Jaki Shelton Green

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Poet and author Jaki Shelton Green, reading from Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise"

Jaki Shelton Green is an American poet. In November 2009, she was named the first Piedmont Laureate by a collection of Triangle-area arts councils.[1][2] She currently resides in Mebane, North Carolina.[3] Green teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University within the Center for Documentary Studies.

Green is a lecturer and workshop facilitator, travelling and teaching at numerous conferences and events.[4]

Early life[edit]

Green was born in Alamance County, North Carolina and grew up in Efland, North Carolina, which is in Orange County.[5] She has said that as a child she was "fidgety" and that her grandmother gave her a writing pad, which she has credited with starting her passion for writing.[6]

Green is a graduate of the George School, which is a private Quaker boarding school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She also has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Greater Hartford Community College in Connecticut (now Capital Community College).

Personal life[edit]

Green is married and has at least one daughter, Imani, who died of cancer in June 2009.[5]


Green is the founder of SistaWRITE. She created the organization in order to "bring women and spaces together for writing, community, sisterhood, and shared experience."[7]


In 2003, the North Carolina Award for Literature was bestowed on Green for "outstanding performance (and achievement) in literature".[2][8] Green was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014. She was recognized and appointed to be the 9th North Carolina Poet Laureate in June 2018 and is North Carolina's first African American to receive this recognition. She was scheduled to be installed in the position on September 19, 2018;[9] however, due Hurricane Michael, it was rescheduled to December 10, 2018.[10]

The Academy of American Poets named Green as one of their first ever Laureate Fellows in 2019.[11]


Green has published eight books of poetry.[12]

  • Mask (Carolina Wren Press, 1981)
  • Dead on Arrival Chapel Hill, N.C. (Carolina Wren Press, 1983) ISBN 9780932112385
  • Swiss Time (Mud Puppy Press, 1990)
  • Conjure Blues: Poems (Carolina Wren Press, 1996) ISBN 9780932112378
  • singing a tree into the dance (Carolina Wren Press, 2003)
  • Breath of the Song: New and Selected Poems (Carolina Wren Press, 2005) ISBN 0932112498
  • Feeding the Light (Jacar Press, 2014) ISBN 9780989795234
  • I Want to Undie You (Jacar Press, 2017) ISBN 9780936481289


  1. ^ "Past Laureates". Piedmont Laureate. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Metro Magazine: Books". December 2008. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  3. ^ Libraries, Richard Cox, ERIT, University. "Green, Jaki Shelton, Author - North Carolina Literary Map". library.uncg.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  4. ^ "Full CV" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b "Jaki Shelton Green". North Carolina Arts Council. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  6. ^ Stasio, Dana Terry, Frank. "Poet Of The People – Meet Jaki Shelton Green". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  7. ^ "SistaWRITE". SistaWRITE. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  8. ^ "Biography". Piedmont Laureate. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  9. ^ "Jaki Shelton Green Poet Laureate Induction Ceremony Scheduled Sept. 19 | NC DNCR". www.ncdcr.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  10. ^ "Jaki Shelton Green Poet Laureate Induction Ceremony Scheduled Dec. 10 | NC DNCR". www.ncdcr.gov. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  11. ^ "Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green Receives Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship". North Carolina Arts Council. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "North Carolina Poet Laureate: Jaki Shelton Green" (PDF).