Author, Educator, Interdisciplinary Artist
“Using multiple identities and voices, the social world of appearance, judgment, identity and relationship is superimposed against the demands of woman-ness—a critique, a disruption and a declaration of the self. Renee’s interweaving is relentless, and the interwork of prose, poetry, footnotes, dialogic, and declarations, create a new symphonic awareness of how women’s lives are intrinsically bonded to the internal. Some meta-, some stream-of-consciousness, some lyric and narrative, the movements invade the senses and interrupt the intellectual to initiate an atomic space where the elements converge. Reneé words emanate at a high absorption rate that leaves the heart pounding as we release assumptions and give into the simultaneity of understanding and liberation.” —Elmaz Abinader
“Anastacia-Reneé broils the alphabet with accents of Zora and bobby pins and tangled braids; she is busy here melding a blackgirl womansong with a backbeat of black jesus and barbie heads; she is weaving a ghosted blues of cop cars and sparrow eyes; she is translating a language of pain to a semaphore of power. Open these pages… and witness a unique voice that has come into its own” —Tyehimba Jess
“The poems of Anastacia-Reneé synthesize voice and body; prayer and meditation; politics and play; love and sexuality. Even poetic form is synthesized with monologues, glossaries, prose, and fragments.” —Terrance Hayes
Anastacia-Reneé is a queer writer, educator, interdisciplinary artist, speaker, and podcaster. She is the author of (v.) (Gramma/Black Ocean, 2017); Forget It (Black Radish, 2017); Sidenotes from the Archivist (HarperCollins/Amistad, 2023); and Here in the (Middle) of Nowhere (HarperCollins/Amistad, 2024).
Sidenotes from the Archivist is a rich and beautiful collection of verse and image, a multi-part retrospective that traverses time, space, and reality to illuminate the expansiveness of Black femme lives. About the book, Douglas Kearney says, “Casting a sharp side-eye at the past with urgent syntax that rockets a reader forward, Anastacia-Reneé’s newest collection is a trenchant critique of US American f#@ckeries. This is a communal book in which unruly voices account for the dead; there are far too many to remember and more coming soon. Side Notes From the Archivist moves the margins to the center, retroactively claiming space and meaning to hold it into whatever future there is.”
Her work has been anthologized in: The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics and Superhero Poetry, Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora (Playground),Home is Where You Queer Your Heart, Furious Flower Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, Teaching Black: The Craft of Teaching on Black Life and Literature, Joy Has A Sound, Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Micro Essays on Being in the World, Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden, and Seismic: Seattle City of Literature.
Reneé has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Ragdale, Mineral School, and The New Orleans Writers Residency. Her work has appeared in, BOMB, Prairie Schooner, Hobart, Foglifter, Auburn Avenue, Catapult, Alta, Torch, Poetry Northwest, A-Line, Cascadia Magazine, Hennepin Review, Ms. Magazine and others. They were selected by NBC News as part of the list of “Queer Artist of Color Dominate 2021’s Must See LGBTQ Art Shows.” Anastacia-Reneé was former Seattle Civic Poet (2017-2019), Hugo House Poet-in-Residence (2015-2017), Arc Artist Fellow (2020), and Jack Straw Curator (2020).
She lives in New York City.
Anastacia-Reneé (She/They) is a queer writer, educator, interdisciplinary artist and, speaker. She is the author of (v.), Forget It, and Sidenotes from the Archivist. Here in the (Middle) of Nowhere is forthcoming in March 2024. Side Notes From The Archivist was selected as one of “NYPL Best Books of 2023” as well as the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of 2024 (Poetry)” Her multi-genre work has been published and anthologized widely.Visit Author Website
Here in the (Middle) of Nowhere
What if god were a Black woman? What if there were other universes, and in each universe other Black woman gods? One million versions of god, and one million saints to watch over us? And what if this Black woman god was placed here on our earth?
These are just a few of the questions Anastacia-Reneé asks in this daring and mind-bending hybrid collection. A compelling blend of poetry, micro-flash fiction, and sci-fi Afrofuturism with a prose storyline and characters that connect through family, time, and place. Anastacia-Reneé paints world(s) rich with wonder and and the paranormal as she peers into the lives of the everyday people and the spectacular creatures inhabiting not just our neighborhoods, but other dimensions. Hers is a universe of striking variety—monsters, nontraditional saints, witches, zombies, the couple in the apartment next door, the wise elders from down the block, and gods watching over us all—as well as community and connectedness.
