Yolanda Wisher


Poet Yolanda Wisher was born in Philadelphia and raised in North Wales, Pennsylvania. She earned a BA at Lafayette College and an MA at Temple University and was a Cave Canem fellow. She is the author of the poetry collection Monk Eats an Afro (2014). Her work has been included in the anthologies Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (2006), The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and A Best of Fence: The First Nine Years (2009). Wisher’s poems are musical, playful, and brutal, and she infuses spoken language with blues-informed cadence to engage themes of intimacy, power, and identity. Source

no more grandma poems

they said 

forget your grandma

these american letters

don’t need no more 

grandma poems

but i said 

the grandmas are 

our first poetic forms

the first haiku 

was a grandma 

& so too 

the first sonnet

the first blues

the first praise song 


every poem 

is a grandmother 

a womb that has ended 

& is still expanding 

a daughter that is 

rhetorically aging 

& retroactively living

every poem 

is your grandma

& you miss her

wouldn’t mind 

seeing her again

even just 

for a moment 

in the realm of spirit

in the realm 

of possibilities 

where poems 

share blood 

& spit & exist 

on chromosomal 

planes of particularity 

where poems 

are strangers

turned sistren 

not easily shook 

or forgotten





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica


Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


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


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


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