Tracie Morris

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Tracie Morris is an American poet. She is also a performance artist, vocalist, voice consultant, creative non-fiction writer, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and non-profit consultant. Morris is from Brooklyn, New York. Morris' experimental sound poetry is progressive and improvisational. She is a tenured professor at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


Tracie Morris earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Poetry at Hunter College and her Ph.D in Performance Studies at New York University with an emphasis on speech act theory, poetry and Black aesthetics, under the supervision of José Esteban Muñoz. She also studied classical British acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (London) and American acting at Michael Howard Studios.


Morris writes about Black culture, power, race, gender, abuse and the body, among other topics, through reverberation and accumulative alterations or substituting, thereby creating dynamic and intimate sound poetry work . Although primarily known for her live performances, Morris has written seven books and has been heavily anthologized as a writer in multiple genres.

Morris emerged as a poet, performer and writer from the Lower East Side poetry scene in the early 1990s. She became known as a local poet in the "slam" scene of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, New York, and eventually made the 1993 Nuyorican Poetry Slam team, the same year she won the Nuyorican Grand Slam.[1] She competed in the 1993 National Poetry Slam held that year in San Francisco with other poets from the Nuyorican team.[2] Morris also won the "national haiku slam" that year and her interest in the form lead her to Asia to research poetic forms and cultures from the region in 1998.[3] She has been a member of the MLA (Modern Language Association), Associated Writing Programs, The Shakespeare Society and The Shakespeare Forum. Her work has been featured in Fuse Magazine, The Amsterdam News, The Village Voice, Tribes Magazine, Bomb Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail and San Francisco Weekly as well as many cultural and scholarly journals. She has performed at Lincoln Center, St. Mark's Poetry Project, CBGBs, the 92nd Street Y, Lollapalooza, SouthxSouthWest, The Whitney Museum, MoMA, Albertine,[4] The New Museum,[5] Centre Pompidou[6] (Paris), Centre for Creative Arts (Durban),[7] Victoria and Albert Museum, Queensland Poetry Festival[8] (Brisbane, Melbourne) and many other regional, national, and international venues. She has presented her work throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.

Morris began performing with music from the outset of her poetry career— those initial collaborations beginning with musicians she met as a member of the Black Rock Coalition. Morris' work is embraced by slam and performance poets as well as the Language Poets, a contemporary poetic avant-garde. She is featured, for example, on Charles Bernstein's Close Listening radio program[9] and was featured at a 2008 conference on Conceptual Poetics alongside Bernstein, Marjorie Perloff, Craig Dworkin and others. Morris also received the Creative Capital Performing Arts award in the year 2000. In addition to being an experimental poet, Morris writes poetry in conventional forms and nonce [10] forms.

Morris is known as a sound artist and specialist in sound poetry[11] as well as an occasional theatrical performer. (She is also a singer with composer/musician Elliott Sharp's band, Terraplane, and her eponymous band.) Morris was an early collaborator with Ralph Lemon for his Geography Trilogy. Her work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.[12] Morris has taught in several institutions of higher education. She is the first tenured African-American poet of the Iowa Writers' Workshop after serving as the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry there.

Creative and Academic Fellowships[edit]

Morris was the 2007-2008 Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania,[13] was a 2018 Master Artist of the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the 2018-2019 Woodberry Poetry Room Fellow at Harvard University as well as resident at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. Grants Morris has received include fellowships of the New York Foundation for the Arts, Creative Capital and the Asian Cultural Council.

