Born in Detroit, Tyehimba Jess is the rare poet who bridges slam and academic poetry. His first collection, leadbelly (2005), an exploration of the blues musician Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s life, was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, and was voted one of the top three poetry books of the year by Black Issues Book Review. A two-time member of the Chicago Green Mill Slam team, Jess was also Chicago’s Poetry Ambassador to Accra, Ghana. A former artist-in-residence with Cave Canem, Jess has taught at the Juilliard School, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and at the College of Staten Island in New York City.
Nkosi Nkululeko, the 2016 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, is a Callaloo and The Watering Hole fellow. A nominee for the American Voices Award, Independent Best American Poetry Award, and the Pushcart Prize, Nkululeko was a member of the 2014 Urban Word NYC Slam Team and 2015 NYC-Urbana Slam Team. His work is published currently or is forthcoming in No Token, Rose Red Review, Hobart, decomP and elsewhere. He lives in Harlem, New York, listening to jazz.