Low Residency Creative Writing at PNCA: Summer Residency 2024 Talks, Workshops, Readings, Panels, and Performances

June 05, 2024

A collage on a red background with text about PNCA's creative summer writing program and various participant names.

From June 20 to June 30, PNCA's Low Residency Creative Writing program hosts its Summer Residency. Here's information on talks, workshops, readings, panels, and performances.

Faculty Talks, Workshops, and Readings are open to the public, in person or on Zoom. All events are in Room 413 of PNCA's 511 Building unless otherwise noted. If you'd like Zoom links, please email Jay Ponteri at jponteri@willamette.edu. Talks and readings will be live streamed on PNCA's Youtube Channel

Friday, June 21

9-10 am: Talk by Poupeh Missaghi titled “Memory Work”

Memory, our own and others, can play an important role in our writing—whether in the genre of memoir writing or other forms of nonfiction and even fiction. This talk delves into some inner workings of the brain and the psyche in relation to memory and how our understanding of memory can inform our craft and stylistic choices as we shape and reshape the residues of the past in our artmaking. 

3-5 pm: A Generative Making Session with Jay Ponteri titled “...to feel and to feel for and with...” 

In this workshop we will read aloud a variety of writings—handouts provided—then write together as a way of manifesting Christina Sharpe’s vision of care (from her book In the Wake: On Blackness and Being): “…a way to feel and to feel for and with, a way to tend to the living and the dying.”

6-7:30 pm: A Faculty Reading by Alejandro de Acosta, Matt Hart, and Vi Khi Nao

Saturday, June 22

9-10 am: Talk by Dao Strom titled “& may i claim ocean as my literary form, sea as my preferred genre? : work that spills out of its own seams”

In this experimental lecture we will explore the notion of boundaries between literary forms, and their blurring/malleable qualities especially in regards to hybrid-literary forms. Drawing from concepts that inform the editorial vision and questioning in A Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid-Literary Collection, an anthology + exhibit project co-edited/co-curated by myself (with Jyothi Natarajan), this lecture will be itself an experiment in embodying—attempting to materialize—a hybrid space between lecture and poetic contemplation, with pause also for listening and generative exercise. This talk will advocate for the in-between, shifting, and mutable, for those works and writers who have a hard time containing themselves inside the given borderlines of named genres. In this space we will contemplate what it means to make work that spills out of its own containers, bursts its own seams.

6-7pm: A Faculty Reading by Jay Ponteri and Sara Sutter

Sunday June 23

9-10:30 am: A Workshop by Stephanie Adams-Santos titled “What the Water Gave Me: Embodiment, Dreams, Fragments, and the Surreal Imagination”

This somatic dreamwork workshop explores connections between artistic practice and embodied reality. How can we deepen the connection between our artistry and our living, and move toward a wild, embodied, and mycelial craft that metabolizes, transforms, and generates life? How might we nurture dialogue between the fragmented aspects of ourselves and begin dismantling internalized forces of fascism, capitalism, and oppressive structures within our own psyches, creating art and modes of living that are rooted in authenticity and liberation? In a time of genocide and growing fascism, how can we root our creative endeavors (life force) in the loam of the soul and attune our imaginations to an ever-fuller and more vital reality? I don’t have the answers, but I want to live into these questions alongside you.

Reading: Play and Theory of the Duende by Federico Garcia Lorca

6-7:30 pm: A Faculty and Guest Artist Reading at the IPRC with Stephanie Adams-Santos, Poupeh Missaghi, Scott Nadelson, and Dao Strom

Monday, June 24

9-10 am: A Talk by Vi Khi Nao titled “Literary Cryptology”

Bank robberies always fascinate me because they involve breaking into a vault. In the literary sphere, these metaphorical heists become even more captivating. This talk explores the art of implanting cryptic notes and double entendres in literary works. Cryptic messages add depth by subtly conveying themes and viewpoints, enticing readers to uncover buried meanings upon re-reading. Double entendres introduce dyadic meanings within phrases, often injecting humor or irony, and elevating readers to look beyond the superficial. Mastering these techniques augments narrative power, demanding a balance between explicit storytelling and subtle subtext. We will read/decode two flash pieces and attempt to create our own cryptic work

