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Yona Harvey

Assistant Professor

Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collection, Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University.  Her work has been published and anthologized in many publications including A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry and The Force of What’s Possible: Accessibility and the Avant-Garde.  She contributed to Marvel’s World of Wakanda and co-authored with Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther and the Crew.  Her interests and writings in nonfiction recently led her to teach a workshop for Creative Nonfiction magazine: “Writing Away the Stigma for Young Adults,” designed for teens writing about their mental health experiences.

Her personal website is


My interest in the visual arts and creative writing ignited when I was an undergraduate student in Washington, DC. I facilitated creative writing workshops as a member of the DC WritersCorps, which poet and activist Kenneth Carroll directed. The program gave me many foundational insights about creative writing instruction, mentorship, team-teaching, collaboration, curriculum development, and self-evaluation.

What happens when we inevitably encounter difficulties we cannot overcome on our own?  Every literary work is potentially inaccessible depending on the stages of a reader’s life.  And creative writing, like issues of accessibility, is fluid. The lure of the difficult, hybrid, or avant-garde resides in the joys of doing one’s homework, reading, and asking for help. The acceptance of discomfort may come with many years of experience as a writer. When teaching hybrid writing, the danger of students’ perception that “anything goes” often looms. I use library research and cataloging exercises as anchors for my students, giving them freedom to experiment and “make a mess” before they begin the difficult process of editing and revising.

Revised 05/30/2020
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