Faculty, BFA in Creative Writing Program
Residency Site: Plainfield VT
Michael Leong is the author of two books of poetry, e.s.p. (Silenced Press, 2009) and Cutting Time with a Knife (Black Square Editions, 2012), which won a Face Out grant from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. His numerous chapbooks include Words on Edge, which won the 2012 Plan B Press Poetry Contest. His recent creative work has appeared in The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (Lake Forest College Press, 2013) and The Dark Would: Language Art Anthology (Apple Pie Editions [UK], 2013). His critical writing on poetry and poetics has been published or is forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals such as Contemporary Literature, Modern Language Studies, and Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture. He reviews books for the online arts magazine Hyperallergic.
PhD, Rutgers University
MFA, Sarah Lawrence College
BA, Dartmouth College
Areas of Expertise
Creative Writing, Poetry and Poetics, Literary Theory, Literary Criticism, Anglophone Literature, Ethnic American Literatures, Book Reviewing
I have a background in both creative writing and literary criticism and am particularly interested in how the careful reading and study of literature informs creative writing (and vice versa). I agree with Walt Whitman’s astute observation that “the process of reading is not a half-sleep, but, in highest sense, an exercise, a gymnast’s struggle.” To that end, I strive to create a kind of writing that jolts and stimulates the reader’s senses and intellect, that invites the reader into a lively and rewarding act of perceptual gymnastics.
My interests in poetry are extremely wide, and I enjoy discussing a variety of techniques and I am very open to thinking about poetic form from a variety of aesthetic positions. I am interested in lyric poetry, prose poetry, visual poetry, performance poetry, new media poetry, conceptual poetry, surrealist poetry, political poetry, nature poetry, philosophical poetry, poetry about diverse subject matters, and poetry from diverse historical periods. I am also interested in how poetry engages with other disciplines, such as anthropology, the natural sciences, and the visual arts, and believe that poetry can perform a range of important social and cultural functions.
I am the author of two books of poetry: e.s.p. (Silenced Press, 2009) and Cutting Time with a Knife (Black Square Editions, 2012), which won a Face Out grant from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. My poetry has appeared in a number of publications, including Hotel Amerika, Interim, jubilat, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Seattle Review, and Tin House, and has been anthologized in THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing (Lake Forest College Press, 2013) and The Dark Would: Language Art Anthology (Apple Pie Editions [UK], 2013). I have also published numerous chapbooks, most recently The Philosophy of Decomposition/Re-Composition as Explanation (Delete Press, 2011) and Words on Edge, which won the 2012 Plan B Press Poetry Contest. I like to think about the book as a physical artifact and how its material features can productively enrich the meaning of the text and am fortunate to have worked with some fantastic designers.
My translation of the Chilean poet Estela Lamat, I, the Worst of All, was published by BlazeVOX [books] in 2009 and my translations have also appeared in Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas and Metamorphoses: A Journal of Literary Translation. I am currently working on co-translating Vicente Huidobro’s long prose poem Temblor de cielo with comp lit scholar Ignacio Infante. I firmly believe in drawing inspiration from literature outside of an Anglo-American tradition and encourage creative and intellectual dialogue across borders, national or otherwise.
I also write a substantial amount of prose and am particularly interested in creative criticism and the experimental essay. My essays, book reviews, and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in various venues including Big Bridge, The Brooklyn Rail, Critiphoria, E-misférica, Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, Modern Language Studies, The Volta, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, Word For/ Word: A Journal of New Writing, and A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race (University of Georgia Press, 2014). Since January 2012, I have contributed book reviews and review-essays to the online arts magazine Hyperallergic. I live on the Lower East Side in New York City and also teach in the Writers House at Rutgers University.