Wednesday, June 26

10-11 am: A Talk by Alejandro de Acosta titled Thick Description as Solution and Problem

How can you describe a moral act in an amoral manner, or the other way around? Or how can you describe a rational act irrationally, or the other way around? More importantly: why? Thick description is a writing practice derived from philosophy and anthropology. It aims to get beyond the limitations of the describer's own point of view by noting contextual clues without interpreting. Another observer, or the reader of the description, could learn something from a thickly described scene that the initial observer may not have discerned. I'll discuss thick description as a solution to a series of writing conundrums, including how to summon the larger world a narrative is unfolding within, communicating the moral valence of events, and the inscrutability of other minds. I'll also talk about how thick description can itself be a problem: the problem of the baroque.

6-8 pm: A performance by Gabrielle Civil titled Black Weirdo School in the Lemelson Innovation Studio

The Black Weirdo School is a decentralized network of performances, art works, conversations, and free public classes remixing tropes of race, art, and education.

Thursday, June 27

9-10 am: A Talk by Matt Hart titled “Many a Meditative Hour”

This narrative talk will deliberately and seriously slow everything down to—the cliché would be “a snail’s pace,” so—to a snail’s pace. Besides the necessary slowness and cliché, we will also be focusing our lights on narrative itself, sentimentality, and the fact that we die. Nevertheless, this is a talk about writing. The title is from Wordsworth.

3-5 pm: Session One of a Two-Day Workshop by Gabrielle Civil titled “Ritual Poetics”

Preparation for ritual is ritual . . . In this workshop, we will prepare ourselves for writing as ceremony. We will explore the role of spirit, incantation, chant, rite, and gesture in our creative practice. Inspired by Jayne Cortez, Sonia Louise Taylor, Steffani Jemison, Selah Saterstrom, Sawako Nakayasu, Petra Kuppers, Maya Deren, Arthur Rickydoc Flowers, and more, we’ll mine ritual touchstones in our own lives and create new liturgies and scores. Paying close attention to the work of Ntozake Shange, Akilah Oliver, and Leslie Scalapino, we will enact writing as embodied practice on and off the page.

6-7 pm: An Evening with Brandon Shimoda in the Lemelson Innovation Studio

Brandon will give a reading of his work then join faculty Dao Strom in Conversation.

Friday, June 28

3-5 pm: Session two of a Two-Day Workshop by Gabrielle Civil titled “Ritual Poetics”

Preparation for ritual is ritual . . . In this workshop, we will prepare ourselves for writing as ceremony. We will explore the role of spirit, incantation, chant, rite, and gesture in our creative practice. Inspired by Jayne Cortez, Sonia Louise Taylor, Steffani Jemison, Selah Saterstrom, Sawako Nakayasu, Petra Kuppers, Maya Deren, Arthur Rickydoc Flowers, and more, we’ll mine ritual touchstones in our own lives and create new liturgies and scores. Paying close attention to the work of Ntozake Shange, Akilah Oliver, and Leslie Scalapino, we will enact writing as embodied practice on and off the page.

6-7:30 pm: A panel and presentation (and celebration) by co-editors Dao Strom and Jyothi Natarajan of the Hybrid anthology A Mouth Holds Many Things published by Fonograf Editions; other participants include faculty Stephanie Adams-Santos and Jennifer S. Cheng and Guest Artist Gabrielle Civil. This event is at Stelo Gallery, jointly hosted by PNCA and Stelo Gallery.

