My break was spent amidst a sea of family with little space for people and a lot of white fudge oreos.
That said, it was a splendid time. I made poetry into presents this year and plan to do so more often. It was a lot of fun getting to see some old faces, but I also spent a lot of the time frontloading for the coming semester. Twenty four credits separate me from the end goal. I will accumulate them in proper order and live to fight another day in the realm of academia. The war metaphors are over though. It is a time of peace and everything, as it always seems to be, is largely composed of poetry.
Winter term rocks. Spending three weeks with a subject or two really seems like a brilliant idea. The level of focus is exciting as there are not a multitude of distractions in content. As a student taking two of these courses, I have to say the level of connectivity in conceptual subject matter is also very fun to engage. Tying the language of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus to that of poets during World War One (A lot of bodies, a lot of death) through some contextualization from the study of close readings has been a process that is splendidly neat. There is a certain excitement or awareness that persists in the air as well.
The professors seem more energetic and excited, and for good reason. The level of information being packed into a two and a half hour session is intense. It is hard to layer that in a way to permits a branched understanding of what is being presented, but I have seen it done very well so far. There is a lot of autonomy that comes with all the free time as well, and I deeply enjoy having that level of freedom to see people I have not seen in some time or make some new connections before the year comes to an end.
I wish it were still four weeks, but the mad dash is kind of fun. It is hard to believe that we are already a significant portion of the way through the term. It is unfortunate that it must pass by so quickly, but spring is also a period that looks hopeful. After a long break it is simply nice to get back to work, one can only dwell in graduate school applications for so long without yearning for an essay prompt.
The best part of returning, as always, is the people. Break is a strange time because your mirror becomes a cellmate. It can be a time of returning to old stories, extreme isolation, or a close relationship with your Netflix account. There is a lot of reflection that comes with that, and people often return with some insights gleaned from fall experiences. Those epiphanies really seem to guide the year forward - Winter seems very busy so far, with a lot of momentum swinging into spring.
My own energy is swinging towards personal projects. I have spent a lot of time involved with ASCI and its various entities, but I've been putting together a larger endeavor. I've examined the sestina technique writing poetry and applied some of the patterns to the form of a short collection of poems with multiples based off of 8 acting as the guiding principle. I've been applying some psychological constructs of personality (In creation of the speakers) as well and am essentially working to create something of a template or recipe book for putting together a hybrid piece based off of patterns in language. The gears for that will move more heavily in spring, per some writing workshops and I am beyond excited to see where it may go.
Keep it classy.
Austin Kirkham is a Senior creative writing major at The College of Idaho