Graduate Division: Grad Journal
Alumni Profile: Suman Chhabra
“Meditation is romanticized as a peaceful experience, that which clears the mind. However, I view it as a form of creation within an individual,” says Suman Chhabra, an MFAW alum and new faculty member at SAIC. In her current work she explores meditation and its role in writing. Through this investigation Chhabra delves into the connections between meditation and hallucination, and the undefined space of the real and the imagined.
This semester at SAIC, Chhabra will be teaching Ritual & Creative writing, a course she designed and developed. “The class focuses on the think time before writing. That time is defined not as process but as ritual,” Chhabra explains. Students are encouraged to develop a ritual of their own whether it be walking, making, or dreaming. Teaching has been part of Chhabra’s practice for the last nine years. In addition to Ritual & Creative Writing, Chhabra teaches two undergraduate English for International Students courses in the Liberal Arts department. She has participated in the Teach for America program, taught language arts for first graders, and more recently, was a Writing Fellow and Teaching Assistant at SAIC.
Chhabra’s forthcoming chapbook Demons Off will be published with Meekling Press, as part of their series Chill Horizons. In this work, the writer examines rakshasas, described by Chhabra as “demonic creatures in Hindu tradition. Rakshasas are shape-shifters. They consume others. I connect grieving to rakshasas. Grief, like a rakshasa, changes its shape in various ways.” Chill Horizons will be released in monthly installments beginning this November.