Devorah Major


San Francisco, CA 94142-4209

Author's Bio

Born and raised in California, devorah major served as San Francisco’s Third Poet Laureate (2002-2006). In 2020 she toured Southern Italy where her sixth book of poetry with open arms was released in a bilingual edition.  A Willow Press Editors Choice her seventh book of poetry Califia’s Daughter will be published by Willow Press in April 0f 2020.  Her other five poetry books are: and then we became, with more than tongue, where river meets ocean, street smarts (Winner PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Excellence Award), and travelling women (with Opal Palmer Adisa). major also has four poetry chapbooks, two biographies for young adults, and a host of short stories, essays, and individual poems published in anthologies and periodicals as well as two novels Brown Glass Windows and An Open Weave (winner of ALA Black Caucus First Novel Award)  Ms. Major is featured on a number of cds including Fierce//Love and The Tongue is a Drum as a part of Daughters of Yam, a poetry and jazz performance duo. Trade Routes, a commissioned symphony with spoken word and chorus, premiered under Maestro Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony in 2006. In June 2015 major premiered her poetry play Classic Black: Voices of 19th Century African-Americans in San Francisco at the San Francisco International Arts Festival.  devorah major performs her work nationally and internationally with and without musicians. She has been a participant in international poetry festivals in Italy, Belgium, Bosnia, Jamaica, and Venuzuela, and performed her poetry in France, the Bahamas and Germany.  She is a Cave Canem Alum from years 1998, 2000, and 2001. She has worked in schools as a poet in residence under the auspices of California Poets in the Schools and at one time served as organization’s Executive Director touring the state and helping improve and/or create poetry programs thoroughout the state. She works as Poet-in-Residence at San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, and as a Senior Adjunct Professor in Diversity Studies at California College for the Arts.

Publications & Prizes

The Other Side of the Postcard (City Lights, 2005)
My California (Angel City Press, 2004)
So Long Been Dreaming (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004)
Steady As She Goes (Seal Press, 2003)
Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press, 2001)
Where River Meets Ocean (City Lights, 2003)
Brown Glass Windows (Curbstone Press, 2002)
with more than tongue (Creative Arts Book Company, Inc., 2002)
Street Smarts (Curbstone Press, 1996)
An Open Weave (Seal Press, 1995)
New Progressive
, ,
Shooting Star Review
Prizes won: 

Willow Press Editor's Choice: Califia's Daughter (April 2020)

American Lirary Association Black Caucus Award: First Novel: An Open Weave

PEN Josephine Miles Litery Excellence Award: Street Smarts

New York City Library Best Young Adult Novel: Brown Glass Window

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Lucille Clifton, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Bob Kaufman, Gabriel Marquez, Armah (author of Two Thousand Seasons and Healers) Samuel Delaney

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
African American, Mixed Race
Prefers to work with: 
At Risk Youth, Teachers
Born in: 
Berkeley, CA
Raised in: 
San Francisco, CA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: May 01, 2019