If poetry is not bread
to fortify the righteous
is it because we miss
in it the savor of contest
the whisper of blessing
over a martyr's name
the light of sacral plans
to take the citadel once
and for all, or give it up?
Mark McMorris was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1960. He holds several degrees from Brown University, including an M.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry), an M.A. in Greek and Latin Studies, an M.A. Comparative Literature, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature.
His collections of poetry include Entrepôt (Coffee House Press, 2010); The Café at Light (Roof Books, 2004); The Blaze of the Poui (2003), which was selected by C. D. Wright for the 2002 Contemporary Poetry Series and was also a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The Black Reeds(1997), winner of the Contemporary Poetry Series prize from the University of Georgia Press; Moth-Wings(1996), and Palinurus Suite(1992).
McMorris's critical writing has appeared in Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary, Xcp: Crosscultural Poetics, Tripwire, and The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. His fiction has appeared in publications such as Ancestral House: The Black Short Story in the Americas and Europe, Callaloo, Conjunctions, and elsewhere.
A two-time winner of the Contemporary Poetry Series, McMorris has been the recipient of various honors, including The Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry. He also received two nominations for the Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series in 1999 and 2000.
He has taught at Brown University and University of California, Berkeley, where he served as the Roberta C. Holloway Visiting Professor. He is an Associate Professor at Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1997 and serves as Director of the University's Lannan Literary Programs.