Interview with Cynthia Hogue of Arizona State University

cynthia hogue arizona asuCynthia Hogue is an American poet, translator, critic and professor. She specializes in the study of feminist poetics, and has written in the areas of ecopoetics and the poetics of witness. She has published seven collections of poetry, most recently, The Incognito Body (2006) and Or Consequence (2010). Among her honors are a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, the H.D. Fellowship at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Project Grant, and the Witter Bynner Translation Residency Fellowship at the Santa Fe Art Institute. Hogue serves as Director of the MFA Program at Arizona State University.

Robin Tung: What sets ASU’s program apart from other programs?

Cynthia Hogue: The Creative Writing Program in the Department of English at ASU (CWP) nurtures and challenges individual talent amid a community of dedicated writers. We model the best elements of the discipline through thoughtful teaching, mentorship, and professional direction.

The CWP fosters the growth of a new generation of poets and fiction writers through an interdisciplinary program that provides writers with a grounding in the literary tradition through a strong literature component.

We are a three year program with a very student-centered faculty.  The mentoring that we give every student, combined with the relative leisure to write that a three-year program offers, translates into MFA theses that are, very soon, out in the world winning awards.

RT: What are ASU’s admissions rates?

CH: Last year we had ca. 300 applicants total, and 5 were accepted in poetry and 5 in fiction. This year we had less funding support and fewer applicants (we admitted 7 total).

RT: What advice would you offer applicants during the application process?

CH: Perhaps it is obvious, but we really need to see your very best work. We read eclectically, with an open-mind, looking for the promise in the pieces.

RT: Have you come across any application blunders?

CH: I wouldn’t say blunders, but applicants don’t need to send in more than we’ve requested, but we do need all that we stipulate or we cannot consider the application.

RT: What are you working on now?

CH: I’m actually at work on a translation from French. I’m on an NEA in Translation at the moment, to complete a translation of Nathalie Quintane’s Jeanne Darc.

RT: Do you have any advice for new writers?

CH: Read broadly and in depth, and go for broke in your work.


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