Welcome our 2017 Headliners: Deborah Landau, Aja Monet, Sapphire, & Patrick Phillips

Deborah Landau is the author of three collections of poetry: The Uses of the Body and The Last Usable Hour, both Lannan Literary Selections from Copper Canyon Press, and Orchidelirium, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye for the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her other awards include a Jacob K Javits Fellowship from the US Department of Education and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, Poetry, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, selected for The Best American Poetry, and included in anthologies such as Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, Not for Mothers Only, The Best American Erotic Poems, and Women’s Work: Modern Poets Writing in English. Landau was educated at Stanford University, Columbia University, and Brown University, where she was a Javits Fellow and received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature. She teaches in and directs the Creative Writing Program at New York University, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, sons, and daughter.

Harry Belafonte has called Aja Monet “The true definition of an artist.” An internationally established poet, singer, performer, and educator, Monet’s craft is an in-depth reflection of emotional wisdom, skill, and activism. The youngest individual to win the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title, she is recognized for combining her spellbound voice and powerful imagery on stage. Her books of poetry are My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter (2017)  Inner-City Chants & Cyborg Cyphers (2015), and The Black Unicorn Sings (Penmanship books). In addition, she collaborated with poet/musician Saul Williams on the book Chorus: a literary mixtape (MTV books/Simon & Schuster). Her first CD, Scared to Make Love/Scared Not To, a testament to her creative lens and a social commentary on the discussion of love, was independently released through Bandcamp. Of Cuban-Jamaican heritage, Monet has performed at world-renowned venues including the Town Hall Theater, the Apollo Theater, the United Nations in New York City, and the NAACP’s Barack Obama Inaugural event in Washington DC.

Sapphire is the author of two bestselling novels, Push and The Kid. Push was made into the Academy Award-winning major motion film Precious, and the film adaptation received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. Sapphire’s work has been translated into thirteen languages and has been adapted for stage in the United States and Europe. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in The Black Scholar, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Teacher’s Voice, The New Yorker, Spin, and Bomb.

Patrick Phillips is the author of a book of nonfiction, Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W. W. Norton 2016), and three poetry collections. His most recent, Elegy for a Broken Machine was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry; his two earlier collections are Boy and Chattahoochee. He is also the translator of When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt. A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Phillips’ work has appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, Ploughshares, and The Nation, and his honors include the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America. Phillips lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Drew University.