Rickey Laurentiis

Whiting Award winner Rickey Laurentiis is the author of Boy with Thorn (Pitt Poetry Series, 2015), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the Kate Tufts Discovery award, and the PEN/Osterweil Award. It was named one of the top ten debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers Magazine and a top 16 best poetry books by Buzzfeed, among other distinctions. Individual poems have appeared widely, including Boston Review, Feminist Studies, The Kenyon Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, New Republic, The New York Times, and Poetry; have been anthologized in Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers Speak of Palestine, Bettering American Poetry, and Prospect.3's art catalogue Notes for Now. Their poems have been translated into Arabic, Spanish and Ukrainian.

Laurentiis is the inaugural fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African-American Poetry and Poetics, as well as a Lannan Fellow.

In a conversation with poet Solmaz Sharif, when asked what they perceived as their “duty” as a poet, Laurentiis said, “I think my duty is pitched toward the past (the dead) and toward the future (the not-yet-born). Paradoxically, this means I must be explicitly, deeply, critically moored to the present. I think of a description of the poem you often mention, but I forget the attribution: about poems functioning as either 'diagnostic' or 'curative.' I find I lean toward the former, which means to face and acknowledge all of the past, brutal or otherwise. And I lean this way towards hoping, in a future, that my poems, however contaminated they may very well be, may approach the latter.“

Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, They received their MFA in Writing from Washington University in St Louis, where he was a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow, and his Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where he read literature and queer theory. They live in New Orleans.

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