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Photo Credits:

Robert Reese, Niki Herd, Tara Betts, Marcus Jackson, Anastacia (Stacey) Tolbert photographed by Rachel Eliza Griffths

Nicole Sealey's photo by Indigo Moor

Patricia Smith's photo by Peter Dressel

Quraysh Ali Lanasana's photo by Brent Jones

Christian Campbell's photo by Javier Machado

Cyrus Cassells' photo by Fabrizio Darold

L.K. Alleyne's photo by Kevin Colton


Cave Canem: 2008




Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph. D., is an internationally recognized literary critic, poet, prose writer, storyteller and artist. A full professor at California College of the Arts since 1992, Adisa has also taught at several other universities.

photoLauren Kizi-Ann Alleyne hails from the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Cornell University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Alleyne is a Cave Canem fellow whose work has been awarded prizes such as the 2003 Atlantic Monthly Student Poetry Prize, the Robert Chasen Graduate Poetry Prize at Cornell, an International Publication Prize from The Atlanta Review, and honorable mention in the 2003 Gival Press Tri-Language Poetry Contest. She has been published in journals such as Black Arts Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Belleview Literary Review, and The Banyan Review among others, as well as in the anthologies Growing Up Girl and Gathering Ground. She is co-editor of From the Heart of Brooklyn, a collection of undergraduate prose, poetry and drama, and her chapbook Dawn in the Kaatskills was recently published by Longshore Press.

photoE.J. Antonio is a Cave Canem Fellow and a Hurston Wright Fellow. Her first chapbook, Every Child Knows, was published fall 2007 by the Premier Poets Chapbook Series, and she's a feature on the just released CD, Beauty Keeps Laying It's Sharp Knife Against Me: Brant Lyon and Friends.







Reginald Dwayne Betts teaches poetry with the DC Creative Writing Workshop. He attends the University of Maryland and received the Holden Fellowship to attend Warren Wilson College’s MFA program. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, Crab Orchard Review, and Ninth Letter. He's just finished his memoir, “A Question of Freedom,” which will be published by Avery Studio/Penguin in the summer of 2009.




photoTara Betts teaches creative writing at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Essence, Callaloo, PMS poemsmemoirstory, OCHO and Gathering Ground.









photoAntoinette Brim teaches Creative Writing, World Literature, Composition and African American Studies. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Antioch University/ Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Language with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Webster University.  She is a Cave Canem Fellow and a Harvard University W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow (National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute, July 2006).  She is also a recipient of the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation Scholarship to the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown (July 2007).  Her poetry and creative non-fiction essays have appeared in various journals, magazines and anthologies including the newly released anthology, Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta.


photoDerrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. He has studied poetry under Dr. Tony Medina at Howard University, Cornelius Eady and Henry Taylor at American University, and Sharon Olds at The Squaw Valley Summer Writers Retreat. He is a former Lannan Fellow and a Cave Canem fellow. His work has appeared in such literary journals as Warpland, DrumVoices, The Columbia Review and the online journals Capital Beltway and Howard University’s Amistad. His work has also appeared in The Washington Post and New Orleans Times-Picayune newpapers and such anthologies as, When Words Become Flesh ( Mwaza Publications), Taboo Haiku (Avisson Press), and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University Of Michigan Press). In 2006 he released his first chapbook of poetry entitled The Unscene and has recently completed a full-length manuscript entitled Gist. He is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and currently resides in Mount Rainier, Maryland. He teaches two poetry classes at The Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts in Washington D.C. He is the Poet-In-Residence at Busboys and Poets bookstore, which is operated by the non-profit Teaching for Change.


photoChristian Campbell, of The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago, is a poet, scholar and culture worker. He read for an MPhil in English at Oxford as the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholar and completed the PhD in English at Duke University. He has taught at Duke, Oxford and Franklin & Marshall College, and has published and presented his work in the Caribbean, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. Sonia Sanchez named his manuscript of poetry, Running the Dusk, runner-up finalist for the 2005 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He is currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto.




