Heinz Insu Fenkl
Heinz Insu Fenkl is an author, editor, translator, mythic scholar, and the director of the Creative Writing Program at the State University of New York, New Paltz. He is also the director of ISIS: The Interstitial Studies Institute at SUNY, New Paltz. His fiction includes Memories of My Ghost Brother, an autobiographical, Interstitial novel about growing up in Korea as a bi-racial child in the '60s. On the strength of this book he was named a Barnes and Noble "Great New Writer" and Pen/Hemingway finalist in 1997. His second novel, Shadows Bend (a collaborative work, published under a pseudonym) was an innovative, dark 'road novel' about H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. He has also published short fiction in a variety of journals and magazines, as well as numerous articles on folklore and myth.
Heinz was raised in Korea and (in his later years) Germany and the United States. Graduating from Vassar, he studied folklore and shamanism as a Fulbright Scholar in Korea and dream research under a grant from the University of California. Before his appointment to his current position at SUNY, he taught a range of courses at Vassar, Bard, Sarah Lawrence, and Yonsei University (Korea), including Asian/American Folk Traditions, East Asian Folklore, Korean Literature, Asian American Literature, and Native American Literature, in addition to Creative Writing. He has published translations of Korean fiction and folklore, and is co-editor of Kori: The Beacon Anthology of Korean American Literature. Currently he is at work on a sequel to Memories of My Ghost Brother, and on a volume of Korean myths, legends, and folk tales: Old, Old Days When Tigers Smoked Tobacco Pipes. He also writes regular columns on mythic topics for Realms of Fantasy magazine.
Heinz lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, writer and artist Anne B. Dalton, and their daughter Isabella Myong-wol.
Heinz's contributions to the Endicott site can be found in Reading Room and in the Interstitial Arts section.
For more information about Heinz's work, visit the Heinz Insu Fenkl and ISIS Web sites.
"When I was growing up in Korea in the 60s, I had an uncle who was a terrible man, but a wonderful storyteller, and so I heard more than my share of instructive and cautionary folktales. He told most of these stories as personal anecdotes or claimed they were things that had happened to near or distant relatives. . . . [He] refused to offer an interpretation, claiming that if he could simply tell me the meaning, the story itself was unnecessary. But the truth is that we tend to make meanings out of stories—personal meanings that often do not conform to the stories' (or the storyteller's) rhetorical purpose. Great folktales like 'Beauty' and 'Shimchong' survive precisely because they can serve a multitude of rhetorical purposes and yet also have rich layers of meaning to offer."
— Heinz InsuFenkl
The Blind Man's Daughter