PNCA's Low-Residency Creative Writing Program features talks and readings from January 3-9

December 17, 2020

From January 3rd to January 9th, PNCA’s Low-Residency Creative Writing Program offers generative conversations, informal lectures, and readings that are open to the public, via Zoom and live streaming on Youtube. To register, email Jay Ponteri at

Conversations / Talks / Generative Making Sessions, via Zoom.

All times are PST

Sunday, January 3, 10 am

On Dionne Brand’s The Blue Clerk

Asiya Wadud & Brandon Shimoda

A conversation between Asiya Wadud and Brandon Shimoda on Dionne Brand’s The Blue Clerk (Duke University Press, 2018), through the example and experience of one (or more) of the book's Versos. The conversation will be simultaneously specific and speculative—it will be a combination of craft talk, close reading, and reading closeness, i.e. being with—and will conclude with a brief exercise.

Monday, January 4, 10 am

Questions and Answers: The Long and Short of It

Alison C. Rollins & Jay Ponteri

In this craft talk, we will investigate elements of syntax as related to the notion of a “fragment” versus a “complete” sentence. Through investigating sentence length and structure, we will explore the ways that different types of sentences function within narrative. We will discuss the impact of brief, snapshot, miniature, one-word style sentence fragments in contrast to long-form sentences and the grammatically incorrect understanding of a “run-on” sentence. In addition, we will focus particular attention on the function of interrogative versus declarative sentences. If questions offer us incomplete bits or parts of the whole, how do we reconcile answers which might be lost, unknown, indiscernible? What are the ways that a sentence fragment can actually represent something or someone more fully? How can metaphor, imagery, and nuance be achieved through the use of sentence variety? If we experience memory as choppy, fleeting, and unreliable, how do we as writers reconcile and represent on the page: silence, grief, gaps, holes, and omissions?

Thursday, January 7, 10 am

Perspectives on Sound: Memory, Medium, Map

Poupeh Missaghi & Dao Strom

Sound is one of the key elements that defines our existence. From the daily sounds in our environment to the voices of people we interact with to music to archival sounds, the sounds from our past and in our present are in constant dialogue with our internal sounds. In this talk, we will explore different perspectives on sound and discuss how attention to sound can help to inform our relationship with language and our modes of writing.

Friday, January 8, 10 am

The Place of Sentences in Composition

Alejandro de Acosta & Sara Jaffe

In our talks we’ll discuss the sentence as locus of composition and unit of sense in prose, posing the question: does the sentence belong to the body, to the page, or the world?

Readings streamed live on PNCA’s Youtube Channel

All times are PST

Monday, January 4, 6 pm: Alison C. Rollins & Asiya Wadud

Tuesday, January 5, 6 pm: Alejandro de Acosta, Sara Jaffe, & Dao Strom

Wednesday, January 6, 6 pm: Poupeh Missaghi, Jay Ponteri, & Brandon Shimoda

Saturday, January 9, 6 pm: An Evening with Allison Cobb

Faculty / Guest Artist Bios

Alejandro de Acosta is a teacher, writer, and translator, in no particular order; he also helps people make books. He has translated philosophy and poetry from Spanish and French; he has also published two books of critical and experimental essays. He currently lives in Olympia, WA.

Allison Cobb is the author of After We All Died (Ahsahta Press); Plastic: an autobiography (Essay Press EP series); Born2 (Chax Press); and Green-Wood, originally published by Factory School with a new edition in 2018 from Nightboat Books. Cobb’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, and many other journals. She was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and National Poetry Series; has been a resident artist at Djerassi and Playa; and received fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Cobb works for the Environmental Defense Fund and lives in Portland, Oregon, where she co-hosts The Switch reading, art, and performance series and performs in the collaboration Suspended Moment.

