Poetry Reading with Jessica Piazza

Date: 09.25.2014

Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Ikeda Library 4th Fl Reading Room

Jessica Piazza is the author of two poetry collections: Interrobang (Red Hen Press, 2013) and the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, where she currently lives with her scientist husband and her crazy looking dog. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she earned her B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, where she worked as an intern at the Favorite Poem Project under the supervision of US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. The project—which invited people of all ages and from all walks of life to write in about their favorite published poems—sparked her ongoing fascination with the potential poetry has to foster change on an individual and community level.

After college, Jessica attended workshops at the New School and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. With the poet Rebecca Lindenberg, she founded the Speakeasy Poetry Series in downtown Manhattan, which routinely featured poetry greats such as Paul Muldoon, David Lehman and Marie Ponsot alongside emerging and mid-career poets. Jessica moved to Austin, TX to pursue her M.A. in English (Creative Writing) at the University of Texas at Austin. While there, she worked with R.J. Lambert and James Capozzi to found Bat City Review and edited its inaugural issue.  She taught American literature, world literature and creative writing to undergraduates, and in her final year at UT Austin she won the prestigious Keene Prize for Literature.

In 2007, Jessica moved to Los Angeles to begin her candidacy in the Ph.D. program in English Literature and Creative Writing at the Universityof Southern California, where she co-founded Gold Line Press. Jessica’s scholarly work sits solidly in the emerging field of Cognitive Poetics. Her academic dissertation explores the relationship between neuroscience and literature; specifically how the brain processes the visual and sound information of text, and how the reactions to that information inform literary analyses. She teaches undergraduate Composition and Rhetoric, pairing with courses on a variety of social issues, including Changing Family Forms, Religion and Morality, Environmental Ethics and LA and the American Dream.  Throughout her graduate work, Jessica has retained her commitment to arts advocacy through volunteer work with amazing organizations. She has mentored underserved elementary school students with The Young Storytellers Foundation , taught creative writing to teenagers impacted by HIV with Hollywood Heart, and run a writing workshop for high school kids who need alternative learning environments with Red Hen Press’ Writing in the Schools program.

Currently, Jessica serves as Contributing Editor at The Offending Adam.  Among other places, her work has appeared in the National PoetryReview, Agni, Indiana Review, 32 Poems, The Missouri Review, Mid-American Review, No Tell Motel, 42 Opus, Pebble Lake Review, Rattle, Hobart, Country Dog Review, Coconut, Barefoot Muse, Forklift Ohio, and the anthologies 150 Contemporary Sonnets (U of Evansville Press) and Hot Sonnets (Entasis Press).

Sponsored by:  Writing Program, Soka University of America


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