Statement of Purpose for MFA Program

There is never a time when I find myself at a loss for words. I recently learned that the expression “at a loss” was originally used to describe how a bloodhound would feel when, in the middle of a hunt, he lost the coveted scent. I really try to imagine the feeling – panting, the yells of a master compelling me forward, ears flopping furiously and a scent so ripe I can taste it, when suddenly I’m forced to halt at a stream. The scent is gone. Where did it go? How do I carry on? A poor dog utterly at a loss. But try as I might, I can’t relate this experience to words. To me, there is nothing in life that words cannot describe, because I know my greatest strength lies in creative writing. The MFA program with a concentration in poetry will be the making of me, because my background and career aspirations align precisely with the training and experience I will earn with the degree.

Since childhood, I’ve maintained a passion for reading and writing, paralleled only by my fascination with the sciences. I have a creative mind that is enraptured by the artful arrangement of words in any genre, from the love sonnets of Pablo Neruda to the highly-detailed Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Propelled towards science by my favorite works of science fiction, by truly great authors like Issac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, I even contemplated a career in the sciences, but as it turns out, a fire fueled by passion will always blaze higher than one sparked by mere fascination. I excelled more in English than science, and discovered it to be my true calling. But throughout college, as both an English and pre-med biology student, I often left the bookstore with lab manuals and classic literature stacked in my arms in a pattern of fact, fiction, fact, fiction. This pattern drove me to pursue education in two seemingly unrelated fields, because I crave a perspective that allows me to observe the world objectively while still creatively praising its beauty. But it’s been four years of highly scored essays, first place prizes in writing contests, and poems published here and there – the time has come for me to take a leap into my true destiny as a writer and a teacher of the craft, because I have talents that will deeply affect the people who read my poetry and the college students I will someday teach.

From editing my university’s newspaper, overseeing the publication of a literary magazine, tutoring English students, working as a medical scribe, and writing non-profit grants, I know that I already make a difference in the world of written language, but I yearn to grow, learn, and further my passion for written expression by dedicating myself to the MFA program. I am versatile with a keen understanding of people, nature, and chaos, as a writer uniquely well-versed in science, math, and medicine. I am also skilled at communicating to students the essentials of effective writing, and the deepest satisfaction I can ever feel comes not from a form of sin, but from working with a student to polish his essay until the student himself sees how his words can indeed shine. I pride myself on being able to copy edit with precision, and being able to produce text, either informative or creative, about anything and anyone with verisimilitude.

I write because I believe there is more truth in fiction than in reality. Memories are recollections of faces and conversations that have warped, faded, and blurred, and the human tendency to reshape and recolor them is a necessary means of survival – without our memories to save us from our mistakes and help us retain lessons, we cannot hope to survive the perilous future. But in a poem, carefully sculpted sentences with angles more distinct and refined than an equivocal piece of colored glass memory, I can revive the moribund feelings that would be lost if not for the art form’s ability to capture, magnify, and radiate emotion all at once. The poem may not be the reader’s exact story or exact memory, because they can’t exactly remember, but the feeling they experienced on a sad December day was exactly the same. Poetry, no matter how far-fetched it appears when first read, is truth about love, loss, liberation, and everything life brings, delivered with more clarity than we can ever recall our own experiences with. If memory is a forgetful lover, not to be trusted with watering the houseplants, poetry is a mother who always knows what to do and say.

My long-term goal, to eventually pursue a PhD and teach creative writing at the graduate level, can’t be achieved unless I first achieve my short-term goal of establishing my reputation in the literary community. I understand it will be a tough road, and the opportunities to teach will be slim unless I first prove my greatness in poetry, or even extend my abilities to fiction or creative nonfiction. But the challenge of the MFA program at Hofstra will be a joy, because it will give me the training, practice, and final measure of courage that I need to publish my poetry in greater volumes, and to widen my audience beyond my humble blog, loved ones, and some mysteriously acquired regular readers. I’ve received an adequate level of undergraduate English education at my university thus far. But coming from a small English department at a private school dominated by science and business majors from affluent backgrounds, with successful family businesses waiting to be inherited, I feel out of place. I come from humble means, having worked as a writing tutor, music teacher, lab assistant, and various other jobs to pay for college, in addition to relying on scholarships. Between working hard and belonging to a seldom appreciated field of study, the journey has often been lonely. I yearn for an academic community like the one at Hofstra to call family, where a love of literature and written expression will bring us together like a never-ending holiday, and there will be opportunities to network with other writers and professors in the creative state of New York, share stories, and ultimately forge an enduring career. The MFA program will give me this, and in return, I will give it everything I have to offer by way of my pen, which also happens to be the physical manifestation of my soul. If accepted, I may be too elated to speak as the expanse of untamed possibilities appear before me, and perhaps, for the first and last time and just for a moment, I may find myself at a loss for words.

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