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Presented By: Sweetland Center for Writing

Writer to Writer with Petra Kuppers

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Sweetland's Writer to Writer series lets you hear directly from University of Michigan professors about their challenges, processes, and expectations as writers and also as readers of student writing. Each semester, Writer to Writer pairs one esteemed University professor with a Sweetland faculty member for a conversation about writing.

These conversations offer students a rare glimpse into the writing that professors do outside the classroom. You can hear instructors from various disciplines describe how they handle the same challenges student writers face, from finding a thesis to managing deadlines. Professors will also discuss what they want from student writers in their courses, and will take questions put forth by students and by other members of the University community. If there's anything you've ever wanted to ask a professor about writing, Writer to Writer gives you the chance.

This month Writer to Writer presents a conversation with Petra Kuppers via Zoom.

Zoom link:

Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a community performance artist and a disability culture activist. She uses social somatics, performance, and speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. Petra is the Anita Gonzalez Collegiate Professor of Performance Studies and Disability Culture at the University of Michigan.

Her artistry is grounded in the twin experiences of pain and joy. She has lived with chronic pain all her life, but her love of movement expresses itself in multiple ways: pushing against established definitions of what dance can be, and realigning connections between movement and writing. Her experimentation in creative somatics have allowed her to create community projects of embodied dreaming.

Her third performance poetry collection, Gut Botany (Wayne State University Press, 2020), won the 2022 Creative Book Award by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Her fourth collection, Diver Beneath the Street – true crime meets ecopoetry at the level of the soil – appears with Wayne State University Press in February 2024. Kuppers also writes academic books. Her latest, Eco Soma: Joy and Pain in Speculative Performance Encounters (University of Minnesota Press, 2022, open access), has received honorable mentions by the National Dance Educators' Organization’s Ruth Murray Book Award, the British Theatre and Performance Research Association’s’ David Bradby Monograph Award, and was shortlisted for the de la Torre Bueno Prize by the Dance Studies Association.

Petra was a 2022/2023 Dance/USA Fellow and is a 2023/24 Guggenheim Fellow.

She is Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and co-creates Turtle Disco, a somatic writing studio, with her wife, poet and dancer Stephanie Heit.
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