Div III Student Olive Woodall F22 Writes Collection of Poetry on Coming of Age in Oklahoma

Please describe your Div III.
My Div III project, “All That’s Left,” is a collection of poetry and prose centered on growing up as a girl in Oklahoma, living in the Bible Belt, and the complicated relationship with religion, cultural and societal expectations, gendered violence, and the struggle of finding oneself through all of it. It’s also a collection about leaving home.
Since leaving Oklahoma and coming to Hampshire, I’ve (of course) thought a lot about “home.” Through this collection, I wanted to consider the gray areas of a place like Oklahoma. I wanted to write about the places and people that shaped my life, the bad and good experiences, the ugly and beautiful things residing in a region of America that is less explored.
I’ve always written poetry, but in the sense that I typed poems into my phone and never revised them or shared them with anyone. Every single thing I’ve written in this collection was written this academic year. Initially, my Div was going to be a small chapbook, and it’s now a 50-plus-page collection.
I never thought I’d be able to write this much, but because of the time and support I’ve received from Hampshire, I was able to take myself seriously as an artist. I’ve learned so much about myself as a creative and how I work.
Who are your committee members?
My committee members are Writing Instructor and Faculty Associate Faune Albert 02F and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing & African American Literary Arts Nathan McClain. Nathan was the first professor I met at Hampshire, and he has advised me ever since. Because of him and his poetry workshops, I felt I could take on the challenge of writing this collection without much experience under my belt.
Faune and I met and bonded over being from the South. I was TA for her Queer and Feminist Southern Literature course, which gave me the idea for my Div project. Since I’m a nontraditional student, it’s easy to feel behind other people or to doubt yourself, but my committee has always been there to encourage me and push me to believe in myself and my voice.
Anyone else who has particularly supported you during your Hampshire experience?
Alex Cuellar [director of the Writing Program and senior faculty associate] and fellow student Kaihla Laurent have been massively supportive to me, whether it’s offering emotional support or spending time with my work and giving thoughtful feedback. They both have made me feel very understood, and I’m grateful to have people outside of my committee who have offered me and my work so much time and care.
What are you planning to do after graduation?

All I know about life after graduation is that I’m taking a break, ha-ha. I plan on applying to MFA programs eventually, but I’d like to take a few years to work, gain experience, and live life outside of school for a bit. But I probably won’t be living life too far from academia, as I found during my time as a teacher’s assistant that I love working with college students.