Associate Professor of English in Creative Writing
Co-Director, Writers Reading Series
MFA Iowa Writers’ Workshop
Amy Catanzano’s work as a writer explores the intersections of poetry, science, and the arts. As part of her literary practice, she has conducted site visits to scientific research centers such as CERN and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. She is the author of three books, two of which have received national recognition in the United States with major literary awards. Multiversal received the POL Prize from Fordham University Press and the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Poetry. Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella, a book combining fiction with poetry, received the Noemi Press Book Award. Her other works include the book, iEpiphany, and World Lines, based on a model of a topological quantum computer and published by the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University, where she served as the inaugural poet-in-residence. Her digital poem, Wavicles, was exhibited in The Gravity of Words show at the Rotterdam Poetry Festival and the Oslo Festival for Digital and Visual Poetry. Her creative work and essays in poetic theory appear in Conjunctions, New American Writing, Poems and Poetics, Jacket2, #Nodes: Entangling Science and Humanities as well as in other journals, anthologies, and collections. Her writing is taught in the United States and beyond and has been the subject of critical study by scholars. She is an associate professor of English and the poet-in-residence at Wake Forest University. With an award granted by the Wake Forest Humanities Institute and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Catanzano convened Entanglements: A Conference on the Intersections of Poetry, Science, and the Arts. Prior to Wake Forest, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, co-founded by Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and Diane di Prima at Naropa, a Buddhist-inspired university in Boulder, Colorado. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Areas of Interest
Poetry, poetics, and literary theory
Experimental fiction, literary nonfiction, and cross-genre writing
The intersections of poetry, science, and the arts
High-energy particle physics, astrophysics, cosmology, quantum theory, quantum computing, beyond Standard Model phenomenology, dark matter, dark energy
Literary and artistic subcultures of the avant garde
Selected Publications and Literary Awards
World Lines: A Quantum Supercomputer Poem. Long Island: 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.
Multiversal. New York City: Fordham University Press, 2009. Recipient, PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry. Recipient, Poets Out Loud Prize from Fordham University Press.
iEpiphany. New York City/Boulder: Erudite Fangs Editions, 2008.
Catanzano’s poetry, fiction, intergenre writing, and essays in poetics have appeared in the following literary and academic journals, publications, anthologies, and collections: Poems and Poetics, Jacket2, La Vague, Supplement, Perfect Wave, Aufgabe, Colorado Review, Conjunctions, Web Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Interim Magazine, Laurel Review, New American Writing, Poetbook: An Illuminated Project, Tarpaulin Sky Journal, Volt: A Journal of the Arts, #Nodes: Entangling Science and Humanities, The Best of Fence Magazine, Hydrogen Jukebox: 40 Years of (Dis)embodied Poetics at Naropa University, and others.
Selected Interviews, Articles, Reviews, Performances, Projects
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
Wake Forest University Awards, Grants, and Honors
Recipient, Reynolds Research Leave, 2020-2021.
Recipient, Reynolda Conference Grant, Humanities Institute and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2018.
Recipient, 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.
Recipient, Summer Research Award, in support of a book manuscript on poetry and science, 2018.
Recipient, Dunn-Riley Faculty Development Award in support of travel to the Society for Literature, the Sciences, and the Arts, Toronto, 2018.
Recipient, W.C. Archie Endowed Fund for Faculty Excellence award in support of research at CERN in Switzerland, 2016.
Teaching at Wake Forest University and Beyond
Amy Catanzano has taught a range of undergraduate and graduate courses at Wake Forest University, Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Chatham University’s MFA Creative Writing Program, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and University of Iowa. As guest faculty for the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and Naropa’s Extended Studies Program and Summer Writing Program, she has taught courses in science and poetry, investigative poetics, quantum poetics and new narratives, constructed and imaginary languages, and more.
The courses she teaches at Wake Forest—an undergraduate course, Poetry Workshop, and a cross-listed undergraduate and graduate course, Theory and Practice of Poetry Writing—center on writing and reading poetry, experimental prose fiction and literary nonfiction, intergenre and interdisciplinary literary texts, intercultural literary texts, poetics, and literary theory. At Naropa, she designed and taught undergraduate and graduate MFA courses such as Women Writers/Open Texts, 19th Century U.S. Literature, Special Topics: The Imaginary Present, and Writing Poetry. She also has taught individualized MFA thesis courses, independent studies, and undergraduate introductory courses in literature as well as academic essay writing. Over the years, she has directed and advised numerous student poetry, fiction, intergenre, and hybrid creative/critical theses manuscripts.
In her creative writing workshops, Catanzano gives students practical grounding and an exploratory space to experiment with a range of approaches to literary writing. Areas of focus include ekphrasis, investigative poetry, digital poetry and electronic literature, traditional and metered forms, Oulipo, language writing, conceptual writing, political and activist writing, neosurrealism, quantum poetics, performance poetry, ecopoetics, aleatoric writing, visual poetry, sound poetry, and more. She emphasizes attentiveness to the textures of language as well as the multiplicity of forms and frameworks available to writers. Through workshop discussions of student writing, written feedback, assigned texts of innovative literature, experiential writing exercises, thought experiments, and attendance to literary readings with visiting authors, students develop as writers and readers while reflecting on the aesthetic, philosophical, personal, and cultural implications of working with language as an artistic practice.
Students she has mentored have gone on to 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 as well as careers in writing, teaching, publishing, and more.