NEH Summer Scholars
Paula C. Barnes
Paula C. Barnes classifies herself a generalist in African American literature; however, most of her work is on twentieth-century women writers of fiction. While she has written on Lucy Terry, Nikki Giovanni, and Lucille Clifton, she considers poetry one of her least-explored frontiers. As a result, she looks forward to being immersed in African American poetry and rubbing shoulders with poets and critics in "Don't Deny My Voice." Currently Associate Professor and Chair of English at Hampton University, Hampton, VA, she teaches the survey course in African American literature.
Zanice Bond is an assistant professor of English at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. She earned a B.S. in Communication from Ohio University, an M.A. in English from Tennessee State University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Kansas. Zanice is also a graduate of Gupton School of Mortuary Science and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the state of Tennessee. Her dissertation Race, Place, and Family: The Civil Rights Movement in Brownsville, Tennessee, and the Nation was nominated for four dissertation awards and included an original poem “biography of a new south.”
Michelle Branton is the lead instructor for the Reading Department at Garden City Community College in Kansas. In her current position, she teaches hybrid/blended and paired reading courses. Ms. Branton has been with GCCC for two years. Her teaching and research focuses on improving developmental education at the post-secondary level, specifically course design and curriculum that streamlines and accelerates developmental reading for college students. She serves on GCCC’s revitalized Multicultural Committee and serves as the first president of the Kansas Association of Developmental Reading Instructors, which encompasses Kansas’s 19 community colleges and six technical colleges. Before joining the faculty at GCCC, Ms. Branton held professional positions with the Pinellas County School District and St. Petersburg College in Florida. Ms. Branton has been recognized several times as an Outstanding Educator in both Florida and Kansas. She is an active member of the National Association for Developmental Education and has sat on a number of professional and civic boards. Ms. Branton received her Master’s in English Education with Reading Emphasis from the University of South Florida.
Reginald Flood is a native of south central Los Angeles who now lives in a small town in southeastern Connecticut with his family. He has a Masters in Creative Writing and Literature from Syracuse University and a PhD in British and American Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California. He has received a Walker Fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Center and was the recipient of the Editor’s Prize from Tidal Basin Review. Recent Publications include Body Parts: Invisibility, Activism and the Poetics of Labor in The History of Mary Prince, The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies, (Spring 2011) and poems in Mythium, Hampton-Sydney Review and African American Review. His first collection of poems Coffle was published by Willow Books last year. He is an associate professor of English and Coordinator of African American Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he teaches composition, African American literature and creative writing. He was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry in 2013 and is a Cave Canem fellow.
Deborah Ford is a Professor of English at Mississippi Valley State University; she holds a Ph.D. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern Mississippi and master’s degrees from St. John’s College in Santa Fe and Brooklyn College in NYC. Dr. Ford is a poet and teacher. Her poetry combines artwork that she loves and memories that she cherishes. Her interest in art as therapy was sparked by her participation in the NYC Creative Center’s Artist-in-Healthcare training program in 2005. This training focused on a multiplicity of issues encountered in offering artmaking in hospitals and palliative care facilities to patients and their families. Her newest book of poems is A Kind of Heaven: Poems of Vietnam published by the Buffalo Commons Press. She is working on a new project that combines Japanese art with a traditional poetic form called “waka.”
Bro Yao Glover
Bro. Yao (Hoke S. Glover III) is a poet, teacher, and former owner of Karibu Books. His work has centered on issues of literacy and the promotion of reading in the African American and larger community. He is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Bowie State University. His poetry and/or essays have been published in African American Review, Obsidian III, Tidal Basin Review, Smartish Pace, Beltway Quarterly, Specter, Libations, and other journals and anthologies. He has recorded with Black Notes, Sunny Sumter and is currently working with a musician group Free Black Space.
Kamau’s first love was reading, especially African American fiction and poetry. Though he dabbles in writing both, his real avocation is teaching. He earned degrees from Stanford, UCLA and St Louis University. He has taught at UC-Santa Cruz, Western Illinois, James Madison and is currently tenured at University of Illinois Springfield. Kamau also loves sports as both spectator and participant, though age and bad knees limit the latter. However, he is still competitive, now in board and strategy games. He also enjoys cooking and music. He is a proud father of two: a daughter who is a recent grad of George Mason and his son is a musician who plays keyboards in church and jazz or R&B in other venues.
Shauna Morgan Kirlew
An assistant professor in English at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Shauna Morgan Kirlew is a globalist who researches and teaches literature of the African Diaspora, with a particular focus on womanhood, race, resistance, and the evolution of empire. Shauna received her Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University and will complete a Ph.D. in American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany this year. Her critical work has appeared in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies and Journal of Postcolonial Writing; and she has an essay forthcoming in South Atlantic Review. Her poetry was shortlisted for the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition, and four of her poems will appear in a special issue of ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness.
