A craft talk with Ilya Kaminsky, Cathy Park Hong, Julie Iromuanya, Stephanie Soileau, Lina M. Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas & Rachel DeWoskin.
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Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the widely acclaimed Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry, which Kevin Young, writing in The New Yorker, called a work of “profound imagination.” Poems from Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize. He is also the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004), and Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). Kaminsky has won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and The Foreword Magazine’s Best Poetry Book of the Year award. Recently, he was on the short-list for the Neusdadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated into numerous languages and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. His poems have been compared to work by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetaeva.
Cathy Park Hong is an award-winning poet and essayist whose book, Minor Feelings, is a searching work that ruthlessly reckons with the American racial consciousness. Hong weaves together personal stories, historical context, and cultural criticism to ultimately create an emotional and impactful exploration of Asian American personhood. Hong is the author of several books of poetry, and is the recipient of notable awards such as the Windham-Campbell Prize. In her moving talks, she offers a fresh and honest perspective on race and Asian American identity, discusses how poetry and writing can be a means for understanding ourselves and our world, and comments on the ways politics and culture are influenced by art—and vice versa.
Julie Iromuanya is the author of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press), a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature (now 9 Mobile Prize for Literature), and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Debut Fiction. Her scholarly-critical work most recently appears in Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism; Callaloo: A Journal of African American Arts and Letters; and Afropolitan Literature as World Literature (Bloomsbury Publishing). She is a 2020 George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation fellow, and she was the inaugural Herbert W. Martin Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Dayton. She has also been a Kimbilio Fellow, a Jane Tinkham Broughton Fellow in Fiction at Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, a Bread Loaf Bakeless/Camargo France Fellow, a Brown Foundation Fellow at the Dora Maar House, a Jan Michalski Fellow at “The Treehouses,” and the Eternal Vada Fellow at Sangam House. Her work has also been supported by fellowships and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Ragdale Foundation, Villa Lena, and Villa Ruffieux. Iromuanya earned her B.A. at the University of Central Florida and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was a Presidential Fellow, Richard H. Larson Fellow, and award-winning teacher. She is an assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Program in Creative Writing at the University of Chicago and affiliate faculty of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. She is at work on a second novel, A Season of Light. julieiromuanya.com
Stephanie Soileau's collection of short stories LAST ONE OUT SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS is forthcoming from Little, Brown & Co. in Summer 2020. Her work has also appeared in Glimmer Train, Oxford American, Ecotone, Tin House, New Stories from the South, and other journals and anthologies, and has been supported by fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, the Camargo Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has taught creative writing at the Art Institute of Chicago, Stanford University, and the University of Southern Maine. Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Stephanie now lives in Chicago and teaches at the University of Chicago.
Lina M. Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas was born and raised (mostly) in Bogota, Colombia and has since then been tumbleweeding aimlessly through the world. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing, and her ode to cannibalism can be found in the collection titled, After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays. She is a graduate of The University of Iowa's Creative Nonfiction and Literary Translation programs, and her work has been featured in Arts and Letters, The Chicago Review, and Fourth Genre, among others. Don't Come Back is published by Mad River Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press (January 2017). Ferreira is a recipient of the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award.
Rachel DeWoskin is the award-winning author of five novels: Someday We Will Fly (Penguin Random House, 2019); Banshee (Dottir Press, 2019); Blind (Penguin Random House, 2015); Big Girl Small (FSG, 2011); Repeat After Me (The Overlook Press, 2009); and the memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing (WW Norton, 2005), about the years she spent in Beijing as the unlikely star of a Chinese soap opera. She has received a National Jewish Book Award, a Sydney Taylor Book Award, an American Library Association's Alex Award, and an Academy of American Poets Award, among others. Two of her books, Foreign Babes in Beijing and Banshee, are being developed for TV. DeWoskin's poetry collection, Two Menus, was published by the University of Chicago Press' Phoenix Poetry Series in 2020. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in journals and anthologies including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Ploughshares, and New Voices from the Academy of American Poets. DeWoskin is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Arts at UChicago and an affiliated faculty member in Jewish and East Asian Studies.