photoCyrus Cassells is the author of four acclaimed books of poetry: The Mud Actor, Soul Make a Path through Shouting, Beautiful Signor, and More Than Peace and Cypresses. His fifth book, The Crossed-Out Swastika, and a translation manuscript, Still Life with Children: Selected Poems of Francesc Parcerisas, are forthcoming. Among his honors are a Lannan Literary Award, a William Carlos Williams Award, a Pushcart Prize, two NEA grants, and a Lambda Literary Award. He is a Professor of English at Texas State University-San Marcos and has served on the faculty of Cave Canem, the African American Poets Workshop. He lives in Austin and Paris.



photoCurtis L. Crisler is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Indiana Unversity Purdue University Fort Wayne. His book Tough Boy Sonatas was published in 2007. He has forthcoming work in THE NINTH LETTER, Elixir, and African American Review, and he has work in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies. He is a Cave Canem Fellow, and his work online can be found at: Poetry Midwest, muse apprentice guild (m.a.g.), Ambulant, In Our Own Words, Apples and Oranges Poetry Magazine, The Amistad, XCP: streetnotes, and Pindeldyboz.


photoJarita Davis is a poet and fiction writer who earned a B.A. in classics from Brown University and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. She was the writer in residence at the Nantucket Historical Association and has received fellowships from the Mellon Mayes program, Cave Canem, and Hedgebrook. In addition, she was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Travel Research Grant as well as Neiheisel Phi Beta Kappa Award. Her work has appeared in the Southwestern Review, Historic Nantucket, Cave Canem Anthologies, Crab Orchard Review, and Plainsongs. For more, see her website: www.jaritadavis.com.


photoToi Derricotte is the author of a memoir, The Black Notebooks (1997), and four books of poetry: Tender (1997), winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize, Captivity (1989), Natural Birth (1983 and 2000) and Empress of the Death House (1978). She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Science (2008), The Betty Kray Award from Poets House (2008), the Barnes & Noble Writer of the Year Award from Poets & Writers (2008), fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation (2006), the Guggenheim Foundation (2004), two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts (1985 and 1990) and two Pushcart Prizes (1989 and 1998). Her memoir, The Black Notebooks, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award in nonfiction, and was nominated for the PEN Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Derricotte's essay, “Beginning Dialogues,” appears in The Best American Essays of 2006. She is the co-founder of Cave Canem, the historic first workshop/retreat for African American poets, and professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.


photoKimberly Dixon is a playwright and poet. Her theater work has received staged readings and productions at Yale University, UCLA, Crossroads Theatre Company, Plowshares Theatre Company and Strawdog Theatre Company, and her comic play The Gizzard of Brownsville was a finalist in the Theodore Ward Prize for African-American Playwrights. As a poet she has been a Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, performed as a finalist in Chicago's Guild Complex Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards and as a featured poet in its theater/poetry "incubator" production Tour Guides, published in the international literary magazine Versal, and her poem “Narcissus” is included in the new anthology Just Like a Girl: A Manifesta! She also holds degrees in theater, psychology and Afro-American Studies from Yale, UCLA and Northwestern University.


photoCornelius Eady was born in Rochester, NY, in 1954. He is the author of seven books of poetry; Kartunes, (Warthog Press, 1980), Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, (Ommation Press, 1986), winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, The Gathering of My Name, (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1991), nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, You Don't Miss Your Water, (Henry Holt and Co., 1995), The Autobiography of a Jukebox (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1997),  Brutal Imagination (Putnam, 2001), and Hardheaded Weather; New and Selected Poems (April 2008, Putnam). He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature (1985), a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry , (1993), a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1992-1993), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, (1993), and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award (1994). His work appears in many journals, magazines and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000) ed. Michael S. Harper. In June 1997, an adapation of You Don't Miss Your Water was performed at the Vineyard Theatre, in New York City. In April 1999, Running Man, a music-theatre piece co-written with jazz musician Diedre Murray was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and awarded a 1999 Obie for best musical score and lead actor in a musical. He has taught poetry at SUNY Stony Brook, where he directed its Poetry Center, City College, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, The Writer's Voice, The 92nd St Y,The College of William and Mary, and Sweet Briar College. With poet Toi Derricote, he is co-founder of Cave Canem, a summer workshop/retreat for African American poets. In January 2002, a production of Brutal Imagination (with a score by Diedre Murray) opened at the Vineyard Theatre, where it won the 2002 Oppenheimer award for the best first play by an American Playwright. At present he is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame.


