Stephen Kampa

Our featured faculty member of FLARE‘s 2014 Student Edition, Professor Stephen Kampa, talks about “nales,” kung fu, and Dante.

FLARE: Tell us a little about yourself.

This is one of my favorite diary entries from when I was a child, maybe ten or eleven years old: “This weekend is the science fair. I hate the science fair. I hope I win.”

FLARE: How did you get started?

When I was young, I used to write and illustrate little stapled books, and then I’d try to sell them in the front yard. One of them was a short tool reference book. I correctly spelled “hammer,” “screw driver,” the always tricky “wrench,” and then I had a page with a big drawing of a nail and the word “NALE.”

FLARE: Where do you find inspiration? What is your writing process like (what kind of routine do you have, if any)?

Kampa and his first poetry collection, “Cracks in the Invisible”

Although I lived in Brazil for a year when I was a teenager, I have written very little about it. I have written about the movie Sand Sharks, which stars Brooke Hogan as a marine biologist.

I also watch a lot of kung fu movies. This may explain why I tell my students to revise by saying, “You need to punch that into shape.” I confess I may have an incomplete understanding of the net effect of punching.

FLARE: What are you working on right now?

This interview. Kidding! Dobby Gibson has some lines I love:

“You are the monster of your own campfire story,
and the telling of it
has been your life’s noblest deed.”

I think that’s where I’m headed.

FLARE: Where do you hope to end up?


FLARE: If you could be any literary character for a day, who’d you be and why?

It follows from the last question that I would want to be Dante the Pilgrim (not Dante the Poet) in the Divine Comedy. He may go through hell, and he may feel like he’s stuck in purgatory, but eventually he does make it to paradise.


Find out more about Stephen at his website,