S02E04 – Jennifer Kwon Dobbs (Cooking, Militarism, & Transnational Exchange)

S02E04 – Jennifer Kwon Dobbs (Cooking, Militarism, & Transnational Exchange)

The new season of The Lit Fantastic is now airing on KBOO 90.7 Portland Community Radio (we’ve moved from podcast to radio, but will still have old and new episodes archived online at KBOO.fm and on iTunes).

In our fourth episode of season 2 , we talk to the poet Jennifer Kwon Dobbs about a wide range of topics that orbit the idea of transnational exchange and cultural interaction.  Beginning with her obsession with cooking and the Korean ingredients and flavors she has had to teach herself as a transnational Korean adoptee, we explore other ways in which which culture and identity is learned/relearned in the body, US militarism in Oklahoma, adoption and identity (re)formation, teaching race in a multilingual home and in the university classroom, and the unexpected complexity of translation and the flow of international poetry when one realizes that it is not a uni-directional exchange, but rather a feedback loop of influence. We close with two poems from Jennifer’s new book, Interrogation Room.



Born in Wonju, Republic of Korea and adopted by a steelworker and homemaker in Oklahoma, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs is a poet, essayist, and scholar with interests in creative writing, critical adoption studies, Asian American literature, and Korean literary translation. She holds a BA in English from Oklahoma State University, an MFA in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MA in English/PhD in Literature and Creative from the University of Southern California.

Her works include Paper Pavilion (2007), recipient of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Motton Book Award; Interrogation Room (White Pine Press 2018), finalist for the Copper Nickel/Milkweed Jake Adam York Prize; and the chapbooks Notes from a Missing Person (Essay Press 2015); Necro Citizens (forthcoming); and Song of a Mirror, finalist for the Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award. Currently, she is co-editing Radical Kinships: An Anthology of Autocritical Writing with Dr. Jenny Heijun Wills and Joshua Whitehead.

Widely collaborative, Jennifer has partnered with composers, artists, documentary filmmakers, dance choreographers, and virtual reality programmers on a range of interdisciplinary projects that have premiered in Asia, Europe, and North America. In support of her writing and scholarship, she has received grants from the Daesan Foundation, Intermedia Arts, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, among others.