Yolanda Wisher

Poet, Spoken Word Artist

PO Box 44534
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Author's Bio

Yolanda Wisher (b. 1976) is a multidisciplinary poet and educator. The 3rd Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia, Wisher is a Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence (2016), Pew Fellow (2015), Catalyst Initiative Grantee (2015), Leeway Art & Change Grantee (2008), Cave Canem Fellow (1999-2000), and the first Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999).

Born in Philadelphia and raised in North Wales, Pennsylvania, Wisher attended Lafayette College, where she received a B.A. in English/Black Studies. Wisher later earned an M.A. in English/Creative Writing-Poetry from Temple University.

Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song (City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, 2013). Her work has been featured in Fence, GOOD Magazine, Harriet: The Blog, MELUS, Ploughshares, PUBLICPOOL, Supplement, The Sun Ra Mixtape Vol. 1, and in the anthologies Gathering Ground, Gravyland, Lavanderia, Stand Our Ground, and The Ringing Ear. As an English teacher at Germantown Friends School, Wisher founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival (2006-2010). She also served as the Director of Art Education for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (2010-2015). Wisher was a Founding Cultural Agent and the Chief Rhapsodist of Wherewithal for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (2014-2016). She lives in Philadelphia.

Publications & Prizes


Gravyland: Writing Beyond the Curriculum in the City of Brotherly Love (Syracuse University Press, 2010)
Fence Reader (Fence Books, 2009)
The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press, 2007)
Gathering Ground: Cave Canem 10th Anniversary Reader (University of Michigan Press, 2006)
Cave Canem VI (Cave Canem, 2001)
Cave Canem IV (Cave Canem, 1999)
Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014)
Journals: ,
Black Arts Quarterly
Drumvoices Revue
, ,
Meridians Feminism, Race, Transnationalism
nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts
Open Letter
, ,

Spoken Word

Midtown Scholar Bookstore (2013)
PhillyCAM (2013)
Big Blue Marble Bookstore (2012)
Moonstone Arts Center (2009)
Swarthmore College (2009)
Bowery Poetry Club ()
Brooklyn Public Library ()
KGB Bar Poetry Series ()
Maplewood Mall ()
Pennsylvania State Capitol ()
Philadelphia City Hall ()
Philadelphia Museum of Art ()
Poets House ()
Vernon Park, Philadelphia ()
Prizes won: 

City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate (2016-17)
Hedgebrook Writer in Residence (2016)
Pew Fellowship (2015)
Leeway Art & Change Grantee (2008)
First Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999)

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
African American
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Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Raised in: 
North Wales, PA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Dec 14, 2016