Lisa Kwong is currently an Adjunct Lecturer for the Departments of English and American Studies at IU, teaching courses in composition and Asian-American Studies. She has also served as an event coordinator for the Fountain Square Poetry Series in Bloomington since 2012. Under her leadership, Fountain Square Poetry Series has fostered collaboration between the local and university writing communities with the goal of featuring a diverse range of poets. An enthusiastic participant in the Bloomington literary community, she is a member of the Writers Guild at Bloomington and has been a featured reader in the Upstart Poets Series, First Sunday Prose Reading Series (nonfiction), Last Sunday Poetry Reading Series, The Spoken Word Stage at Fourth Street Festival, and Lemonstone Reading Series.
Born and raised in Radford, Virginia, she is an AppalAsian poet in the Midwest. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Indiana University in 2014. She received a BA in English and minor in clarinet performance from Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, North Carolina. From 2004-2011, Lisa organized National Poetry Month readings and was a guest speaker in English classes at ASU and Radford University.
Lisa was inspired to claim the AppalAsian identity after learning that Frank X Walker had coined the term Affrilachian. She has lectured about writing as an AppalAsian in IU undergraduate courses in American Studies and Anthropology, as well as at IU's Annual International Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference and the IU Asian Culture Center. She has been interviewed about her AppalAsian experiences for the radio program Asians in Appalachia Series for Voice of America, English to Asia Programs.
Lisa’s poem, “An AppalAsian Finds Home in Bloomington, Indiana,” was selected by Dorianne Laux for inclusion in Best New Poets 2014. Her poems and personal essays have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Rebelle Society, Banango Street, Appalachian Heritage, Pluck!, and other journals. Her honors include two Frost Place scholarships, the Neal-Marshall Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing, Guy Lemmon Award in Public Writing, and the inaugural Asian Pacific American Inspiration Award at Indiana University. She recently received a Pushcart nomination.
Known as “Ms. K” to her students, Lisa discovered and developed a passion for teaching as an instructor of creative writing and composition during her MFA candidacy. She and Virginia Thomas were the Fall 2013 AI (Associate Instructor) Consultants for English W103: Introduction to Creative Writing. She was also a 2013 finalist for excellence in teaching English W131: Elementary Composition. The foundation of her teaching philosophy includes a classroom environment that fosters respect, community, hard work, progress, and fun.
Since 2005, Lisa has been a Nancy Drew collector and scholar. She serves as Resident Poet for the Nancy Drew Sleuths. Her personal essay, “The Modern Nancy Drew Collector,” is forthcoming in The Sleuth, which will also feature pictures of her Nancy Drew collection.