Consultant, Workshop Leader, Panelist[edit]

Morris leads workshops on creative writing, voice and planning consultations for activists, artists, youth, women, post-graduate students and underserved communities as well as private and non-profit groups. She is in demand as a panelist, respondent and guest artist on panels, serving for prestigious educational organizations including Modern Language Association, Associated Writing Program, Columbia University, Princeton University, MIT, Pomona College, Dartmouth College, Smith College, University of Arizona, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Creative Capital Foundation, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, the Cave Canem Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Culture, among others. Morris is a consultant for educational and arts organizations. She has served on Board of Trustees/Board of Directors, committees and Artist Advisory boards for: the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the Black Rock Coalition and other national and grassroots institutions. She is also a workshop leader for innovative poetry conducting intensives for St. Mark's Poetry Project, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Poets' House, Naropa University, Kore Press and other arts organizations.

Featured recordings[edit]

With Elliott Sharp

  • Terraplane: Forgery
  • Terraplane: Secret Life
  • Radio-Hyper-Yahoo
  • Terraplane: Sky Road Songs
  • 4AM Always

With Uri Caine


Chap-T-Her Won, 1993, TM Ink

''Intermission, 1998, Soft Skull Press

"Rhyme Scheme", 2012, Zasterle Press

Handholding: 5 kinds, 2016, Kore Press Best American Experimental Writing 2016 (a.k.a. BAX 2016) co-edited with Charles Bernstein, Seth Abramson, Jesse Damiani, Wesleyan University Press, 2017

Per Form/Hard Kore: joca seria press 2017 (English with French translation by Olivier Brosard, Vincent Broqua, Abigail Lang)

Who Do With Words: Chax Press 2018


Boating Duozetuor

Slave Sho' to Video Aka Black but Beautiful

The Mrs. Gets Her Ass Kicked

Project Princess

Leonine Viewing


  1. ^ Bastidas, Grace (April 25, 2000). "Bard Wired". Village Voice. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe. (2008). Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. New York City: Soft Skull Press. "Chapter 14: First and Always; Graduates from the NYC Poetry Slam's First Wave" ISBN 1-933368-82-9.
  3. ^ Sengupta, Somini (February 1, 1998). "A Hip Hop Poet Looks Beyond Her Roots". New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Albertine | Hard Kore: Poemes". Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Outside the Box Gallery Talks: Tracie Morris on Anri Sala's "Answer Me"". New Museum. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  6. ^ "L'événement Tracie Morris, " Sound off the page "". Centre Pompidou. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  7. ^ Duchaine, Randy. "Tracie Morris | Photograph by Randy Duchaine". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  8. ^ Smith, Hazel. "Voice in poetry: On Stage and In Performance". southerly journal. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  9. ^ PennSound.
  10. ^ nonce
  11. ^ Sound poetry
  12. ^ 2002 Whitney Biennial List of Artists Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Fellow in Poetics & Poetic Practice


  • The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Anthologies by Tessa Kale
  • Right to Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race by Maureen Mahon
  • The Stamp of Class: Reflections on Poetry and Social Class by Gary Lenhart
  • Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies by Robert O'Meally, Brent Hayes Edwards, and Farah Jasmine Griffin
  • Living in Spanglish: The Search for Latino Identity in America by Ed Morales, St. Martin's Press: 2003
  • Production Notebooks Volume 2 by Mark Bly
  • Geography: Art/race/exile by Ralph Lemon and Ann Daly
  • Listen Up! by Zoe Angelsey
  • Girls Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings From The Girl Zine Revolution by Tristan Taormino, Karen Green, and Ann Magnuson
  • Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry by Gary Mex Glazner
  • We Who Love to Be Astonished: Experimental Women’s Writing and Performance Poetics. edited by Laura Hinton and Cynthia Hogue.
  • The Muse is Music: Jazz Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to Spoken Word by Meta DuEwa Jones University of Illinois Press, 2011
  • Choice Voice Noise: Soundings in Innovative African American Poetry by Kathleen Crown in "Assembling Alternatives: Reading Postmodern Poetries Transnationally" edited by Romana Huk, Wesleyan University Press, 2003
  • Ranft, Erin (January 2014). "The Afrofuturist Poetry of Tracie Morris and Tracy K. Smith". Journal of Ethnic American Literature

External links[edit]