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Current Episode

Cynthia Dewi Oka, Poet

From Bali, Indonesia, lives in California, USA

Cynthia fled Indonesia with her family as a 10 year old, moving to Vancouver and then, with her son, to Philadelphia. Now living in California, Cynthia is a poet of her life experiences – understanding and creating herself in the context of her past.   

She is the author of A Tinderbox in Three Acts, a Blessing the Boats Selection chosen by Aracelis Girmay, published by BOA Editions in 2022; Fire Is Not a Country (2021) and Salvage (2017) published by Northwestern University Press; and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water, first published by Dinah Press in 2012, with a second edition of new and revised poems published by Thread Makes Blanket in 2016.

A 2021-2022 Poet in Residence at the Amy Clampitt House in Lenox, MA, she has been awarded the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award, the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize, and the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry. She is an alum of the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center, and earned her MFA as a Holden Minority Scholar at Warren Wilson College. She serves as a Poetry Editor at Kweli Journal

Cynthia also teaches creative writing and poetry, and is a creative facilitator, at various colleges and literary arts organizations, including Bryn Mawr, New Mexico State and others. 

To support immigrant poets, Cynthia simply asks that you read and teach immigrant poets. She also suggests that you consider donating to Philadelphia Praise Center multiethnic church in South Philadelphia.

Paul Oka, Fire is Not a Country LP, 2022


“Future Revisions” is a collaboration with Philadelphia Contemporary, Asian Arts Initiative, and Friends of the Rail Park. It was installed July 2021 at The Rail Park (12th and Callowhill) in Philadelphia.

Episode List

Season 01


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Season 01

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