Dr. Harrison Candelaria Fletcher is the author of Descanso For My Father: Fragments Of A Life, winner of the Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and International Book Award for Best New Nonfiction, and Presentimiento: A Life In Dreams, selected by Dinty W. Moore from more than 200 entries as winner of the 2015 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize and selected as a Best Autobiography finalist in the 2016 International Latino Book Awards.
His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including New Letters, Fourth Genre and Puerto del Sol as well as Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction and The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. His honors include the New Letters Literary Award, High Desert Journal Obsidian Prize, Sonora Review Essay Award, Pushcart Prize Special Mention and fellowships from the Arizona Poetry Center and Vermont Studio Center.
Dr. Harrison Candelaria Fletcher was also a former columnist and feature writer at newspapers throughout the West and a former professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. We are happy to welcome him as a new faculty member to the English Department here at CSU!
Learn more about Dr. Harrison Candelaria Fletcher in the following interview below, and make sure to check out his class E370: American Literature in Cultural Contexts: Growing Up Latino(a) this fall. For more information on this class and the other classes we are offering this fall, see our courses page.
What brought you to CSU?
I’m very much looking forward to joining the Creative Nonfiction Program at CSU. I’m constantly inspired by its many forms and mutations (literary journalism, memoir, collage, lyric essay, video essay) and I love being in the middle of it all. I’m excited by the future of CNF at CSU and the opportunity to work with Sarah, Debby, and the rest of the English Department aces. Can’t wait.
Also, as corny as it sounds, the sky. I’m a New Mexican native and I also lived in Colorado for fifteen years. The West is home. Landscape is very important to me and my work. I’m fascinated by place, identity, memory, culture and history and the interactions between them. Richmond VA is beautiful, but I missed the sky.
And let’s not forget the green chile.
What is your favorite thing to teach?
Creative writing. I love exploring the power of story and intricacies of form, narrative, character, theme, structure, etc. The possibilities of story inspire me.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching? Discovery. Every time I leave a classroom or a workshop, students have shown me something new.
How would you describe your teaching style, your philosophy?
Listening is important – a legacy of my columnist-feature writer days. I’m probably more of a facilitator than a lecturer – one of those people who believe in the bottom-up approach to writing and literature in which issues of craft, style, theory and context issues rise from the manuscript or book in hand rather than the lectern down. I work best during the give-and-take of discussion.
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher at the Lighthouse Writers Lit Festival in Denver
Are you working on any special projects right now?
A few: An essay collection exploring mixedness, a documentary poetry prospect, and a hybrid thing involving found visuals and documents, but I probably shouldn’t say more because I’m superstitious about jinxes in the initial stages.
When you’re not working or teaching what do you like to do?
Multiple choice (in no particular order):
Found photos, found texts, found-objects things.
Netflix (currently “Peaky Blinders”).
Date nights with my wife.
Long walks where I can see the sky.
Pen and ink.
PS3 with the kids.
Couch with the cats.
Rolling Stone magazine.
What are you doing with your summer before you start teaching?
Packing. Packing. Packing.
Moving across country with cats.
Unpacking. Unpacking. Unpacking.
(I also teach in the MFA Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, so I spent a good bit of time in Montpelier. I participated in the terrific Lighthouse Writers LitFest in Denver as well – see photo. Then more packing).
What is something about you that most people would be surprised to learn?
I could dunk a basketball (many moons ago). I’m also the proud recipient of the 2010 Green Chile Prize from the Chicano Arts and Humanities Council in Denver (for visual art).