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.
In this introductory workshop, we will consider varieties of artistic impulses and poetic forms. Through readings, class discussions, and guided writing prompts, students will explore and engage with questions of song, trace, silence, desire, mourning, and fury. Readings may include Sappho, Audre Lorde, Myung Mi Kim, Don Mee Choi, Ocean Vuong, and Essex Hemphill, among others. (keywords: creative writing, interdisciplinary arts, literature)
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. (keywords: creative writing, literature, interdisciplinary arts)
In this workshop, students will consider different configurations of time as frameworks through which to explore the emergence of self and the experience of place. By paying close attention to notions of multiplicity, continuity, rupture, and simultaneity, students will be encouraged to develop poems and prose works that delineate and trouble the trace of time. Prior workshop experience and a willingness to experiment with form are highly recommended. Readings may include works by Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Georges Perec, Simone White, Arthur Sze, and Jean Valentine, among others. (keywords: creative writing, literature, interdisciplinary arts)
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, critical explorations of her work, and poems by contemporary poets obliquely or directly in conversation with Dickinson's work, participants will explore questions of family, freedom, violence, labor, death, religion, desire, illness, time, and place, creating poems that chart a movement from their own here and now, out toward what Dickinson described as a realm "Beyond the Dip of Bell -." (keywords: creative writing, literature, interdisciplinary arts, American studies)
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"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.