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Yona Harvey

Associate Professor

Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collections You Don’t Have To Go To Mars for Love (Four Way Books, 2020) and Hemming the Water (Four Way Books, 2013), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  Her work has been published and anthologized in many publications including Letters to the Future: black women : radical writing, A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry and The Force of What’s Possible: Accessibility and the Avant-Garde.  She contributed to Marvel’s World of Wakanda and co-authored with Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther and the Crew.  Her interests and writings in nonfiction led her to work with teenagers writing about mental health issues in collaboration with Creative Nonfiction magazine.

Her personal website is


My interest in the visual arts and creative writing ignited when I was an undergraduate student in Washington, DC. I facilitated creative writing workshops as a member of the DC WritersCorps, which poet and activist Kenneth Carroll directed. The program gave me many foundational insights about creative writing instruction, mentorship, team-teaching, collaboration, curriculum development, and self-evaluation.

What happens when we inevitably encounter difficulties we cannot overcome on our own?  Every literary work is potentially inaccessible depending on the stages of a reader’s life.  And creativity, like issues of accessibility, is fluid. The lure of the difficult, hybrid, or avant-garde resides in the joys of research, reading, collaboration, and feeling comfortable asking for help.  I invite both graduate and undergraduate students to engage writing prompts, to experiment with design and form, and to draw on index cards as a nod to the influential teacher and artist Lynda Barry.  Accepting and writing through discomfort or the pressure to be perfect comes with many years of writing experience.  In the meantime, I encourage students to free themselves by drafting many messy pages.   Then they may begin the difficult and sometimes joyful process of editing and revising.

Revised 06/14/2022
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