After a Knox College BA (studied with Sam Moon, Hal Grutzmacher & Gogisi) and Iowa MFA (Donald Justice & Philip Roth) in the early 1960s, more than three-hundred-and-fifty of Alex Kuo’s poems, short stories, photographs and essays have appeared in magazines and newspapers, mostly recently in amerasia journal, Ploughshares, Piano Journal, International Examiner, Mascara7, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Three Coyotes, and in anthologies such as Craig Lesley’s Dreamers and Desperadoes, Ishmael Reed’s From Totems to Hip-Hop, Mike Ingham & Xu Xi’s City Voices and Andre Codrescu’s American Poets Say Goodbye to the 20th Century.
He has been an administrator and a teacher of writing, literature and cultural studies for fifty years at several American colleges and universities (from South Dakota State University to Roger Williams University to University of Colorado) as well as in China at Peking University, Beijing Forestry University, Jilin University, Fudan University and Hong Kong’s Baptist University.
During this period he has received three National Endowment for the Arts awards, and grants from the United Nations and the Idaho Commission for the Arts for background research in China for his novel The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze. In 1991-92 he taught in China as a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and in 1997-98 in Hong Kong as the Lingnan Visiting Scholar in American Studies. He was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagion residency for 2003-04. In 2010 Knox College presented him with its Alumni Achievement Award.
Kuo was Writer-in-Residence for Mercy Corps in 2002-03, and Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Knox College in the spring terms of 2004 and 2009. In an innovative move in 2008, Shanghai’s Fudan University invited him to be its first Distinguished Writer-in-Residence. He has worked and lived almost his entire adult life in the American West, beginning in 1956 when he worked fires in USFS’s Region One.
His most recent books are Lipstick and Other Stories (2001) which received the American Book Award in 2002, Panda Diaries (novel/2006), White Jade and Other Stories (2008), A Chinaman’s Chance: New and Selected Poems 1960-2010 (2011), and The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze (novel/2011). In May of 2012, he was appointed Adjunct Professor at Beijing Forestry University.
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