Why are you applying for your chosen course(s)
Through many years of getting getting poems, essays, and stories published in various periodicals and books, receiving awards, and teaching poetry classes, I am applying for a Master’s in Fine Arts at the University of Iowa to bring my focus on poetry to a new level. Ultimately, I want to teach poetry in a university and spread the word about haiku to a wider audience. I believe that haiku should be studied as an academic study in the West in the same way that is in the East. Receiving an MFA will aid me in focusing and learning more about this field of study and how to implement my ideas.
Why does this subject interest you?
Since I was in high school, I have known that writing—particularly creative writing—was the one subject I was truly interested in. All other subjects seemed robotic. They demanded one to memorize, to recall, and to do well on tests that displayed information that could be remembered via computer technology. On the other hand, writing is an exploration. I feel free to express myself and to reach far into my creativity. From writing long narrative poems, I have got more and more minimalist over the years. This process has culminated in my writing exclusively haiku and haiku-related poems. I feel that writing within this genre is a type of lifestyle that is beneficial for humanity, as it allows us to be more present, to be in touch with nature, and to explore the connections between things in a world that is becoming more and more separated.
Why do you think you’re suitable for the course(s)?
I am well-adjusted to studying literature and writing poetry for long hours. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Writing from The Evergreen State College, I continued to write poetry daily and to submit to journals. I have since become not only an award-winning poet, but also a mentor, teacher, and contest judge. Through these experiences, I believe I am comfortable in group environments aimed at constructive feedback. I know that the MFA program at the University of Iowa focuses on group feedback, and that is one of the main reasons I applied for this program.
Do your current or previous studies relate to the course(s) that you have chosen?
Yes, as I have stated before, I received a bachelor’s degree in writing. This degree was primarily focused on poetry from the Romantic Era and Victorian Era, and Asian literature, African literature, and modern American poets. In addition, I took a course on haiku during my bachelor’s studies. During my last year of study for my bachelor’s degree, I did a writing contract under the supervision of professor Francis R. Ferguson. The contract involved writing a poetry book within three months time, making the cover art, and creating a ready manuscript. I completed this contract successfully, with Mrs. Ferguson adding, “I believe Nicholas will become a famous poet.”
Have you taken part in any other activities that demonstrate your interest in the course(s)?
In regard to haiku, I have done much self-study, and even host a weekly blog called Haiku Commentary that features haiku poetry and commentary on it. I have been hosting the blog for three years now, created a haiku glossary for the blog, and collaborated with hundreds of poets worldwide. Furthermore, I have been studying under well-known poet Michael Dylan Welch. He has helped me understand the essence of haiku and its nuances. Through these experiences, I believe I am ready to examine poems and cooperate with other poets on projects in the MFA program.
It has been my dream and ambition to be a part of the MFA program at the University of Iowa. I know the best poets and professors are situated there, and I wish to be a part of its legendary program. I think obtaining an MFA from your esteemed university will allow me to best express my concepts about haiku and how it fits in the nation’s curriculum. My goal is to see a regular, serious study of haiku in literature classes, starting from Matsuo Basho, going onto the Beatniks’ influence on the genre in the West, and into the modern era of contemporary haiku poetics from the world over.