Institute Director / email@example.com
Maryemma Graham is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas. She is the founder and Director of the Project on the History of Black Writing, the only archive of its kind dedicated to literary recovery, academic/professional training, public outreach and digital access. She is the author or editor of ten books, including The Cambridge History of African American Literature (with Jerry W. Ward, Jr.), the first comprehensive African American literary history to be published in the 21st century. At KU, Graham founded the Langston Hughes Poetry Project and while President of the Toni Morrison Society, created Language Matters, an international teaching initiative. In 2010, she created the Wright Connection, an online community for the study of Richard Wright. Graham has been a John Hope Franklin Fellow at the National Humanities Center, an ACLS fellow and a recipient of more than fifteen grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon and Ford Foundations. In 2013, Graham published (with C.B. Claiborne) her first multimedia book, Margaret Walker’s South, from the University Press of Mississippi and in 2014, her long awaited biography, The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker, will be released by Oxford.
Howard Rambsy II is Associate Professor of English at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. He has produced writings on literary history, African American poetry, and digital technology. He is the author of The Black Arts Enterprise and the Production of African American Poetry (2011).
Evie Shockley is an Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ. She is the author of Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry, as well as four collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and, most recently, the new black (2011), winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry. Her essays and poems appear widely in journals and anthologies, including Boston Review, Contemporary Literature, Feminist Formations, FENCE, Jacket2, The Black Scholar, Waxwing, Dave the Potter, and The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Poetry. Her work has been honored and supported with the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize, fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and residencies at Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She currently serves as creative editor of Feminist Studies.
Stephanie J. Fitzgerald
Stephanie J. Fitzgerald (Cree) is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of Native American and Indigenous literary and cultural production, gender, law, and environmental studies. She is the author of Native Women and Land: Narratives of Dispossession and Resurgence (forthcoming 2015) and the co-editor of Keepers of the Morning Star: An Anthology of Native Women's Theater (2003). Other work has appeared in journals such as American Literary History, Studies in American Indian Literature, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal and in edited volumes. She is presently researching a second book, tentatively titled "Red Letters: Indigenous Print Culture, Alternative Presses, and the Rise of Contemporary Native American Poetry, 1968-1984," funded by an ACLS Fellowship, that relies on the material form of the poetry chapbook as a cultural, political, and historical force that gave rise to a new genre of contemporary poetry.
Joanne Gabbin is a Professor of English as well as the Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, the most important institution for black poetry in the country. She is author of Sterling A. Brown: Building the Black Aesthetic Tradition, editor of The Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present and The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, and executive producer of The Furious Flower video and DVD series. In October 2005, Gabbin was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.
William Joe Harris
William J. Harris has taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Kansas, Penn State and SUNY-Stony Brook. Lecturing and writing both poetry and criticism, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of Crooners, In My Own Dark Way, Hey fella would you mind holding this piano a moment and The Poetry and Poetics of Amiri Baraka: The Jazz Aesthetic and is the editor of The Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader. His writing has appeared in a number of publications, including Callaloo, Artforum, African American Review, Catamaran and Boston Review.
Poet Tyehimba Jess is Assistant Professor of English at the College of Staten Island. Jess is a recipient of a Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award, the Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a Whiting Writers’ Award. His book, Leadbelly (2005), was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-5 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.
Meta DuEwa Jones
Dr. Meta Jones is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Howard University, where she teaches African American literature. She is the author of The Muse is Music: Jazz Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to the Spoken Word (2011), a finalist for the Modern Languages Association William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize.
Poet and essayist Megan Kaminski is Assistant Professor of Poetry Writing at the University of Kansas. She also specializes in ecopoetics, 20th and 21st Century anglophone poetry and poetics, and contemporary nonfiction. Her first book of poetry is Desiring Map (2012), and she is the author of seven chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Third Coast, and other journals. Her second book Deep City (forthcoming, 2015) explores the body and the city as architectures in crisis. Kaminski also curates the Taproom Poetry Series in downtown Lawrence.
