bio

 

Alysia Nicole Harris was born in Fremont, California but grew up in Alexandria, VA and considers herself on all accounts a member of the ranks of great southern woman. As a child, she was most fascinated by language and would scribble stories about My Little Ponies and imaginary friends in her free time. At age 10 she wrote her first poem, after hearing about William Shakespeare in English class. That class began her life-long love of poetry and the literary arts. After she graduated high school, Alysia moved to Philly to begin her undergraduate career at The University of Pennsylvania where she studied  linguistics, with a focus on Arabic, Russian, Old English and nonstandard English varieties. It was doing her time in Philly that she became involved with spoken word and joined the Excelano Project, UPENN's spoken word collective. Here she experienced her first success as a writer and a performer as a a member of the winning 2007 CUPSI and Brave New Voices Teams. In 2008 she featured on the HBO documentary: Brave New Voices where she wowed audiences with her piece "That Girl". After spending a semester abroad in Egypt and after extensive amounts of time traveling across the Middle East, through Turkey, Jordan, and Syria in 2010 Alysia graduated UPENN Summa Cum Laude with honors. She was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. 

In 2014 Alysia received her MFA in poetry from NYU and is currently a PhD candidate in linguistics at Yale University where she is a Bouchet Honor Society Graduate Fellow. Although she has experienced scholastic success, poetry has always come first in her heart. Pushcart nominee, Cave Canem fellow, winner of the 2014 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize, finalist for the 2015 Pocataligo Poetry Prize, 2014 Edwin Markham and Joy Harjo prizes and finalist for the 2013 Indiana Review Prize, her poetry has appeared  in Indiana Review, Catch & Release Columbia's Journal of Literature and Art, Solstice Literary Magazine, Squaw Valley Review, Letters Journal, Adanna Literary Journal, Print Oriented Bastards, and Vinyl Magazine among others. Her poem "When I Put My Hands in The Air It's Praise" was chosen for publication in The Break-beat Poets Anthology of New American Poetry during the age of Hip-Hop. Alysia was also a founding member of the internationally known performance poetry collective, The Strivers Row and has garnered over 3 million views on YouTUBE. She has toured nationally for the last 5 years and also performed at the United Nations, as well as in Canada, South Africa, Germany, Slovakia, and the UK. She now lives in New Haven, CT where Alysia is working on her manuscript Heaven Is A Bruise That Won’t Turn about the intersections of faith, intimacy, identity and violence. 

Her first chapbook How Much We Must Have Looked Like Stars to Stars won the 2015 New Women's Voices Chapbook Contest and is forthcoming  from Finishing Line Press in July 2016.