I work across multiple media in my artistic practice, often alone, but happiest when in collaboration with others. I have published two collections of poetry and served as a literary editor for most of my adult life. I also work in time-based media, sometimes using archival materials. I often write about place—specifically about Aotearoa New Zealand and Kansas, my two homelands—as a way into to writing about the intensities of family dynamics.
As a poet I am interested in experimenting with received forms, especially the lyric. My first book, Palm Trees, was awarded the Norma Farber First Book Award by the Poetry Society of America, chosen by Timothy Liu. The book ranges across many modes (typical of a first book), sometimes employing found language. My second book, Attributed to the Harrow Painter, is, as Stephanie Burt wrote in Rain Taxi Review, “a book about parenthood (especially fatherhood), a book about realizing what you have inherited (like it or not); how you can inherit privilege and damage, shame and pride, at once; and what to do when you realize that your old conceptions of style no longer work for you.”
I am currently editing a draft of a novel about an eleven-year-old former martial arts prodigy’s quest to destroy his deadbeat father by deploying the singular technique he has invented and perfected just for the occasion. I am also, slowly, working on essays concerned with the cultural histories of martial arts in the United States. My obsession with the martial arts has plagued me since I was seven, when I took my first karate class.
Work with Students
I have taught creative writing workshops featuring students of poetry, fiction, screenwriting, and playwriting, as well as many film production courses that incorporated creative writing exercises and techniques. I often move between writing and time-based media in my classes, hoping to find the sweet spot where the two converge to create something wholly new. My approach to workshops is to cultivate an environment of mutual respect based on listening, critical thinking, and an understanding of what makes up a literary community.
- Beginning Poetry Workshop: Making and Breaking Form
- Introduction to Genres: Short Form Screenwriting
- “Way Beyond,” HIWA: Contemporary Māori Short Stories, University of Auckland Press, 2023.
- Attributed to the Harrow Painter, University of Iowa Press, Kuhl House Poets Series, 2017.
- Palm Trees, Green Lantern Press, 2012.