Inside the Writer’s Head: Yalie Saweda Kamara

Our 2024 Writer-in-Residence, TaraShea Nesbit, is an award-winning author and teacher. Attend her upcoming workshops and writers' office hours. And, listen to her as host of CHPL's "Inside the Writer's Head" podcast. Photo credit: JP Leong

In this episode of Inside the Writer's Head, TaraShea Nesbit talks with poet Yalie Saweda Kamara about her new book, Besaydooa book that Ross Gay describes as "a prayer for us all" and the New York Times Book Review highlighted the collection as "evoking ecstatic attention and generosity." In addition to sharing her insights about writing poems, Yalie offers listeners a writing exercise to try, one which inspired her terrific poem, "Mother's Rules," and talks about her polyvocal community writing project she is doing in Cincinnati as part of the 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. 

This podcast was recorded at the Downtown Main Library MakerSpace using the recording booth that anyone with a library card can reserve for free to create podcasts, record music, and more. 

About Yalie Saweda Kamara

Yalie Saweda Kamara is a Sierra Leonean-American writer, educator, and researcher from Oakland, California in the Cincinnati and Mercantile Library Poet Laureate. This fall, she joined the English Department of Xavier University as an assistant professor. She is also the editor of the anthology What You Need to Know About Me and the author of A Brief Biography of My Name and When The Living Sing.

Yalie Saweda Kamara earned a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Cincinnati, an MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University, Bloomington, and an MA in French Culture and Civilization from Middlebury College.

In between her studies, she worked in the field of social justice, specializing in educational access and arts facilitation. She has lived in France, Brazil, and the US and has a particularly soft spot, she says, for Oakland, Washington DC, Paris, and the Midwest. And this year, she was awarded the 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.

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