photo Aricka M. Foreman is poet, writer, and educator from Detroit, MI. Her work has appeared in anthologies The Lion Speaks: Poems for Hurricane Katrina and Black, White, & Blue in Detroit released by LeadFoot Press, as well as an audio work entitled the naked mouth. Aricka is a three time Detroit Poetry Slam finalist, a Midwest Regional Poetry Slam Champion and is currently the Co-Chairwoman for the PSI sponsored 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam. A Cave Canem fellow, she is a Writer-In-Residence with InsideOut Literacy Arts Project.



photoRachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, writer, photographer, and painter. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and received the MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Some of her work has appeared in Callaloo, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, Comstock Review, Black Arts Quarterly, Torch, Puerto Del Sol, PMS: poem memoir story, and others. She lives in New York.


photoRichard Hamilton lives in Alabama. A Cave Canem Fellow, his work has appeared in numerous print and online journals including "A" Magazine, MATTER Journal, and Cross-Cultural Poetics. He teaches creative writing at Tuskegee University. 








photofrancine j. harris is a Cave Canem fellow and has been published in McSweeney's “Poets Picking Poets”, Gathering of the Tribes, Voices Rising, and Gathering Ground anthologies, and has forthcoming publications in Ninth Letter and in the anthology, To Be Left with the Body. She was born in Detroit, where she is a writer-in-residence at a local high school.




photoNiki Herd has been published in forums such as Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta!, From the Web: A Global Anthology of Women's Political Poetry, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Autumnal: A Collection of Elegies on compact disc, Kalliope, PMS: poemmemoirstory, 10x10.8, Xcp: Streetnotes Biannual Electronic Exhibition Space, and Black Issues Book Review. She has served on the board of Kore Press, an independent feminist publisher and was nominated for a Pushcart Award. Currently a Cave Canem Fellow, she was recently a finalist for the 2007 Astraea Emerging Lesbian Writer Award from the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Social Justice.




photoLita Hooper is a poet, photographer, and educator.  Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Crux: Conversations in Words and Images from South Africa to South USA, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, and Tempu Tumpu/walking Naked: African Women's Poetic Self-portrait.  She is the author of two chapbooks, Legacy and The Journal of Sojourner Truth, and a critical biography, Art of Work: The Art and Work of Haki Madhubuti.  Her work has also been published in online and print journals and magazines, including poetrymidwest, Drumvoices, Essence Magazine and Pluck! She is an associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College and founding member of the Baobab Poetry Collective in Atlanta.



photoRandall Horton, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, resides in Albany, New York. His poetry manuscript The Definition of Place was a finalist for the Main Street Rag Book Award and was published in their Editor's Select Series in 2006. He is a former editor of WarpLand: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas (Fall 2005) and co-editor with Becky Thompson and Michael Hunter of Fingernails Across the Chalkboard Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDs from the Black Diaspora (Third World Press, 2007). He received his undergraduate education at both Howard University and The University of the District of Columbia (B.A. English). He has a MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Poetry from Chicago State University. He is currently a doctoral student in Creative Writing at SUNY Albany and a Cave Canem fellow.



photoAshaki M. Jackson
is a social psychologist and poet who currently resides in Southern California. She earned an MFA-Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and has workshopped in residence with Voices of Our Nation's Arts (VONA), Idyllwild, and Cave Canem communities. Her work spans audio and print anthologies, and Black Goat Press will publish her first manuscript, Thus Are Our Bodies, in 2009.






