Honorée Fanonne Jeffers


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers was born in 1967 and grew up in Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. Her work examines culture, religion, race, and family. Her first book, The Gospel of Barbecue (2000), was selected by Lucille Clifton for the Stan and Tom Wick poetry prize and was a 2001 Paterson Poetry prize finalist. Her subsequent collections include The Age of Phillis (2020); The Glory Gets (2015); Red Clay Suite (2007), which received second prize in the Crab Orchard Review’s open competition; and Outlandish Blues (2003). Jeffers’s work has been anthologized in numerous volumes, including Roll Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (2002) and These Hands I Know: Writing About the African American Family (2002). Jeffers is also the author of the novel The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois (2021), and she has published fiction in the Indiana Review, the Kenyon Review, the New England Review, and Story Quarterly. She received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011, and in 2018, she won the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year. The recipient of honors from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women, Jeffers teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma where she is an associate professor of English. Source

Dreams of My Father

Or a man who looks like him.

I only know I call him Daddy

(as all southern women

do until the day we die).

In my dreams he is still alive

and this is not a comfort.

I am my best when tragic.

Grief becomes me.

Daddy is more real in death,

eyes dark, undimmed

by the grave, smile less sincere.

Matter clings to his thick

eyebrows, his mouth spits mud

when he tries to talk. He is candid.

He tells me he liked my sisters better than me.

Most times I search for him in a crowd

of counterfeit Daddies.

I look for pieces of him.

An elbow. Black hair on the back

of a pale neck. If I find him,

I will say, Is that you?

I know you this time.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Death & Loss


Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered