Speculative Persona: A Craft Talk with Sally Wen Mao
Poetry at Bennington—Fall 2022
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | This craft talk explains the process of using speculative elements in poetry through persona poems, investigating how contemporary poets such as Adrian Matejka and Melissa Lozada-Oliva use speculative personae in their book-length projects The Big Smoke and Dreaming of You, as well as my own process writing speculative persona in Oculus.
Sally Wen Mao was born in Wuhan, China, and raised in the Bay Area. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James, 2014) and Oculus (Graywolf, 2019), named a 2019 favorite or must-read poetry book by Time Magazine, NPR, Library Journal, and Marie Claire; and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. Mao’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Best of the Net, A Public Space, Guernica, Harper’s Bazaar, and Poetry. She holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library, the Lannan Foundation, Kundiman, the Black Mountain Institute, and the Jerome Foundation.