Before I headed off to library school in 2008, I briefly considered applying to MFA programs. I was lucky during my undergraduate years; I had had the opportunity to take a number of creative writing classes, including a course in reading and writing formal poetry. But, the MFA just wasn’t in the cards for me. I can’t say that I haven’t ever wondered “What if?” from time to time, but I’ve never really had any regrets about not going. I have a wonderful career in academic librarianship, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Still, I’ve missed writing — writing formal poetry, in particular. I thought that I would keep up with it, and, I did, for a brief time. I managed to place two poems in Cave Wall, a wonderful print journal, in 2011. This remains one of my proudest poetry moments. Then, life happened. I went back to school: first, for a second master’s instructional technology; then, I began the-never-ending-PhD program in Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning. (I tell you, if this program had a theme song, it would be sung by Lamb Chop and Sherry Lewis.) Then I started a new job, bought a house, renovated that house, and life just kind of swallowed me up whole, as it tends to do.
Years went by. But, then, I saw a post on Facebook. Dan Albergotti, whose work I have admired for years, made an announcement that he would be teaching at a conference called Poetry by the Sea. So, I looked it up, and, guess what? The conference was slated to take place in Connecticut, just a few hours away from where I live on Long Island, NY.
Then, I looked at the entire schedule. I recognized several poets, but was especially delighted to see Joshua Mehigan listed amongst the faculty. I got a bit nostalgic; when I was in college, Joshua Mehigan’s reading at the C.W. Post Poetry Center was the first poetry reading I’d ever attended in my life. In many ways, it changed my life (go, read “Two New Fish” from The Optimist and you’ll understand). It was, of course, a great reading, and he was very gracious and later allowed me to interview him for a class project.
Naturally, I wanted to sign up right away. But, as I have a habit of turning things into games, I challenged myself. If I could write a decent draft of five sonnets, I could register for the conference and Dr. Albergotti’s sonnet seminar. In a little over two weeks, I had three Albergonnets, two Shakespearean sonnets, and one sonnet which, I must confess, is really just seven sets of couplets in iambic heptameter. Still counts, though!
So, I’m off to Poetry by the Sea at the end of May, which will be a nice treat to celebrate the end of a tremendously stressful semester. Stay tuned for details!