photoMarcus Jackson 's poetry has appeared in publications such as The New Yoker, Blood Lotus, Cave Canem Anthology 2007, Evansville Review, Heliotrope, The New Delta Review and Toledo Review. He received his BA from The University of Toledo and his MFA from New York University. He lives in New York City where he has worked as a mover, a mailroom clerk and an adjunct lecturer. He is finishing his first collection of poems, entitled Neighborhood Register.






photoCave Canem Fellow and Affrilachian Poet, Amanda Johnston
has performed across the country for various causes and events. Honors include a 2003 and 2004 Artists Enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the 2005 Austin International Poetry Festival's Christina Sergeyevna Award. Currently, Johnston serves on the board of directors for the National Women's Alliance, is an ensemble member of The Austin Project Performance Company (TAPPCo) and is the founding editor of Torch: poetry, prose, and short stories by African American Women.




photoAlan King's fiction and poems have appeared in the Arabesques Review, Warpland, The Amistad, and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS, among others. A Cave Canem fellow and Vona Alum, his work was also part of Anacostia Exposed, a collaborative exhibit with Irish photographer Mervyn Smyth that showcases the life and energy of Anacostia.



photoQuraysh Ali Lansana is author of They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004) and the poetry collection Southside Rain (Third World Press, 2000); The Big World, a children's book, (Addison-Wesley, 1999); and two poetry chapbooks, Greatest Hits: 1995-2005(Pudding House Publications, 2006) and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms (nappyhead press, 1995). He is the editor of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill's African American Literature Reader (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2001), and I Represent and dream in yourself, which are two anthologies of literary works from Chicago's award-winning youth arts employment program, Gallery 37 (Tia Chucha Press, 1996 and 1997, respectively). He is also co-editor of Dream of A Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (Tia Chucha Press, 2006), and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (Third World Press, 2002). Poetry from the Masters: The Sixth Wave (Just Us Books, 2008) is forthcoming. He is Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University, where he is also Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing. He is also a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Quraysh is the former Associate Editor-Poetry for Black Issues Book Review, and sits on the Editorial Board of Tia Chucha Press. Passage, his poetry video collaboration with Kurt Heintz, won the first ever Image Union/Bob Award from WTTW-TV (PBS). He is the recipient of other awards, including: the 2006 Securing the Future Award from ETA Creative Arts Foundation, the 2000 Poet of the Year Award, presented by Chicago's Black Book Fair; the 1999 Henry Blakely Award, presented by Gwendolyn Brooks; and the 1999 Wallace W. Douglas Distinguished Service Award, presented by Young Chicago Authors, Inc. Quraysh earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the Creative Writing Program at New York University, where he was a Departmental Fellow. He has been a literary teaching artist and curriculum developer for over a decade and has led workshops in prisons, public schools, and universities in over 30 states.

photoCharles H. Lynch was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Kenyon College and The City College of New York. Since 1969 he has lived in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Gayle. His doctoral dissertation at New York University was on the lives and poetry of Robert Hayden and Gwendolyn Brooks. He teaches English at New Jersey City University. Since childhood he has been intrigued by the varieties of English people of African descent speak. Many of his poems celebrate that dispersion in sound and diction. He has been a Baha'i since 1990, and that commitment informs his artistic vision. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 he attended the Cave Canem Summer Workshop Retreat, an experience that has been invaluable in deepening his appreciation for how important our role as poets is in bringing forth a new understanding of how humankind can live in peace and harmony. His poetry manuscript, Graced by Singe and Shadow, is his attempt to demarcate some of the ways we can progress towards that condition, acknowledging the struggles that may require personally and collectively.

photoAdrian Matejka is a graduate of the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard, Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Pleiades among other journals and anthologies. His first collection of poems, The Devil’s Garden, was published by Alice James Books. His follow-up collection, Mixology, was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series and will be published by Penguin Books in 2009.




