Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is the author of two books of poetry, Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation and Karma’s Footsteps, and is also the Poetry Editor of African Voices, a literary magazine. Her work focuses on women, race, ancestry, violence and the healing power of art, has been published in North American Review, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Black Renaissance Noire, VIDA, Crab Orchard Review, BOMB, Paris/Atlantic,and Listen Up!, and has been the subject of a short film, I Leave My Colors Everywhere. She was a runner-up in the 2014 Missouri Review Soundbooth audio poetry contest and is the recipient of a Queens Council of the Arts grant for her research on herbalists of the African Diaspora. Her work “Strut,” a collaboration with her husband, photographer Dominique Sindayiganza, deals with body-image, self-acceptance, and the role of capitalism in women’s issues about their appearances. She has taught at the City University of New York, York College and Medgar Evers College.
A central figure in the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez has authored sixteen books of poetry and plays, including Morning Haiku; Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems; Does Your House Have Lions?; I’ve Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems; A Blues Book for Blue Black Magical Women; Love Poems; We a BaddDDD People; and Homecoming. She received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for Homegirls and Handgrenades. Other awards and honors include the Robert Creeley Award, the Frost Medal, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Sanchez has read and lectured in the United States and around the world. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began teaching in 1977, and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English there until her retirement in 1999.