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Bio

Nadia Alexis is a poet, visual artist, organizer, and educator who was born in Harlem, New York City to Haitian immigrants. She holds a BA in Political Science from Union College where she also studied Africana Studies and French. In May 2019, she will earn her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Mississippi, where she also studies photography.

Her poetry has been published in The American Poetry Journal, Kweli Journal, Texas Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and elsewhere. Her personal essay writing has been published at On She Goes. She was the featured visual artist in TORCH Literary Journal’s 2016 Spring/Summer issue and has additional photographic works published in the Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora 2017 anthology featuring over 100 women photographers of African descent from around the world. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology nominee, she was a recipient of a scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center and has received fellowships from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and The Watering Hole.

Currently, she is a 2018-2019 Fellow in The Carr Center Independent Scholars Fellowship program under the mentorship of Resident Artist Carrie Mae Weems. She co-curates the Trobar Ric Poetry Reading Series, an independent reading series based in Oxford, MS. In the summers, she serves on the creative writing faculty of the McMullan Young Writers Workshop at Millsaps College and also teaches creative writing in the summer youth camps at the University of Mississippi’s Pre-College Program. She is a Board Member of Community Governance and Development Council (CGDCNY), where she plays a communications advisory role for the Yonkers, NY-based community organization.

She is currently at work on her first full-length hybrid manuscript of poems and photographs, while also building bodies of photographic works. In April 2019, her What Endures series will be exhibited in the 2019 Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba. The multidisciplinary group exhibition is entitled The Spirit That Resides. As of March 2019, works from her What Endures series are currently on view in the J.D. Williams Library of the University of Mississippi.


Artist Statement

I am a poet and visual artist born and raised in New York City to Haitian immigrants who hail from Haiti’s countryside. I am a survivor and a descendant of women who were survivors of various types of traumas. Rooted in this history, I use photography and other mediums to investigate ideas around Black womanhood in relation to memory, myth, lineage, nature, and liminal spaces that exist in moving through traumatic experiences and on through the non-linear path of healing and self-discovery. I’m interested in questions around identity and spirit.

In my poetry and photography, the Black female subject is often seeking in conversation with tangible and intangible elements within and surrounding her. I think a lot about the question of what survival is and what it feels like when one’s survival is in danger. I think about how Black women disproportionately experience high rates of violence in this country, whether that’s state violence or interpersonal violence that’s inflicted upon them. I think about what it means be of the Haitian diaspora and navigating American land. I think about how the outdoors can range from being a place of freedom and communion to a place of haunting and alienation. I am fascinated by natural Southern landscapes and what lives and dies within them.

Often using black-and-white imagery and using my body in the photographs as a representative through self-portraiture, I seek to unearth questions and truths informed by personal narratives, mythologies, folklore, and ideas around how we hold on, what we hold on to and what we release.