Why I Write Wednesday: IUWC Participant Lisa Kwong

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A narrative poet from Appalachia, Lisa Kwong identifies as AppalAsian, an Asian American from Appalachia. Her writing career has consisted of publication, teaching, event coordinating, public speaking, and public engagement. Writing has always been a big part of her life. Growing up, she loved telling stories, writing poems, and sending letters; however, Lisa initially pursued a different path because she didn’t see writing as a career. After taking a Black literature course the summer after her junior year of college, Lisa made the pivotal decision to major in English. After that, to fully immerse herself in her writing, she applied to graduate school. Lisa has since graduated from IU Bloomington with a MFA and currently teaches in English Composition and Asian American studies at both IU and Ivy Tech Community College.

In her poetry, Lisa tells stories. Whether it is stories of her family or her experiences as an Asian American and Appalachian woman, she writes “to process my experiences, to understand, and to learn from them.” She hopes that through her writing, she is able to provide representation for people who have similar experiences to hers, and “give them the courage to tell their own stories.” Poetry has been a huge part of Lisa’s life and writing experience. She always makes time for writing despite her busy schedule and looks for inspiration everywhere.

Lisa described the IU Writers’ Conference as a community full of generosity. Through her experience with IUWC, she was able to interact with faculty and staff and attend workshops and classes specific to her niche genre. She was able to connect with a community of writers from all over the world. For Lisa, “IUWC is a place for all writers to grow no matter where they are in their writing journey.”