Kythe Heller is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and scholar. Her work is an experiment in the not yet, the future potential of the unformed, where sound, site, and language interact to create new meanings: In what ways can our lives become sites of transformation, realizations of new social, technological, and ecological relationships, by reconsidering how to use language and media to radically evolve our ways of being in the world? She is currently a doctoral candidate at Harvard University in Comparative Religion and Literary Studies and the Arts and an alumnus of the PhD Secondary Field in Critical Media Practice. She holds an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a BA in English Literature from Reed College. In 2017, she founded Vision Lab, an international arts and research collective in the future of the human spirit, based at Harvard Divinity School and creating collaborative artistic and literary works, performances, research collaborations, and other innovative spaces of engagement to address pressing concerns of the modern world, including ecological destruction, human rights, and cultural homogenization.
She is author of the poetry collection “Firebird” (Arrowsmith), nominated for the Massachusetts Book Award, a hybrid book of text, photographs, and ritual performance titled “Rite of Spring” (with Meghan McNeally & partially published by BBP Gallerie), two poetry chapbooks, “Immolation” (Monk Honey) and “Thunder Perfect Mind” (Wick: Harvard Divinity School), “In Memorium,” an elegy anthologized in “One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets” (Wipf and Stock Publishers), and several critical studies including “An Ethnography of Spirituality” in Arvo Pärt’s “White Light: Media, Culture, Politics” (Cambridge UP), “Living Backwards: Cecilia Vicuña’s Fleshly Language of Unsaying” in “Quo Anima: Innovation and Spirituality in Contemporary Poetry” (Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics), and “The Heart Receptive of Every Form: Representations of Fire in the Mirâj-Nâmeh (1436) manuscript” (Harvard Divinity School Graduate Journal). Poetry and essays have been published widely, in “The American Poetry Review,” “Tricycle: The Buddhist Review,” “The Southern Review,” “Denver Quarterly,” and elsewhere.
Her multimedia film and performance work has been exhibited at Harvard’s Sackler Museum, Harvard Carpenter Center of Visual Arts, The Harvard Film Study Center, Harvard Woodberry Poetry Room, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard Divinity School, Bard College, Sonoma State University, BAX (Brooklyn), WAXworks (Brooklyn), SEEDS Festival at Earthdance (MA), and Creative Okanagan (BC, Canada).
She has received fellowships and grants from Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, The Mellon Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (grant award to support writing fellowship in poetry at The MacDowell Colony), Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Earthdance, and Squaw Valley Writers Conference.