“I felt empowered to explore my passions and find agency in my education.”
May 2022 – After a winding post-graduate road, Drew University alum Rage Hezekiah C’06 has found her true passion: writing.
After graduating from Drew as a women’s and gender studies major and Spanish minor, Hezekiah spent a summer working at a farm in Vermont, then moved to California to apprentice on an organic farm, trained to be a doula, co-owned a collective bakery in Oakland, and published her first poem.
“I think one of the best things about attending a liberal arts college like Drew is that I didn’t feel like I needed to stop exploring after graduation,” she said.
After publishing her first poem, Hezekiah decided she wanted to pursue writing more seriously.
“Though I did publish a couple of poems in Insanity’s Horse, I didn’t take a single writing course at Drew. But writing has always been part of who I am and how I make sense of the world. I started exploring poetry and realized how important it was to me,” said Hezekiah.
Hezekiah decided to pursue her MFA at Emerson College, where she figured out how to turn writing into a career. She taught in Emerson’s first-year writing program as an adjunct faculty and asked colleagues how they made ends meet as writers.
“It never felt financially viable for me, or like I had enough space for my own creative practice,” she said. “I was teaching, nannying, housecleaning, and housesitting, all in an attempt to cobble together an income. I realized quickly that finding a salaried staff position at a college would be the best choice for me. I care deeply about creating space for my creative work and I have designated writing time each morning. My writing is a daily practice for me, and I try to remember that showing up is enough.”
The job-passion balance has paid off. Hezekiah is a Cave Canem, Ragdale, and MacDowell Fellow, and her 2021 full-length poetry collection, Yearn, was selected as a Diode Editions Book Contest Winner and will be published this summer.
“I feel fortunate to continue to pursue writing seriously and am thankful that my work is finding its way into the world,” she said of her success.
Looking back on her time in The Forest, Hezekiah points to foundational mentors and opportunities.
“I felt empowered to explore my passions and find agency in my education,” she said, specifically noting the classes of Jill Cermele, chair and professor of psychology; Wendy Kolmar, professor of English and women’s and gender studies; and Deb Liebowitz, now provost and chief academic office at Quinnipiac.
Hezekiah also noted Drew’s feel, location, and the liberal arts approach that allowed her to pursue her many interests.
“I chose Drew because I loved the idea of being at the ‘University in The Forest.’ I fell in love with the arboretum and I loved how easy it was to access New York City. I also wanted the flexibility and agency of a strong liberal arts curriculum. I wanted to explore my passions and direct my own education,” she said.
“Finding out that I could major in women’s and gender studies was formative for me. I loved how interdisciplinary it was, and the ways I could explore gender inside and outside the classroom. I attended Take Back the Night marches and the March for Women’s Lives in D.C., I participated in activism on and off-campus, I sang a cappella in On A Different Note, and I lived in the Women’s Concerns House. I loved the freedom I felt at Drew to become fully myself, and I’m grateful for everything I learned there.”