Cathy Park Hong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cathy Park Hong
Hong in 2012
Hong in 2012
Born (1976-08-07) August 7, 1976 (age 46)
Los Angeles, California, United States
EducationOberlin College;
Iowa Writers' Workshop
Notable worksDance Dance Revolution
SpouseMores McWreath

Cathy Park Hong (born August 7, 1976) is an American poet, writer, and professor who has published three volumes of poetry. Much of her work includes mixed language[1] and serialized narrative. She was named on the 2021 Time 100 list for her writings and advocacy for Asian American women.[2]


Hong, a child of Korean parents, was raised in Los Angeles, California.[3] She graduated from Oberlin College and has an MFA from Iowa Writers' Workshop.[4]

She teaches creative writing at Rutgers University (on leave from Sarah Lawrence College),[5][needs update] and is poetry editor for The New Republic.

Hong is married to artist Mores McWreath. They have a daughter named Meret.[6][7]


Hong is, according to J.P. Eburne's summary of her poetic approach, "dedicated to expanding and experimenting with the capacities of a living art. Her writing, editing, and performances across media seek to open up the 'interactive possibilities' of poetry for the sake of providing 'alternative ways of living within the existing real', as she puts it. 'What are ways in which the poetic praxis can be a ritual for social experimentation? The poem as a public encounter is entrenched in habit. How many ways can we change this encounter?'"[8]

Hong's books of poems include Translating Mo'um (2002), Dance Dance Revolution (2007), and Engine Empire (2012). Her poems have appeared in A Public Space, Paris Review, Poetry, Web Conjunctions, jubilat, and Chain, among others. She has also written articles for publications like The Village Voice, The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times Magazine. In 2002, she won a Pushcart Prize for Translating Mo'um and she won the 2006 Barnard Women Poets Prize.[9]

She was named on the 2021 Time 100 list for her writings and advocacy for Asian American women.[2]

Cathy Park Hong at the Library of Congress in 2016.

Dance Dance Revolution[edit]

Dance Dance Revolution was Hong's second book, published in 2007 by W.W. Norton. It is a collection of poems, written in a style that encompasses "code-switching", or the mixture of several languages, such as English, Spanish, French and Korean, and spoken extremely informally with the inclusion of slang. The story takes place in an imaginary place called "The Desert", a luxurious place where people of different origins and languages mingle, causing a blend of languages that form into a dialect known in the book as "Desert Creole".

The narrator of Dance Dance Revolution is the Historian, who travels to the Desert to find the woman who her father once loved. "The Guide", a character in the story who acts as the tour guide to the Historian, is that woman. Most of the poems in the book are told from The Guide's point of view, characterized by the Guide's mixture of languages and point of view, with narration of the Historian, which is characterized by the Historian's use of standard English. The Guide uses the poems to talk about her life in the Desert as well as her past during the Kwangju Revolution, when she lived in South Korea before she moved to the Desert.[10]

When asked about the unusual language in the book, Hong commented, "As far as the language, I was reading a lot of linguistic theory at the time, particularly on this idea of Creole as a language that is in transition. French, for instance, was a Creole of Latin before it became the "official" language. English is always in transition, although the Standard version is more likely to be frozen in its glass cube. But spoken, English is a busy traffic of dialects, accents, and slang words going in and out of fashion. Slang is especially fascinating. I love outdated slang dictionaries — these words are artifacts that tell you the mindset and squeamish taboos of a certain milieu during a certain time period. I wanted the English in the book to be a hyperbole of that everyday dynamism of spoken English."[3]

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning[edit]

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, published in 2020 by One World, was Hong's first non-fiction book. It can be considered a memoir and autobiographical to a certain extent.[11] Organized around seven essays and addressing different acts of racial discrimination, Minor Feelings uses Hong's her life experiences and feelings to demonstrate what it is like living as part of a marginalized community in the capitalist United States of America.[12] The book was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.[13][14]


Other awards include a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Guggenheim, Fulbright, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships.[4]


  • Translating Mo'um, Hanging Loose Press, 2002, ISBN 9781931236126
  • Dance Dance Revolution, W. W. Norton, 2007, ISBN 9780393064841
  • Engine Empire: Poems, W. W. Norton & Company, 2012, ISBN 9780393082845
  • Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, One World, 2020 ISBN 9781984820365



  1. ^ The Believer
  2. ^ a b "Cathy Park Hong: The 100 Most Influential People of 2021". Time. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Academy of American Poets. "About Cathy Park Hong | Academy of American Poets". Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Poetry Foundation (March 27, 2020). "Cathy Park Hong". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "Cathy Park Hong - Sarah Lawrence College Faculty". Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  6. ^ Nguyen, Diana Khoi (October 8, 2019). "Interview // Cathy Park Hong". Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  7. ^ Shah, Seejal (October 8, 2019). "Cathy Park Hong: I'm So Sick of the Fact That It's Not Changing". Guernica. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  8. ^ Eburne, J. P. & Hong, C. P. "Throwing Your Voice: An Interview with Cathy Park Hong." ASAP/Journal, vol. 3 no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-12. doi:10.1353/asa.2018.0000
  9. ^ Ruth Patkin. "2006 Barnard Women Poets Prize Awarded to Cathy Park Hong". Barnard College. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010.
  10. ^ Hong, Cathy Park. Dance Dance Revolution.
  11. ^ Yale University (October 26, 2020). "Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021.
  12. ^ Hong, Cathy Park (2020). Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. United States of America: One World. ISBN 9781984820365.
  13. ^ "Finalist: Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  14. ^ "Cathy Park Hong Wins National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography". Rutgers SASN. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  15. ^ "An Interview With Poet Cathy Park Hong". Poets & Writers. July 11, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  16. ^ "Yale awards eight writers $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prizes". YaleNews. March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Beer, Tom (March 25, 2021). "National Book Critics Circle Presents Awards". Kirkus Reviews. Archived from the original on March 26, 2021. Retrieved March 29, 2021.

External links[edit]