Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing
Co-Director, Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series
Office: C 314 Tribble Hall
Amy Catanzano is a poet and cross-genre writer who explores the intersections of literature, science, and art. In an integrated artistic practice and theory known as quantum poetics, she investigates shared principles in poetry and quantum mechanics to reinvent common notions of spacetime, language, and reality. Her creative and scholarly research spans the history of the avant garde and contemporary literary and artistic subcultures in parallel to physics and its under-acknowledged relationship to poetics and the philosophy of language.
She is the author of three books. Her most recent, Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella, published by Noemi Press in 2014, combines narrative and experimental fiction, lineated and visual poetry, creative nonfiction and memoir, and invented literary forms. It received the Noemi Press Book Award. Her second book, Multiversal, published by Fordham University Press in 2009, received national recognition in the United States as the recipient of the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry. Prior to this honor, Multiversal was selected by Michael Palmer for the Poets Out Loud Prize at Fordham University Press. Catanzano’s first book, iEpiphany, was published by Anne Waldman’s press, Erudite Fangs Editions, in 2008. Her books have been taught in universities throughout the U.S., in Europe, and in Australia and have been the subject of critical study by scholars. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the esteemed Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.
Her creative work has been published widely in literary journals such as Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, and New American Writing. Her essays and essay-poems on quantum poetics appear on the literary website of Jerome Rothenberg, Poems and Poetics; in Jacket2, the online journal of modern and contemporary poetry and poetics at the University of Pennsylvania; and elsewhere. A digital poem on wave-particle duality that was created using 3D Poetry Editor software appeared in an exhibition, The Gravity of Words, at the Rotterdam Poetry International Festival and the Oslo Poesifilm Festival for Digital and Visual Poetry. She regularly gives poetry readings and talks in the United States.
Within the innovative tradition of investigative poetics, she conducts creative and scholarly research and gives presentations at scientific research centers for particle physics, dark matter, radio astronomy, and more. She has conducted research as an official visitor at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland with the support of an Archie Fund for the Arts and Humanities award from Wake Forest University. In Spain, she has been an invited guest at the NEXT experiment in dark matter research at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory. She has given a lecture and poetry reading in the Mestizajes Programme in art, science, and literature at the Donostia International Physics Center in San Sebastián, Spain. In the United States, she has conducted research as an official visitor at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, then part of the National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory, among other activities. She will be the 2018 Poet-in-Residence at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University, a week-long residency, and gave a talk and poetry reading there in 2017.
An Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing and the Poet-in-Residence in the English Department at Wake Forest University, she teaches undergraduate and graduate creative writing workshops in the Creative Writing minor. Her workshops at Wake Forest are designed to be supportive and rigorous classroom communities where students reflect on the creative, personal, philosophical, theoretical, cultural, social, scientific, and political implications of working with language as an artistic practice. Offering students practical grounding and an exploratory space in which to write a range of poetry and cross-genre forms, read published books, and respond to the writing of their peers, her workshops prepare students for sustained creative activity. At other institutions she has taught innovative undergraduate and graduate literature, writing, and special topics courses she designed such as “The Imaginary Present,” drawing from an essay by Alfred Jarry; “Women Writers, Open Texts,” drawing from Lyn Hejinian’s notion of the open text; and courses that explore ’pataphysics, the history of invented and constructed languages, and quantum poetics. She has also designed a writing/listening course situated exclusively on online audio archives of poets reading their work as well as a survey course in nineteenth-century U.S. literature. As a Faculty Sponsor of the Student Reading Series in the English Department, Co-Director of the Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series, and a former Director of the Creative Writing minor, she is committed to supporting a thriving literary and arts community at Wake Forest.
Prior to teaching at Wake Forest, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, an experimental writing program and literary community emphasizing innovative and contemplative approaches to the literary arts that was co-founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman at Naropa University. In addition to teaching at Naropa, she served as the Administrative Director of the Writing and Poetics Department and Managing Director of the literary journal, where she mentored student editors. She still occasionally teaches in Naropa’s renowned Summer Writing Program.
MFA Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University of Iowa
BA Colorado State University
Areas of Interest
Poetry and poetics
Cross-genre writing, experimental fiction, creative nonfiction
The intersections of literature, science, and art
Theoretical and experimental physics
History of the avant garde and contemporary subcultures
Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella (Noemi Press, 2014)
Multiversal (Fordham University Press, 2009)
iEpiphany (Erudite Fangs Editions, 2008)
Chapbooks, broadsides, and pamphlets
from Borealis Tesseract in the Fourth Dimension (Perfect Wave, 2017)
Let There Be Love (Spacecraft Press, 2015)
the heartbeat is a fractal (Ahadada Books, 2008)
Creative work is published in print and online literary journals including 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, Truck, Poems and Poetics, Volt: A Journal of the Arts, and Washington Square Review.
Selected Projects on Literature, Science, and Art
A poem and essay by Amy Catanzano appears in a Spanish edition of #Nodos (Next Door Publishers, 2017), an international anthology on science, art, and literature that was published in conjunction with the Mestizajes Programme in literature, art, and science at the Donostia International Physics Center in San Sebastián, Spain. An English edition of the anthology is forthcoming.
Amy Catanzano’s digital poem, “Wavicles,” on wave-particle duality, was in the 3D Poetry Editor exhibition, The Gravity of Words, at the Rotterdam Poetry International Festival in The Netherlands and in the Oslo Poesifilm Festival for Digital and Visual Poetry in Norway.
This commentary series on Quantum Poetics by Amy Catanzano for Jacket2, the University of Pennsylvania’s online journal of modern and contemporary poetry and poetics, presents 17 short essays on the intersections of poetry and science. A reprinting of “Black W/Holes: A History of Brief Time” by poet M. NourbeSe Philip and a discussion on poetry and science between Catanzano and poet Andrew Joron are also presented.
“Like a Metaphor,” Gilbert Adair’s feature in Jacket2 on poetry and science, comes together as a response to a podcast on Anew by poet Louis Zukofsky. Collecting poems, critiques, and dialogues between eleven poets who share an interest in science—Rae Armantrout, Amy Catanzano, John Cayley, Tina Darragh, Marcella Durand, Allen Fisher, James Harvey, Peter Middleton, Evelyn Reilly, and Joan Retallack—this feature explores how scientific discourse might be incorporated by poets not simply as a source of metaphor but as an independent discipline.
“Quantum Poetics: Writing the Speed of Light” is Amy Catanzano’s four-part essay on quantum poetics published from 2009 to 2011 by Jerome Rothenberg in Poems and Poetics.
Selected Awards and Honors
2018 Poet-in-Residence, Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Stony Brook University, week-long residency in the Art and Science Program
2016: Archie Fund for the Arts and Humanities award from Wake Forest University in support of travel to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and related research
2014: Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella is included by Alastair Brotchie in the permanent collection of the ‘Pataphysical Museum at The London Institute of ‘Pataphysics
2012: Noemi Press Book Award in Fiction for Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella
2010: PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry for Multiversal
2007-2008: Fordham University, Poets Out Loud Prize for Multiversal, selected by Michael Palmer
2014: Entropy Magazine
History of Courses Taught at WFU
CRW 285 Poetry Workshop (undergraduate poetry workshop)
CRW 286 Short Story Workshop (undergraduate fiction workshop)
CRW 383 Theory and Practice of Poetry Writing (advanced undergraduate poetry workshop)
ENG 683 Theory and Practice of Poetry Writing (graduate poetry workshop)