Serena Chopra, PhD
PhD, Creative Writing; MFA, Creative Writing
Assistant Professor, English/Creative Writing
Building/Room: Casey 510
Serena Chopra is a teacher, writer, dancer, filmmaker, soundscape designer and a visual and performance artist. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Denver and an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a MacDowell Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow, a 2011-2013 Redline artist in Residence, and a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar (Bangalore, India). She has two books, This Human (Coconut Books 2013) and Ic: A Sociolinguistic Conspiracy Theory (Horse Less Press 2017), as well as two films, Dogana/Chapti (2018, Official Selection at Frameline43, Oregon Documentary Film Festival, Seattle Queer Film Festival and QueerX) and Mother Ghosting (2018).
She was an 8-year company member with Evolving Doors Dance from 2010-2019 and was recently a featured artist in Harper's Bazaar (India) as well as in the Denver Westword’s 100 Colorado Creatives. She has recent publications in Sink, Foglifter, Matters of Feminist Practice (Belladonna Collective) and the anthology Alone Together: Love, Grief and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 (winner of The Washington State Book Award, Central Avenue Publishing, 2021). In October 2020, Serena co-directed No Place to Go, an artist-made queer haunted house with Kate Speer and Frankie Toan.
Serena is currently working on her third book, Dayawati, Of Mercy, an interdisciplinary (film and text) poetic memoir about familial lineages of domestic violence, the prairie and resilience. Her current research interests include trauma writing, queer forms and expressions as capital-colonial resistance, rhizomes, the problematics of neoliberal healing narratives, and tracing historiographies of poetic thought. As a poet and interdisciplinary artist, Dr. Chopra's teaching interests approach creative composition through interdisciplinary and hybrid modalities. Her students explore poetic resonance and poignancy through various mediums and disciplines, such as text, film/moving image, sound, dance/movement, photography, collage and performance art, etc.
Her courses align creative composition with intersectional queer and feminist studies, offering students a critical and embodied creative experience that inspires profound student projects, including the production of chapbook-length manuscripts at the upper-division level. The theoretical and historiographical gestures of her courses serve to invite students into significant ongoing conversations related to creativity, identity, positionality and social impact, and engage students with inspired lineages and a contemporary scope for their critical and creative work. Dr. Chopra's classes teach aesthetic, craft and formal principles and tools, but also help students develop trust and confidence in their innate and intuitive embodied practices, allowing them to access the poignant possibilities below the narrative's surface.
Rather than emphasizing rules towards technical perfection, Dr. Chopra guides students through their own poetic and visionary concerns, concentrating on strengthening creativity, voice and critical perspectives. She encourages students to engage multi-disciplinary experiments and practices, guiding them to encounter their creative visions as dynamic, expressive potential. Dr. Chopra teaches the following courses:
- Writing Hybrid and Interdisciplinary Poetry
- Queer Experiences and Poetic Memoir
- Modern, Post Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
- The Feminist Epic
- Writing Documentary Poetry
- Poetry, Performance, and Installation
Dr. Chopra is dedicated to the professional development of her students, mentoring them on developing full-length manuscripts (especially as advisor for creative Department Honors projects), helping students prepare applications for MFA programs, residencies and Fulbright Scholarships, and advising them about publishing their creative and critical work.