Department SpotlightWhitworth Senior Accepted into Prestigious Asian American Poetry Workshop
Senior English Major Rachel Gray has been accepted into Kundiman, the most prestigious Asian American poetry workshop in the United States. The workshop will take place at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville June 20-24, 2007. During the retreat, nationally renowned Asian American poets including Myung-Mi Kim will conduct workshops and provide one-on-one mentorship sessions with participants. Readings and informal social gatherings will also take place.
"Growing up in rural Nevada and attending a predominantly white college has given me little opportunity to write and workshop my poetry in a multicultural setting, which, considering the focus and subject matter of a great deal of my poetry, proves to be problematic at times," Gray says. "I've never really worked with fellow Asian American poets, much less any Filipino American poets, and that's something I've missed in my short career as a poet. Kundiman will provide me with the community of Asian American writers I’ve been searching for, and I’m excited to be among my peers."
Whitworth alumna Janine Oshiro, '96, attended the Kundiman workshop last summer. To read an account of her experience, visit www.oregonhum.org/i-spy.php.
Kundiman is the classic form of Filipino love song – or so it seemed to colonial forces in the Philippines. In fact, in Kundiman, the singer, who expresses undying love for his beloved, is actually singing for love of country. According to its website, Kundiman's mission is to create a safe space for emerging Asian American poets and to be the catalyst between emerging Asian American poets and the collective voice of a people who, through poetry, may participate in and be legitimized by the culture at large. For more information on Kundiman, please visit www.kundiman.org.
In spring 2008, Gray plans to pursue a master's degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and an M.F.A. in creative writing, and to get involved in social-justice work and nonprofit organizations that focus on the homeless or disadvantaged women and children. In the meantime, Gray plans to work and write in Spokane, and do nonprofit work on the side.