poem index


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Durham , NC , United States
Printer-friendly version
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Born in 1967, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers received an MFA from the University of Alabama. She is the author of the poetry collections The Glory Gets (Wesleyan University Press, 2015);  Red Clay Suite (Southern Illinois University Press, 2007); Outlandish Blues (Wesleyan University Press, 2003); and The Gospel of Barbecue (The Kent State University Press, 2000), which was selected by Lucille Clifton for the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize.

Her work has been anthologized in Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas (Warner Aspect, 2000); Identity lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American, edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan (Penguin Books, 1999); At Our Core: Women Writing About Power, edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz (Papier-Mache Press, 1998); and Dark Eros, edited by Reginald Martin (St. Martin's Press, 1997).

Jeffers has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony and won awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation for Women Writers and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women. In 2011 she received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Oklahoma and lives in Norman, Oklahoma.



The Glory Gets (Wesleyan University Press, 2015)
Red Clay Suite (Southern Illinois University Press, 2007)
Outlandish Blues (Wesleyan University Press, 2003)
The Gospel of Barbecue (The Kent State University Press, 2000)

by this poet


for Billie Holiday

There's fairness in changing blood for septet's
guardian rhythm, the horn blossoming
into cadenza. No good pimp's scowl, his
baby's voice ruined sweet for the duration.

Yes, these predictable fifths. O, the blues
is all about slinging those low tales out
the back door (

for Jerry Ward, Jr.

Shallow curve of the land
between master and owned
I have dismissed you until I come
upon kin     Since time my jaws
have collected accusations
from memory     No logic
grinding my teeth     I have not
been sold     The telling of the

I believe that white lady
meant well, but she took liberties
with my story.
There was a pint,
and I am a woman,
but I never did bear
thirteen young.
There was an audience,
and I did stand.
At first, hesitant, but then,
speaking God’s clear
consonants in a voice
that all might hear, not
with apostrophes feeding