Dawn Lundy Martin reads at a podium.

Dawn Lundy Martin, Director and Cofounder

Dawn Lundy Martin is an American poet and essayist. She is the author of four books of poems: Good Stock Strange Blood, winner of the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry; Life in a Box is a Pretty Life, which won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry; DISCIPLINE, A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering, and three limited edition chapbooks. Her nonfiction can be found in n+1The New YorkerPloughsharesThe Believer, and Best American Essays 2019. She is currently at work on a genre-crossing memoir titled What Happens When a Person Goes Missing. Martin is the Toi Derricotte Endowed Chair in English at the University of Pittsburgh.

In 2016 Martin was awarded an Investing in Professional Artists Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments for video installation work featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. She wrote the libretto for a video installation opera as a member of the global activist artist collective, HowDoYouSayYamInAfrican?, sometimes called "The Yam Collective. The installation, "Good Stock on the Dimension Floor," featured on the open nights of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, but was pulled to protest the Whitney's curatorial practices. Martin is also a cofounder of the Black Took Collective, an experimental performance art/poetry group of three, and on faculty at the Cave Canem Retreat for African American Poets.

With Vivien Labaton, Martin coedited The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004), which uses a gender lens to describe and theorize young activist work in the U.S. She is the cofounder of the Third Wave Foundation (New York), an organization, which was for 15 years the only young activist feminist foundation in the U.S. Martin continues her activist work in collaboration with foundations and activist organizations to research and strategize about protecting the lives and freedoms of women, girls, and trans youth. Using an intersectional lenses that bring together feminism with racial justice and LGBT rights, Martin works to provide analytical frameworks that assist philanthropic organizations in strategic philanthropy to level the playing field and animate social justice reforms.

Read more about Martin at her website.

Photo credit: Marcus Jackson.


Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes, Cofounder

Terrance Hayes is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1971, and educated at Coker College where he studied painting and English and was an Academic All-American on the men’s basketball team. After receiving his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, he taught in southern Japan, Columbus, Ohio, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Hayes taught at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh before becoming a Professor of English at New York University.  

Hayes served as the 2017-2018 poetry editor for New York Times Magazine. He was guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2014 (Scribner, 2014), the preeminent annual anthology of contemporary American poetry. His poems have appeared in ten editions of the series.

His first book, Muscular Music, won a Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second book, Hip Logic (Penguin 2002), was a National Poetry Series selection and a finalist for both the Los Angeles Time Book Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Wind In a Box (Penguin 2006), a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award finalist, was named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. How to Be Drawn received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry. Lighthead, was winner of the 2010 National Book Award.

His most recent manuscripts are American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin (Penguin, 2018), and To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (Wave, 2018).

Read more about Hayes at his website.


Steffan Triplett

Steffan Triplett, Assistant Director

Steffan Triplett is an essayist, cultural critic, and poet raised in Joplin, Missouri. He received his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where he was a John B. Ervin Scholar. His first book, Bad Forecast, is forthcoming from Essay Press in 2024. Triplett’s nonfiction has been published in Longreads, Vulture, The Iowa Review, Electric Literature, Nat. Brut, Slate, and elsewhere, and is anthologized in It Came From the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror (Feminist Press 2022). Triplett’s poetry and hybrid work has been published in Fence, DIAGRAM, and the Puerto del Sol Black Voices Series, and has been anthologized in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat 2018) and Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge 2019).

Triplett has been a fellow for Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Lambda Literary and his work has been nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, and was the winner of the Brutal Nation Prize in Prose judged by Matthew Olzmann.
In addition to being an instructor of undergraduates, Triplett has worked for The National Book Foundation and the Andy Warhol Museum. Triplett is currently an Essays editor for The Offing.

Photo credit: Marcus Jackson.



Xandria Phillips in greyscale with a slight halo.

Xan Phillips, Creative Writing Fellow

Xan Phillips is a poet and visual artist from rural Ohio. The recipient of a Whiting Award, Lambda Literary award, and the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging Writers, Xan is the author of HULL (Nightboat Books 2019) and Reasons for Smoking, which won the 2016 Seattle Review Chapbook Contest judged by Claudia Rankine. He has received fellowships from Brown University, Callaloo, Cave Canem, the Conversation Literary Festival, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and most recently, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. Xan’s poetry is featured in Berlin Quarterly ReviewBOMB Magazine, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast,, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His paintings have been featured in Kenyon Review, The Poetry Project, the cover of American Poets Magazine, and an AMFM exhibition at the Silver Room in Chicago.

For more, visit Xan at his website.

Photo credit: Rayni Shiring


K. Henderson's portrait in a broken mirror.

Miles E. Johnson, Graduate Student Assistant

Miles E. Johnson is a journalist and essayist by training, a poet by lived experience. Miles believes that the world would be better off if there were no borders at all, but simultaneously reps his home, Washington DC, with fervor and gratitude. He loves his Granny and all the other Black folks who watch out and over him, following NBA basketball, and writing poems about comic books. You can find (some of) his work in the NPR & Mother Jones archives, and at If you're lucky you can find him on twitter/instagram @blackandoutside. If you're rich, you can find him on cashapp at $blackoutside and venmo @blackandoutside.

Photo credit: Érida Tosini-Corea




Faculty Affiliates

Angie Cruz, Associate Professor, Department of English
Toi Derricotte, Professor Emeritus, Department of English
Khirsten Scott, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Yona Harvey, Associate Professor, Department of English
Diana Khoi Nguyen, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Elizabeth Reich, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies
Ronald Judy, Professor, Department of English
Shaundra Myers, Assistant Professor, Department of English
William Scott, Associate Professor, Department of English
Christel Temple, Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies