, Creative Writing
Lisa Fetchko has published fiction, creative nonfiction, critical essays, and translations in a variety of publications including AGNI, Ploughshares, Bookforum, and n + 1. She teaches in the Department of Architecture & Urban Design at UCLA and at Orange Coast College. In addition to teaching and writing, she has worked in architecture and documentary filmmaking in the United States and Latin America.
I’ve taught writing and literature in a variety of ways, but I always come back to the basics: reading, writing, and critical thinking. Reading good writers helps students become better writers themselves; daily writing and revision helps students see nuances, think more critically; thinking critically makes students better readers—it’s a productive cycle.
I’m interested in nonfiction, especially creative nonfiction, personal narrative, and the way these genres have evolved over the last fifty years. I’m also interested in literature, especially Latin American literature, Eastern and Central European literature, and literature by and about women. Finally, I’m interested in writing about the arts—criticism, manifestos, artists’ reflections on their work—and translation as an intellectual exercise and a literary art. At the heart of all of these interests is a fascination with the endless possibilities of the sentence.
When my kids were in elementary school, they were enrolled in an ambitious bilingual program at the UCLA lab school with students who had very different abilities and experiences in the Spanish language—from fluent to monosyllabic—and I always marveled at the ability of the best of their teachers to tailor their teaching to the different levels of each student. Over the last five years, I’ve found that teaching writing is an analogous experience. No writing student needs the same thing from a teacher—every student has individual strengths, interests, and weaknesses that need to be discovered and cultivated (or discouraged) in order for that student to reach his or her potential. To this end, I offer my students as much individualized attention as possible. I also rely heavily on the workshop format, which encourages students to take responsibility for their work, understand the importance of editing and revision, and see their writing from a reader’s point of view, something we often forget to do.
Academic Interests/Personal Pursuits
I'm currently working on two projects: a memoir about my love affair with Uruguay (Veinte años no es nada) and a darkly comic novel about an empty nester.
“Felisberto,” critical essay, Ploughshares, Winter 2015–2016.
“Ana’s Face,” translation, Ploughshares, Winter 2015–2016.
“Hands,” creative nonfiction, Hotel Amerika, Spring 2012.
“The Lizard’s Tale by José Donoso,” book review, Bookforum, 28 Oct. 2011.
“Nipper,” creative nonfiction, AGNI Online, Sept. 2011.
“San Bernardino,” fiction, n+1, 29 April 2011.
“Raul Markowicz Is As Big As a House and Other Disappointments of the New Millennium,” fiction, Rattapallax, Fall 2009.
“Apologia,” fiction, Glimmer Train, Winter 1999.
“The First Blow,” fiction, COLUMBIA: A Magazine of Poetry & Prose, Fall 1993.
“They’re Hanging a Chilean,” translation, LAX, Fall 1990.
“The Fated Woman,” translation, LAX, Fall 1990.