Sara Jaffe is a writer, educator, and musician living in Portland, OR. Her first novel, Dryland, was published by Tin House Books in 2015, and will be released in the UK by Cipher Press in 2021. Her short fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in publications including Catapult, Fence, BOMB, them., and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She co-edited The Art of Touring (Yeti, 2009), an anthology of writing and visual art by musicians drawing on her experience as guitarist for post-punk band Erase Errata. Sara holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, RADAR Productions, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. She is also co-founding editor of New Herring Press, a publisher of prose chapbooks.

Poupeh Missaghi is a writer, a translator both into and out of Persian, an editor, and an educator. She holds a PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Denver, an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in translation studies. Her debut novel trans(re)lating house one was published by Coffee House Press in February 2020. Her nonfiction, fiction, and translations have appeared in numerous journals, and she has several books of translation published in Iran. I’ll Be Strong for You, her translation of Iranian author Nasim Marashi’s novel, is forthcoming in spring 2021. As an editor, she worked for many years with Asymptote and is co-editor of Matters of Feminist Practice from Belladonna* Collaborative. Besides being a faculty mentor at PNCA, she is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Department of Writing at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, at the BFA and MFA levels, as well as a writing consultant at Baruch College, CUNY, NY.

Jay Ponteri directed the creative writing program at Marylhurst University from 2008-2018 and is the author of Darkmouth Inside Me and Wedlocked. The recipient of the 2013 Oregon Book Award and the Frank Waters Fellowship, Jay is also the founder of Show:Tell, The Workshop for Teen Artist and Writers. Jay serves as an instructor at Literary Arts, on the advisory board of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) and on the board of Tavern Books, a poetry press.

Alison C. Rollins, born and raised in St. Louis city, currently works as the Lead Teaching and Learning Librarian for Colorado College. She also serves as faculty for Pacific Northwest College of Art's Low-Residency MFA program. She is a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellow. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Missouri Review, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, The Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she is also a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. In 2018 she was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award and in 2020 the winner of a Pushcart Prize. Her debut poetry collection, Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press) is available now.

Brandon Shimoda is the author of seven books of poetry and prose, most recently The Grave on the Wall (City Lights), which received the PEN Open Book Award. His forthcoming book on the afterlife of Japanese American incarceration received a Whiting Award for Creative Nonfiction, and will also be published by City Lights. In addition to PNCA, he teaches at Occidental College, in Los Angeles, and lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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, 2020), and its musical companion piece, Traveler’s Ode (Antiquated Future Records, 2020); a bilingual poetry-art book, You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else (AJAR Press, 2018), which was a finalist for the 2019 Firecracker Award in Poetry; a hybrid-form memoir, We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People, and song cycle, East/West (2015); and two books of fiction, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (Counterpoint Press, 2019, 2006) and Grass Roof, Tin Roof (Mariner Books, 2003). She is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital Artist Award and a 2020 Oregon Literary Arts Career Fellowship. Her work has received support from RACC, Precipice Fund, Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and others. Strom is the co-founder and creative director of She Who Has No Master(s), a collective project of womxn writers of the Vietnamese diaspora and a program of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network; and De-Canon, a library/social engagement art project highlighting books and works by writers of color. She has performed at the Time-Based Art Festival (PICA) and presented collaborative work at the SF Asian Art Museum and American Library in Paris, among other venues. Born in Vietnam, Strom grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. She lives in Portland, Oregon. / Instagram/Twitter: @herandthesea

Asiya Wadud is the author of Crosslight for Youngbird, day pulls down the sky/ a filament in gold leaf (written collaboratively with Okwui Okpokwasili), Syncope and the forthcoming No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body. Asiya is a 2019-2020 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) artist-in-residence and a 2020 Danspace Project PLATFORM writer-in-residence. Her work has been presented at LMCC’s River To River: Four Voices, Mount Tremper Arts, and Danspace Project and recent writing appears in e-flux journal, BOMB Magazine, Social Text Journal, FENCE, Makhzin, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she teaches poetry at Saint Ann’s School.