Aracelis Girmay

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Aracelis Girmay
Aracelis Girmay 2280095.jpg
Born (1977-12-10) December 10, 1977 (age 42)[1]
EducationConnecticut College

Aracelis Girmay (born December 10, 1977)[1] is an American poet.

Early life[edit]

Aracelis Girmay is of Eritrean heritage[2] and attended Connecticut College,[3] then earned a Master of Fine Arts from New York University.


Girmay's first collection was Teeth (2007), for which she won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award.[4]

In 2011, Girmay published Kingdom Animalia, for which she was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.[5] At The Rumpus, Camille T. Dungy said, "Girmay writes of ways we can be brought together, and ways the world separates us."[6] Junot Diaz has said his favorite poem is Kingdom Animalia's titular poem,[7] writing in The New York Times:

I remember rereading these lines shortly after I lost my sister:

Oh, body, be held now by whom you love.
Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars,
when dirt’s the only animal who will sleep with you
& touch you with
its mouth.

And I was never the same.[8]

The Black Maria (2016) was Girmay's third collection.[9] Selecting The Black Maria as a "Pick of the Week" in April 2016, Publishers Weekly described it as "a moving collection of lyrical, image-thick poems that balance on the knife edge separating vulnerability and unapologetic strength."[10] The Boston Globe named it one of the best books of 2016.[11]


  • 2009 winner, Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award
  • 2011 finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award, Poetry, for Kingdom Animalia
  • 2015 winner, Whiting Award for poetry[12]


  • Teeth Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2007. ISBN 9781931896368, OCLC 255642172
  • Changing, changing, New York: George Braziller, 2005. ISBN 9780807615539, OCLC 57352696
  • Kingdom animalia : poems, Rochester, NY: Boa Editions, 2011. ISBN 9781934414620, OCLC 830153138
  • The Black Maria Rochester, NY: BOA Editions Ltd. 2016. ISBN 9781942683025, OCLC 991299177


  1. ^ a b "Girmay, Aracelis". Library of Congress. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Inside of An Egg, There is More Than An Egg: Teaching Aracelis Girmay". The University of Arizona. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Recent fellowship winners". Connecticut College. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  4. ^ "WINNERS OF THE GLCA NEW WRITERS AWARD" (PDF). Great Lakes Colleges Association. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  5. ^ "National Book Critics Circle announces finalists for 2011 awards". Los Angeles Times. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  6. ^ Dungy, Camille T. (28 July 2011). "Why I Chose Kingdom Animalia". The Rumpus. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  7. ^ Girmay, Aracelis (28 March 2012). ""Kingdom Animalia"". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  8. ^ "What's Your Favorite Poem?". The New York Times. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  9. ^ Teicher, Craig Morgan (January 3, 2016). "In A Dark Time, The Eye Begins to See: A 2016 Poetry Preview". NPR. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  10. ^ "PW Picks: Books of the Week, April 11, 2016". Publishers Weekly. April 11, 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Best books of 2016". Boston Globe. December 7, 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  12. ^ Scutts, Joanna (14 August 2015). "Stop and hear the poetry: spoken words beckon to bustling New York City". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2017.

External links[edit]