Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Hoa Nguyen studied Poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. Her books include As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008, and Violet Energy Ingots, nominated for a 2017 Griffin Prize for poetry.
An experienced and popular teacher of poetics in numerous settings, Nguyen currently teaches at Ryerson University, for Miami University’s low residency MFA program, in the Milton Avery School for Fine Arts at Bard College, and in a long-running, private poetics workshop.
Listen to her pronounce her name here:
My Name is pronounced “Hwa Win”.
Hoa Nguyen’s poetry has been collected in many anthologies including Inheriting the War: Poetry & Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees (Norton, 2017), The Best of The Best Canadian Poetry in English: Tenth Anniversary Edition (Tightrope Books 2017), Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion (Abram Books 2016), Best Canadian Poetry In English 2015 and 2016 (Tightrope Books), The Volta Book of Poets (Sidebrow, 2015), Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sound: The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose (City Lights 2009), The Best of Fence (Fence Books 2009), For the Time Being: A Bootstrap Anthology (Bootstrap Books 2008), Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry (Milkweed Editions 2008), and Not for Mothers Only (Fence Books 2007).
In 1997, Nguyen designed, implemented, and led an online youth poetry workshop for New York City based Teachers & Writers Collaborative; this seminal online workshop for students across the United States ages 14 – 18 years old lasted a decade. The workshop introduced participants to new writing strategies, encouraged them to develop critical skills and the creation of poetry with focused writing exercises. Discussion and feedback took place in an open online forum; the poetry exercises were indexed on the front page of the Virtual Poetry Workshop (nearly one hundred by its conclusion) so that teachers wishing to introduce poetry writing in the classroom could it as a resource from which to draw specific ideas.
In addition, since 1998, Nguyen has led private poetry writing workshops. These eight- to thirteen-week sessions are held three times a year and include in-person as well as virtual participants. Under Nguyen’s guidance, workshop participants engage a primary text by a single poet and write out of resonances and in response to prompts and other considerations drawn from and in dialogue with it. Poets H.D., Lorine Niedecker, Joanne Kyger, Ted Berrigan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Jack Spicer, Philip Whalen, Fred Wah, Susan Howe, Robert Creeley, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Amiri Baraka, and Charles Olson are among those that Nguyen has taught. Her workshops enjoy an international following; it has been referred to as “legendary” and “iconic” and have counted many established poets as repeat participants. An essay on the workshops and pedagogy has been included in the anthology Poets on Teaching (University of Iowa, 2010) and in the Bagley Wright lecture series.
With the poet Dale Smith, Nguyen founded a small press journal of poetry and poetics, publishing contemporary poets such as Amiri Baraka, Alice Notley, Linh Dinh, Kenward Elmslie and Eileen Myles. Nationally distributed, Skanky Possum has received attention from national media such as The Baltimore Sun and Poets and Writers. In 2002, as editor of Best American Poetry, Robert Creeley selected poems by four poets that were published in issue 6 of Skanky Possum. Skanky Possum’s catalogue has been collected by several prominent archives and Special Collections including San Francisco University, SUNY Buffalo, University of Arizona’s Poetry Center, and the New York Public Library.
Nguyen has been invited to perform her work, act as poet in residence, and lecture on poetry for Universities, conferences and literary organizations internationally, including Brown University, Princeton, the University of Texas, Austin; University of Washington, Pullman; the Charles Olson Centenary Conference, Vancouver; Naropa University, Boulder; and the Belladonna Conference, NYC.
SELECT PROFILE, REVIEW, & CONVERSATION
2017 Review: Violet Energy Ingots, Constant Critic
2017 Interview, Hoa Nguyen with 49th Shelf
2017 Review: Violet Energy Ingots, Full Stop
2017 Interview, Hoa Nguyen with Prac Crit
2016 Review: Violet Energy Ingots, New York Times
2016 Review: Violet Energy Ingots, The Boston Review
2016 Review: Violet Energy Ingots, Publishers Weekly
2016 Interview: Hoa Nguyen with Black Warrior Press
2016: Interview: Hoa Nguyen for Open Books Toronto
2014 Review: As Long As Trees Last, Jacket2
2014 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Cold Front Magazine
2014 Profile on Hoa Nguyen, International Examiner
2013 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Lantern Review
2013 Interview with Hoa Nguyen, BOMB Art Magazine
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Lemon Hound
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, The Volta
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Galatea Resurrection
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, New Pages Book Reviews
2012 Notable Books, Academy of American Poets
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Horse Less Press
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, The Rumpus
2012 Interview with Hoa Nguyen, The Conversant
2012 Interview with Hoa Nguyen, Kirkus Reviews
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Huffington Post
2012 Review of As Long As Trees Last, Boston Globe
2011 Interview with Hoa Nguyen, Evening Will Come
2010 Interview with Hoa Nguyen, We Who Are About to Die
2009 Review of Hecate Lochia, Gently Read Literature
2008 Interview with Hoa Nguyen, Bookslut