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

Mixed Bitch

is allowed to love herself.


She wants to tell Nikky Finney

about her beautiful black girl arms

how they shimmer and shimmy in space—  

making muscle songs of her tendons

and the dark matter beef.


Mixed Bitch wants to commission Kehinde Wiley.

She wants renaissance prints behind her mulatto skin,

gold lamé and a big ass frame inside the First



She was caught between two allegiances, different,

yet the same. Herself. Her race. Race! The thing

that bound and suffocated her. Whatever steps

she took, or if she took none at all, something

would be crushed. Crushed?


Mixed Bitch don’t know her Daddy.

Mixed Bitch don’t know her Daddy.

Mixed          Bitch

           don’t know

her       Daddy.


But ain’t she still allowed to love herself?


Mixed Bitch lets herself love— 

the black inside: the white inside: the black of herself.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


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

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


a break between words within a metrical foot


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered