My first. Never considered myself to be a very good poet. Definitely not so now. I've learned I have certain tendencies, such as toward abstraction. Still I think I've written some good poems that I plan on publishing some time, maybe a chapbook - and in the very distant future, a collection. I've also learned that poems, like stories, or anything else I do that is creative, is almost never finished. I always end up learning something new, a new way a poem wasn't good, and improve. I'm glad I took the workshop. I was thinking about not doing so. Fiction is what I'm thinking about concentrating on in the future. But who knows.
A cool class that's 50 percent lit and 50 percent workshop. Our focus in reading the short stories (Hemingway, Cather, London, James, de Maupassant, Oats, Porter, etc) is on craft. There's also a creative project at the end. I'm writing a story based on an old news report about a recluse who hid his mother's corpse at their home. I feel I can relate to this.
I've learned one key thing: I don't 18thC literature much. What's frustrating is taking a lit course and not really liking the reading materials. Reminds me of my undergrad experience. But I've learned so much important, valuable stuff about the genre of the novel, its origins and boundaries (if there are any), about narrative, and so on. Also, Lawrence Sterne was a genius.
This has already been a highly rewarding MFA experience. There's about a year left. Part of me wishes I could stay forever. Then I think about how much fucking money I would have to pay for that.