Poetry Reading: Tonya Foster, Layli Long Soldier, & Safiya Sinclair

February 3, 2017

By Nancy Kuhl

The State of the Art: Celebrating New Poetry
Tonya Foster, Layli Long Soldier, & Safiya Sinclair,
Poetry Readings & Round Table Discussion
Co-Sponsored by the Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series
and the Yale Race & Innovative Poetics Working Group
Poetry Reading: Thursday, March 9, 4:00PM
Roundtable discussion, chaired by Camille Owens and Maryam Parhizkar:Friday, March 10, 10-11:30am
Both events will take place at
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library,121 Wall Street

Tonya M. Foster was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and raised in New Orleans. She earned a BA from Newcomb College, Tulane University, and an MFA from the University of Houston. Foster is the author of the poetry collection A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna*, 2015) and coedited the book Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art (2002). Her work has appeared in Callaloo, MiPoesias, Western Humanities Review, the Hat, and elsewhere. In a review, Patricia Spears Jones says, “Foster’ s imaginative work glories in language’s ambiguities, discords, emotions and logic—she allows that imaginative thrall to explore race and gender and political dysfunction.” Foster has received fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, the Macdowell Colony, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is a PhD candidate. She has taught at Bard College, Queens College CUNY, Baruch College CUNY, and she currently is an assistant professor at California College of the Arts.

Layli Long Soldier holds a B.F.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an M.F.A. from Bard College. She has served as a contributing editor of Drunken Boat. Her poems have appeared in The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review Online, and other publications. She is the recipient of the 2015 NACF National Artist Fellowship and a 2015 Lannan Literary Fellowship. Her collection of poetry, WHEREAS, will be published in 2017. Long Soldier resides in Tsaile, Arizona, where she is an English faculty member at Diné College. 

Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Her first full-length collection, Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), won the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and a 2016 Whiting Writers’ Award. Sinclair’s poems have appeared in Poetry magazine, the Kenyon Review, The Nation, New England Review, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, the Gettysburg Review, TriQuarterly, the Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Amy Clampitt Residency Award, an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner, and won the 2015 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest. In 2015, she was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Sinclair earned her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia, and she is currently a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.