Lydia Rainey

BS/MA English: Creative Writing

Lydia Rainey is currently a graduate student in the Department of English. She finished a bachelor of science in creative writing in May ’13. She is currently researching PhD programs in creative writing.

Are there any professors that made a huge difference in your time at Brockport?

As an adult student, Brockport kind of chose me. I wasn’t ready to settle down and have the college experience until a little later in life. But I found my place here. When I transferred in my junior year, I took a poetry workshop with Steve Fellner. He pushed me out of my comfort zone. He knew I was holding back in my writing and he forced me to look inside myself. He also taught me to break convention as far as form and really be myself as a poet.

Tell me about your study abroad program.

I studied at Oxford in summer 2013. I took two graduate-level classes, a poetry workshop and a fiction workshop. Working with the Office of International Studies was relatively painless. There were a number of forms to fill out, but I heard I was accepted into the program quickly. The experience I had at Oxford University was unforgettable.

How were your Oxford classes? How was the Oxford experience?

The experience is totally different than Brockport. You participate in what they call tutorials. You prepare for class ahead of time and then arrive for your one-on-one and discuss the assignment. I read The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, and wrote a story in the style of Hemingway. In the poetry class, we focused on specular poems, also known as mirror poems. The whole Oxford experience improved me as an artist.

Oxford is a very pretty city. There is a lot of walking. I went from living in a decent sized American apartment by myself to sharing a small apartment with three other women. Living space is a huge difference between the countries.

What are you reading these days?

Margaret Atwood is a genius, and both Penelopiad and Oryx and Crake are amazing novels. I saw a lot of my own style reflected in her writing. I, also, like to speculate on the future. As far as poetry, I’d suggest Devotions by Bruce Smith. Reading “The Backseat of My Mother’s Car,” by Julia Copus, reawakened my interest in creating new poetic forms.


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