NEH Summer Scholars

Tara Betts

Tara Betts

Tara Betts is the author of Arc & Hue and the chapbook/libretto THE GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali. Tara recently received her Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing at Binghamton University. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including POETRY, Ninth Letter, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground, Bum Rush the Page, Villanelles, both Spoken Word Revolution anthologies, The Break Beat Poets, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, GHOST FISHING: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology . She recently completed the manuscript for her second poetry collection "Break the Habit" and is working on other projects.

Bartholomew Brinkman

Bartholomew Brinkman

Bartholomew Brinkman is an assistant professor of English at Framingham State University, where he specializes in modern and contemporary American poetry, print culture, and digital humanities. His research has appeared in such places as Journal of Modern Literature, Modernism/Modernity, African-American Review, and the Cambridge Companion to Modern American Poetry. His current book manuscript — Poetic Modernism in the Culture of Mass Print — won the 2014 Northeast MLA book award for a first book manuscript and is currently under press consideration. He co-edits with Cary Nelson the Modern American Poetry Site (www.modernamericanpoetry.org).

James J. Donahue

James J. Donahue

James J. Donahue is Associate Professor in English & Communication at SUNY Potsdam, where he has just been awarded the 2015 President's Award for Scholarship. In addition to recent articles on James Welch's historical novels, he is the author of Failed Frontiersmen: White Men and Myth in the Post-Sixties American Historical Romance (2015) and co-editor of Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights (2014). He is currently editing a collection of essays titled Race, Ethnicity, and Narrative in the Americas. He is also beginning work on a project exploring the narrative poetics of Native/First Nations survivance.

P. Gabrielle Foreman

P. Gabrielle Foreman

P. Gabrielle Foreman teaches African American literature, history and culture at the University of Delaware. There she directs the Colored Conventions Project (www.coloredconventions.org) which brings nineteenth-century Black organizing to digital life and is the Ned B. Allen Professor of English and Professor of Black Studies. She was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago (so she can signify and swear with the best of them) and spent every summer with her dad, poet Kent Foreman, and German Shepherds on Venice Beach. She is working on a manuscript called The Art of DisMemory: Historicizing Slavery in Poetry, Performance and Material Culture and on an edited volume of poetry and art by Glenis Redmond and Jonathan Green that reflects on the life and legacy of the enslaved potter/poet David Drake.

Tara T. Green

Tara T. Green

Tara T. Green has degrees in English from Louisiana State University (M.A., Ph.D) and Dillard University (BA) and has taught at universities in Louisiana and Arizona. She is Professor and Director of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Her areas of research include Black gender studies, African American autobiographies and fiction, the African diaspora in the U.S, African American parent-child relationships, and African Americans in the South. Believing that research should explore major issues of the day, she considers how literature reflects current social concerns. Her book A Fatherless Child: Autobiographical Perspectives of African American Men (winner of the 2011 Outstanding Scholarship in Africana Studies Award from the National Council for Black Studies), focuses on the impact of fatherlessness from the perspectives of Barack Obama and other Black men. Please see her website at taratgreen.com for more information.

Tamara Hollins

Tamara Hollins

Dr. Tamara Hollins has earned the following degrees: a B.A. in Art, with distinction, from Hendrix College; an M.A. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University; an M.F.A. in Writing and Literature from Bennington College; and a Ph.D. in English from Claremont Graduate University. Her scholarly work, creative writing, and art have been published in journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias. Her research interest is the production and the construction of identity in American and African American literature. She is an Associate Professor of English at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

Cindy King

Cindy King

Cindy King is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas at Dallas. She is a graduate of the creative writing programs at the University of Southern Mississippi (M.A.) and Florida State University (Ph.D.). Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, North American Review, River Styx, Black Warrior Review, American Literary Review, jubilat, Barrow Street, and African American Review. Her poems can also be heard at weekendamerica.publicradio.org, rhinopoetry.org, and bhreview.org. In 2014, she was awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her book-length poetry manuscript was also semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Review and Permafrost first book prizes last year. Among her teaching and scholarly interests are multi-ethnic literature, contemporary American drama, and service learning.

Cameron Leader-Picone

Cameron Leader-Picone

Cameron Leader-Picone is an Assistant Professor of African American literature at Kansas State University, teaching courses in contemporary African American literature and culture, American literature, and Cultural Studies. He completed his Ph.D. in African and African American Studies at Harvard University in 2009. His research has appeared in edited collections on the work of crime novelist Donald Goines and the volume Post-Soul Satire. Leader-Picone is in the process of completing a book manuscript entitled Rearticulating Race: African American Literature in the Age of Obama. The book analyzes the meaning of race in African American literature of the twenty-first century through concepts such as post-racialism, post-blackness, and post-soul aesthetics.

Dennis López

Dennis López

Dennis López is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at California State University, Long Beach. His research and teaching focus on Chicana/o and Latina/o literature, African American literature, U.S. ethnic and radical protest literatures, Marxist theory and political economy, and critical theories of race. López’s articles have appeared in MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies, and Science & Society: A Journal of Marxist Thought and Analysis.

