Poet Francisco Márquez is just beginning his second year in the MFA program at New York University. Being a full-time student with a part-time job doesn’t leave him much time to write. He was looking for an opportunity to delve deeply into his work for a concentrated period of time. Saltonstall is his first residency. “I’m only used to having little pockets of time and producing (work) very quickly,” he says. “Here, I wake up, I read, and then I work for three hours straight.”
He came with a list of poems to work on in addition to the larger project of his MFA thesis. One poem in particular — a challenging piece about family and family violence — has really taken off. “It was like holding the loose fabrics of different events and not knowing how they would fit,” he says. After long interviews with both of his parents, a six-page poem grew to sixteen pages.
A residency’s expanse of uninterrupted time can be both rewarding and unnerving. “What’s being given (here) is ultimate space. I don’t see anyone for the whole day until dinner. You have the privilege of being with yourself, which, if you’re doing right, should be a little scary,” he says with a laugh. “It’s been very revealing,” he says about his time at Saltonstall so far. “The necessity and luxury of going into this depth — I don’t think I would have had these discoveries if I didn’t have this time.”