Novelist Lan Samantha Chang and poet Nan Cohen have often talked about the conversations between poems and prose, especially those that pertain to narrative and imagery. At first glance, narrative seems like the domain of prose; imagery seems like the domain of poetry. And yet poetry may carry a story forward through time, and fiction may construct figurative and symbolic images that suspend time as poetry does.
Through their readings and conversation, the authors will illuminate some of the ways that their genres encounter and inform one another.
Lan Samantha Chang is the author of a collection of short fiction, Hunger, and two novels, Inheritance, and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. Her work has been translated into nine languages and has been chosen twice for The Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of the Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote fellowships at Stanford University. She also received, from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a Teaching-Writing fellowship and a Michener-Copernicus fellowship. Her many awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she directs the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Nan Cohen, the longtime poetry director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, is the author of two poetry collections, Rope Bridge (2005) and Unfinished City (2017). Her work has appeared in magazines and anthologies including Ploughshares, Poet Lore, Poetry International, The New Republic, and Slate. Poems from a manuscript in progress, Time Machine, have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, SWWIM Every Day, and Ploughshares, and are forthcoming in The Arkansas International. The recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she lives in Los Angeles, where she is chair of the English department at Viewpoint School and teaches adult poetry workshops in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.