Desiree C. Bailey is a poet, writer and educator. She is the author of the fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater (O'Clock Press, 2016). Her work is published in Best American Poetry 2015, Callaloo, Washington Square Review and The Rumpus, among other publications. She has a BA from Georgetown University and MFA from Brown University. She has received fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets House, Kimbilio Fiction, The Conversation, the Norman Mailer Center, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and Princeton in Africa. She is a recipient of the 2013 Poets and Writer's Amy Award. Desiree was born in Trinidad and Tobago and lives in New York.
Of her poem "A Retrograde" she writes: "This poem rose up out of the histories, experiences, and ideas to which I constantly return: the maroon communities of the Caribbean and Brazil that challenged the dominance of the plantation slavery system, the psychic trauma of a severed lineage, the historical violence that often resides in beautiful landscapes, the passing down of folklore, rites, and ways seeing, the ocean as a mother, the ocean as a city of ancestors or as a balm. I pose questions in this poem: Is the liberation of the body tied to the liberation of the land? What happens to the mind when the land is warped? And vice versa? What are the consequences of cultural amnesia? How do we close the distance between the past and the present? How can we open multiple ways of seeing?" These currents of thought run through much of Desiree's poetry and fiction, and guides her steps through the everyday.
Homepage & Background Photos: John Vachon || Headshot: Naima Green