|Some of our MFA students before the Graduate|
Hooding. I had the immense pleasure of having nearly
all of them in a workshop or literature class!
As the scant entries this year testify, my blogging has especially fallen by the wayside this year. This saddens me because I enjoy writing on here, and I feel like there's a particular need for it now. (I can also recall how just a few years ago, we were told that Twitter was becoming irrelevant and that blogging would soon be joining the ranks of the dodo bird and the woolly mammoth.) My several entries on the current resident of the White House remain stubs, however, and every day--sometimes it feels like every hour--brings so many new political revelations, bombshells, and shocks that, as was the case during the George W. Bush years, if you miss a week, you might as well wait for the next cluster of horrors and outrages. I think you can reasonably describe the White House's attempted Muslim Bans, its health care bills, its assault on regulations, its draconian budget, and so on horrors and outrages, even for some of Donald Trump's supporters....
But my aim with this entry was not to talk about Trump, but rather to congratulate the Rutgers-Newark (and Rutgers more broadly) Classes of 2017, undergraduate and graduate, and by extension, all who graduated this spring and year. I'm very glad the semester and academic year have come to a close, but I already miss the students I worked with this year. As I mentioned, I supervised three MFA fiction students, Soili Smith, Matt Weir (whom I'd taught when he was a beginning creative writing student at Northwestern!) and Magally "Maggie" Zelaya, all of whom successfully completed their theses this spring. In addition, Soili applied and was admitted to Rutgers-Newark's PhD program in American Studies.
I also supervised two honors undergraduate students, both of whom successfully submitted fiction theses, Secilia Flores and Madani Sheikh. Madani graduated summa cum laude, received a senior prize from the English department, and gained admission into Rutgers-Newark's MFA program. He even was recently the subject of a thoughtful profile on Rutgers-Newark's website, and had previously received coverage as part of a social entrepeneurship team that made it to the regional finalist stage when he was a freshman.
All of these students, as well as others I mentored and taught, were a joy to work with, and I will definitely miss them, though I'll get to see Soili and Madani this upcoming academic year. Congratulations to all of them and all of this year's graduates!
Below are a few photos from Rutgers-Newark's various end-of-the-academic-year and Commencement events. For the Graduate Hooding ceremony and the actual Prudential Center campus-wide commencement, I wore a purple robe (for my graduate degree from NYU), but a creative writing colleague told me that I need to get the fancier, final degree model, with the fancier hat. Will do!
|The big shebang, at the Prudential Center!|
|Yours truly, one of our talented MFA graduates,|
Darise Jean-Baptiste, and my wonderful
colleague Tayari Jones, after Commencement
|The MFA graduates, during their end-of-year|
reading at the MFA house
|Matt Weir, one of my MFA advisees,|
reading from his hilarious thesis
|Poet Jeremy Clark, with Matt at right|
|Darise Jean-Baptiste, reading from|
her fiction thesis
|Leslie Jones, reading from her|
fiction thesis--well, showing its cover
before reading from it
|Maggie Zelaya, sharing her cover before|
reading from her thesis, which I saw take
shape over her time at Rutgers-Newark
|Aarthi Monteiro, another student I finally|
got to work with last fall, reading from
her fiction thesis
|Soili Smith, one of my MFA advisees,|
reading from her fiction thesis, Sasquatch,
which did not include the story featuring Sasquatch
(though I hope the full collection will)
|Students in the book arts course,|
with their art-text projects, which they
discussed before sharing a bit of work
|The faculty and students listening to the readings|
|Faculty and students enjoying the readings|