Visiting author Danielle Cadena Deulen to give craft talk, reading

Famous for her poetic works, author Danielle Cadena Deulen will be visiting campus to give a craft talk and reading.

Deulen teaches poetry at Willamette University. She has three books published: “The Riots,” “Lovely Asunder: Poems” and “Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us.” All three have won numerous awards, and her poems and essays have been featured in multiple journals and anthologies, including “The Missouri Review and “Best New Poets.”

“I’ve always been interested in literature, even as a small child, and grew up sneaking novels from my mother’s bookcase and trying to write stories and poems,” Deulen said. “But my real education in creative writing began during my undergraduate days, when I began taking courses from Dana Levin — a poet whose mentorship and friendship has sustained me in my writing life even today.”

Deulen said she is inspired by personal experiences and how they relate to sociopolitical issues.

“My memior, ‘The Riots,’ was inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf and James Baldwin,” Deulen said. “My most recent poetry collection, ‘Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us,’ takes its title from an essay by Michel de Montaigne. His work blended personal experience, social and political issues, and ancient knowledge, moving between these subjects in an associative way. I attempted to utilize similar techniques in that collection, so there’s clear influence in that case.”

Susan McCarty, a creative writing professor at Oakland University, said she is fond of Deulen’s work.

“Deulen’s essay collection ‘The Riots’ astonished me when I first read it,” McCarty said. “I read her essay ‘Aperture’ first, which is about her autistic brother and her father’s abusive relationship with him. But . . . this essay is also about race, class, identity, empathy, the way families support or don’t support each other, and the scientific and metaphorical meanings and mechanisms of the word ‘aperture.’”

In a message to OU, Deulen encouraged people to read.

“Reading widely and deeply is the way into writing,” Deulen said. “It’s just as true for experienced writers as it is for beginners.”

McCarty said people oftentimes assume all essays are supposed to be formulaic, but Deulen’s work illustrates that they can be fun.

“They are innovative, even playful and personal,” McCarty said. “They ask questions about the world we live in. Those questions are huge, and they don’t have easy answers, but I feel like a better citizen of the world after I see it through Deulen’s eyes for a while. She’s an incredibly fair and empathetic author.”

McCarty said the creative writing faculty members take turns inviting writers they admire. This time, McCarty was able to invite Deulen.

“One of the things we creative writing faculty love about Oakland is the support we receive to bring in these artists whose work has been important to us and to our students,” McCarty said. “Being able to bring actual makers of literature to OU is a great way to do this, and to introduce students and faculty to voices they may not have heard before.”

Both events will be held Monday, March 27. The craft talk will take place 3-4 p.m. in 274 South Foundation Hall, and the reading will be 5-6:30 p.m. in the Oakland Center Gold Rooms B and C. 

For more information on the craft talk and reading, contact Cynthia Ferrera at [email protected]. To reserve a spot at the craft talk, contact Susan McCarty at [email protected].