where my poetry was going or at least the direction I was trying to take it. That was nice. I think when people are presented with one poem at a time like in workshop, they can only focus on where your poetry is right now. Which is totally fine and as it should be, it's just nice to also have that other perspective. He gave me plenty of people whose work represents the unchartered (by me) territory I'm headed in. I'm very excited about moving forward with my writing and reading. If I can get that feeling from an interaction, then it's a success.

Last night he gave a craft talk which was really informative and engaging. It was about the spectrum from associative to disassociative poetry. Very enlightening.

Tonight he'll give a reading then finish off the rest of the week with conferences and lunches with students every day.

I hope everyone's semesters are winding down nicely. Next week is my last week of classes until like January 20!


  1. This sounds great, JayTee.

    Hoagland is a super smart guy! I'd not read much of his poetry until this year, and though I enjoy it, I'm even more taken by his essays. Super jealous that you got to talk craft and theory and what-not.

    The end of the semester is absolutely nuts here! Next week is my last week of classes, but we start again on January 11th (or something like that). We have about a month off, and I am so looking forward to some time to relax!

  2. I'm glad you had a good experience!

  3. love the funny story :)
    looking forward to stopping by the residency part of my old low-res program just to catch a glimpse of MFA fun.

  4. I'm kind of obsessed with Hoagland's "Reasons to Survive November"-- it's hanging up in my office at work and home, and it's one of the only poems I've spent time memorizing this year. So excited for you that you got to meet him!


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