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MFA Journey, writing life

Fall is Here

First, hear is one of my favorite tunes about autumn. It’s a cover that Miles Davis did in ’64.

There’s a lot going on at once. The goal is to surrender myself (or my literary voice) to do some new things. Yet, I’m interested in working on a continuum, if that makes sense. It’s been heartening to get to know a few of my colleagues outside of the workshop. There’s so much experience that we all bring (or leave) on/off the page.

I need to be work on an ekphrastic poem. If the rain slows, I may go see the Basquiat indie film.

Here’s something I did recently. It wants to be a sonnet. Here’s the first stanza.  What do you think?

Greatest Hit

        Tupac Shakur 6/71-9/96

My belly pressed on the speakers before

you were born. It was seventy-one, Ike

& Tina howled Proud Mary. I was Mary

you were proud, bigger than salvation.

A colleague of mine and I had a lengthy conversation last night about the need to challenge each other to write the poems we’re afraid to write. In any earlier poem, I mentioned how torn I feel in so many ways. One of the things I mentioned was the way I was raised to be a ‘respectable Negro” a credit to my race while simultaneously supressing the urge to do something absolutely wild and inappropriate like run out into the streets screaming motherfucker. So I was challenge to write a poem where I engage that other side without regard for the workshop since I won’t be presenting it in the workshop setting. It’s moments like these that I’m so grateful.

I’ve also resolved to pay more attention to form. Not necessarily traditional forms but form in general. As form can help you get to the what you are trying to say because the how is already decided.

About Abdul Ali

I'm a fellow at American University studying creative nonfiction and poetry. I write across a few genres but it's all brought together by larger questions about culture.


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