I received the first bit of paperwork for my upcoming residency in June: the Housing Form. Most of the questions were pretty easy. Do you smoke? No. Do you require a room on the first floor of the dorm, which has no elevator? No. Roommate preferences. Hmm, I don’t know anyone yet. Is there a check box for “Just nobody crazy, please”? No? OK, leaving that one blank.
Then came the question that gave me pause: Do you prefer to stay in a quiet or more social wing of the dorm? That “more social” leaves a lot of room for interpretation. What does it mean in the context of a low-residency program where the median student age is in the mid-thirties? That people hang out in the halls and talk about the Black Mountain poets after 10:00PM? Or that people are having drunken brawls about the merits of language poetry and throwing up in trash cans at 2:00 in the morning?1
I took a deep breath, reminded myself that one of the main reasons I wanted to get an MFA was to have more poetry friends, and checked social. It’s only 10 days, after all…
On a completely unrelated note, Jenny Factor wrote this post on the Best American Poetry blog yesterday that made me very happy all over again that I am doing this.
1 Since my undergraduate degree is from the school whose fraternity system inspired National Lampoon’s Animal House, this requires exactly no effort of the imagination for me. Except for the poetry part.