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PLAYA Presents | February 15, 2020 | 1-3 pm
February 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Farnaz Fatemi is an Iranian-American poet, editor, and writing teacher in Santa Cruz, CA. She is a member and cofounder of The Hive Poetry Collective, which presents a weekly radio show and podcast in Santa Cruz County and hosts readings and poetry-related events. Her poetry and prose appears in Grist Journal, Catamaran Literary Reader, Crab Orchard Review, Tahoma Literary Review, phren-z.org, Tupelo Quarterly, and several anthologies (including The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3: Halal If You Hear Me).
Farnaz has been an artist in residence at Djerassi Resident Artists Program, PLAYA, Willapa Bay AiR, Marble House Project, and I-Park Foundation. She was awarded the Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman Fellowship by Djerassi and has been honored by the International Literary Awards (Center for Women Writers), Poets on the Verge (Litquake SF), Best of the Net Nonfiction, and Pushcart. She is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Farnaz taught Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, from 1997-2018.
I grew up in Chicago on overcooked vegetables and the failures of the Chicago Cubs. My mother wanted me to be a dentist, I wanted to be an engineer. Four unhappy years at Lane Tech high school struggling with science and at Jewish summer camps writing plays, newsletters, and lyrics for musicals convinced me to switch majors. But it was only when I got to the University of Chicago, surrounded by people who spent their time in books, that I discovered what it meant to think, talk, write, and read. I moved on to Stanford for graduate school, better weather, and the Sixties. I got involved with politics, protest, and teaching. After a childhood when I blushed every time someone noticed me, the classroom was rough going at first. But I’ve spent most of my life since learning that teaching was a, if not the, vocation I was born for.
I spent three decades teaching at UC Santa Cruz, where I wrote critical books, articles, and book reviews while I raised my three children. I retired to devote myself to imagining tales tall and short, and learning about paragraphs and sentences. I’ve written two novels, several stories, and essays. I’ve lived long enough to watch the Cubs win the World Series. Never much for winners, I’ve switched allegiance to the Oakland Athletics. I’ve traveled, become a grandfather, and learned a lot about writing I never knew as a teacher of writing. I figure those lessons are worth my time.