Pacific University MFA Commencement Student Speech

Today I had the honor of giving the student speech at the 2009 Pacific University commencement ceremony. Here is the text of that speech.


Standing at the podium. Associate Provost Wilkes, Dean Hayes, Vice President Akers, Ms. Washburn, faculty, staff, graduates, alumni, family, and friends — good afternoon. Today we celebrate our completion of the requirements for Pacific University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree, and a milestone for each of us in our ongoing education as writers. This also marks the fifth year of this MFA program’s existence. And if any program has earned the right to act its age, this one has. If memory serves me, this involves spontaneous tantrums followed by graham cracker cookies and a nap. At least, that’s what I liked best about being five. It was also the age when I dictated my first poem to my kind and patient mother. It ran seven pages. And, although I have learned a lot since then, today I would like to be brief in simply reminding us all of some truths about this program, and about writing, we all already know — but might want to hear repeated.
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