Here in the (Middle) of Nowhere is about interstellar ancestry, community and spirituality, about the things we invoke conjure and rely on to maintain our unwavering joy as we move through life. Anastacia-Reneé’s power lies in her spellbinding storytelling—her ability to bring forth lovingly rendered characters captured in powerful brief bursts of lyrical poetry, her ability to build worlds, within worlds and the ways in which she dares us to fully love ourselves and see each other in all our complexity.
Side Notes from the Archivist
Side Notes from the Archivist is a preservation of Black culture viewed through a feminist lens. The Archivist leads readers through poems that epitomize youthful renditions of a Black girl coming of age in Philadelphia’s pre-funk ’80s; episodic adventures of “the Black Girl” whose life is depicted through the white gaze; and selections of verse evincing affection for self and testimony to the magnificence within Black femme culture at-large.
Every poem in Side Notes elevates and honestly illustrates the buoyancy of Blackness and the calamity of Black lives on earth. In her uniquely embracing and experimental style, Anastacia-Reneé documents these truths as celebrations of diverse subjects, from Solid Gold to halal hotdogs; as homages and reflections on iconic images, from Marsha P. Johnson to Aunt Jemima; and as critiques of systemic oppression forcing some to countdown their last heartbeat.
From internet “Fame” to the toxicity of the white gaze, Side Notes from the Archivist cements Anastacia-Reneé role as a leading light in the womanist movement—an artist whose work is in conversation with advocates of Black culture and thought such as Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, and Nikki Giovanni.
“In 1974, when Ntozake Shange first released the cannon of Black girl magic known as For colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, her opening stanza was a call to all of us.
sing a black girl’s song
bring her out
to know herself .”
This book is answer to that call.
What is sacred, what is beauty, what is tragedy, what rites of passage have we endured to be initiated into the complexities of our humanity? Anastacia-Reneé’s words frame so many questions, read like ritual, read like nursery rhymes, invoke ancestors and Becky alike in a nuanced honest reflection of this time in life.
Using a reimagined alphabet, Anastacia-Reneé sets about taking on everything from love to cancer, monsters, growing up, growing into our bodies, and the ways in which even our bodies are not our own. Her words define and redefine, explore hidden truths and expose the lies we are raised with.
These poems are stories of blackness, of queerness, of womanhood and the combination of all the identities we hold externally and internally that create the tapestry of who we are and who we want to be.” –Reagan Jackson
“Anastacia Renee’s somber, shrewd and actually detailed romp through a field of landmines definitively shatters both the predictability of genre and the limits of lyric. These fierce vignettes, crafted to confront, are too restless and urgent to behave while considering their impact. Instead, they meld into a story we can’t turn away from, one that—if you need to slap it with a name—could be called poetry. But Forget It (which is all but impossible to forget) isn’t simply poetry. What it is, is simply inevitable.” –Patricia Smith
Anastacia Reneé’s Forget It draws the reader into the churning seas of dissolution — marriage, family, identity, livelihood — in language unknotted from the constraints of punctuation, syntax, sense— “eaten into seedless cherries”—and plunged into the fabular scape/scope of dreams, myth, fairytales, faith, race. Phantom births, ghosts, half-grown children, sex, betrayal, violence, anger, female body, the bloody aftermaths of dissolution sprawling, placental and umbilical, in the urgent, haunted language of dreaming and memory. City and speaker dissolve into one another, boundaries vanquished. What remains after dissolution? Talking to herself. From whence do (k)new form(s) arise? A “revelatory hymn”, matrix upon which self and sense are (re-) configured as her own, Anastacia Reneé’s Forget It dances on the grave of the lost—fiery tempest, a phoenix of language and presence. When we wake up, nothing is forgotten.
Articles & Audio
Read What’s In Print
Listen to Audio
• Read “Retroflect” & “Crest” – BOMB Magazine
• Listen to Anastacia-Renée read her poem “Birdwatching” – Cascadia Field Guide
• Read “Cedar” – Split This Rock
Cloven-Hoofed Fortune Teller
the deer pauses
to see through me
outside my window
inside my life
after some crying
about a little doe
i see myself
as a crest of moon
inside her eyes
she may be telling
as a gleam
she is trying
& i realize
we are not
both of us ignoring
& up ahead
waiting to run