A native of Fayetteville, NC, Ms. Lester holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University, in addition to a MA in Communication Studies-Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An Associate Professor of Speech Communication & Theatre Arts at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Ms. Lester teaches classes in public speaking, gender communication, theatre, oral interpretation of literature, and contemporary dance. She has served as the Artistic Director of the B-CU Orchesis Dance Ensemble since 1996. Ms. Lester serves as an adjunct professor in the Dance Department at Daytona State College, teaching classical ballet, modern, and jazz dance technique, as well as choreographing for the Daytona State Dance Theatre. She is working on the expansion of the dance curriculum for B-CU’s Theatre Arts Program and continues to do research in using the arts particularly dance as part of the worship experience. She has also directed several theatrical productions, in addition to choreographing and performing for the Daytona Beach community.
April Logan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Salisbury University. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and a M.A. and Ph.D. in English and Women’s Studies Certificate from Temple University. Her fields are African American Literature and American Literature 1845-1945, Postcolonial Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Theory, Women's Studies, and Performance Studies. She has presented papers on teaching, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, and Pauline Hopkins at regional and national conferences held by organizations such as the College Language Association, Modern Language Association, and the American Literature Association. April has also been the recipient of several awards: a Multicultural Fellowship from Pennsylvania State University, Abington College; Philadelphia Jobs with Justice’s Building Solidarity Award; and a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Dissertation Fellowship from Haverford College. Currently, she is working on a book project which is a study of mid nineteenth-century to early twentieth-century African American women writers’ performance and theorization of alternative, or queer, genders and sexuality. In addition, April participated in the founding of the Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society (PEHS). She has been Parliamentarian of the PEHS since its inception in 2009.
Dr. Jeffery D. Mack is an Associate Professor of English at Albany State University. His research area is 19th Century African American literature, with an emphasis in Masculine Studies. Dr. Mack is the 2013 recipient of the Teacher of the Dream award from the Georgia Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Mack is the chair the Albany State University’s Annual Poetry Festival. And, he is the editor of The Pierian Literary Journal, a creative journal published by the Department English, Modern Languages and Mass Communication at Albany State University.
McKinley E. Melton
McKinley E. Melton received his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and earned Bachelor's Degrees in English and in African and African-American Studies from Duke University. In the Fall of 2012, he joined the faculty of Gettysburg College as an Assistant Professor of English, having previously taught as Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature at Hampshire College. Dr. Melton's teaching interests are in literatures of Africa and the African Diaspora, most specifically 19th and 20th Century African American Literature. His courses are designed to engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literature. Dr. Melton's research focuses primarily on spiritual and religious traditions throughout the Black diaspora, and the influence of spirituality on diasporan literary, artistic, and cultural expressions. His most recent published work is included in the anthology The Harlem Renaissance Revisited: Politics, Arts, and Letters (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
Gregg Murray is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. His scholarly work has appeared in a range of outlets, including Continent. and The Chattahoochee Review. He has recent poems in Horse Less Review, DIAGRAM, Caketrain, Interrupture, Ayris, New South, elimae, The Denver Syntax, Mandala, Alice Blue Review, Spittoon, decomP magazinE, LEVELER , [PANK], and forthcoming from RealPoetik and Word For/ Word. Gregg did his Ph.D. in English at the University of Minnesota (A Performative Study of Playfulness in Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Frank O’Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop). Please visit his website for more information, including links to published poems, essays, reviews, and scholarship.
Michelle J. Pinkard
Michelle J. Pinkard recently received the PhD degree in English at Arizona State University. Her scholarship is situated in the intersections of African American, Gender, and Literature studies. While at ASU, her research interests were in Harlem Renaissance’s women’s poetics. She also attended the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Her poetry has recently been accepted in Callaloo, and The African American Review; her essays, short stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies. She is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Tennessee State University.
Erin Ranft received her doctorate from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2013. She teaches a range of courses at the University of Texas at San Antonio, including African American Studies: Modes of Expression, Introduction to Women's Studies, Women and Literature, Literary Criticism and Analysis, and more. Her research and teaching interests include African American science fiction, particularly productions by feminist African American authors such as Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson. Additionally, Erin’s teaching and scholarly foci include American literature by women of color, US women’s studies, archival research related to the late author and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, as well as the Black Panther Party’s Intercommuncal News Service publications.
Christopher Rose is full time Instructor of English and Composition at Portland Community College. He received a BA in English at the University of Washington, and BA in Creative Writing and Sociology at Central Washington University, and a MA in English Literature at Central Washington University. Previously, he worked as the Project Facilitator for the TRiO/Student Support Services program at Portland State University.
Sarah RudeWalker is a PhD candidate in the English Department at Penn State University with a concentration in African American Language and Literature. She received her BA in English and Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia and her MA in English from Penn State University. While at Penn State, she has been both a University Graduate Fellow and a Dissertation Fellow with the university's Center for Democratic Deliberation. Her research focuses on rhetorical criticism of Black Arts Movement poetry of the 1960s and 1970, examining the successful rhetorical legacies of poets in educating the public about the power of Black consciousness. She will have defended her dissertation the week before attending the Don't Deny My Voice Institute.
