Meet March’s Woman Warrior Writer Debra Kang Dean! Debra Kang Dean is the author of two prize-winning chapbooks and three full-length books of poetry. Totem: America, her most recent book, was shortlisted for the 2020 Indiana Authors Award in Poetry. Long engaged with taijiquan, she is on the poetry faculty of the Sena Naslund-Karen Mann School of Writing.
How did you come to author your life?
Although the words “woman,” “warrior,” and “writer” separately apply to different facets of my being, it might be truer to say that life keeps authoring me—not as subject but in terms of the kind of writer I am. Widowed at fifty, I find those words rearranging themselves, each taking its turn as a verb. I have never forgotten reading how some post-menopausal women became ambiguous figures in one tribal society and so were able to move in the spaces between conventional boundaries—not an especially good fit for our very gendered, youth-oriented culture, but one that has helped me to keep the self that creates intact and persist through changing inner and outer weather. The struggle is real, but remember: This work is no small thing.