Aracelis Girmay   Aracelis Girmay

Described as “the real deal” by the Co-editor of Latino Boom, Aracelis Girmay is a powerful, inventive poet, writer, and educator who is not afraid to take on any subject, including rape and genocide, and who brings to her poems not only high seriousness and passion but a sustaining voice of hope. Introducing her debut collection, Teeth, Martín Espada writes that her work is “so strong, so brave, so lyrical, so fiery, so joyful, that the usual superlatives fail.” 

Girmay weaves her multicultural heritage (Eritrean, Puerto Rican and African American) into a distinct political voice. From the African folk tale to the open-air markets of Puerto Rico, Girmay recovers the images of her mother countries, merging the traditions – culinary, spiritual, storytelling – into a poetry of resistance and survival.  Drawing in stories from Iraq, Darfur and Nicaragua, she takes a stance of “solidarity with people whose history changes, or is forcibly changed by war, poverty and the damaging actions or apathy of the world’s leaders,” writes Rigoberto Gonzalez in a review of Teeth.

Also a writer of fiction and nonfiction, Girmay received her MFA from New York University and works as a writer in the schools with the Community Word Project and Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and has published poems in Ploughshares, Callaloo and the Indiana Review among other journals, citing among her deep influences Frieda Kahlo, Martín Espada, Toni Morrison, Minnie Ripperton, Walt Whitman, Ralph Ellison, Pablo Neruda and Gwendolyn Brooks.



Poetry Center Reading:
Spring 2009


Poems by Aracelis Girmay



Consider the Hands That Write This Letter











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