Matt Schumacher teaches writing and literature courses for Eastern Oregon University and Portland Community College. A former graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the University of Maine, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he has published two full-length poetry collections, Spilling the Moon and The Fire Diaries, and serves as poetry editor for a journal named Phantom Drift. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Arlette Miller Smith
Arlette Miller Smith, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, is the founding and immediate past Dean of St. John Fisher’s Office of Multicultural Affairs & Diversity Programs. Miller Smith’s academic work and avocation center on the following areas: African American literature & culture; the intersection of the raced, gendered, classed, and artistic voice of African American women; the written production of 19th century African American women writers; the mobilization of socio-political movements in African American life, particularly the colored club women’s movement and the modern civil rights movement; and the impact of the exterior (public) life on the interior lives of African American women, as well as the divergent convergence of the experiences and African American and White suffragists. Featured on NPR, CNN and Rochester’s D&C, Arlette’s poem, “In Anticipation of You” is the first selection in Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady. Miller Smith received her undergraduate degree in English from Tougaloo College; her Master’s degree in English from Michigan State University; and her doctorate in American Studies from SUNY-Buffalo. Miller Smith also is the founder and executive-artistic director of AKOMA, Rochester’s African American Women’s gospel choir whose 45 member sister-roster attend various local denominations.
Lorrie Smith studied at the University of Massachusetts and Brown University. She is Professor of English at Saint Michael’s College, in Colchester, Vermont, where she directs the American Studies Program and teaches a wide range of courses, including a seminar on Literature, Blues and Jazz; a survey of The Musical Roots of African American Literature; and The Harlem Renaissance. In addition, she teaches a first-year seminar entitled Beloved Community, an introductory seminar on The Spoken Word, and an upper-level course on Representing Race in ‘Post-Racial’ American Literature and Culture. She has led three study tours of Ghana in conjunction with her course, The Middle Passage in History, Memory, and Imagination. Her most recent publications are “Black Arts to Def Jam: Performing Black Spirit Work Across Generations” (New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement, ed. Lisa Gail Collins and Margo Crawford) and “Hungry Ghosts and Restless Spirits: Lyric Voices of the Middle Passage” (Africa and Its Diasporas: History, Memory, and Literary Manifestations, ed.Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Paul E. Lovejoy, and David V. Trotman). She is currently working on a book-length manuscript, Report from Vernacular Valleys: Post-Sixties Black Poetry and the Public Sphere and a memoir on being a white teacher of black texts. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she can date herself with the claim to fame that Bruce Springsteen played at her prom.
Dr. Althea Tait serves as Visiting Assistant Professor in Africana Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Her research interests, which revolve around Black Women’s Studies, literature and poetry by and about black women, and popular culture, are closely aligned with her community service in local battered women’s shelters. Her publications include “The Harm in Beauty: Toni Morrison’s Revision of Racialized Traditional Theories of Aesthetics in The Bluest Eye” and “Tell Them: The Premise for African American Female Writers’ Children’s Literature.” She is currently working on the completion of the manuscript, The Soul of Beauty: Toni Morrison and Cultural Perspectives of Black Women. The premise of the book focuses on the ways in which Toni Morrison examines the souls of black women as it pertains to the struggle with racialized and injurious beauty norms.
Carol Tyx teaches creative writing and a variety of American literature courses at Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She also collaborates with her students to run a book club at a nearby prison. An essay about her experiences in the prison is forthcoming in an MLA book on service learning in English courses. The club hasn’t done much with poetry yet—she hoping to lead the way with African American poetry after the institute. Carol writes poetry, too; her second collection, Rising to the Rim, will be published in June. An eager, though erratic, gardener and Community Supported Agriculture volunteer, Carol consumes a lot of kale and Swiss chard. To round out her life, Carol contra dances, practices yoga, hikes, and stays in touch with her two thirty-something sons.
Frank X Walker
2013-2014 Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is an associate professor in the dept of English at the University of Kentucky were he also serves as director of African American and Africana studies and the founding editor of Pluck! The journal of Affrilachian arts and culture. His sixth collection of poetry, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers is forthcoming in the spring from the University of Georgia Press. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia, and is dedicated to deconstructing and forcing a new definition of what it means to be Appalachian. The Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient has degrees from UK and Spalding University as well as two honorary doctorates from the University of KY and Transylvania.
Jeff Westover is an Associate Professor at Boise State University, where he teaches literature. His publications include The Colonial Moment: Discoveries and Settlements in Modern American Poetry (Northern Illinois University Press, 2004) and, more recently, articles on Langston Hughes, Lorine Niedecker, and Wallace Stevens.