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14310554_10154564176417502_5276343628551283741_oDevon Norris is a writer. Of what, he’s not sure. He and his wife, Amber, are preparing for their next journey as she pursues her medical residency and he pursues… something. In the meantime, good stories will keep him company. Maybe one day he’ll write one.

Rachel Hoge: Hi Devon, thanks so much for agreeing to share your thoughts on the Arkansas Writers Program. Our program offers a unique focus on both publishing and pedagogy. As a graduate student you’ve taught college writing, creative writing, and have pursued an editorial internship with the Oxford American magazine. How have these opportunities impacted you professionally?

Devon Norris: The benefit of a focus in publishing and pedagogy is exposure (in the professional sense). The variety of studies enables me to observe the full scope of opportunities available to an MFA graduate. Also, for someone with many interests, I can explore the possibilities in several fields without committing to any of them.

RH: In what ways has our MFA program transformed you as a writer, artist, or professional?

DN: I’ve expanded my comfort zone, pushing into poetry, drama, and fiction in many ways I hadn’t before. I think, when you stretch what you normally experiment with, you have the chance to grow and inform other parts of your writing. I’ve probably devolved as a professional during my time here, but that has nothing to do with the program. That’s Ben’s fault.

RH: How will this degree be beneficial to you in reaching your post-grad goals?

DN: The program has helped me grow as a writer and a thinker, which will be invaluable no matter what professional course I take. I plan to wield the skills I’ve learned here in the next step of my life, which hasn’t been determined yet.

RH: How has the faculty of our MFA program helped you prepare for the future?

DN: The faculty are passionate about writing and about teaching, but they also care about you as a person. They are invested in my future, and they work for the students’ betterment. What more could you ask for?

RH: Why would you recommend the Arkansas Writers Program to an MFA applicant?

DN: This is my MFA program. There are many like it, but this one is mine.My MFA program is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my MFA program is useless. Without my MFA program, I am useless. I must advertise my MFA program true. I must write better than my doubt that is trying to kill me. I must stop it before it stops me. I will…My MFA program and I know that what counts in life is not the words we don’t write, the noise of our frustrated yells, nor the lies we tell ourselves. We know that it is the words we do write that count. We will write…My MFA program is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother or sister. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its people. I will keep my MFA program clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…Before you, I swear this creed. My MFA program and I are the defenders of the pen and paper. We are the masters of our doubt. We are the saviors of the words.So be it, until victory is ours and there is no doubt, but words!

Stop by next Friday to meet another graduate student from the Arkansas Writers Program.
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