“Take Time to Read, Write, Get Feedback, and Revise”

Recent MFA Graduate Champions Quality Over Quantity

MFA graduate Hikari Leilani Miya ’22 reflects on her writing journey post-graduation and shares some words of wisdom.

In what ways has your writing style, process, and vision changed since graduation?

During my MFA, I was really focused on getting work published by literary magazines, and I was sending out dozens of poems weekly. Now that I’m in the PhD, I have less time to write, so I’m more thoughtful about the quality of work I’m sending out versus quantity, and taking more time on the revision process.

My vision has shifted from my experiences in the aftermath of trauma and PTSD to animal studies, as I have been using my master’s certification in herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) to volunteer at the local zoo, found a literary magazine with Amphibian Foundation, and detail my experiences from a biological as well as historical and literary perspectives on the vast variety of herpetofauna existing in Tallahassee, FL. My other focus is the perceptions of the Other, which is defined as non cis/het/white/male; creatures from mythology, women, LGBTQ community, and animals all fall under this category.

How did/does the MFA program help you with your writing goals?

During my MFA, I learned to sit with words and lines on a level that I hadn’t previously considered, so doing workshop here allows me to teach people to do the same when they consider writing and revising their own work. The MFA taught me new skills, such as considering constraints and freedom of form and space on the page.

During my MFA, I learned to sit with words and lines on a level that I hadn’t previously considered.”

What advice might you give a recent graduate who seeks to publish their work?

There’s definitely no rush to publish. Take time to read, write, get feedback, and revise. You want your work to be something you’ll always be proud of.