“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.” Read More
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. Read More