Associate Professor of English in Creative Writing
Co-Director, Writers Reading Series
M.F.A. Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University of Iowa
Recipient of the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry, Amy Catanzano publishes poetry and experimental fiction, intergenre poetic theory, and multimodal literary art, including web-expanded poetry. Writing in parallel to cutting-edge physics as well as the literary and artistic subcultures of the avant-garde, she forges innovative connections between literature, science, and the arts. Drawing from invited residencies and site visits to scientific research centers such as CERN, and as the lead co-founder of The Entanglements Network—an international collective of transdisciplinary writers, scientists, artists, and scholars—Catanzano collaborates with scientists in addition to her independent projects. An associate professor of English and the poet-in-residence at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, she has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Catanzano received the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry for her second collection of poems, Multiversal, published by Fordham University Press as the recipient of the Poets Out Loud Prize, selected by Michael Palmer. Her first book of poetry, iEpiphany, was published by the independent press of Anne Waldman. Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella, combining fiction with poetry, was published as the recipient of the Noemi Press Book Award in Fiction. A book collaboration with artist Eric William Carroll, A Light Year of Lead, features a suite of her poems in response to Carroll’s studio art and photographs of scientific experiments.
Since 2016, Catanzano’s projects involving science have focused on high-energy particle physics, dark energy astrophysics research, and quantum computing. Catanzano’s multimodal project, World Lines: A Quantum Supercomputer Poem, which uses a theoretical model of a topological quantum computer as a new poetic form, was published by the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University as a chapbook in Phase 1 of the project. World Lines has been featured in the American Physical Society’s APS Physics, Stanford University and Fermilab’s Symmetry Magazine: Dimensions of Particle Physics, and elsewhere. Her digital poem, Wavicles, which explores wave-particle duality in physics, was exhibited at the Rotterdam International Poetry Festival and the Oslo Festival of Visual and Digital Poetry in the group show, The Gravity of Words, curated by the software developers of 3D Poetry Editor. Her intergenre poetic theory appears internationally in the academic journals, Crisis and Critique and CounterText: A Journal for the Study of the Post-Literary, as well as in U.S. venues such as Poems and Poetics, published by poet and translator Jerome Rothenberg, and Jacket2, the University of Pennsylvania’s online journal of modern and contemporary poetry and poetics.
Catanzano’s creative work is published widely in literary journals such as Conjunctions and New American Writing. Anthologies and book collections featuring her work include The Dark Energy Survey: The Story of a Cosmological Experiment, published by World Scientific; #Nodes: Entangling Science and Humanities, with editions in Spanish and English; Naropa University’s Hydrogen Jukebox: 40 Years of (Dis)embodied Poetics; and A Best of Fence Magazine. At the invitation of APS Physics, Catanzano contributed a poem, “Higgs Boson: The Cosmic Glyph,” for a portfolio of responses to the 10th anniversary of the particle’s discovery at CERN. They later featured her op-ed, “Poetry and Physics in Radical Collaboration.” The subject of critical study by scholars, Catanzano’s work is taught in literature, writing, and physics courses in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.
Work with Scientists
Funded by grants and awards from Wake Forest and sponsoring institutions, Catanzano’s visits to scientific research centers often involve speaking with scientists, touring experiments, and giving talks and poetry readings. In addition to her work at CERN in Switzerland as a research artist funded by the U.S. ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, she has served as the poet-in-residence at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University in New York, the Canfranc Underground Laboratory in the Spanish Pyrenees, and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in north-central Chile. Additional visits to scientific research centers have included the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Donostia International Physics Center in San Sebastián, Spain. She is currently involved in transdisciplinary physics-poetry projects with scientific collaborators based in Switzerland, northern California, and the U.K.
At Wake Forest, Catanzano serves as the co-director of the Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series, which curates events with visiting authors, and the student reading series. Prior to Wake Forest, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, co-founded by poets Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and Diane di Prima at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and elsewhere.
AREAS OF EMPHASIS
Poetry, poetics, and intergenre literary theory
Experimental fiction and nonfiction prose
Transmedia, transdisciplinary, and multimodal literary art
The intersections of poetry, science, and the arts
High-energy particle physics, dark energy astrophysics research, and quantum computing
The literary and artistic subcultures of the avant-garde
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS, EXHIBITIONS, AND LITERARY AWARDS
World Lines: A Quantum Supercomputer Poem. Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Stony Brook University, 2018.