Monifa Love Asante

Monifa Love Asante

Monifa Love Asante serves on the faculty at Bowie State University where she teaches in the Scholar’s Studio and coordinates the graduate program.  Love Asante is a writer and teacher. She is a graduate of Princeton University, and has also received a doctorate from The Florida State University where she matriculated as a McKnight Doctoral Fellow and as an associate of the great philosopher and oppression theorist William R. Jones.  Love Asante is the author of two collections of poetry, Provisions (1989) and Dreaming Underground (2003, Naomi Long Madgett award winner). She co-authored two fine arts catalogs about the life and work of Ed Love and produced “….my magic pours secret libations,” a fine arts catalog and video of an exhibition she curated of African American and Afro-Cuban women artists. She is the co-author of Romancing Harlem, a cultural memoir of Harlem, written with Charles Mills.  Additionally, Love Asante co-authored the chapter “Deep-Rooted Cane: Consanguinity, Writing, and Genre” with writer Evans D. Hopkins who is the inspiration for the character of David Carmichael in Love Asante’s award-winning novel, Freedom in the Dismal (1998). She recently completed a mixed genre collection, After the Rain: waking, walking, swimming, flying, and the novel, Crownsville.

Sequoia Maner

Sequoia Maner

Sequoia Maner is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Bachelors in English from Duke University and hails from Los Angeles. Her scholarship concentrates on the black performances and black aesthetics of generation hip-hop’s cultural production including literature, music and film. Her most recent projects examine the art of Evie Shockley and Kendrick Lamar. She has served as graduate assistant to the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies (TILTS) which brought Junot Diáz, Sherman Alexie, and Julia Alvarez to campus. She has also served as the graduate coordinator for P.S. Poetry, a monthly reading series that has featured poets such as Roger Reeves, Drea Brown, and Lisa Olstein. Sequoia is currently at work on a dissertation and chapbook.

Deborah Mix

Deborah Mix

Deborah Mix teaches at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She's the author of A Vocabulary of Thinking": Gertrude Stein and Contemporary North American Women's Experimental Writing (Iowa, 2007), and her articles have appeared in Contemporary Women's Writing, American Literature, and Studies in the Humanities and in edited collections, including the forthcoming Cambridge History of 20th-Century American Women's Poetry. Her current scholarship focuses on representations of women's bodies, minds, and spirits in the work of contemporary African American women writers, and she is also co-editing, with Logan Esdale, a volume on Stein for the MLA's "Approaches to Teaching" series.

Georgene Bess Montgomery

Georgene Bess Montgomery

Georgene Bess Montgomery is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Clark Atlanta University. She earned her Ph.D from the University of Maryland. Her book, The Spirit and the Word: A Theory of Spirituality for Africana Literary Criticism, offers a new theoretical approach to literary criticism that is informed by Ifa, an ancient African spiritual tradition, which she calls the Ifa Paradigm. She is also the author of numerous published articles, including “1975 Was Not a Very Good Year: Growing Up in the Rural South,” “Testing and Tricking: Elegba in Charles Chesnutt’s “The Goophered Grapevine” and the “Passing of Grandison,’” and “Ifa Goes to Hollywood: Oya, Elegba, and Shango in The Best Man and To Sleep with Anger.” Dr. Bess Montgomery is currently writing the literary biography of poet, scholar, activist Mari Evans. She is also President of The National Council for Black Studies, where she also serves as Chair of the Student Committee.  

Joyceleyn Moody

Joycelyn Moody

Joycelyn Moody, PhD, is Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature and Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She earned her BA in English from Spring Hill College. Her masters and doctoral degrees, both in English, are from UW Madison and the University of Kansas, respectively. She earned tenure at UW Seattle and served as Editor of African American Review during her years on the faculty at Saint Louis University. She is also founding Director of the UTSA African American Literatures and Cultures Institute (AALCI), a graduate school pipeline program for underrepresented college juniors. In addition to teaching courses in African American literatures and cultures and Black feminisms, Dr. Moody is a cofounder of Well Academic, a firm devoted to individual and institutional faculty development.

J. Peter Moore

J. Peter Moore

J. Peter Moore lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he is a PhD candidate in English at Duke University, writing a dissertation about the concept of vernacularity in postwar American poetry. In addition to his critical writing, which can be found in American Literature, Chicago Review, and Rain Taxi, his poetry has appeared in Fence and Boulevard. He is the author of the chapbook Southern Colortype (Three Count Pour, 2013).

Michael J. New

Michael J. New

Michael J. New teaches American Studies and English at Keene State College. He earned his PhD in English from Penn State University. He is currently writing a book about black poets who recorded with jazz musicians during the Black Arts Movement called Instrumental Voices: Poetic Experiments in Jazz. His interdisciplinary courses examine multi-ethnic American literature—especially multimedia and digital forms—within hemispheric and diasporic contexts. For more information visit www.instrumentalvoices.com.

