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Cathy Park Hong

Award-winning poet and author of Minor Feelings

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  • About Cathy Park Hong

    Cathy Park Hong is an award-winning poet and the author of Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. In this widely celebrated book of essays, Hong provocatively infuses cultural criticism, history, and her own person experience to reveal hard truths about the American racialized consciousness. In engaging and revealing talks, Hong speaks about race and Asian American identity, utilizing the craft of poetry as a lens for social change, and the power of creating art that is influenced by politics, culture, and the current societal moment.

    Minor Feelings is a radically honest meditation on the Asian American experience. Hong draws upon her background as a poet and the daughter of Korean immigrants to create a work that flows seamlessly between cultural analysis, personal anecdotes, and historical framework. Hong writes about how her upbringing was steeped in shame and self-loathing. These “minor feelings,” she comes to understand in the book, were the result of believing the stereotypes that American society fed her about her own racial identity. Praised by Claudia Rankine, Jia Tolentino, and other prominent writers of our time, Minor Feelings is a critical work that reckons with our racialized past and present. Time named Minor Feelings as one of the top 10 Non-Fiction books of 2020.

    Hong is also the author of three poetry collections including Dance Dance Revolution (which won the Barnard Women Poets Prize), Engine Empire, and Translating Mo’Um. She is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her poems have been published in PoetryThe New York TimesThe Paris ReviewMcSweeney’sThe Boston Review, and other journals. She is the poetry editor of the New Republic and full professor at the Rutgers University-Newark MFA program in poetry.

  • Speaking Topics

    Minor Feelings: Reflections on America's Racial Consciousness

    Cathy Park Hong's widely praised book of essays, Minor Feelings, is an essential text for reframing our understanding of race in America. By reflecting on her experiences as an Asian American woman, she has written a deeply informative and culture-shifting treatise to be cited for years to come. In a lively talk that brings her words to life, Hong expands on the ideas in Minor Feelings and incorporates the historical and cultural context of what it means to be a racialized other. By sharing personal anecdotes of her Asian American personhood, Hong brings to light the racist ideologies we all internalize and posits that the way forward requires an acknowledgement of harmful ideas and stereotypes that hold us all back from equality.

    The Poet's Mind

    As the poetry editor of the New Republic, a full professor at the Rutgers University-Newark MFA program in poetry, and the author of several poetry collections, Cathy Park Hong is acutely attuned to what makes this form of literature so powerful. In a workshop that delves deep into the craft, Hong talks to writers of all kinds about creating poetry that transcends genre and explores the most intimate aspects of humanity. Most valuably, she energizes audiences to write to their experience and channel their inner poet.

    Art as a Vehicle for Change

    Cathy Park Hong's art is undoubtedly influenced by the political and cultural moments of our past and present. In this profoundly relevant and thought-provoking talk, Hong dissects how significant moments in politics and culture inform her work. From harmful stereotypes about Asian men and women to the recent rise in racism toward Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong meaningfully connects current evets with our personal experiences, and offers powerful ideas on how to channel that into one's writing.

  • Video

  • Praise for Cathy Park Hong

    Praise for Minor Feelings

    [A] formidable new essay collection . . . I read Minor Feelings in a fugue of enveloping recognition and distancing flinch. . . . [Cathy Park] Hong is writing in agonized pursuit of a liberation that doesn’t look white—a new sound, a new affect, a new consciousness—and the result feels like what she was waiting for.

    Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror

    Minor Feelings is a major reckoning, pulling no punches as the author uses her life’s flashpoints to give voice to a wider Asian American experience, one with cascading consequences.

    NPR

    Hong dissects her experiences as an Asian American to create an intricate meditation on racial awareness in the U.S. Through a combination of cultural criticism and personal stories, Hong, a poet, lays bare the shame and confusion she felt in her youth as the daughter of Korean immigrants, and the way those feelings morphed as she grew older. From analyzing Richard Pryor’s stand-up to interrogating her relationship with the English language, Hong underscores essential themes of identity and otherness.