photoJamaal May is a poet, producer and recording artist from Detroit, MI. He has been awarded an International Publication Prize by Atlanta Review and a Young Poets Rising jury prize from Broadside Press. His work has appeared in Verse Daily, The MacGuffin and The Main Street Rag among other magazines and anthologies. Jamaal is a Midwest Regional Poetry Slam Champion, two-time Detroit Poetry Slam Champion and two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. Production and engineering credits include, The Last Poets, Dead Prez, and The Four Tops. Jamaal holds a degree in Studio Engineering, is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a writer in residence with the Inside Out Literary Arts Project.



photoWriter and folklorist Colleen J. McElroy received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she is Professor Emeritus of English and Creative Writing. Winner of the Before Columbus American Book Award, she also has received two Fulbright Fellowships; two National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships; and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to the Bellagio Center in Italy. Published and anthologized widely, McElroy’s latest collection of poetry is Sleeping with the Moon.






photoDavid Mills has had poems published in Osbidian II, Nuyorican Aloud, In Defense of Mumia, In the Tradition, and Squaw Valley Review. He writes book reviews for The Washington Post, Boston Globe, New York Post, and Village Voice. His one-person show of Langston Hughes was voted the #4 show nationwide by the American Library Association for young adult programming. He has recorded his poetry on RCA records and won a BRIO award for poetry in 1993.





photoMarilyn Nelson is the author of Carver: A Life in Poems, Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem, and A Wreath for Emmett Till. Her honors include two Pushcart Prizes, two NEA creative writing fellowships, and a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her new book, The Freedom Business, poems based on the narrative of the life of Venture Smith, is due out in fall, 2008. Nelson is a professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut and founder and director of Soul Mountain Retreat, a small writers' colony.



photoCarl Phillips is the author of ten books of poems, most recently Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems 1986-2006 and Speak Low, forthcoming in the spring of 2009. His awards and honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Award in Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, to which he was elected a Chancellor in 2006. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.



photoIain Haley Pollock lives in Philadelphia and teaches English at Chestnut Hill Academy. He received an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University and is a member of the Cave Canem Workshop for African American poets. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Boston Review and Callaloo.








photoArtist and writer Khadijah Queen holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies including new ohio review, Poemmemoirstory and Fire and Ink: A Social Action Anthology (University of Arizona Press 2009). Her debut collection of poetry is Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic Books 2008). Khadijah is a graduate fellow in studio art at the University of South Florida. Visit her website: www.imagesound.tk.



photoRobert R. Reese is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a BA in English Literature. His poems have appeared in the Monterey Journal, Authorizing Humanity, The Voice, Santa Clara Review, and in other journals. He is a Cave Canem Fellow.




photoEd Roberson (b.1939 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is author of seven books of poetry. His collection Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In was a winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; his book Atmosphere Conditions was a winner of the National Poetry Series and was nominated for the Academy of American Poets' Lenore Marshall Award. He is a recipient of the Lila Wallace Writers' Award and the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, 1970, where while an undergrad research assistant in Limnology, he traveled across Canada through Alaska, Kodiak and Afognak Islands and later Bermuda with research expeditions. He has climbed mountains in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes, motorcycled across the U.S. and traveled in West Africa. Retired from Rutgers University, Ed Roberson currently lives in Chicago where he has taught classes and workshops at Columbia College Chicago, been Visiting Artist at Northwestern University and is currently teaching in the Poetry and Poetics Program at the University of Chicago.



photoKamau Rucker (Richmond, VA) is a teacher and singer/songwriter. Additional work includes play writing. He is a Master of Fine Arts candidate in creative writing at George Mason University and a Cave Canem Fellow. Recent publication credits include: Six Little Things, Cairn, Ruah, and Triplopia.






photoMetta Sáma lives and teaches in southern Indiana. Her poems and reviews have appeared in hercircleezine.com, Proud Flesh, Letters to the World, and other magazines.