Wavicles: A Digital Poem. Amsterdam/Oslo: 3D Poetry Editor Exhibition, The Gravity of Words, 2017.
Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella. Noemi Press, 2014. Recipient, Noemi Press Book Award in Fiction from Noemi Press.
Multiversal. Fordham University Press, 2009. Recipient, PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry, PEN Center USA. Recipient, Poets Out Loud Prize, Fordham University Press.
iEpiphany. Erudite Fangs Editions, 2008.
the heartbeat is a fractal. Ahadada Books, 2008.
Amy Catanzano’s creative work and poetic theory appear in the following publications, among others: American Letters and Commentary, Poems and Poetics, Jacket2, La Vague, Perfect Wave, Aufgabe, CounterText: A Journal of the Study of the Post-Literary, Colorado Review, Conjunctions, Crisis and Critique, The Dark Energy Survey: The Story of A Cosmological Experiment, Denver Quarterly, Fence Magazine, Interim, Laurel Review, New American Writing, Poetbook: An Illuminated Project, Tarpaulin Sky Journal, Volt: A Journal of the Arts, #Nodes: Entangling Science and Humanities, Best of Fence Magazine, and Hydrogen Jukebox: 40 Years of (Dis)embodied Poetics at Naropa University.
SELECTED INTERVIEWS, PODCASTS, AND FEATURES
Article: “The quantum poet,” Symmetry Magazine
Interview: “Quantum understanding in the works of Amy Catanzano,” SciArt Magazine
Podcast: “The Poetry of the Dark Energy Survey,” 365 Days of Astronomy
Article: “Poetry takes on quantum physics,” Physics
Article: “Artist explains quantum physics through poetry,” The Next Web
Performance (collaboration): “At the Edge of the Abyss: A Danced Poem” at Entanglements
Interview: “Impossible poems at invisible scales,” Jacket2
Review: “Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella,” Rain Taxi
Feature: “Commentary Series in Quantum Poetics,” Jacket2
SELECTED WAKE FOREST AWARDS AND GRANTS
W.C. Archie Endowed Fund for Faculty Excellence Award in support of a collaborative project and research on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument survey (DESI) and travel to Tucson, Arizona, 2021.
Reynolds Research Leave Award in support of research and creative projects, 2020-2021.
Reynolda Conference Award from the Wake Forest Humanities Institute and Reynolda House Museum of American Art, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to convene Entanglements: A Conference on the Intersections of Poetry, Science, and the Arts, 2018.
W.C. Archie Endowed Fund for Faculty Excellence Award in support of research on the Dark Energy Survey and travel to the Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, 2018.
Summer Research Award in support of a book manuscript on poetry and science, 2018.
Dunn-Riley Faculty Development Award in support of travel to the annual conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts in Toronto, 2018.
W.C. Archie Endowed Fund for Faculty Excellence Award in support of research at CERN in Switzerland, 2016.
Junior Research Leave Award, 2016.
TEACHING AT WAKE FOREST AND BEYOND
Amy Catanzano is an associate professor of English and the poet-in-residence at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Prior to Wake Forest, she taught at Naropa University in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Iowa. She has been a guest faculty member at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Naropa Summer Writing Program, and the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She has taught a range of courses in creative writing, literature, poetics, and experimental artistic practice. At Wake Forest, she teaches poetry and poetics in creative writing workshops in the graduate MA Literary Studies program and undergraduate Creative Writing minor. Her courses offer students creative and critical engagements with poetic craft, literary theory, and creative process, providing practical grounding and an exploratory space in which to read and write. Working from innovative frameworks in quantum poetics, her pedagogy engages an expansive range of literary modes including investigative poetry, reality and imagination studies, transmedia and digital poetry, multimodal literature, installation poetry, language poetry, conceptual writing, political and activist writing, collaboration, performance, mythopoetics, aleatoric process, visual poetry, sound poetry, and more. Through writing exercises, discussions of student writing, written and spoken feedback, diverse reading and viewing materials, and attendance to events with visiting authors, students develop as writers and readers while examining the aesthetic, theoretical, material, transpersonal, and cultural implications of working with language in an artistic practice. She has mentored students who have gone on to livelihoods in writing, teaching, art making, publishing, and more as well as MFA and PhD programs at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University of Denver, Brooklyn College, University of Notre Dame, Pratt Institute, the European Graduate School, and elsewhere.