Juleen Eun Sun Johnson was born in Seoul, South Korea. She was adopted and taken to Valdez, Alaska, where she spent her formative years. Johnson earned an MFA in Visual Studies from PNCA. She's currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Johnson will be attending Oxford University this summer. Her work has been published in: Cirque: A Literary Journal, Nervous Breakdown, The Rio Grande Review, The Dunes Review, The Indianapolis Review, The Cortland Review, and other journals and anthologies. Johnson is a MacDowell Colony Fellow. She currently writes and creates art in the woods of Western Massachusetts.


What will you be presenting about? I'll be presenting the story about going to Korea for the first time in 30 years after being adopted at 3 and taken to Valdez, Alaska. Going back to Korea was a humbling experience because I was immersed in the culture and the cuisine of my early childhood. My time in Korea was enlightening. I learned what Banchan is and how important a staple it is to everyday Korean cuisine because it was brought out to the table during every meal (Banchan are the tiny plates of pickled veggies that come with meals). Place and food are very important part of my practice both as a writer and an artist.

Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: Don't measure. Feel.

If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: Korean Seaweed Soup-Miyuk Guk

Favorite food: Korean food and Miso soup

Recommended reading:
John Cage, Anne Carson, Ada Limon, Susan Stewart, Theresa Cha, Roland Barthes, Shakespeare, Nietzche, Olds, Hong, Simic, Graham...

Best meals: Korean BBQ, Teppanyaki, home cooked meals with many people around the table, food that you know was made from love, soups from scratch, freshly picked veggies, and fish you catch at 12 pm, you clean it, and slap it on the fire next to the river you pulled it out from.

Food you'd like to try: Snail