Interview with UW

The fine folks over at Lit Bridge recently interviewed a student of the MFA program. Take a look, if you will. CLICK ME.

Travels with Miguel

Miguel Kaminki is a second-year nonfiction student. He enjoys cats and film. He recently had this to say about his MFA-funded summer:
I had trouble finding reliable photographic evidence of my summer, most of which was spent in the Philippines. I therefore offer the most polite photo from my travels. This portrait, taken outside the University of the Philippines Film Center, was shot with a small, barely functional digital camera, hence the overexposure of the photo, particularly the subject’s arms, denim, and a white box (which, I believe, contained leftover sans rival cake and beef salpicao from a restaurant called Chocolate Kiss). Dated June 22, 3:50PM, the portrait immortalizes the five minutes before me and my companion entered the University of the Philippines Film Institute to attend a screening of Lav Diaz’s Siglo ng Pagluluwal. As you can see, the UP Film Institute portends in the background like the site of a disreputable Tagalog exorcism: wild foliage, decorative handicap ramp, denuded college bulletin board, and a child’s powder blue bike—possibly abandoned.
I won’t bother with a pretentious synopsis, but what you need to know about this film is that its running time is six hours; it’s got Joel Torre; it draws parallels between religious fanaticism and uncompromising artistic vision; only ten other people showed up to watch; and it’s an incredible movie. Undoubtedly the best Filipino movie I’d seen that summer (I’d watched at least fifteen, from Kamera Obskura to Every Breath You Take).

Also, at one point I resolved to take long walks around Manila and photograph every cat I came across. Manila with its slack attitude towards ferals and strays is, above all Southeast Asian cities, a city of cats. The photo below is probably the best of the bunch, though I don’t remember taking it.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – MFA Style

The summer between our first and second year here at UW is an awesome time for writing. With the finical support of MFA funding and various grants, many of us used this time to travel and gather research for our theses.

This is how Chelsea Biondolillo, 2nd year nonfiction student, spent her summer:
First, I went to NYC where I visited a public high school with a marine stewardship focus. While there, I observed a 10th grade aquaculture class that was managing an oyster nursery and later I dove in the New York harbor with a scuba class of 10-12th graders that included rescue, scientific, and divemaster dive drills. This trip was made possible by Philosophy and Social Justice department funding.

Next, I went to Nebraska to learn more about the tall grass prairie and the issues around its conservation from experts in several fields. I worked with a small group of researchers who are studying an endangered carrion beetle and was able to meet with one of the nation’s most prolific ornithological authors. This trip was made possible by MFA department funding. 

In July I was selected for a year long science writing workshop sponsored by Creative Nonfiction magazine, the Consortium of Science, Policy, and Outcomes and the National Science Foundation. More info here (though they don’t have the new communicators posted yet, I’m one of them for 2012): The process was competitive and I am really excited to be a part of it. 

What a wonderful couple months, Chelsea. Congrats on all you accomplished! Thanks for the glimpse into your summer.