African American poet and scholar.

Born in New York City and grew up in Washington, DC She received a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from Boston University, and the Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Her collections of poems are:

  • Antebellum Dream Book (Graywolf Press, 2001)
  • Body of Life (1996)
  • The Venus Hottentot (1990)

Her poems, short stories, and critical writing have been published in twenty anthologies and numerous journals and periodicals including: Callaloo, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Village Voice, The Women's Review of Books, and The Washington Post.

She has received awards from National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago, and the George Kent Award, given by Gwendolyn Brooks.

She has taught at Haverford College, the University of Chicago, and Smith College, where she was Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence and first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College. She is a faculty member at Cave Canem. She is presently a fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University.

She is the mother of a wonderful son who was born in 1998.

A bio, poem and comment about her work by Adrienne Rich can be found at:

An excerpt from the disturbing and powerful The Venus Hottentot is at:

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