An Interview with Yiyun Li

“There is a clear-cut: old life, that’s old country, and here there’s new life, new country. it is an advantage. You are looking at life through an old pair of eyes and a new pair of eyes. And there’s always that ambivalence—where do you belong? And how do you belong? And I do think these are advantages of immigrant writers or writers with two languages or who have two worlds.”

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The Lark Episode 11: Catherynne Valente

We sit down with Catherynne Valente, a New York Times–bestselling author, to discuss her most recent book, the science fiction comedy Space Opera, in which sentient races compete for glory in a galactic musical contest and the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.  


An Interview with Lisa Zou

Lisa Zou has been recognized by The Poetry Society of UK, National YoungArts Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, and the Poetry Society of Virginia, among others. Her work recently won The Lindenwood Review Lyric Essay Contest and Honorable Mention for The Atlantis Award. A native of Arizona, Lisa currently studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and her poem “Prodigy” appeared in Penn Review’s Issue 49.2. 

Q: When did you start writing and why? What role does writing currently play in your life, and how has it changed over time?

I was introduced to poetry at a young age and memorized many Chinese poetry pieces. My writing was first published back in my city newspaper in elementary school; the poem was about happiness and probably the most cringe-inducing piece of work I have ever written or read. The newspaper awarded me a gift card, and I was hooked; from there, I started winning writing competitions in middle school, but they were all pretty local.

I spent some time in boarding school in China and had to take English Second Language classes when I moved to California. My English was awful and I was actually teased for my accent. Because I did not have the ability to vocalize my thoughts, I wrote everything down instead.

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The Lark Episode 10: Chris Mustazza


We sit down with Chris Mustazza, a Ph.D. candidate in English, for a discussion of the poetry audio archive and the politics of sound.


The Lark Episode 9: Charles Bernstein


We sit down with Professor Charles Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania for a discussion of poetry, politics, and the art of cliché.

A renowned poet, professor, and literary theorist, Charles Bernstein has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the Roy Harvey Pearce/Archive for New Poetry Prize of the University of California, San Diego.  A founding member of the Language Poets and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he won the Münster Prize for International Poetry in 2015.  To learn more, visit

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The Lark Episode 8: Liliane Weissberg


We sit down with Professor Liliane Weissberg of the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the life and works of Swiss author Robert Walser (1878-1956).


The Lark Episode 7: Sara Sligar


We sit down with Sara Sligar, a novelist and Ph.D candidate in English, to discuss detective fiction, absolute truth, and Law & Order: SVU.


The Lark Episode 5: Orchid Tierney


We sit down with Orchid Tierney, a PhD candidate at Penn, for a discussion of cyborg culture, global warming, and the metaphoric dimensions of garbage.


The Lark Episode 3: Michelle Taransky


We sit down with Professor Michelle Taransky of the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the Oulipo, a French literary group whose members describe themselves as "rats who build the labyrinth from which they plan to escape."


The Lark Episode 2: Jean-Michel Rabaté


We sit down with Professor Jean-Michel Rabaté for a discussion of Kafka on the 101st anniversary of the publication of "The Metamorphosis."


The Lark Episode 1: Lynn Levin


In the inaugural episode of The Lark, we sat down with Lynn Levin, an acclaimed poet and Penn professor, for a discussion of poetry, the Garden of Eden, and a few minor virtues.