MFA Mapmakers Alumni Institute Presents Michael Hahn MFA '23 and Chang-rae Lee in Conversation

On April 11, 2023, Pacific's Master of Fine Arts program hosted the first of two sessions this semester of the Mapmakers Alumni Institute. MFA Mapmaker Michael Hahn '23 (Fiction) was joined in an online conversation with novelist Chang-rae Lee on the subject of "Mooded Texts: Affect and Craft." The video is now available.

As part of his MFA in Writing at Pacific, Hahn wrote his critical essay on the work of Lee, with this epigraph from My Year Abroad:

This was a different kind of grip, a force that seemed to come from Val but also from beyond her, superconducting through her flesh, directly and only to me, to say that there was no place else that we belonged.

This session of the Mapmakers Alumni Institute began here. Unlike emotion, affect registers in the subconscious, preceding thought and subjective interpretation. Whether capturing inexpressible mood or the accretion of unresolved feelings, affect implicates everyone, but especially those who are liminal and marginalized, upon whom systemic forces often work in subterfuge. In literature, affect, embodied through form and language, gives shape to significant ways-of-being that defy category and catharsis. But how do writers craft such experiences for their characters? For readers? Can the affective experience of a text exist apart from the author's subjective interpretation?

The Kwame Dawes Mapmakers Scholarship is named after Mapmaker, an early collection of his poems. Dawes has been a leader in the program’s mission to diversify the writers we serve and create equity. In helping us name the scholarship, he said, “The title characterizes what I think of myself as both a writer and as an advocate for the work of others and as someone who tries to open new territories for those who have not had access.”

First offered in January 2018, this scholarship is awarded to exceptional students of color.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023