Creative Writing at The New School

Mishka Anthony is an MFA poetry candidate at The New School currently living in Flushing, Queens. She is working on a collection of poetry and essays on the transgender experience and has become fascinated and awestruck with the makeup industry. When she’s not writing or teaching herself how to apply makeup on her face, she’s learning how to navigate the world as a lady and dancing the night away with her New School family. 

1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?

My favorite villain in literature is the diabolically Iago from Shakespeare's play, Othello. “Favorite” is loosely used here considering how evil Iago is in Othello and though there is no justifying his actions throughout the play, I am more interested in the queer undertones to Iago's motivations.

My favorite protagonist in literature is no other than the great poet Dante. Though seen as an epic poem, I’ve never encountered a text that fascinated me more than The Divine Comedy, and to think that this one man somehow wrote what would become one of the greatest poems ever written is nothing short of extraordinary considering just how influential his legacy is in the current literary landscape. We will probably never have another Dante or Divine Comedy which is more the reason to keep revisiting Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. 

2. When did you know you were a writer?

I didn’t know I was a writer until three years ago when I was in my second semester at The New School. I had just started in a writing program called Riggio and I was taking this class with Richard Tyson called “Poetry and the Creative Process” and it was through his class and what he taught where I started to develop this deep relationship with the written craft, specifically, with poetry. I never imagined that I could use the poetic medium as a device to explore, to wonder, to heal but once I learned how to write, how to understand a poem, there was no going back. I made a commitment to being a writer and not a day goes by where I doubt that decision or wish I had taken up another path for a more sustainable lifestyle.

3. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two projects: one is a collection of poetry that I view as a farewell to my male identity—a thematic exploration of the male body and the decaying that happens when one is transitioning to another identity, another gender. The other project is a large scale documentation of my transitioning from before I came out to what I am currently going through. I have been working on a collection of essays along with collecting images, conversations, notes, prescription bottles, photographs, ect., that I’d like to contribute to this final piece that I have in mind.  

4. How has your writing process changed over the years?

When I first started writing at The New School, I wasn’t sure the kind of writer I wanted to be. I gravitated towards fiction because I enjoyed the narration of stories but I learned through trial and error that I wasn’t very good at writing a story, which was fine because my determination to be a better writer brought me to the poetry program as an undergraduate. It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when an event happened that changed my life that I realized I could use my ability to write to make sense out of the pain that came from that event. If anything, it was because I learned how to write that I was able to come out as queer and understand what that meant for me personally. My style changed alongside with my identity and as I made sense of my own writing, prose and verse, so did the queering of my body, which greatly altered the poetry I’d write.

5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.

Suspended profoundly in animation. 

Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.  

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