( 1949- )
Jessica Hagedorn was born and raised in Manila, the Philippines. She immigrated with her family to San Francisco when she was thirteen. Hagedorn attended the American Conservatory Theatre's training program where she honed her performance skills: her goal was to combine the theatre with her other talents, poetry and music.
Jessica Hagedorn's evolution as a poet and a multimedia and performance artist began with the publication of her first book of poetry ( Four Young Women) in 1972. In San Francisco she was also involved with a collective of women writers and artists of color (including Thulani Davis and Ntozake Shange) who worked in a style of performance that merged dance, film, poetry, and music. Hagedorn organized a band called the West Coast Gangster Choir which allowed her to incorporate the imagistic kind of writing she preferred into performance.
Hagedorn moved to New York in 1979 where she continues to create experimental performance art. She has moved into the fields of video and filmmaking, and recently she made her debut as a screenwriter with Fresh Kill, a feature film produced and directed by Shu Lea Chang. Her nondramatic writing continues to be widely anthologized. A novella, Pet Food and Tropical Apparitions ( 1981), which won the American Book Award was followed by the highly acclaimed Dogeaters ( 1990), a vivid depiction of Philippine life. Danger and Beauty ( 1993) is a collection of Hagedorn poetry and fiction.
Jessica Hagedorn resides in New York with her daughter and performs with the group Thought Music ( Laurie Carlos, Robbie McCauley, and John Woo).
Jessica Hagedorn's works are verbal and visual collages that combine her interests in poetry, music, dance, and visual media. Often drawing on autobio-