The Dark Room Collective, Then and Now

The Dark Room Collective, a community of black writers founded twenty-five years ago in Boston by poets Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange and musician Janice Lowe, regroups this year for the Nothing Personal reunion tour. This slideshow offers a look at the early days of the DRC as well as a glimpse of the poets today.

The DRC on the steps of their home base, a Victorian house on Inman Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A flyer announcing the DRC's 1992 reading series in Boston.

Dark Room Collective founders Sharan Strange (left) and Thomas Sayers Ellis (top) with (left to right) Patrick Sylvain, Trasi Johnson, John Keene, and Janice Lowe.

A group of DRC members on tour in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. Left to right: Tracy K. Smith, John Keene, Kevin Young, Tisa Bryant, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Major Jackson, and Natasha Trethewey.

An archival shot of DRC members (left to right) Major Jackson, Natasha Trethewey, Thomas Sayers Ellis, and Sharan Strange.

DRC poets (left to right) Tisa Bryant, Danielle Legros Georges, Sharan Strange, Patrick Sylvain, Trasi Johnson, John Keene, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Donia Allen, and Della Scott.

A flyer for the DRC reading series in 1993.

Left to right: Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young, Sharan Strange (top), Adisa Vera Beatty (bottom), Nehassaiu deGannes, and Major Jackson strike a pose.

An archival shot of the newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.

Natasha Trethewey in 2012, just a few months before she was named poet laureate.

Sharan Strange and Nehassaiu deGannes in the DRC's early days.

DeGannes and Strange in 2012.

Among the numerous honors DRC writers have received is the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Tracy K. Smith and Natasha Trethewey have both won the award, Smith (left) in 2012 for Life on Mars (Graywolf Press, 2011) and Trethewey in 2007 for Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006).

Left to right: John Keene, Major Jackson, and Kevin Young today.

The original DRC trio (left to right): Sharan Strange, Janice Lowe, and Thomas Sayers Ellis in Washington, D.C. in 2012.