Tyehimba Jess
2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry;
Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and PEN America Jean Stein Award Finalist 2017;
2017 Midland Authors Award Winner in Poetry;
2017 Anisfield-Wolf Award Winner in Poetry;

National Poetry Series Winner 2004

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Olio is one of the most inventive, intensive poetic undertakings of the past decade... — Boston Globe

Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant... — Publisher's Weekly

It’s something people who care for the music, or for African American cultural history, will read and reread, whether or not they notice its ambitious expansions of what has been possible for the contemporary poem. —  Academy of American  Poets

In [Olio] Jess presents a musical history of the long fight against slavery, marshaling a vast cast of historical figures including the slaves, some freed, whose music was the basis for the blues and jazz in the 19th century. They ask, "Once burst loose from human bondage,/ do our songs still tow our pain like a mule?" — NPR


Tyehimba Jess is the author of Leadbelly and OlioLeadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Olio, published in 2016, has been called "Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant..." by Publisher's Weekly's starred review, and was selected as one of the  five best poetry books of 2016. Library Journal calls Olio a "daring collection, which blends forthright, musically acute language with portraiture." Olio is the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference and won a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. He was a finalist for the 2017 Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award from Claremont Graduate University.  Jess is Poetry and Fiction Editor of African American Review and Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.   

Jess' fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals, as well as anthologies such as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American PoetryBeyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago's Guild Complex, Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry. Tyehimba Jess is based in Chicago.

More titles by Tyehimba Jess

A biography in poems, leadbelly examines the life and times of the legendary blues musician from a variety of intimate and historical perspectives, using a range of innovative poetic forms. A collage of song, culture and circumstance, alive and speaking.  leadbelly was the 2004 National Poetry Series winner selected by Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

History unfolds revealing the overlooked blues-original Huddie Ledbetter in rising poet Tyehimba Jess’s first book, leadbelly. … There is an orality in Jess’s prose poems that lends itself directly to this project. A powerful intertwining of history and blues told through poetry. Jess has created a unique book with a distinct voice that any lover of blues or student of American history needs. —Booklist