I decided that my responsibility as a poet was to always keep my gaze centered on my Jamaican landscape, to tell the stories of Jamaican womanhood, of blackness and marginalization, to write against postcolonial history and nurture anti-colonial selfhood.



Safiya Sinclair

Whiting Award Winner

American academy of arts and letters award

OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry

Safiya Sinclair Author Photo Full.jpg



With exquisite lyrical precision, Safiya Sinclair is offering us a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful. Intelligent and elemental, these poems mark the debut of a poet who is dangerously talented and desperately needed.
— Ada Limón
Reading (and rereading) Sinclair is an urgently necessary, absolutely unparalleled experience.
Booklist starred review
A stunning debut collection.
Publishers Weekly starred review

Safiya Sinclair is the author of Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Addison M. Metcalf Award, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. It was selected as one of the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of the Year," and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, as well as being longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize.  Her forthcoming memoir, How to Say Babylon, will be published by Simon & Schuster.

Born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Sinclair's poems are deeply engaged with womanhood, with exile (exile from the homeland, from the prevailing culture, from one’s own body), and with reclaiming a place in the world. Discussing her poetry with The Rumpus, Sinclair notes, "I wanted to write poems that reflected the fertile landscape of Jamaica as a mirror to the landscape of the black female body—untamed, “frightening,” and unknown, while celebrating the nature of that “savagery” as a vital and beautiful part of Caribbean selfhood."

Sinclair’s other honors include a Pushcart Prize, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, fellowships from Yaddo, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her poems have appeared in PoetryKenyon Review, Granta, The Nation, New England Review, Boston Review, Oxford American, the 2018 Forward Book of Poetry, and elsewhere.  

She received her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia, and is currently a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.



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