Wooster Graduate to Share Excerpts from New Collection of Poems

April Naoko Heck to read from A Nuclear Family on Sept. 24 at The College of Wooster

16 September, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — April Naoko Heck, author of A Nuclear Family, will share excerpts of her work at a public reading on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at The College of Wooster. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in the formal lounge of Babcock Hall (1315 Beall Ave.). Refreshments will be served after the reading.

A Nuclear Family is Heck’s first book of poems. Based on historical searches and conversations with family, her collection begins by engaging the life of her great-grandmother, who was walking in a field just 2.5 miles away from the detonation site of the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan toward the end of World War II. The poems then progress to a portrait of her American father (who died at a very young age in the middle of a career that involved working at a nuclear power plant) as well as Heck’s own childhood and early adulthood. One reviewer has described Heck’s works as “flickering shrines built from the debris of history and memory, both Japanese and American.”

A 1993 graduate of The College of Wooster, Heck was born in Tokyo and moved to the U.S. with her family at the age of 7. A Kundiman Fellow, she has also held residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Vermont Studio Center. She is the winner of an Allan Tate Memorial Award, an Associated Writing Programs Intro Award, and a prize from the Academy of American Poets. Her work has appeared in such publications as Asian American Literary Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Artful Dodge, Shenandoah, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. She currently works as the reading series coordinator for New York University’s Creative Writing Program.

Heck’s reading is sponsored by the English Department’s Donaldson Fund and Wooster’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2575) or e-mail.