PNCA Low Residency Faculty / Guest Artist Bios 

Alejandro de Acosta is a teacher, writer, and translator, still in no particular order. His most recent teaching includes private tutoring in literature and philosophy. His most recent writing includes a manuscript of poems and a novel, finally. His most recent translations include poems by Macedonio Fernández, Alberto Laiseca, and Paulo de Jolly. Alejandro lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Stephanie Adams-Santos is a Guatemalan-American artist and writer whose work spans poetry, prose, screenwriting, and illustration. Often grappling with themes of strangeness and belonging, their work reflects a fascination with the weird, numinous and primal forces that shape inner life. They are the author of several poetry collections and chapbooks, including DREAM OF XIBALBA (selected by Jericho Brown as winner of the 2021 Orison Poetry Prize; finalist for the Oregon Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award) and SWARM QUEEN'S CROWN (finalist for a Lambda Literary Award). Stephanie served as Staff Writer and Story Editor on the television anthology horror series TWO SENTENCE HORROR STORIES (Netflix).  In addition to their literary work, Stephanie is creating an original tarot deck that blends poetry, animism, and ancestral magic.

Jennifer S. Cheng’s work includes poetry, lyric essay, and image-text forms, exploring immigrant home-building, shadow poetics, and the interior wilderness. Her hybrid book MOON: LETTERS, MAPS, POEMS (2018) was selected by Bhanu Kapil for the Tarpaulin Sky Award and named a Publishers Weekly “Best Book of 2018.” She is also the author of HOUSE A, selected by Claudia Rankine for the Omnidawn Poetry Prize, and INVOCATION: AN ESSAY, an image-text chapbook published by New Michigan Press. A former National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has received awards and fellowships from Brown University, the University of Iowa, San Francisco State University, the U.S. Fulbright program, Kundiman, Bread Loaf, MacDowell, and the Academy of American Poets. Having grown up in Texas and Hong Kong, she lives in San Francisco. www.jenniferscheng.com

Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer, originally from Detroit, MI. Her recent performances include Black Weirdo School (Pop Up Critique) (2023), the déjà vu—live (2022) and Jupiter (2021). Her performance memoirs include Swallow the Fish (2017), Experiments in Joy (2019), (ghost gestures) (2021), the déjà vu (2022) and In & Out of Place (2024). Her writing also appears in New Daughters of Africa, Teaching Black, Kitchen Table Translation and A Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid Literary Collection. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. The aim of her work is to open up space.

Matt Hart is the author of ten books of poems, most recently FAMILIAR (Pickpocket Books, 2022). His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Big Bell, Kenyon Review, and Poetry, among others. The recipient of a 2024 Individual Excellence Award  in Poetry from the Ohio Arts Council, he edits the journal SOLID STATE and plays in the post-punk/indie rock band NEVERNEW (www.nevernew.net).

poupeh missaghi is a writer, editor, translator (between English and Persian) and educator. Her second book Sound Museum is forthcoming in October 2024 (Coffee House Press) and her debut novel trans(re)lating house one was published in 2020 (Coffee House Press). Her translations include I’ll be Strong for You by Nasim Marashi (Astra House, 2021) and In the Streets of Tehran by Nila (Ithaka Press, 2023), as well as forthcoming Boys of Love by Ghazi Rabihavi (University of Wisconsin Press, 2024). She is currently an assistant professor of English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver, and a faculty mentor at the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, OR.

Scott Nadelson grew up in northern New Jersey before escaping to Oregon, where he has lived for the past twenty-seven years. He has published a novel, a memoir, and six collections of short stories, most recently While It Lasts, winner of the Donald L. Jordan Prize for Literary Excellence. His new novel, Trust Me, is forthcoming from Forest Avenue Press in September 2024. Winner of the Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and an Oregon Book Award, Scott’s work has appeared in a variety of magazines and literary journals, including Ploughshares, STORY, The Southern Review, New England Review, Harvard Review, Glimmer Train, and The Best American Short Stories. He teaches at Willamette University, where he is Hallie Brown Ford Chair in Writing, and in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University.

VI KHI NAO is the author of many books and is known for her work spanning poetry, fiction, play, film, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Her forthcoming novel, The Italian Letters, is scheduled for publication by Melville House in 2024. In the same year, she will release a co-authored manuscript titled, The Six Tones of Water with Sun Yung Shin, through Ricochet. Recognized as a former Black Mountain Institute fellow, Vi Khi Nao received the Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize in 2022.

