Alexander Kuo

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Alexander Kuo (born 1941? in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American teacher, poet, fiction writer, and essayist.[1] He was a Professor of English at Washington State University, and retired in 2012. He has taught in numerous academic institutions in China, including Beijing and Changchun universities. In 2002 he won an American Book Award for his Lipstick and Other Stories of the Before Columbus Foundation.

Early life and education[edit]

Alexander Kuo was born into a Chinese-American family in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. from Knox College in Illinois in 1961,[2] where he studied with Sam Moon and Gogisi. He earned an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, where he studied in the Iowa Writer's Workshop with Donald Justice and Philip Roth.


Kuo was a professor of English at Washington State University (WSU), which lists him as an example of their "world class faculty."[3] He is the former chair of the Department of Comparative American Cultures[4] (now called Comparative Ethnic Studies).[5] In 2001, WSU named him as their first Writer-in-Residence.[6]

Kuo has been a mentor to Sherman Alexie, a notable Native American writer.[7]



Reviewer Robert H. Abel said in 2001 that Kuo's writing makes demands on the reader in a way comparable to Franz Kafka or Jorge Luis Borges.[9]



  • The Window Tree (1974)
  • New Letters from Hiroshima, and Other Poems (1974)
  • Changing the River (1986)
  • This Fierce Geography (1998)


  • Chinese Opera (novel, 1998)
  • Lipstick and Other Stories (short stories, 2001)
  • Panda Diaries (novel, 2006)
  • White Jade and Other Stories (short stories, 2008)
  • The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel (novel, 2011)


  1. ^ Alex Kuo, "Damming the American West", Bluefish website, 2003
  2. ^ "Poet Alex Kuo Judges Writing Awards"
  3. ^ "Future Students: Why WSU?"
  4. ^ Natascha Karlova, "On Lipstick, Rodeo Queens, Creative Compatibility, and Making a Difference," Ask. Magazine, WSU College of Liberal Arts (December 2002), p. 15.
  5. ^ CAE Homepage
  6. ^ WSU Press Release [1] (June 2001)
  7. ^ WSU Press Release [2] (January 1999) Archived September 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "ABE List of Winners" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  9. ^ Robert H. Abel, "Review of 'Lipstick and Other Stories'," Asian Review of Books (March 2001)

External links[edit]