Tina Chang

Undergraduate Discipline


Graduate Program

MFA Writing Program

MFA, Columbia University. Poet, Brooklyn poet laureate, and author of Half-Lit Houses and Of Gods & Strangers; co-editor of the anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry From the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008). Chang's forthcoming poetry collection, Hybrida, will be published by W.W. Norton in May 2019. Her poems have also appeared in American Poet, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Quarterly West, and Sonora Review, among others. Recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers, and The Van Lier Foundation, among others. SLC, 2005–

Previous Courses

Poetry Workshop: Rebels, Wizards, Sirens, Outlaws

Open , Seminar—Fall

Poetry is oftentimes driven by a mysterious force that prompts the imaginative writer to rebel, disobey, lie, tell fantastic truths, subvert, make new, or forge an entirely new path in ways that feel both expansive and combustible. We will ground the student by delving into individual books that will help the writer become more knowledgeable about the history in which they are a part. We will concentrate on in-class writing and critique, poetic experiments, wild meanderings, and manifestos. A book a week will be read, followed by in-depth discussions on craft, style, voice, vision, structure, and song. Poets we will read include Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, Jose Garcia Villa, Patricia Smith, James Dickey, Lucie Brock-Broido, Shane McCrae, John Berryman, Danez Smith, and others. Students are expected to write and read consistently, experiment, and be passionate about creation. Take-home assignments will accompany readings. A revision portfolio and final chapbook will be due during the semester. Students will have the opportunity to meet and converse with established poets whose work we will be studying.

Poetry Craft: Vessel of Fire: History of Poetic Forms From the Traditional to the Experimental


This craft class is intended for writers who are invested in learning the history, origin, and practice of poetic forms. Poetic forms provide both cage and freedom, risk and rigor. We will focus on poetic devices, formal strategies, structure, rhythm, and sound. During the first half of the semester, we practice earlier forms (epistle, cento, sonnet, villanelle, ghazal, elegy) while, in the second half of the semester, we will delve into more modern invention (erasure, the pecha kucha, the bop, the golden shovel, the contemporary zuihitsu, and hybrid forms combining poetry and the moving image)—all the while journeying toward your own individualized form(s). We will read work by Terrance Hayes, Matthea Harvey, Kimiko Hahn, Tyehimba Jess, Afaa Michael Weaver, Nathalie Diaz, and Jack Gilbert, as well as translations from international writers. We will also read the invention of student writers who have taken these forms and made them their own. Students are expected to write and read consistently, experiment, and be passionate about creation. The class culminates in a literary tour and reading at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop.

Hybrid Beast

Open , Seminar—Fall

The word hybrid comes from the Latin hybrida, which means mongrel, a creature of mixed breed, and that definition is well worth exploring. The tradition of poetry is widening, drawing from many art forms, blending and fusing to create contemporary, cross-pollinated forms. In this class, we will explore the many ways in which poetry is increasingly a hybrid beast, as innovative and exciting projects are envisioned across the genres. We will discuss the process by which poets collaborate with visual artists, filmmakers, choreographers, and dramatists; and we will practice the poem-as-essay, poem-as-tweet, dramatic monologue, prose poem, ekphrastic poem, mosaic poem, erasure, collage, comic and graphic novel, and the many formal experiments that make the current environment of poetry so eclectic. Classwork will comprise student writing and critique, linguistic adventure, wild meanderings, and manifestos in order to understand future possibilities for one’s own poems.

Poetry Workshop: Cardinal Paradise: Poets Imagine Their First Books


What makes for a compelling first book? What is the force, wonder, and (dare we say) awe that drives a writer to create his/her very first collection of poems? What are the elements of an engaging book that summon a loyal readership? Can we see the experience of writing a first book not as toil but as an introduction to our initial song and paradise? In this class, we will read first books by poets that include: Lucie Brock-Broido, Eduardo Corral, Marie Howe, Ilya Kaminsky, Suji Kwock Kim, Rickey Laurentiis, Danez Smith, and Ocean Vuong, among many others. While we discuss image, feeling, narrative, persona, memory, monologue, and witness, we’ll also devote ourselves to technical devices such as manuscript orchestration, formal strategies, structure, rhythm, sound, and the ever-elusive book title—and even more elusive personal voice. We’ll read a book a week, engaging with the exciting differences from book to book, discussing time, history, and the environment in which each book was written while finding its connection to your own process of first manuscript development. Students are expected to experiment, write, revise, read consistently, and be passionate about creation.