Two weeks in…

Monday, August 30th, 2010 by Rachel

and I’m exhausted. I’ve never looked forward to Labor Day weekend so much. I’m thinking it’s the way my teaching load is distributed. For example, at NAU, I taught Eng. 105 four days a week. Last year, I taught Engl. 1101 three days a week. Now, I’m teaching Eng. 1101 two days a week. You would think—hey, that’s less work right? Not when my schedule is weighted so heavily Tuesday through Thursday. (I have a class on Wednesday, plus Wednesdays are “meeting days”). Hopefully, I’ll adjust by the time I get my first student papers to grade.


So, I’m halfway through my MFA! It’s amazing and exciting, but just thinking about it makes me a teeny bit nauseous. I don’t know where we’ll be heading after that. More info is forthcoming… I hope. It’s time to contact all my Interfolio people and see if my recommendations hold up for jobs. I’ll be observed next week, so I can get my big teaching letter. I need to ask a few more people here for recommendations too. My goal would be to be done with all that before Nov. 1st, which is when most schools begin taking job applications. As I’m very happy with a composition job and/or intro. to creative writing job and I’m coming out of here with four years teaching experience, I hope I’ll be pretty marketable. I still might apply to two PhD programs to cast a wider net, but I’m not sure.


This semester, I’m taking Teaching Creative Writing (I’ll be teaching Intro. to Creative Writing in the spring!), thesis hours, and Poetry with Poet-in-Residence Alice Friman. This poetry class doesn’t have traditional workshops. We basically meet one on one with Alice every week, and our class meets officially three times during the semester. For two of these meetings, we’ll need to have prepared a 10-12 minute reading of one of our favorite poets, and we need to have memorized one of these poems. Of course, you loyal readers know how much I struggle with the memorization, so I’ve already started on my first poem.


Just to give you a quick glimpse of what I have due this week: 2 poems, one 10 page book review, read two chapters of Creative Writing book, need to have marked up 45 “diagnostic” writing samples for students, need to fill out application to graduate and pay 45 bucks to Registar, schedule a library fieldtrip for students, keep working on memorizing aforementioned poem, eat healthy food, figure out my exercise regimen for the semester, do laundry, do dishes, hang out with Derrick, purchase/write cards for Grandparents day, sleep. I also might start getting Arts and Letters submissions that need to be looked over/accepted/rejected this week. And…I’m getting married in less than seven months, so calculate in all that wedding planning stuff that I’m doing now so next January and February aren’t terrible. This is why I am tired.

Poetry Therapy?

Sunday, October 4th, 2009 by Rachel

This morning, as I browsed through Twitters, I saw an interesting post by JayTee of The MFA Chronicles and I Submit (see links page). She asked, “did you know poetry therapists exist?” and included the following link: Welcome to the National Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy.


I’ve never heard of poetry therapy in the real business-like sense, though a woman Jackie at NAU was getting her MA in poetry and her PhD in psychology so she could become a spiritual guru in Jerome, AZ. As we live in a world where people in increasing numbers run to therapy and drugs as a solution for their problems, poetry therapy/spiritual guidance achieved through writing does seem to be a different angle. Especially in “hippie” towns like Jerome or Asheville (where Derrick and I hope to end up at some point), there must be a market for this sort of work.


Why do any of us start writing? Because we’re angsty and adolescent and frustrated with ideas that we need to get out. I even admitted in class the other week that I’ve become so indoctrinated into the world of workshop. I worry so much more about line breaks and rhythm and words that sometimes I forget how much I learn about myself when I write. Sometimes I write about people who should be long forgotten, and I can’t help but reflect on what my life means—to me, to them, to anyone. This catharsis is so important, inseparable from most of our writing processes, I think. Because I believe in this inseparability, I think I might look into this poetry therapist certification thing. Why not? :)