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The University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire’s English department welcomes a new Creative Writing professor this semester, Dorothy Chan

| Kallista Relford

Dr. Dorothy Chan's Office

Dorothy Chan is from “all over,” though, she adds, Las Vegas is the closest definition to home. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in History of Art from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Dorothy then went on to receive her master’s in poetry from Arizona State University. Just last May, Chan graduated from Florida State University with a PhD in creative writing. Her reason for coming to UWEC was the program and the people. “We have such a wonderful English department,” says Professor Chan, “and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

Dr. Chan’s areas of interest are contemporary poetry, creative writing, and feminist and gender studies. She writes about food, sex, fantasy, power, popular culture, queerness, and the Asian American identity. This semester she is teaching WRIT 116: Blugold Seminar: Food and Sex, ENGL 220: Introduction to Creative Writing: Excess, Flash, and Popular Culture, and ENGL 310: Intermediate Poetry Writing: Fantasies, Nightmares, and Myths.

The department’s newest professor has big hopes for the department and her students. Dorothy wants to help her students not only on individual poems and creative pieces, but she also wants to teach them about the literary community as a whole. “If I can get students more active in the poetry community and the literary scene, then I’m happy,” she says. Besides getting students involved in the poetry community, she is working incredibly hard to help students into graduate school. One of her major aspirations is to help Creative Writing students get into Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs of their choice. When asked about helping students, Chan said, “I know how competitive getting into graduate school is, so I’m here to help them 1000%.”

Posters in Dorothy Chan's Office

Being a professor doesn’t slow her down, though. Dr. Chan is already very involved in the Chippewa Valley literary scene,  and shows no signs of stopping. Despite being new to the Eau Claire area, Chan said she is already impressed by the literary scene here, stating that she would love to bring more visiting writers to Eau Claire, as it would benefit the community. The writers, she feels, would also love the area and our literary scene. Dorothy is also involved with Barstow & Grand, which is an annual print journal that highlights writers connected to the Chippewa Valley. Her goal for the journal is to put it on a national platform, while paying homage to its Eau Claire roots. She also has a handful of events planned and hopes to continue doing more.

Her upcoming events for the fall and winter in the Chippewa Valley include the Chippewa Valley Book Festival and the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild Weekend Writer’s Retreat. The Chippewa Valley Book Festival will be held on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 6 PM at the LE Phillips Memorial Public Library. There, she will be reading from her second poetry book, Revenge of the Asian Woman. The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild Weekend Writer’s Retreat will take place February 8-9, 2020, at the Oxbow Hotel. Professor Chan will be a writer-in-residence, and her craft class is titled “Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful: Excess in Poetry.”

All types of poetry interest her, but she says she has a soft spot for the sonnet. In fact, she has written an entire chapbook of sonnets, aptly named Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She has two other poetry collections, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019). She also has a forthcoming collection, titled Chinese Girl Strikes Back (Spork Press, 2020). “I believe these titles showcase who I am as a writer and as a person,” she says of her work. “I hope that readers take away, practice, and preach the intersectional feminist messages,” iterates Dorothy. More information about Chan, her collections, and her publications can be found at her website, dorothypoetry.com.