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Jessica Hagedorn Portrait

Born in Manilla and raised in the Philippines before coming to the U.S., Jessica Hagedorn is known as a novelist, a performance artist, a poet, and a playwright. Her 1993 collection Danger and Beauty gathers poems, stories, and memoirs. It is dedicated to poet Kenneth Rexroth, who first published her in 1973 when she was living in San Francisco, two years before she formed a band, The West Coast Gangster Choir. A few years later she moved to New York where she read poems to music, worked as Program Coordinator for the St. Marks Poetry Project, wrote the screenplay for the film Fresh Kill (1994), and created performance art pieces like Mango Tango and Airport Music. Hagedorn has taught in the graduate playwriting program at the Yale School of Drama and in the creative writing program at Columbia University. She currently teaches at Long Island University in Brooklyn.