Keith D. Leonard is Associate Professor is the Department of Literature at American University and author of Fettered Genius: The African American Bardic Poet from Slavery to Civil Rights. His publications, presentations, and courses have revolved around the study of political consciousness in African American poetry and poetics, with an emphasis on the relationship between literary form and political meaning. Leonard is currently working on a book project that characterizes the avant garde artistry, and clarifies the complicated aesthetic and political success, of African American artist collectives since the civil rights movement.
Harryette Mullen teaches American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLS. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Recyclopedia, winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between, was published in 2012 by University of Alabama Press. A new poetry collection, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary (Graywolf Press) was a “top pick” for fall 2013 by the Los Angeles Times.
Brenda Marie Osbey is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and an author of poetry and of prose nonfiction in English and French. Her most recent volume is History and Other Poems (Time Being Books, 2013). A native of New Orleans, Osbey was appointed the first peer-selected poet laureate of Louisiana in 2005.
Poet-Scholar Ed Pavlic is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. Pavlic’s publications include: 'Who Can Afford to Improvise?': James Baldwin and Black Music and Let's Let That Are Not Yet : Inferno (2015). His recent books include Visiting Hours at the Color Line (2013) and But Here Are Small Clear Refractions (2009, 2013). He is the winner of several prizes including: the National Poetry Series Open Competition (2012, 2014), the The American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize (2001), the Writer of the Year Award from the Georgia Writer’s Association (2009).
Lauri Ramey is Professor of English and founding Director of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics at California State University, Los Angeles. She specializes in poetry and poetics, with particular interest in innovative, experimental and marginalized writing, and the arts as a mechanism of social outreach. The Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics was selected as the inaugural site of the British Council USA Writers in Residence Program, and has sponsored such major directives as the Claiming Freedom Symposium in honor of the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act, Freedom Summer, Freedom Schools and Voter Rights Act. Ramey's publications include Slave Songs and the Birth of African American Poetry, The Heritage Series of Black Poetry, 1962-1975, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America, with Aldon Lynn Nielsen. Her current project in progress is A History of African American Poetry (Cambridge University Press), a critical study of the genre from its earliest traceable origins to the present moment.
Poet-Scholar Kathy Lou Schultz is Associate Professor of English at the University of Memphis. She is the author of The Afro-Modernist Epic and Literary History: Tolson, Hughes, Baraka (2013), as well as four collections of poems, most recently Biting Midge: Works in Prose and Some Vague Wife. Schultz's articles have appeared in a wide variety of scholarly journals including Contemporary Literature, Journal of Modern Literature, and Jacket2. Schultz directs the University of Memphis English Honors Program and teaches courses in American, African American, and Afro-Diasporic literature; poetry and poetics; and modernism. Her web site is www.kathylou.com.
James E. Smethurst
James Smethurst is a Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance (2011), The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (2005), and The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946 (1999). He is also the co-editor of SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader (2014) and is working on a history of the Black Arts Movement in the South.
Frank X Walker
Multidisciplinary artist and Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is a Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky and the founding editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Cave Canem Fellow and co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets, he is the author of six collections of poetry including, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, winner of the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry; and Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr. is Famous Overseas Professor at Central China Normal University (Wuhan) and a literary critic and Richard Wright scholar. Ward is the author of The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery (2008) and co-editor of The Cambridge History of African American Literature with Graham (2011) and The Richard Writing Encyclopedia (2008) with Robert Butler. His work-in-progress includes: Reading Race, Reading America, a collection of literary and social essays, and Richard Wright: One Reader’s Responses.
Kevin Young is the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta. Young is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Book of Hours, which was featured on NPR's "Fresh Air," and editor of eight others. His previous book Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels won a 2012 American Book Award and Jelly Roll: A Blues was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. His other books include The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness and The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (edited with Michael S. Glaser).