Not many students can enter their senior year saying that they’ve published two books. For Senior Fellow Amy Zhang ’18, this was not only a reality, but also motivation to pursue a new interest.
Zhang had always known she was passionate about creative writing, and she had arrived at Hamilton College intending to focus on fiction prose. After taking a poetry course during her junior year, however, her path took a slight turn.
“I had been working on a collection of poems about my family history for Intermediate Poetry, and the more I worked with it and the more I gave to my professor and advisor Jane Springer, I started to realize that there was so much rich, beautiful history there that lent itself so naturally to poetry, that it seemed to make sense to carry that further,” Zhang said. “It just woke a curiosity that I don’t know why I didn’t have before.”
Zhang is using her senior year to pursue a project that she hopes will provide insight into the Asian-American female identity. It is titled “Birds of the Body: a Poetic Exploration of the Performance of Asian-American Femininity.”
Major: Creative Writing
Hometown: Sheboygan, Wisc.
High School: Sheboygan Falls High School
“There are a lot of elements I’m interested in bringing into it, so that’s challenging,” Zhang said. “As the poetry is being read out loud, I want there to be performers in specific clothing and projections on the walls; I want it to be very kinesthetic and interactive.”
Zhang is not yet sure what she wants her audience to walk away learning from her project, but she knows what she wants to get out of it.
“What I hope to get out of my project is understanding this history that I’ve been so resistant to,” Zhang said. “It feels empowering to be able to sit down and explore these narratives and how they relate to my sense of self, and how I want my sense of self to grow and blossom.”