Desiree Bailey is a poet, writer and educator. She has a BA from Georgetown University and MFA from Brown University. She has received fellowships from Princeton in Africa, the Norman Mailer Center and Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and is also a recipient of the 2013 Poets and Writer's Amy Award. Her work is published in Best American Poetry, Callaloo, Transition, The Collagist and Muzzle, among other publications. She is currently the fiction editor at Kinfolks Quarterly.
Desiree was born in Trinidad and Tobago and at a young age, moved with her family to a pre-dominantly Caribbean community in Queens, NY. She has lived in Cape Town, South Africa, working at an education reform organization by day and co-hosting an open mic/performance series at a jazz bar at night. She has also lived in Washington, DC and Providence, RI. She is currently facilitates writing workshops with the Writing Corps Department of Harlem Children's Zone and is an English Instructor at CUNY's Borough of Manhattan Community College.
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