Professor of Humanities and Media Studies Christian Hawkey is a poet, translator, and the coordinator of the new M.F.A. in Writing program, which will accept its first incoming class in the fall of 2014.

Hawkey created the libretto for WOW, an opera composed by Joe Diebes that was inspired by the late 80’s German-produced pop dance duo, Milli Vanilli. WOW, directed by David Levine, had its first public performances at Brooklyn’s BRIC House in early 2014.

Milli Vanilli’s story follows the arc of a tragic opera narrative. After a meteoric rise to fame and international success, the group’s two singers were exposed as having lip-synched their performances. The resulting scandal ruined their careers. Hawkey’s interest in exploring different genres inspired his work on the opera and has informed his ideas about the M.F.A. program, in which students will be encouraged to explore the “hybrid space” between genres to create new forms and new ways of experiencing the world.

Text: Marion Hammon
Video: Peter Tannenbaum
WOW footage: BRIC/Inigo Garayo
Production: Peter Tannenbaum, Marion Hammon, Ruth Samuelson