Academics & Research

Senior creative writing student finds inspiration in Dr. Seuss

Creative writing student Brian Lupo recently became the managing editor of Foothills, the DU student writing journal. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Creative writing student Brian Lupo recently became the managing editor of Foothills, the DU student writing journal. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Like Dr. Seuss before him, Brian Lupo embraces a bit of the nonsensical in his writing. The senior English major and creative writing student applies what he calls the “poetics of randomness and nonsense” to his writing as a way of addressing the awkward and complex realities of the world.

Lupo is incorporating this style in much of his honors thesis, a collection of short stories aimed at breaking down the metanarratives of suburban Orange County, Calif., and America at large.

“The collection is a type of Orange County horror show that uses metaphor and hyperbole to expose truth,” says Lupo, who grew up in Anaheim Hills, Calif.

“The approach of exploring the poetics of nonsense comes from a variety of experiences, film readings and other art and media,” Lupo says. “But more than anything, the root of the idea spawns from one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Seuss, who said, ‘I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.’”

While Lupo enjoys reading and writing poetry, his true love is fiction, specifically short stories.

“Everyone is so impatient these days; the shortened format just seems more naturally reflective of the society I’m trying to capture,” he says. “It’s also a fun challenge to write something emotionally charged in such a short space.”

Selah Saterstrom, associate professor in English and director of the creative writing program, has long been impressed with the way Lupo seeks to build community with his writing colleagues.

“It’s clear that writing isn’t just a privatized activity for Brian, but a way of engaging with the complexities and mysteries of the world,” she says.

Lupo recently became the managing editor of Foothills, the DU student writing journal. His story “Carnival” was published in Below Magazine in September 2013. When he’s not writing, Lupo works as a replay operator for Pioneer Net, DU’s sports broadcasting service.

Following graduation in June with degrees in English and political science, Lupo plans to spend a year working on his fiction (both short stories and novels) before applying to graduate school for an MFA in creative writing.

“I hope to also spend that time continuing my work in sports broadcasting, as well as picking up a job doing some writing or editing,” he says. “Eventually I hope to achieve my PhD in English and become a professor at a university.”

The undergraduate Commencement ceremony takes place June 6; visit the Commencement site for more information.

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