Poets-in-Residence 2022

This program provides writers with opportunities to respond to contemporary art of the African Diaspora and extend the reach of the museum through programming embedded within historically marginalized Bay Area communities.

About the Program

The Museum of the African Diaspora Poets-in-Residence program was founded in 2018. This program provides writers with opportunities to respond to contemporary art of the African Diaspora and extend the reach of the museum through programming and educational workshops with local high school students.

We host two concurrent writing residencies per year. This year, the four-month residency runs from September 1, 2022 - December 31, 2022.

Residents enjoy flexible, drop-in access to the Museum of the African Diaspora, located in San Francisco, California. For the term of the residency, every resident receives:

  • A monthly stipend of $1500 (for 4 months)
  • No-cost access to the museum exhibitions, on-site programs and events
  • Designated work space
  • A 10% discount on all Museum store purchases
  • Wi-Fi access
  • Publicity for public programs on social media
  • Staff support for programming
  • Access to learning more about the work of the Museum of the African Diaspora from curatorial and education staff

The residency welcomes writers to pursue their own writing projects in addition to responding to the artistic collections. The residency does require that writers implement a school-based writing program in partnership with Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. Residencies last for one academic semester or 4 months. The workshops will include at least 6 site visits and one visit with students at the museum. There are also two culminating public programs that are required: a student reading and a poet-in- residence reading.

While the Museum does not retain ownership of any works created as part of the residency, we do require a printed compilation of that work to be preserved within the museum archives and, should work be published by the author in a book form, that the Museum is acknowledged for contributing to the author’s creative process.

Residency applications are reviewed by the Director of Programs, the Manager of Public Programs, and the Spoken Arts Director at the partner school. Acceptance to the residency is determined through an evaluation of the written materials and the innovation within the education project.

Please note: The residency does not include accommodations or meals, so it may be best suited for Bay Area writers; writers from other communities are welcome to apply but are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. We strongly encourage writers from the African diaspora to apply.

Selected Poets-in-Residence will be expected to complete a TB test and Livescan background check (at a MoAD-partner vendor) by September 1 and meet with the partner teacher and poet-in-residence coordinator for community building and brainstorming once during the Spring (possibly online) and at least once at the start of the Fall semester.

Selected residents, along with all MoAD employees, volunteers, and/or agents providing in-person services at MoAD and partner school sites are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19; or if they cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to disability or a sincerely held religious belief will instead show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the first entrance at MoAD or school site and every week thereafter.

2022 MoAD Poets-in-Residence Awardees

2022: Tureeda Mikell, @storymedicinewoman

Tureeda Mikell, to-read-ah, story medicine woman, award-winning poet, mental health advocate, lyricist, Qigong therapist, and U.C. BAWP Fellow. As a survivor of child abuse, her passion for youth’s voices to be heard caused her to publish over seventy at-risk student anthologies from five Bay Area counties via California Poets in the Schools. She has Zoomed or traveled nationally and internationally across five continents, from China, Europe, the UK, to Africa. Tureeda was featured in Octavia Butler’s 70th birthday, Black Panther’s 55th anniversary, Afrofuturism, and the de Young Museum’s Soul of a Nation. Her full-length publication, Synchronicity: The Oracle of Sun Medicine (Nomadic Press), released in February 2020, was nominated for the California Book Award. She is co-author and curator with Elena Serrano of EastSide Arts Alliance, of Patrice Lumumba: An Anthology of Writers on Black Liberation (Nomadic Press), released in January 2021.

2022: Nefertiti Asanti, @electricfl0wer

Nefertiti Asanti is a poet originally from the Bronx and recipient of fellowships from theWatering Hole, Lambda Literary, Anaphora Arts, Winter Tangerine, and PEN America. Nefertiti’s debut chapbook fist of wind won the inaugural Start a Riot! Chapbook Prize. Nefertiti’s work can be found at Foglifter, Apiary, Split Lip Magazine, and elsewhere. Nefertiti serves as prose poetry editor of Stellium Literary Magazine.

Past MoAD Poets-in-Residence awardees

2018: Tongo Eisen-Martin, @_tongogara_

Bio: Tongo Eisen-Martin is San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. He is the author of the California Book Award–nominated “someone’s dead already” and of “Heaven Is All Goodbyes,” which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. Eisen-Martin is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people, and human rights. He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.

2018: Raina J. León, @rainaleon

Bio: Raina J. León, PhD is Black, Afro-Boricua, and from Philadelphia. She is a mother, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator. She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education.

She seeks out communities of care and craft and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo, and Círculo de Poetas and Writers. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: dis(locate) and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self. She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts.

She educates our present and future agitators/educators as a full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California. If you want to teach, connect with her on the interwebs!

2019: Alán Pelaez Lopez, @migrantscribble

Bio (from their website): Alán Pelaez Lopez is an AfroIndigenous poet, installation and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. Their work attends to the quotidian realities of undocumented migrants in the United States, the Black condition in Latin America, and the intimate kinship units that trans and nonbinary people build in the face of violence. Their debut visual poetry collection, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien (The Operating System, 2020), was a finalist for the 2020 International Latino Book Award. They are also the author of the chapbook to love and mourn in the age of displacement (Nomadic Press, 2020). While they are an artist, Alan has also been organizing with undocumented migrants in the United States for over ten years and firmly believes that art is a portal into the future, but which future? That depends on the artist and the ideologies that move them.

2019: Tonya Foster, @fosterpoet

Bio (from her website): Tonya M. Foster is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court, and the bilingual chapbook La Grammaire des Os; and coeditor of Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art. Her writing and research focus on ideas of place and emplacement, and on intersections between the visual and the written. She is an editor at Fence Magazine, and at The African-American Review. Her poetry, prose, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Tripwire, boundary2, MiPOESIAS, NYFA Arts Quarterly, the Poetry Project Newsletter, and elsewhere. Tonya is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the Ford and the Mellon Foundations, from NYFA; and has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts and at the Macdowell colony. Her next collections are a cross-genre collection on New Orleans—A Mathematics of Chaos::Thingification (forthcoming from Ugly Presse 2021), and Monkey Talk, a cross-genre series about race, paranoia, aesthestics, and surveillance. She is an Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts.

A group of youth and students in education smiling together

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