Dawn Lundy Martin, Director and Cofounder

Dawn Lundy Martin is a poet and essayist. She is the author of four books of poems: Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press), winner of the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry; Life in a Box is a Pretty Life (Nightboat Books, 2015); which won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry; DISCIPLINE (Nightboat Books, 2011); A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press, 2007); and three limited edition chapbooks. Most recently, she coedited with Erica Hunt an anthology, Letters to the Future: BLACK WOMEN / Radical WRITING (Kore Press, 2018). Her nonfiction can be found in The New Yorker, Harper'sn+1, boundary2The BelieverBest American Essays 2019, and is forthcoming in The Chicago Review. She is currently at work on a genre-crossing memoir titled What Happens When a Person Goes Missing.

Martin's video installation work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In 2016 she was awarded an Investing in Professional Artists Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. She also 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 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 also 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 a 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.

Martin is a Professor of English in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. She is also the recipient of a 2018 NEA Grant in Creative Writing: prose/nonfiction.

Read more about Martin at her website.


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.


Lauren Russell, Assistant Director

Lauren Russell, assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is a research assistant professor in English at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017), and Descent, a winner of the 2019 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards and a finalist for the National Poetry Series, forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky Press in 2020. A 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry, she has also received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, VIDA / The Home School, the Rose O'Neill Literary House, the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and City of Asylum/Passa Porta. Her chapbook Dream-Clung, Gone came out from Brooklyn Arts Press in 2012, and her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, boundary 2The Brooklyn RailCream City Reviewjubilat, and Bettering American Poetry 2015, among others. She holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, where she received a Distinguished Teaching Award in the English Department for her teaching as a graduate student. She returned as faculty in 2016. 

Learn more about Russell at her website.


Justin Phillip Reed, Creative Writing Fellow

Justin Phillip Reed is an American poet and essayist. He is the author of Indecency (Coffee House Press), winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and a finalist for the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second full-length collection of poetry, The Malevolent Volume, was released in Spring 2020. He is the 2019-2021 Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. His work appears in African American Review, Best American Essays, Callaloo, The Kenyon Review, Obsidian, and elsewhere. He received his BA in creative writing at Tusculum College and his MFA in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as Junior Writer-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Conversation Literary Festival, and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. Reed was born and raised in South Carolina.

Learn more about Reed at his website.


Willie Kinard III, Graduate Student Assistant

Willie Kinard III is a poet, performer and design strategist. Born and raised in South Carolina, his poetry has appeared in Foundry, WILDNESS, Crab Fat Magazine, Platypus Press' A Portrait in Blues anthology, and elsewhere. Holding a BFA in graphic design from the University of South Carolina, Kinard has received fellowships and support from The Watering Hole and Winter Tangerine. Currently a student in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, he also serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief at Hot Metal Bridge and a producer of the podcast [in brackets].

Learn more about Kinard at his website.



Trevor Hardwick, Events and Program Coordinator

Trevor is a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. He studied Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Spanish, and Film Studies. In his free time, he enjoys writing, playing soccer, and making short films. 


Joseph Gunho Jang, Intern

Joseph Gunho Jang has received fellowships and support from the University of Pittsburgh and the Heinz Endowments. He is currently an intern for the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, a poetry editor for Hot Metal Bridge, and a staff editor for Collision Literary Magazine. His work has appeared in Three Rivers ReviewZeniada, and is forthcoming in Blood Orange Review.



Danielle Dudak, Intern

Danielle Dudak is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh where she is currently sutyding English LIterature and Public and Professional Writing. She is currently interning at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics and has received generous support from the Heinz Endowments. Her work has been featured at the University of Pittsburgh's Undergraduate Literature Conference.


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, Assistant Professor Department of English
Ronald Judy, Professor, Department of English
Louis Maraj, Assistant 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