Aracelis Girmay grew up in Southern California. She earned a degree in Documentary Studies from Connecticut College in 1999 and apprenticed in oral history work with el Centro de Derechos Humanos, Ciudadanos, y Autonómicos (CEDEHCA) on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast. She went on to earn an MFA in poetry from NYU in 2003.
She is the author of the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016), Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), winner of the Isabella Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007). For this work she was a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize in Literature (2018).
Girmay is also the author / collagist of the picture book, changing, changing (George Braziller, 2005), and, with her sister, collaborated on the picture book What Do You Know? (Enchanted Lion, 2021). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Whiting Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Girmay is the editor of How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA, 2020). She is currently the Editor-at-Large for BOA Editions' Blessing the Boats Selections, and she is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund. She lives and teaches in New York City.
Photo Credit: Yekaterina Gyadu