Terrance Hayes, Codirector

Terrance Hayes, codirector of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin 2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books are Wind In a Box (Penguin 2006), Hip Logic (Penguin 2002), and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999). His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. How To Be Drawn (Penguin 2015), his most recent  collection of poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award, and received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry. Hayes earned his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997. After teaching in Ohio, New Orleans, and Japan, he returned to Pittsburgh. Hayes taught at Carnegie Mellon University until returning to his alma mater in 2013 as a full professor in the Department of English.

Read more about Hayes at his Web site.



Dawn Lundy Martin, Codirector

Dawn Lundy Martin, codirector of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. Martin received her MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and her PhD in literature at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst with a dissertation on experimentalism and subjectivity in contemporary poetry. She is the author of A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press 2007), winner of the Cave Canem Prize; DISCIPLINE (Nightboat Books 2011), which was selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for both Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Lambda Literary Award; Candy, a limited edition letterpress chapbook (Albion Books 2011); The Main Cause of the Exodus (O’clock Press 2014); and The Morning Hour, selected by C.D. Wright for the 2003 Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship. Her latest collection, Life in a Box is a Pretty Life (Nightboat Books 2015) received a 2016 Lambda Literary Award. She is at work on a new book titled Good Stock, forthcoming from Coffee House Press.


Read more about Martin at Pitt’s Writing Program Web site.


Lauren Russell, Assistant Director

Lauren Russell, assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is a research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Her first full-length book, What’s Hanging on the Hush, came out from Ahsahta Press in 2017. A Cave Canem fellow, she was the 2014-2015 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the 2016 VIDA fellow to the Home School, and a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. Russell's chapbook Dream-Clung, Gone came out from Brooklyn Arts Press in 2012, and her work has appeared in boundary 2, The Brooklyn Rail, jubilat, and The New York Times Magazine, among others, and in the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015. Her reviews may be found in publications including Aster(ix), The Volta, and Jacket2. Russell holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, where she served as co-editor-in-chief of Hot Metal Bridge and received a Distinguished Teaching Award in the English Department. She is currently completing a book-length poetic hybrid work tentatively entitled Descent.

Learn more about Russell and view links to her work.


Rickey Laurentiis
Creative Writing Fellow

Rickey Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the author of Boy with Thorn, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize, as well as a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, among other distinctions. His poetry has been supported by Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Poetry Foundation, which awarded him a Ruth Lily Fellowship in 2012. In 2016, he traveled to Palestine as an invited reader for the Palestine Festival of Literature. He earned his MFA in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow, and his Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where he read literature and queer theory.


Jessica Lanay Moore
Graduate Student Assistant

Jessica Lanay Moore, graduate student assistant at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Key West, Fla., she arrived in Pittsburgh by way of New York. Most recently she worked at Poets & Writers Magazine. Moore received her MA in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies with focuses in Art History and African Diasporan History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her BA in Art History from Agnes Scott College. She is a Callaloo and Cave Canem Fellow. While primarily a poet, Moore also writes short fiction; her work has been published in Acentos Review, Crab Fat Magazine, Five Quarterly, Sugar House Review, Salt Hill Review, and others. She has work forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Black Candies: A Journal of Literary Horror.


Drue Denmon

Drue Denmon is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh with an English Literature and English Writing double major. She has lived in Pittsburgh for her entire life and is currently an intern at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. 

Elisa Ogot

Elisa Ogot is a senior and a Fiction Writing major at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she is an intern at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, but has also worked for 90.5 WESA FM, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Carnegie Mellon University Film Festival. Elisa is a Pittsburgh native and in 2016 was selected to be a member of the Telluride Film Festival’s Student Symposium in Telluride, Colorado. In addition to interning at CAAPP, she also is a member of Pitt’s improv group, Ruckus.


Faculty Affiliates

Angie Cruz, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Toi Derricotte, Professor Emeritus, Department of English
Yona Harvey, Assistant Professor Department of English
Ronald Judy, Professor, Department of English
Imani Owens, Assistant Professor, Department of English
William Scott, Associate Professor, Department of English
Christel Temple, Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies
Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder, Assistant Professor, Department of English