Five Questions with Brian Dang
October 28, 2021
In a new initiative at Writers in the Schools, our WITS writer corps is being joined by two apprentices, Brian Dang and Amy Hirayama, who will further their K-12 creative writing education skills with direct experiences in WITS classrooms. Amy and Brian will additionally be working as WITS Writers-in-Residence this school year—Amy at Evergreen High School and Brian at Hamilton International Middle School!
Get to know Brian below! For Brian, writing is an act of envisioning an eventual communing, an opportunity to freeze time as we know it, and a reaching for joy. A Vietnamese/Chinese playwright, poet and mentor, Brian received their B.A. in English Literature and Drama from the University of Washington. In addition to being a resident playwright at Parley, Brian’s writing has been workshopped with Seattle Opera, Pork Filled Productions, Mirror Stage, Karen’s Secret Army, Theatre Battery, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference as a Tennessee Williams Scholar. This year, Brian will also be teaching with Arts Corps, Hugo House, and Seattle Children’s Theatre.
What was the last book you read that blew you away (and why)?
Be Holding by Ross Gay has been a book I’ve returned to time and time again since reading it in the summer. It’s a book-length poem, a meditation, and an ekphrastic explosion based on an exceptional slam dunk by basketball player Dr. J. A beautiful (un)folding of personal and social history that expanded my idea of what language can do.
What emoji best represents you?
We contain multitudes, so here’s my combo: 🤠 + 🤡 + 🥺 + 💫
Would you like to tell us about your writing life? What projects are you working on?
Currently, I’m juggling a few things! I’m working on a finishing up a draft of a new play that I’m dubbing a “play-length poem” about a sapphic polycule raging against exploited labor. I’m also working on a communal poetry/letter collection in which each poem is inspired by a word or phrase that I wish I could communicate to my family in my native language. Finally, I’m working with Seventh Wave Magazine and getting my first nonfiction piece ever go live this November!
Who are your north stars of writing?
Suzan-Lori Parks, Gabriel García Márquez, Caryl Churchill, Ross Gay, and my friends, chosen families, and peers.
What’s your hidden talent?
I can blink really fast. Like, really, really, really fast.
Thank you, Brian!