photoNicole Sealey is a writer, editor, and poet. Her interviews with acclaimed writers Sapphire and Nikki Giovanni can be found in Artists and Influence: Volume XXV and Mosaic literary magazine, respectively. In May 2008, she was selected to participate in the 13th annual Minority Writers Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the Readings/Workshops and Writers Exchange Program Coordinator at Poets & Writers, Inc. and a Cave Canem fellow whose poems have appeared in a number of print and online journals. She lives in New York City.



photoEvie Shockley is the author of a half-red sea (2006) and a poetry chapbook, The Gorgon Goddess (2001), both published by Carolina Wren Press. Her work appears or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies, including Ecotone, No Tell Motel, The Southern Review, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, PMS:poemmemoirstory, Studio, Tuesday: An Art Project, and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. In 2007 she guest edited “~QUEST~”: a special issue of MiPOesias featuring the work of contemporary African American poets; she is presently serving as a guest editor of jubilat. Shockley is at work on a book-length study of race and innovation in African American poetry, supported by fellowships from the ACLS and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She teaches African American literature and creative writing at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.



photoKevin Simmonds is a writer and musician from New Orleans.  His latest music/poetry collaboration, HOPE, with poet Kwame Dawes is at livehopelove.com. His writing has recently appeared in 42 Opus, Salt Hill and the anthology The Ringing Ear.  He lives in San Francisco.






photoChicago native Patricia Smith is the author of five books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, a book of poems chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection, winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and the 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize. Teahouse was also voted the Best Poetry Book of 2006 by About.com. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly and many other journals, and has been performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Rotterdam’s Poetry International, the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival, the Bahia Festival, the Schomburg Center , the Sorbonne in Paris and and on tour in Germany, Austria and Holland. In addition to her poetry, Smith is also the author of the groundbreaking history Africans in America and the children’s book Janna and the Kings, winner of a Lee & Low Books New Voices Award. She is a Pushcart Prize winner, a Cave Canem faculty member and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. In 2006, during a ceremony at the Gwendolyn Brooks Center of Chicago State University, Smith was voted into the National Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. Currently, she is working on the young adult novel The Journey of Willie J, a verse memoir entitled Shoulda Been Jimmie Savannah and a Blood Dazzler dance/theater collaboration with Urban Bush Women choreographer Paloma McGregor. She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.


photoChristina Springer is a text artist who uses poetry, dance, theatre, film and other visual expressions.    Cave Canem helped her hone her voices.  As an Outreach Artist for the Historic Royal Palaces, she delivered four projects with youth: "Rapping On Walls," "Black Birds & Bars," "Bling & Beheadings" at the Tower Of London and "Dragon Drap D'Or" at Hampton Court Palace.  She has also taught creative writing at CityLit College and The University of East London. Recent dance-theatre scripts include: "Living Ancestry" and "Kikombe Cha Umoja: A Kwanzaa Myth" produced by Umoja African Arts Company and "The Splooge Factory" produced by Composer's Collaborative.    Poems have appeared in: Gathering Ground: A Cave Canem Reader, Saints Of Hysteria, The Complete Idiots Guide To Slam Poetry CD, Torch Literary Journal, Janus Head, Femspec, and Callaloo.  As a performance poet and longest reigning Pittsburgh Poetry Slam Champion, Springer coached the Pittsburgh Poetry Slam Team to the semi-finals at the National Poetry Slam in 2002.



photoCedric Tillman was born in Rockingham, NC and studied English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2004, he received an MFA in Creative Writing from American University, where he worked with poets such as Cornelius Eady, Henry Taylor, and Myra Sklarew. Cedric has been a semifinalist in The Nation's “Discovery” contest and his work appears in Inspirit, Folio, Crosscut & both the 2006 & 2007 editions of Kakalak: An Anthology of Carolina Poets. Cedric lives in Charlotte with his wife and daughter.



