Cynthia Cruz

BA, Mills College. MA, Rutgers University. Cruz is the author of six collections of poems. Hotel Oblivion, her seventh, is forthcoming in 2022. Disquieting: Essays on Silence, a collection of critical essays exploring the concept of silence as a form of resistance, was published by Book*hug in the spring of 2019. The Melancholia of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class, an examination of Freudian melancholia and the working class, is forthcoming from Repeater Books in 2021. Cruz is currently pursuing a PhD at the European Graduate School, where her area of research is psychoanalysis and philosophy. SLC, 2008–

Previous Courses


A Kind of Haunting: A Poetry Workshop

Open, Seminar—Spring

In James E. Young’s essay, “Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin: The Uncanny Arts of Memorial Architecture,” Young describes Libeskind’s designing of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and how essential to its design was the folding in of fragment, void, interruption, and other iterations of rupture. Of Libeskind’s project, Young writes “His drawings for the museum thus look more like the sketches of the museum’s ruins, a house whose wings have been scrambled and reshaped by the jolt of genocide. It is a devastated site that would now enshrine its broken forms.” In this poetry workshop, we will examine the different ways in which poetry can allow for what cannot be articulated—either because there are simply no words to convey what must be said or because the speaker cannot utter what must be said—and how allowing space for the unspeakable can result in a kind of haunting in a poem. Each class will begin with the discussion of an outside text and then move on to the workshopping of students’ poems. Texts we will be reading and examining include James E. Young’s essay, as well as writings by Jacques Derrida, Mark Fisher, Darian Leader, excerpts from Laura Oldfield Ford’s ‘zines Savage Messiah, excerpts from films, contemporary artwork, and, of course, poetry. Readings from poetry may include work by Cathy Song, Fred Moten, Dionne Brand, Denise Riley, Helene Dunmore, Sean Bonney, Novalis, and the fragments of Hölderlin.


Nonfiction Workshop: Cultural Criticism

Open, Seminar—Fall

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. —Walter Benjamin

In this writing workshop, we will deepen our understanding of how to read, analyze, and articulate the world around us. Each week, we will read and discuss a text that locates and articulates ruptures and contradictions in the culture, works that provide new problems or solutions. Texts that we may read include the work of Walter Benjamin, Mark Fisher, Kristin Ross, Sigmund Freud (from Civilization and Its Discontents), and Alenka Zupancic. In addition, each week we will also workshop students’ drafts of works in progress. The final project for this course is a 10-12 page work of cultural criticism, a work of writing that may be focused on any aspect of contemporary society.