    Time

    Cathy Park Hong’s new memoir confronts the tough questions of Asian American identity. Drawing its title from Hong’s theory regarding the impact of racial stereotypes and lies on ethnic minorities, this memoir-in-essays is a must-read at a time of rising racist violence and distrust.

    Bustle

    An incendiary nonfiction book about a pressing social issue of the day . . . With its mix of the personal and political, Minor Feelings is the kind of trenchant social critique that’s bound to get people talking.

    BuzzFeed

    Hong busts out of the closed loop of Asian American discourse and takes off at a run. It’s not that she doesn’t address the model minority myth, the brutality of casual racism, or the mortifications of a first-gen childhood; she writes passionately about how Asians are dismissed, the lowly ‘carpenter ants of the service industry.’ It’s just that she also makes every ‘immigrant talking point,’ as she calls them, viscerally specific. . . . Hong’s essays make a case for solidarity that begins at self-awareness.

    GEN

    At-times funny, often deeply thought-provoking work...Minor Feelings is an urgent consideration of identity, social structures, and artistic practice. It’s a necessary intervention in a world burgeoning with creativity but stymied by a lack of language and ability to grapple with nuance. Hong takes a step in remedying that.

    Chicago Review of Books

    Self aware and relentlessly sharp essays. Nimble, smart, and deliberate, Minor Feelings is a major conversation starter.

    Marie Claire

    With radical candor, Cathy Hong Park critically examines what it means to be Asian American today and challenges herself and her readers to abandon the idea of a monolithic Asian American experience and instead acknowledge a range of racialized emotions which have been heretofore dismissed.

    Ms.

    Part memoir, part cultural criticism, the poet and essayist’s Cathy Park Hong’s first book of prose had me underlining and annotating nearly every page.

    R. O. Kwon, Electric Literature

    Praise for Engine Empire

    A brainy, glinting triptych....Novelistic, meditative, offbeat, and soulful, Cathy Park Hong's poetry is many fathoms deep.

    David Mitchell

    Starred review: Grapples with vocation and origin in a globalizing era. . . . full of luminous surprises.

    Publishers Weekly

    An entertaining read, even as it says stark and haunting things about race, love, technology, and the capacities of language to hide or reveal unwelcome truths. . . . While there have always been lots of writers warning us about the corruptibility of language in the wrong hands, few others have made an unbrave new world such a pleasure to discover.

    Craig Morgan Teicher, Bookforum

    Reading this book feels like listening to a symphony: Themes develop, vanish and recur amid Hong’s abundant verbal music....Hong’s triumph is to alienate us from ourselves in order to reaffirm what makes us human.

    Dave Lucas, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

    Part of what makes that worthwhile is Hong’s ability to turn her language into more than pastiche, developing styles of writing that feel dense with the historical richness of the English language—a history of borrowing, invention, and manipulation that Hong honors, in part, by making room for her own inventiveness. . . . a sustaining book, one that believes in the value of being moved by words—the value, that is, of being human.

    Jonathan Farmer, Slate

    Cathy Park Hong does everything short of inventing her own language in order to show cultures clashing and spilling into each other.

    NPR

    Will force you to question the possibilities life offers, in the past, the present, and the future.

    Jeff Alessandrelli, Prairie Schooner

    Praise for Dance Dance Revolution

    The mixture of imagination, language, and historical consciousness in this book is marvelous.

    Adrienne Rich, Barnard Women Poets Prize citation

    A polyglot explosion of unique individual and broader social concerns.

    The Believer

    Praise for Translating Mo’Um

    How difference differs us, and how all difference is divided within–these are the themes that Cathy Hong weaves with her lean language throughout these poems. But it’s compassion above all that drives them. We’re always aware of their deeply and demandingly human core. This is a stunning book; it speaks with a meticulous anger that Hong has polished into wry insight and eye-opening delight.

    Cole Swenson
  • Books by Cathy Park Hong

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