I always tell my dancers. You are not defined by your fingertips, or the top of your head, or the bottom of your feet. You are defined by you. You are the expanse. You are the infinity. —Judith Jameson Elizabeth Alexander in The Black Interior writes about
Ronaldo Wilson was born on March 12, 1970, in Millington, Tennessee. He holds an AB in English from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in poetry from New York University, and a PhD in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has studied with such poets as Gwendolyn Brooks, Toi Derricotte, Allen Ginsberg, Galway Kinnell, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, and Ishmael Reed.
Wilson is the author of the cross-genre collection Farther Traveler (Counterpath Press, 2015); Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009), winner of the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry; and Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh, 2008), winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.
In her review of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man, Claudia Rankine writes, “Ronaldo V. Wilson's prose poems are alternately tough and tender probes into the underbelly of their psyches. With audacity and wit reminiscent of the work of Hilton Als, bell hooks, Frantz Fanon, and James Baldwin, Wilson decodes sociopolitical narratives around race, sexuality, and class. Identity, Wilson seems to say, is only a collection of stories—the ones told about us in battle with the ones we tell ourselves. What we have here is palpable consciousness: a stunning achievement.”
Wilson is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Ford Foundation, Kundiman, the National Research Council, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and Yaddo.
With poets Dawn Lundy Martin and Duriel E. Harris, Wilson cofounded the performance-based Black Took Collective. Wilson is currently an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and splits his time between Santa Cruz and Long Island, New York.
Farther Traveler (Counterpath Press, 2015)
Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009)
Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man