Jyothi Natarajan is an editor, writer, and cultural worker and has collaborated with Dao Strom as part of De-Canon since 2021. She spent nearly a decade working at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, where she edited the digital literary magazine The Margins and helped to establish The Margins Fellowship for emerging writers. Jyothi now works as Program Manager at Haymarket Books, where they administer a fellowship program for writers impacted by carceral systems. They are the recipient of the 2017 Wai Look Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts and, with Dao, are part of the 2023-24 IPRC re/source residency. Having grown up in Southern Virginia, Jyothi is now based out of Portland, Oregon.

Jay Ponteri directed the creative writing program at Marylhurst University from 2008-2018 and is now the program head of PNCA’s Low-Residency Creative Writing program. His book of creative nonfiction Someone Told Me has just been published by Widow+Orphan House. He’s also the author of Darkmouth Inside Me (Future Tense Books, 2014) and Wedlocked (Hawthorne Books, 2013), which received an Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. Two of Ponteri’s essays, “Listen to this” and “On Navel Gazing” have earned “Notable Mentions” in Best American Essay Anthologies. His work has also appeared in many literary journals: Gaze, Ghost Proposal, Eye-Rhyme, Seattle Review, Forklift, Ohio, Knee-Jerk, Cimarron Review, Tin House, Clackamas Literary Review, While teaching at Marylhurst, Ponteri was twice awarded the Excellence in Teaching & Service Award. In 2007, Ponteri founded Show:Tell, The Workshop for Teen Artist and Writers, now part of summer programming at Portland's Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC.org) on whose Resource Council he serves. He teaches memoir classes at Literary Arts. He lives in Portland.

Brandon Shimoda is the author of several books of poetry and prose, most recently The Grave on the Wall (City Lights), which received the PEN Open Book Award. He has three books forthcoming: Hydra Medusa (poetry and prose, Nightboat, 2023), a book of nonfiction on the ongoing afterlife of Japanese American incarceration (City Lights, 2024), and, with the poet Brynn Saito, an anthology of poetry on JA incarceration, written by descendants of the concentration camps (Haymarket, 2025).  

Dao Strom is an artist who works with three “voices”—written, sung, visual—to explore hybridity and the intersection of personal and collective histories. She is the author of the poetry collection, Instrument (Fonograf Editions), winner of the 2022 Oregon Book Award for Poetry, and its musical companion, Traveler’s Ode (Antiquated Future Records); a bilingual poetry-art book, You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else (Hanoi: AJAR Press); a memoir, We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People, and song cycle, East/West; and two books of fiction, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (Counterpoint Press) and Grass Roof, Tin Roof (Mariner Books). She is co-editor with Jyothi Natarajan of the forthoming anthology called A Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid-Literary Anthology published by Fonograf Editions. She is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital Award and a 2020 Oregon Literary Arts Career Fellowship, and has received support also from RACC, Oregon Arts Commission, NEA, and others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, Strom was born in Vietnam and lives in Portland, Oregon. She is co-founder of two collaborative art projects, She Who Has No Master(s), and de-canon.

Sara Jannette Sutter is a writer, educator, student, and psychonaut based in Portland, OR.  Sara holds a BA in philosophy, an MFA in Poetry & Creative Nonfiction, and is now in their second year at California Institute of Integral Studies, where they are focusing on somatic and psychedelic-assisted therapy. Sara teaches literature and creative writing at University of Portland, Pacific Northwest College of Art and Craft, Willamette University, and virtually at Harrisburg Area Community College. While Sara’s most recent writings have been toward fulfilling academic requirements, published works appear in Fence, the Seattle Review, Nailed Magazine, and others, along with her chapbooks, O to Be a Dragon (Finishing Line Press 2016) and Sirenomelia (Poor Claudia 2013). Sara is slowly at work on a new hybrid project that explores the generative and spiritual qualities of trauma.