Meet the Artist, poet Raina J. León - Presented by Supporting Women Writers in MIA
Raina J. León, PhD is Black, Afro-Boricua, and from Philadelphia (Lenni Lenape ancestral lands). She is a mother, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher/educator. She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education. She seeks out communities of care and craft and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, and Macondo, among other creative communities. She is the author of black god mother this body, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, sombra : (dis)locate, and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self. She publishes across forms in visual art, poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and scholarly work. She has received fellowships and residencies with the Obsidian Foundation, Community of Writers, Montana Artists Refuge, Macdowell, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale, among others. She is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts. She recently retired early as a full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California, only the third Black person (all Black women) and the first Afro-Latina to achieve that rank there; she now holds professor emerita status, the first Black person to achieve the rank and third Latinx person. She currently supports poets and writers at the Stonecoast MFA at the University of Southern Maine. She is additionally a digital archivist, emerging visual artist, writing coach, and curriculum developer.