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New Writing Series Spring 2016

Roxanne Varzi -- Thursday, April 14, 2016 -- Literature Building Room 155 (de Certeau) at 4:30 pm


Roxanne Varzi is a professor of anthropology and visual studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Warring Souls: Media, Martyrdom, and Youth in Post-Revolution Iran (2006). Her award-winning short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines, including the New York Press. Her film, Plastic Flowers Never Die, has been shown in festivals around the world from Bosnia to Boston, and her sound installation, Whole World Blind, has been exhibited in galleries in San Francisco and Berlin and is featured on Public Books. Varzi was born in Tehran and left with her family shortly after the Revolution. In 2000, she was awarded the first Fulbright fellowship since the Islamic Revolution for research in Iran.

Selah Saterstrom -- Wednesday, April 20, 2016 -- Visual Arts Presentation Lab (SME 149) at 4:30 pm

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Selah Saterstrom is the author of the novels SlabThe Meat and Spirit Plan, and The Pink Institution, all published by Coffee House Press. Widely published and anthologized, she is also the author of Tiger Goes to the Dogs, a limited edition letterpress project published by Nor By Press. Her book of essays, Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics is forthcoming from Essay Press. She teaches and lectures across the United States and is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Denver.

Don Mee Choi and Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez -- Wednesday, May 11, 2016 -- Visual Arts Presentation Lab (SME 149) at 4:30 pm


Don Mee Choi is the author of Hardly War (Wave Books, April 2016), The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and translator of contemporary Korean women poets. She has received a Whiting Writers Award and the 2012 Lucien Stryk Translation Prize. Her recent works include a chapbook, Petite Manifesto (Vagabond Press, 2014), and a pamphlet, Freely Frayed,ㅋ=q, Race=Nation (Wave Books, 2014). 


I was born in South Korea during the U.S.-backed military dictatorship. I grew up in a small, traditional house my father bought with his award money for his photographs of the Student Revolution of April 19, 1960 that took place in response to President Rhee’s anti-democratic and dictatorial rule. Even after several decades of living outside of South Korea, this is the house I still return to. It is my psychic and linguistic base, a site of perpetual farewell and return, a site of my political act—translation and writing. In my new book, Hardly War, poetry and geopolitics are inseparable twin sisters, conjoined to the belly of a warring empire.  

Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez is an unrepentant border crosser, ex-dj, writer, painter, and academic. An Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Hispanic Southwest Literatures and Cultures in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico, he has also taught and lectured at universities across the United States and in Spain. Author of four collections of short stories, Algún día te cuento las cosas que he visto(2012), Luego el silencio (2014), One Day I’ll Tell You the Things I’ve Seen (2015), and En el Lost y Found (2016). His literary work has been published in anthologies in Spain, Italy, Latin America and the United States, including Malos elementos. Relatos sobre la corrupción social (2012); En la frontera: i migliori raconti della letteratura chicana(2008); Pequeñas resistencias 4 (2005); Se habla español (2000); and Líneas aéreas(1998).  His stories have also appeared in literary journals including Make Literary Magazine, Etiqueta Negra, Los noveles, Paralelo Sur, Revista 0, Camino Real, andVentana abierta. His academic work focuses on US Latino cultural expression, and US/Mexico border cultures. He has presented at international conferences in Turkey, Spain, Colombia, Peru, the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands and Norway. He is currently working on a novel inspired by his trips to Turkey.

Jami Proctor-Xu -- Wednesday, May 18, 2016 -- Visual Arts Presentation Lab (SME 149) at 4:30 pm


Jami Proctor Xu 徐贞敏 is a poet, essayist, translator, and mother, who writes in English and Chinese. Her chapbook of Chinese poems Shimmers 轻轻的闪光 was published in 2013 as part of the EMS: Du Shi Poetry Series and her full-length Chinese collection Suddenly Starting to Dance 突然起舞 is forthcoming from Yi 翼 Press in 2016. Her chapbook of English poems, Hummingbird Ignites a Star, was published in 2014. A collection of Sylvia Plath's poems she co-translated with Zhou Zan is forthcoming from Yi Lin Press. She was a visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a writer-in-residence at the Chengdu Gao Di artists village. She has read at international poetry festivals in China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the US, and her poems and translations have appeared in journals and anthologies in the US, China, and India. She is currently a featured writer for the White Night 白夜 online literary forum in Chengdu. She is a recipient of a 2013 Zhejiang Poetry Award for a non-Chinese poet who has made a contribution to contemporary Chinese poetry. 


I grew up mostly barefoot in the Sonoran desert, beneath the endless sky. Up until I was nineteen, I only ever traveled to San Diego. So I was a desert and ocean spirit first. At nineteen, I went to Beijing to study for a year, didn't speak English for eight months, and didn't want to return to the US, but I did and my life has been back and forth between Asia and North America ever since, with birds carrying messages to me on both continents. My poetry, essays, and art have grown from these landscapes and cultural-linguistic spaces. I write in Chinese and English and I also translate the works of other poets. I think of my work as traces of being: thought, experience, feeling, light, color, sound, silence, interactions, connections. If everything else disappears from my voice, I want it to still speak against violence. And for persisting in living all the way.

MFA Readings- 1st Year Students- Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - Visual Arts Presentation Lab (SME 149) at 4:30 pm


MFA Readings-Graduating Students- Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - Visual Arts Presentation Lab (SME 149) at 4:30 pm

The New Writing Series is brought to you by the Literature Department and the Division of Arts and Humanities

The New Writing Series thanks the Department of Visual Arts for providing us with the SME Presentation Space

For more information contact Professor Camille Forbes