Michelle Berry

Poet Laureate Emeritus, Tompkins County 525 W. Buffalo Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Author's Bio

Former Tompkins County Poet Laureate Michelle Courtney Berry is a journalist, poet, feminist, playwright, entrepreneur, Reiki Master and performer of African, Cherokee and Irish heritage. Born in Manhatan and raised in the Catskills, she holds a Master's degree in Communication from Cornell University, where she was a Cornell Fellow; a dual BA degree in English, Literature & Rhetoric and Political Science & a minor in Public Affairs Communication from Binghamton University, where she was a Presidential Scholar, Scripps-Howard Foundation Scholar and Commencement Speaker. A former summer scholar at Georgetown's Institute on Political Journalism & at Vassar College, Ms. Berry has been a Cave Canem Fellow, Alternate Acting Mayor and Councilwoman for the City of Ithaca. In 2008, she was an elected Delegate for Mr. Barack Obama, garnering over 16,000 votes in NY's 22nd Congressional District. She has opened for The 14th Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, Howard Zinn and been featured on "Good Morning America." In addition to her publication and performance schedule, she has also held progressive teaching positions at Broome Community College, Binghamton University, Cornell University and Ithaca College. In 2001, she was ranked 16th in the world at the National Poetry Festival in Seattle. She resides in the Fingerlakes Region with her family.

Publications and Prizes

Cave Canem Anthology II
(Black Classic Press, 1998)
, Cave Canem Poetry Anthology II
(Cave Canem, 1997)
, Cave Canem Poetry Anthology IV
(Black Classic Press, 1999)
, Gathering Ground: a reader celebrating Cave Canem's first decade
(University of Michigan Press, 2006)
, Gifts from Our Grandmothers
(Crown Publications, 2002)
Horticulture, nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, Obsidian, Oxford American, Paterson Literary Review
Prizes Won: 
Community Arts Partnership Award (Fiction) Cave Canem Fellowship (three years), Poets & Writers Grant (poetry reading at Awakenings Cafe), Poet Laureate of Tompkins County (two years), Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship in Poetry (summer 2009)

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb
The Race Issue by Oxford American Magazine
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Hardheaded Weather by Cornelius Eady

More Information

Listed as: 
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
African American, Native American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
New York
Raised in: 
Narrowsburg, NY
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last updated: Apr 29, 2010