Meet Khalisa Rae

Khalisa Rae is an award-winning multi-hyphenate poet, educator, and journalist based in Durham, NC. She is best known for her community activism and nonprofit management as the co-founder of Poet.she (Greensboro), the Invisibility Project, and Athenian Press- QPOC writer’s collective, resource center, and bookstore in Wilmington, NC. With a heart for uplifting and empowering girls of color, Khalisa has served as a outreach and program director for various nonprofits, as well as a teaching artist, and English Instructor on the college and middle grade level. Her first chapbook Real Girls Have Real Problems was published in 2012 by Jacar Press and later adapted into a sold-out play called, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Being a Woman” which was accompanied by a podcast. Her early work with stage performance and slam poetry landed her on stage at the National Poetry Slam, Women of the World Poetry Slam, Individual World Poetry Slam, and Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam, among others. During her time as Outreach Director of the YWCA, Khalisa completed her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte where she studied under renown authors, Claudia Rankine and Ada Limon. There she wrote Outside the Canon– a thesis dissertation on the history of spoken word and its isolation from the literary canon as a result of systematic racism.

Currently, Khalisa is a 4-time Best of the Net nominee, multi-Pushcart Prize nominee, and the author of the debut collection- Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat from Red Hen Press 2021. Khalisa’s performance poetry has led her to speak in front of thousands over the course of her career. She is a seasoned conference panelist and speaker, and the founder and creator of #PublishingPaidMe BIPOC Writers/Editors Panel at the AWP conference, as well as annual speaker at the SEWSA Women’s Conference. Notably, she is the former Gen Z Culture Editor of Blavity News and former Managing Equity and Inclusion Editor of Carve Magazine. As a champion for Black queer narratives, her articles appear in Fodor’s, Autostraddle, Vogue, Catapult, LitHub, Bitch Media, Black Femme Collective, Body.com, NBC-BLK, and others. Her work appears in Electric Lit, Southern Humanities Review, Pinch, Tishman Review, Frontier Poetry, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. Currently, she serves as Asst. Editor of Glass Poetry, co-founder of Think in Ink and the WOC Speak reading series. You can find her teaching Fall/Winter 2021 at Catapult Classes and participating in the Winter Watering Hole Writing Residency. Her YA novel in verse, Unlearning Eden is forthcoming in 2022.