Antioch Fellowship Prize: an interview with Victoria Chang, Program Director
In just three days (!!), our Antioch Fellowship closes for submissions. It’s an amazing opportunity for any writer: the chance to participate as a full student in Antioch University LA’s highly ranked MFA Residency in 2020, all expenses paid. We chatted with Victoria Chang, Director of their Program and esteemed poet, about the experience. Head here to apply!
Could you give a brief overview of what the Frontier Fellow will experience at Antioch this year?
Victoria Chang: The Frontier Fellow will be a part of our family during the 10 days of our residency. The Fellow will participate in our workshops (4 meetings) just like our regular students, attend seminars and readings, be matched with a buddy, and get to chat with me however much they’d like. We’re a very welcoming community so I’m sure our community will embrace the new Fellow.
What was it like working with Cassie in 2019? Are you two still in touch?
We loved working with Cassie. Cassie was in my workshop and I loved having them in there. Cassie added so much to our workshop and also to our community. We are definitely still in touch and I wrote a bunch of recommendations for Cassie for their MFA applications. What a talented human and writer. I look forward to seeing what Cassie does in the future!
What do you think makes Antioch unique among all the MFA Programs out there?
There’s no other program like Antioch because of our history, our social justice mission (which means different things to different people, of course), our location being in the heart of LA, the rigor of our program, and our constant innovation in our curriculum and offerings. We also require a translation seminar and a field study, amongst other interesting requirements. We have online electives that students can take, as well as young people as a genre, and our students can study multiple genres. We genuinely listen to our students and keep an eye on pedagogy, making necessary changes as the world changes around us. Our student body is very diverse, as is our faculty. And we regularly bring in a diverse set of faculty and guests. There’s no other program, in my mind, that compares to ours.
What are you most excited about for this upcoming residency in June?
I’m excited about all of our residencies because I get to meet a new cohort. This summer, we have some stellar faculty coming, as well as a great group of guests such as poet Casandra Lopez, Tommy Pico, prose writers, Aminatta Forna and Reyna Grande, and young people author, Matt de la Peña. We also have our usual set of strong faculty such as Jaswinder Bolina, Gayle Brandeis, Sarah Manguso, and so many more. I’m excited about Julie Fain from Haymarket Books, a press that’s doing great work, agent Elise Capron, and Counterpoint editor, Dan Smetanka. I could go on and on, but I think our programming during the residencies is probably amongst the strongest programming of all low-residency MFA programs.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Culver City that the fellow definitely needs to visit?
Honestly, I’m not much of a foodie and probably the worst person to ask (I eat tuna fish for lunch). I do love Asian food and LA-area has some of the best. I like Lukshon in Culver City but it’s a little expensive. I hear Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken is good. Otherwise, my diet consists of tuna fish and boba milk tea.
Victoria Chang is the Program Chair of Antioch University’s low-residency MFA Program, as well as co-coordinates the Idyllwild Writers Week. She also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board. Her new book of poetry, OBIT, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in April 2020. Other books are Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. She also edited an anthology, Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Katherine Min MacDowell Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and other awards. Her poems have been published in Best American Poetry. www.victoriachangpoet.com