Candice A. Pitts

Candice A. Pitts

Candice A. Pitts is an Assistant Professor of English at Albany State University. Dr. Pitts received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Howard University (2014). Her article, “’You Ain No Real-Real Bajan Man’: Brown Girl, Brownstones, and the Measure of Caribbean Manhood in the North American Terrain,” and her collection of poems, Spectrum, are currently under consideration for publication. She is currently working on the publication of her dissertation entitled, From Nationalism to Landscapism: Spaces-Between, Marronage, and the Literary I-mage-Nation of Zee Edgell, Jamaica Kincaid, and Margaret Cezair-Thompson. Dr. Pitts was the Manuscript Reader for Stephany Greene's Stephany's Style Secrets: 7 Steps to Live and Dress Your Best (2012) and the Assistant Editor of MLA Approaches to Teaching the Plays of August Wilson (pending). She was the first place winner of the poetry section and received Honorable Mention for her short story in the 2013 College Language Association’s Margaret Walker Creative Writing Contest. Her research interests include Caribbean, Postcolonial, African Diasporan, Cultural, Women’s, and Citizenship Studies.

Kevin Quashie

Kevin Quashie

Kevin Quashie is a professor in the department of Africana Studies at Smith College, where he teaches cultural studies and theory. He is the author or editor of three books, most recently The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture.

Jené Schoenfeld

Jené Schoenfeld

Jené Schoenfeld is an Associate Professor at Kenyon College, where she teaches courses in American literature, particularly by writers of African descent. Her teaching and research are fueled by a curiosity about social boundaries, especially the American color line. She is working on a book project, tentatively titled, Redemption: How the “Tragic Mulatto” becomes a “New Negro.” Drawing on the novels of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century writers such as Frances Harper, Pauline Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson, and Charles Chesnutt, she argues that the Jim Crow era constitutes a pivotal moment in the development of the mulatto trope and that representations of the mulatto during this time figure into important developments in how we understand and experience race. In particular, as many who could pass chose not to, the significance of phenotype as a racial marker decreases, and self-identification emerges as a major component of black identity.

Rischard Schur

Richard Schur

Richard Schur is Professor of English at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. His research focuses on African American culture, popular music, and law. He is the author of Parodies of Ownership: Hip-Hop Aesthetics and Intellectual Property Law (2009) and co-editor of African American Culture and Legal Discourse (2009). Schur has published nearly twenty articles and essays in a wide variety of journals and edited collections. He also co-hosts the New Books in Popular Music Podcast.

Claire Schwartz

Claire Schwartz

Claire Schwartz is a PhD student in African American Studies and American Studies at Yale. Her research focuses on urban space in contemporary Black Atlantic poetry and visual arts. Her poetry has appeared journals including: Cream City Review, Front Porch Journal, poemmemoirstory, and Tuesday; An Art Project.

Derik Smith

Derik Smith

Derik Smith is an assistant professor in the University at Albany Department of English.  His teaching and research focuses on African American literature and culture, with particular interests in poetry, prison studies and representations of blackness in Hollywood cinema and popular music.  His writing on these subjects has appeared in journals such as African American Review and Callaloo.  He is also adjunct faculty in the Bard Prison Initiative and teaches in the New York State prison system.  His book manuscript on poet Robert Hayden, tentatively titled X Black Poetics, is nearing completion.

Laura Trantham Smith

Laura Trantham Smith

Laura Trantham Smith, a poet and scholar, is Chair of the English Department at Stevenson University, where she teaches contemporary American literature, African American literature, and creative writing and serves as Director of the Stevenson Summer Writers Workshop. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin while studying poetry in the summer at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, CO. Recent creative and scholarly works appear in PANK, Monday Night, Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S., and Reflections: Writing, Service-Learning, and Community Literacy. She has served as a Poet in the Schools in Philadelphia, PA and Austin, TX and has led gender and sexuality writing workshops at the International Drag King Extravaganza, the Queer Texas Conference, and OutYouth. She was the recipient of a summer residency in 2014 at the Marble House Project, a sustainable arts community in Dorset, VT.

Laura Vrana

Laura Vrana

Laura Vrana is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at Penn State with a concentration in African American literature. She received her B.A. in English from Yale University and her M.A. in English from Penn State. At Penn State, she has been a McCourtney Distinguished Graduate Fellow, and her research has focused on the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and literary and poetic form in contemporary American literature. She is currently working on a dissertation on contemporary black women’s poetics, examining the publication and academic/institutional contexts that serve both to enable and to constrain black women writers since the Black Arts Movement. She has an article on Evie Shockley's poetics forthcoming in Obsidian.

Keisha Watson

Keisha Watson

Keisha Watson is an Assistant Professor at the Community College of Philadelphia. She began her career as a high school teacher in Brooklyn before attending graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin, where she earned an M.A. in African American Studies. She left graduate school to raise two fantastic children and recently returned to complete her dissertation. Her research focuses on African American poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially book-length or longer forms. Outside of work, Keisha enjoys meditation, kettlebelling, dragon-boat racing and all things Yucatecan.