Hagedorn was born in Manila to a Scots-Irish-French-Filipino mother and a Filipino-Spanish father with one Chinese ancestor. Moving to San Francisco in 1963, Hagedorn received her education at the American Conservatory Theater training program. To further pursue playwriting and music, she moved to New York City in 1978.
Joseph Papp produced Hagesorn's first play, Mango Tango, in 1978. Her other productions include Tenement Lover, Holy Food, and Teenytown. Her mixed media style often incorporates song, poetry, images, and spoken dialogue.
In 1985, 1986, and 1988, she received MacDowell Colony fellowships, which helped enable her to write the novel Dogeaters, which illuminates many different aspects of Filipino experience, focusing on the influence of America through radio, television, and movie theaters. She shows the complexities of the love-hate relationship many Filipinos in diaspora feel toward their past.
She lives in New York City with her younger daughter.
- Soul / Sacrifice. San Francisco: Momo's Press, [197-?]
- Dangerous Music. San Francisco: Momo's Press, 1975.
- The Woman Who Thought She Was More than a Samba. San Francisco: Momo's Press, 1978.
- Visions of a Daughter, Foretold: Four poems, 1980-1993. Milwaukee, WI: Woodland Pattern Book Center / Kenosha, WI: Light & Dust Books, 1994.
- Mango Tango. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street, 2004.
- Teeny Town. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street, 2004.
- Silent Movie. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street, 2004.
- Tenement Lover. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street, 2004.
- Holy Food. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street, 2004.
- Dogeaters. New York: Pantheon, 1990; London: Pandora, 1990.
- The Gangster of Love. New York & Boston: [[[Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|Houghton Mifflin]], 1996.
- Dream Jungle. New York: Viking, 2003.
- Toxicology. New York: Viking, 2011.
- Pet Food and Tropical Apparitions (novella). San Francisco: Momo's Press, 1981.
- Two Stories (engravings by Charles Henrikson). Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 1992.
- Burning Heart: A portrait of the Philippines (photos by Marissa Roth). New York: Rizzoli, 1999.
- Danger and Beauty (poetry & prose). New York: Penguin, 1993; San Francisco: City Lights, 2004.
- Charlie Chan is Dead: An anthology of contemporary Asian American fiction. Harmondsworth, UK, & New York: Penguin, 1993.
- Charlie Chan is Dead 2: At home in the world: An anthology of contemporary Asian American fiction. New York: Penguin, 2003.
Audio / video Edit
- Jessica Hagedorn: Reading from Dogeaters, and three poems (audiocassette). Columbia, MO : American Audio Prose Library, 1994.
See also Edit
- Audio / video
- Jessica Hagedorn & The Gangster Choir - Tenement Lover (MP3 file) from the LP "A Diamond Hidden In The Mouth Of A Corpse" (1985) hosted on UbuWeb.
- Jessica Hagedorn at YouTube
- Guide to the Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn Papers at the Bancroft Library
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