The second round of Good Thunder happens today, bringing acclaimed author Su Hwang to Minnesota State University, Mankato’s campus.
Hwang is best known for her 2019 debut collection of poetry called Bodega and her essay “Why the Rebellion Had to Begin Here” published in the 2021 anthology, There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love. Hwang was honored to be recognized among 40 other BIPOC writers to write about subjects such as the trends of misinformation, political divides and police violence.
“The entire body of work is a living document, not only of what transpired in 2020, but how and why uprisings and calls for justice are essential for a viable future of our planet,” shared Hwang. “Literature and art urge us to keep telling stories, and by telling more stories, we create channels of empathy and inspire ways to thrive within our differences.”
Having been born in Seoul, South Korea, Hwang has had a love for travel, living in both New York City and San Francisco before finally living in Minnesota. Hwang says that traveling has impacted her writing by expanding her world view.
“I moved [to Minnesota] because of the generous and supportive literary community that encouraged and nurtured my growth,” said Hwang. “Traveling has offered me the distance to peer back at my life and those places with a mix of objectivity and nostalgia, expanding my sense of self and our collective experience.”
Hwang is looking forward to the creative writing workshop the most and to help spark creativity in others in a casual environment.
“It’ll be great to spend an hour in an intimate setting with members of the community who are interested in writing,” said Hwang. “To exchange energy and poetry in surprising generative ways will be good for the soul.”
The event will also be attended by third year MFA candidate Robyn Katona who will be reading part of their thesis, a combination of creative nonfiction (CNF) and poetry. Their work compliments Native American Heritage month, a topic near to their heart.
“My work is focusing a lot on how I view my relationships with elders, what it means to be an elder and how my identity is intrinsically tied with my ancestors whether I want it to or not,” shared Katona. “A lot of my work revolves around me being Cree and making sense of the generational trauma I’ve inherited.”
Hwang wants aspiring authors to know that they shouldn’t be bogged down by worry of what their work could be and to just make art for the sake of making art.
“Writing is to dance with failure because it’s inherently subjective, so do it, whatever form it takes,” said Hwang. “It’s important to always possess a beginner’s mind and to be comfortable with experimentation and rejection. It’s part of the journey.”
The Good Thunder events include the Workshop that takes place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Art Guild, a Craft Talk from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Room 245 as well as the reading from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Header Photo: Hwang is known for her 2019 collection of poetry “Bodega”.