photoAnastacia (Stacey) Tolbert is a writer, Cave Canem Fellow (2007), journalist, workshop facilitator and playwright living in Seattle Washington. She is author of the poetry book, Baring My Soul, and the recipient of the 2004 San Diego Journalism Press Club Award for the article “War Torn.” She is writer, co-director, and co-producer of GOTBREAST? Documentary (2007): a documentary about the views of women regarding breast and body image. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction have been published in, Alehouse Journal (2009), Women. Period. (Spinsters Ink, 2008), Torch, Clamor Magazine, Check the Rhyme, An Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees (Nominated for the 2007 NAACP Award), I Woke Up and Put My Crown On: 76 Voices of African American Women, Essence Magazine, Number One Magazine, TImbooktu, Chicken Bones Journal, The Nubian Chronicles, Hair Piecez, San Diego City Beat, The Pitch Weekly, Hair Piecez Anthology and The Source Magazine.



photoQiana Towns received a MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University and  is a 2007 recipient of the Cave Canem fellowship.  She holds a MA from Central Michigan University where she served as poetry editor for the online literary journal Temenos. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Nubian Chronicle, The Mochila Review, Prick of the Spindle and Pindeldyboz.






photoNagueyalti Warren is a poet, Cave Canem fellow and member of the Atlanta-based Baobab Poetry Collective. In the daylight hours she teaches African American literature and poetry at Emory University in the Department of African American Studies. Her poetry has appeared in Essence Magazine, Obsidian II, The African American Review, and Gathering Ground, the Tenth Anniversary Cave Canem Anthology. She is the winner of the 2008 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Prize for her collection, Margaret circa 1834-1858.





photoAfaa Michael Weaver, formerly known as Michael S. Weaver, was born in 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland, to working class parents. He attended public schools and graduated as a National Merit finalist at the age of sixteen. After two years at the University of Maryland, he entered the world of factory life alongside his father and uncles and remained a factory worker for fifteen years. These years were a literary apprenticeship during which he wrote and published poetry, short fiction, and freelance journalism. During that time he also started 7th Son Press and Blind Alleys, a literary journal.
His first book of poetry, Water Song, was published in 1985 as part of the Callaloo series. He received a NEA fellowship for poetry six months after signing the contract for the collections and left factory life to accept admission into Brown University's graduate writing program on a full university fellowship, where he completed the M.A. with a focus on theater and playwriting. Concurrently, he completed his B.A. in Literature in English through Excelsior College. In 1998, he was named a Pew fellow. Weaver has taught in Taiwan at Taiwan National University as a Fulbright Scholar and has traveled in China.  In Beijing in 2005, he received a gold friendship medal from the Chinese Writers' Association.  He began studying Chinese formally in 2002, and from 2004 to 2005 lived in Taiwan where he studied for eight months at the Taipei Language Institute.  At Simmons College where he teaches, Weaver convenes an international festival of contemporary Chinese poetry, with poets attending from Mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. His tenth collection of poetry is The Plum Flower Dance/ poems 1985 to 2005 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007).  In 2008 he won a Pushcart prize for his poem "American Income," which was published by Poetry magazine in 2007 and is included in The Plum Flower Dance.



photoMarcus Wicker is a first year Cave Canem Fellow from Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as an MFA student in creative writing at Indiana University, where he holds a Yusef Komunyakaa Fellowship. He was the winner of the 2007 Hughes, Diop, Knight Award and his poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Juked and WarpLand.



photoIan Williams divides his time between Massachusetts, where he teaches American literature at Fitchburg State College, and Ontario, where he edits Misunderstandings Magazine. His writing has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Carousel, Contemporary Verse 2, Descant, Pebble Lake Review, and Margie. He has held residences or fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Cave Canem, and was a scholar at the National Humanities Center Summer Institute for Literary Study.





photoPhillip Williams is a Chicago, Illinois native and received his BA in English from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A Cave Canem fellow, he is working on a manuscript of poetry tentatively entitled Filament of Souls. Phillip currently resides in Marietta, Georgia.






photoSharon Dennis Wyeth is a Cave Canem Fellow. She is the award-winning author of over fifty books for young readers. Wyeth is a visiting Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University.