-- Queens College Distinguished Professor Will Work on Her Ninth Book of Poetry --
FLUSHING, NY, April 16, 2010 – The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced that Kimiko Hahn, a Distinguished Professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, has been awarded a fellowship. A total of 180 artists, scientists, and scholars received fellowships “on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise,” chosen from a group of some 3,000 applicants. Hahn will be working on her ninth book of poetry, inspired by her fascination with science. As a faculty member, she teaches undergraduate courses in the English Department as well as graduate workshops in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Translation program.
“This very prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for Professor Hahn adds even more luster to her title of Distinguished Professor,” says Queens College President James Muyskens. “We are very proud of her accomplishment and delighted that she has been honored by the Foundation.”
Hahn is the author of eight books of poems, including: Earshot (Hanging Loose Press, 1992), which was awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and an Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award; The Unbearable Heart (Kaya, 1996), recipient of an American Book Award; The Narrow Road to the Interior (W.W. Norton, 2006) which takes its title from Basho’s famous poetic journal; and Toxic Flora, poems inspired by both ordinary and rarified fields of science (W.W. Norton, 2010). Hahn has also written for film—most recently the text for Everywhere at Once, Holly Fisher’s film based on Peter Lindbergh’s still photos and narrated by Jeanne Moreau.
Her other literary awards include the PEN/Voelcker Award, Shelley Memorial Prize and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Much of her previous work centers around issues of identity, stemming from her Eurasian background. "Japanese aesthetics and sensibilities inform most of what I write," she comments.
Toxic Flora, inspired by articles in the New York Times Science section, was written over the course of a decade, says Hahn. Her new book is also inspired primarily by articles on science topics. “So far, neuroscience is winning out,” she adds with a laugh. Although fascinated by the information itself, Hahn is “most of all, intrigued by the exotic language of science.” She expects that her new collection will be a series of poem sequences rather than individual poems based on single articles, the approach she took in Toxic Flora.
Hahn holds a BA in English and East Asian Studies from the University of Iowa and a master’s in Japanese literature from Columbia University. She began her academic career as an adjunct at Sarah Lawrence College, where she says she “fell in love with teaching.” Hahn came to Queens College in 1993 and has been a Distinguished Professor since 2006.
According to Guggenheim President Edward Hirsch, since its establishment in 1925 the Foundation has granted over $281 million in fellowships. Time and again, the Foundation’s choice of Fellows has proved prescient: thousands of celebrated alumni and scores of Nobel, Pulitzer, and other prizewinners grace its rolls.
The Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, introduced in fall 2008, offers a diverse student body the opportunity to work closely with award-winning faculty members who are also committed teachers. In addition to Hahn, faculty include Nicole Cooley, who directs the MFA program, winner of the Walt Whitman Award in poetry; novelist John Weir, winner of the Lambda Literary Award; poet and translator Roger Sedarat, winner of the Hollis Summers prize in poetry; playwright Richard Schotter, Obie award nominee and Berman Playwriting Prize winner; and poet and novelist Jeff Allen, winner of the Heartland Prize for Fiction. Jocelyn Lieu is teaching fiction as this year’s visiting professor in the program. For more information. Visit http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/Creative_Writing/ .