Omotara James


New York, NY

Author's Bio

Omotara James is the author of the poetry collection, Song of My Softening, forthcoming from Alice James Books, April 2022 and the chapbook, “Daughter Tongue,” selected by African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set.

James’ poems appear in print and digital journals, including The Poetry Foundation, The Paris Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series, The Believer, Literary Hub, Poetry Society of America. Her work has been recently anthologised and selected for inclusion in Embodied: An Intersectional Feminist Comics Poetry Anthology (A Wave Blue World, 2021), Best Small Fictions (Sonder Press, 2020), Islands Are But Mountains (Platypus Press, 2019).

James is the recipient of a NYSCA/NYFA Poetry Fellowship; a 92Y/ Discovery Poetry Award; a Bread Loaf Katharine Bakeless Nason Award in Poetry; a 2019 finalist for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize; the inaugural Thomas Lux Scholarship from The Palm Beach Poetry Festival; a Nancy P. Schnader Academy of American Poets Prize; and residency fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and Lambda Literary, among other awards and recognitions.

Born in Britain, she is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants. She has lived in England, Scotland and was raised primarily in America. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Hofstra University and an MFA in Poetry from New York University.

Former art therapist and social worker in the field of Harm Reduction, and has instructed workshops at NYU, The 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center, Cave Canem Foundation, Queens Public Library and elsewhere. Visit the contact page for manuscript editing consultation inquiries and workshop bookings.

Publications & Prizes

Daughter Tongue (Akashic Books, 2018)
Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day
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Cosmonauts Avenue
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Lambda Literary
Literary Hub
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Paris Review
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The Coil
Winter Tangerine Review
Prizes won: 

NYSCA/NYFA Poetry Fellowship,

92Y Discovery Prize,

Luminaire Award for Best Poetry,

Slice Literary Bridging the Gap Award for Emerging Poets,

Hofstra University Nancy P. Schnader Academy of American Poets Prize

Personal Favorites

What I'm reading now: 
Heavy by Kiese Laymon, Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis, Arias by Sharon Olds, Those Who Knew by Idra Novey, Gephyromania by TC Tolbert, Wild is the Wind by Carl Phillips, Weary Kingdom by DéLana R. A. Dameron, Soft Targets by Deborah Landau

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
African American, Black, British, Caribbean, Feminist, LGBTQ, Other
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
English, French
Born in: 
London, LND
United Kingdom
Raised in: 
New York, NY
New York
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jan 13, 2021