K. Degala-Paraíso (she/they) is a Filipinx-American experimental writer with a B.A. in Creative Writing from Pitzer College. Her work has appeared in miniskirt magazine, [PANK] Magazine, Okay Donkey Magazine, and elsewhere; and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing through GrubStreet, and comparative literature at UCLA.
K. Degala-Paraíso (she/they) said her first word in this lifetime while sitting on a stoop in Brooklyn, NY. The word was "book" — and thus, young K. set her fate.
Despite her best attempts to leave her writerly inclinations for more lucrative ambitions, K. could not help but take literature class after literature class after literature class at Pitzer College...until she inadvertently met all of the requirements (and then some) for a B.A. in English/World Literature (Creative Writing track). For her capstone project, she wrote a 66-page collection of hybrid works concerning diasporic women's role in negotiating culture and environment. The title-story of the collection, “Morena,” was awarded the 2018 Bea Matas Hollfelder Award.
After graduating, K. started teaching virtual creative writing classes for teens through GrubStreet, one of the nation's leading creative writing centers. At GrubStreet, she now teaches classes for both teens and adults. These classes traverse genre and theme. They also come in multiple sizes: one-off three-hour/six-hour workshops, week-long classes, and multi-week classes. The breakdown of class is typically: 20% craft talk, 30% group discussion of in-class readings/films, 30% guided writing sessions, 20% group share/writer-led workshops. K. prefers to let the interests, perspectives, and knowledge of her students guide the class. You can view K.'s pedagogy and upcoming classes here.
Alongside her GrubStreet classes that are open to the public, K. is also a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Comparative Literature at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). During the Fall 2022 academic quarter, K. will TA for COMLIT 2CW "Survey of Literature: Age of Enlightenment to 20th Century".
During the summers of 2021 and 2022, K. served as a judge for Bow Seat's Annual Ocean Awareness Contest. From Bow Seat's website: "The Ocean Awareness Contest is a platform for young people to learn about environmental issues through art-making and creative communication, explore their relationship to a changing world, and become advocates for positive change. Students ages 11-18 from around the world are invited to participate." The theme of the 2021 Contest was "WATER RISING"; 2022, "THE FUNNY THING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE."
K.'s own writing often meditates on home and identity, challenges conventions of craft, and sucker-punches you in the gut. She primarily writes experimental/hybrid, creative nonfiction, prose poetry, and speculative [non-]fiction. Her current projects focus on grief, hope, goddesses of the underworld, and lists. Read her published works below.
If you are seeking a writing mentor, editor, or teacher, contact K. here.
"I must keep my correspondence short in case of interception. The kalabaw must cross the river. Be safe. And soon, I will be with you on the other side."
"There is a loud explosion outside on the street..."
"Mama [grandmother] started coming to me in my dreams before she was even dead."
"The parmigiano reggiano crumbles when you slice it, and I remember how the world crumbles beyond this ranch where we temporarily live..."
"I lead the caterpillars in a Socratic seminar, intent on answering the question: is this what healthy grief looks like?
After conferring all afternoon, the 7,200 caterpillars are still at an impasse."
...for "This Is How You Haunt Me".
"One year after you witness them filling your grave, come find me.
Please — come find me."
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