Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
Born in southern Vietnam and raised in southern California, she often explores in her work the role of the body as the site of memory. She is the author of the novel The Gangster We Are All Looking For and the solo performance works Red Fiery Summer, the bodies between us, and Carte Postale, which have been presented at, among other venues, the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, the International Women Playwrights' Festival in Galway, Ireland, the New World Theater at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Marfa Theater Company in Marfa, Texas. She has been awarded fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and United States Artists.
"One does not look through writing on to reality - as through a clean or dirty windowpane. Words are never transparent. They create their own space, the space of experience, not that of existence..." -John Berger. This class will be a combination of an excavation of experience and a deep-sea dive beyond. Through a broad selection of readings--James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, Lucille Clifton, Julie Otsuka, and others--we will carefully consider the many ways in which a piece of writing creates its own space, one a reader can fully enter, and the ways in which truth is harnessed and released through that space. Through guided exercises, participants will aim to cultivate the clarity of their writing voice and apply this clarity toward the creation, on the page, of spaces marked by both the ambiguity of experience and the radical promise of imagination.
In this workshop, participants will be encouraged to identify the questions and concerns that drive their creative work, consider approaches that may help to broaden the scope of their questions, and then center their writing around thematic elements that feel most urgent to explore. A willingness to take risks in one's work--a desire to make something new out of now--is crucial.
In this workshop, students will explore the idea and implications of aftermath. Utilizing aftermath as a framework, students will consider what remains-how the past persists in the present, how the future is shadowed, and the ways in which no framework is stable. This intensive theory/practice workshop in Installation and Creative Writing is designed for Division II students interested in developing practices that engage questions of site, space, time, experience and the senses within specific historical contexts. Students will develop their skills in reading, writing, looking and translating between abstract concepts and concrete forms of artistic expression. Weekly exercises will hone critical skills and support students in their self-directed research project/presentation. This course will encourage students to broaden their perspective of artistic process and practice as we challenge traditional modes of production and presentation collectively. This will be a challenging course for serious students in creative writing, media, visual, and performing arts.
In this course we will explore the potency of poetic forms, focusing on the interplay between what can be sounded out, and what can only be sensed. By reading and discussing a wide range of works-from ancient fragments to contemporary experimental poems-and through guided writing exercises-we will consider the ways a poem may serve to delineate the familiar while at the same time setting off toward stranger realms. Students will be asked to think deeply about what yet remains 'unsounded' in their own lives and writing, and encouraged to find a form through which they might summon and explore that which is most potent for them.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) published very little in her lifetime, yet she left behind a body of work that continues to intrigue, engage, and inspire. In this workshop we will consider Dickinson's life in light of the personal pressures and national upheavals that marked it, and the ways in which her writing-both poems and letters-charted what she called 'circumference,' the whole of existence, from the tiniest insects to the depths of human yearning, to the motion of the stars in the sky, and beyond. Informed by readings of her poems and critical explorations of her work, participants will craft poems charting a movement from their own here and now, out toward what Dickinson described as a realm "Beyond the Dip of Bell--".
Paul Valery described seeing as "forgetting the name of the thing one sees." We see before we have the words to say what we see. But what is it that we see when we look? And how does it seem to come closer or disappear when we move to speak? In this workshop we will focus on the interplay between seeing and naming, focusing on works of poetry created in conversation with or in response to images, whether still or moving. Ideal for students who want to incorporate text into their visual practice, or those who want to explore taking their words off the page.
Unique among literary forms, poetry has the power to startle and to stun, to make us feel at once transported and more deeply rooted. In this introductory course we will aim to engage with and understand the potency of poetry, focusing on the interplay between what can be sounded out, and what can only be sensed. By reading and discussing a wide range of works-from ancient fragments to contemporary poems-and through guided writing exercises-we will explore the ways poetry distills human experience. Readings may include work by Sappho, Ho Xuan Huong, Ingeborg Bachmann, Czeslaw Milosz, Seamus Heaney, Lucille Clifton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Danez Smith, and others.
A poem may take many forms, but it often begins as an attempt to trace a fracture in, or piece together fragments of, memory, history, or desire. In this workshop we will explore the impulses and imperatives that launch a poem, and the discipline required to find the lines that most precisely reflect and convey a poem's concerns. Participants are invited to think deeply about the animating forces behind their own work and the work of others and, with a generous spirit, listen for and turn toward all that they don't yet know, but which the making of the poem itself is an attempt to draw closer to. Readings may include work by: Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Emily Dickinson, Christopher Gilbert, Lynda Hull, Joan Naviyuk Kane, Robin Coste Lewis, Layli Long Soldier, and others. Prerequisite: Previous creative writing workshop experience.