Dawn Lundy Martin, Director and Cofounder

Dawn Lundy Martin, Director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is a poet, essayist, and conceptual video artist. Martin received her  PhD in literature at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering, winner of the Cave Canem Prize; DISCIPLINE, 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 collections are Life in a Box is a Pretty Life (2015), which received a 2016 Lambda Literary Award, and Good Stock Strange Blood (2017). Conceptual video work by Martin has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, among other places. In 2018, Kore Press published Letters to the Future: BLACK Women / Radical WRITING, which Martin co-edited with Erica Hunt. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in prose/nonfiction in 2018. Martin's essays can be found in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, n+1 magazine, boundary2, and Book Forum.

Read more about Martin at Pitt’s Writing Program 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). A 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry, she has also received support 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, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. 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.


Rickey Laurentiis
Creative Writing Fellow

Rickey Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, to love the dark. The author of Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh, 2015), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Laurentiis' other honors include fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Lannan Literary Foundation and, most recently,  the Whiting Foundation. Their poem, "Visible City," opened Notes for Now, the exhibition catalogue for the art international Prospect.3 New Orleans, and was later anthologized in Bettering American Poetry, A Tale of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation. Laurentiis now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the inaugural Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.


Jessica Lanay
Graduate Student Assistant

Jessica Lanay, graduate student assistant at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. Lanay is a poet, short fiction, and art writer. Her creative work focuses on architectures of interiority, escapism, history of psychoanalysis, and southern culture. Her poetry has appeared in Sugar House Review, Fugue, A Bad Penny Review, The COMMON, Prairie SchoonerIndiana Review, and others. Her short fiction was most recently published in Tahoma Literary Review, and Black Candies. A short autobiographical essay was also published in Salt Hill Journal. She also does research on extra-linguistic Black ontologies and presented at the 2017 Kristeva Conference and the 2018 NeMLA Conference. Her art writing can be found in BOMB and ArtSlant. She is a Callaloo, Cave Canem, and Kimbilio Fellow. In 2018 she received a Millay Colony Residency and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Normal School for her poem "Milk. Milk. Milk."



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. 



Sarah Morris

Sarah Morris is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and a double major in English Writing and Philosophy. She is currently an intern for the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. 


Faculty Affiliates

Angie Cruz, Associate Professor, Department of English
Toi Derricotte, Professor Emeritus, Department of English
Khirsten Echols, 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
Imani Owens, Assistant Professor, Department of English
William Scott, Associate Professor, Department of English
Christel Temple, Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies
Elizabeth Reich, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder, Assistant Professor, Department of English