Weeks 3 and 4

I’m still at it! Week 3 of my project consisted of completing my literature review as well as determining the structure of the creative manuscript that will accompany my final paper. As far as structure goes, I’ve decided that the creative manuscript will consist of 10 to 12 poems and creative non-fiction entries that were inspired by my experiences with this project. So far I’ve written 3 poems that focus on different experiences and realities that have been touched upon or discussed in some way thus far in my research.

In writing these poems, I relied heavily on my experiences as an avid reader as well English major, but I also drew from the expertise and examples of some of my favorite poets. Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Maya Angelou proved to be wonderful examples for me in this stage of my project, as their works combined capture the soul, grace, and honesty that I hope to incorporate into my own poems. And as a young Black woman striving to capture and explore the Black experience, their lives and examples have been immensely effective in helping me to produce the kind of writing necessary to move readers and evoke change through the written word. Specifically, drawing on Brooks’ powerful bluntness, Angelou’s use of vivid sensory information and diction, and Clifton’s tendency to begin poetry in medias res aided me in producing poetry that strives to allow the reader to make connections between themselves, the poetry, and the world.

I am now in week 4, however, and this week is designated as the beginning of the interview process! Participants for this project complete two five-minute self-report questionnaires (the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure), followed by a semi-structured interview in which they are asked to answer questions about some of their academic experiences, familial relationships and personal reflections. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30-45 minutes, and participants are compensated $10 for their participation in the study.

Thus far, I’ve completed 8 of the 20 proposed interviews! Everything is going well and it is so rewarding to finally be working with participants and hearing about their perspectives and experiences. I’m excited to see how this project turns out!