Tiana Clark


Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Clark is a winner for the 2020 Kate Tufts Discovery Award (Claremont Graduate University), a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, a recipient of a 2019 Pushcart Prize, a winner of the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She was the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Clark is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (M.F.A) and Tennessee State University (B.A.) where she studied Africana and Women's studies. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Washington Post, VQR, Tin House Online, Kenyon Review, BuzzFeed News, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Oxford American, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Source

Excerpt from "The First Black Bachelorette"

There was an episode once

on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

with the actress Tisha Campbell.

The premise: they were on a date

and stuck in a basement for hours.

She stripped off her weave, fake nails,

contacts, and eyelashes. She molted.

Will, then asks, Now, what else

on your body can I get at the mall?

RuPaul says, we’re all born naked

and the rest is drag. Derrick has a list

of funny drag names and I want one.

I want to be called what I really am

or what I pretend to be, which, I guess

in a way, is me? Or someone who I think

might be beautiful enough to be approached,

discovered. Someone who doesn’t have

to pay for movers. Someone who walks

into a party and doesn’t have to be anxious

because the privilege of their beauty

makes them at rest and people find vacations

in their faces. I require something fake.

Woven and glued, stuck to my body

but not of my body. How does a body

even start?





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Body & Body Image

Intersectionality & Culture

Pop Culture


Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered