Creative Writing - Poetry (BA) '21
What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia?
The most surprising thing I learned at Columbia is the way in which writers interact with the world. We come from a long line of great authors who have not only shaped history, but recorded experiences that have changed the way we see the world today. The literature I read at Columbia opened my eyes to different languages, different time periods, different histories, and different human experiences. I evolved in my reading and am so grateful for the dedication Columbia professors have to teaching literature across countries and time.
What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial?
This is a hard question because I can name courses from every semester that benefited me in some way! Each workshop and craft and process class I took fine-tuned my writing and annotating skills. My love of literature and writing grew throughout my time at Columbia because of the close readings and meticulous editing we did in my courses. I fell in love with the process of crafting poems or short stories and analyzing literature from all different eras and points in history. Aviya Kushner’s class on Russian poets taught me to appreciate the sound of poetry and the art of making a poem, even if it is in a different language. CM Burroughs’ workshops enhanced my writing and poetic craft more than I could have ever imagined and Lisa Fishman’s craft and process classes taught me to see the world through a different, observational lens. I am leaving Columbia with a greater appreciation for the literary world and the authors who have come before me.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I currently intern with a literary agency and it has solidified my desire to be a literary agent or to work in book publishing. I want to advocate for authors in their submission process and work with writers to perfect their craft in hopes of ultimately getting published. Being a literary agent allows you to walk alongside the author in each step of their publication process and to network with editors and scouts across the world. The social aspect of the job is appealing to me as I am a highly relational person. In addition, all three years I’ve been at Columbia I’ve been working on a chapbook of poetry. It would be a dream to publish that after graduation. The professors I have had at Columbia have helped me fine-tune and edit each of my poems and offered feedback that has enhanced my writing. I am inspired by my professors and their publishing success and only hope that I, too, can publish work.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Take advantage of every opportunity the college has to offer! I deeply value the one-on-one work I’ve had with my professors. I have grown as a writer because of their expertise and learned when to trash a piece, love a piece, or re-edit a piece. I have also been inspired by the many readings the Creative Writing department hosts. Seeing other poets and authors read their work has greatly influenced my writing and only fueled my love of writing. In addition, the career advising office has been incredible. Go see them! My cover letters, resume, and job applications all went through the career office and landed me an internship that I hope will lead to a post-grad job.
If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say?
Attending Columbia has fueled my dreams of being a poet and given me the opportunity to work alongside incredible professors who helped me grow and learn as a writer, making me not only a better interpreter of literature, but a better human who approaches the world with curiosity and gratitude.