about yona

For photos and high resolution book covers, see the presskit.

Short Bio

Yona Harvey is the author of You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love, which received the 2020 Award in Poetry from The Believer magazine.  Hemming the Water, her first book of poems, was the winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University and a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award. 

She received the Inaugural Lucille Clifton Legacy Award in Poetry from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and has served as Poet In Residence for the Queensland Poetry Festival in Brisbane, Australia.  Between the publication of her two poetry books, Harvey co-wrote Marvel Comics’ World of Wakanda, earning an Eisner Award for best limited series, and co-wrote the comic book series Black Panther & the Crew. 

She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a graduate of Howard University, the Ohio State University, and the University of Pittsburgh. 

She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she teaches at Smith College as the Tammis Day Professor of Poetry.

Here is a longer bio, if you prefer.

Long Bio

Yona Harvey writes poetry, nonfiction, and comic book scripts and embraces all modes of storytelling.  Her poetry collection, You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love, won the 2021 Award in poetry from The Believer magazine. Hemming the Water, won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University.  She co-wrote Marvel Comics’ World of Wakanda, which was awarded an Eisner Award, and co-wrote Black Panther and the Crew.  She enjoys collaborations with visual artists, musicians, and storytellers in television and film.

She has taught writing workshops in many places including New Orleans, Louisiana; St. Mary’s City, Maryland; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Queensland, Australia; and the Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan.  She designs and facilitates creative writing workshops and writing prompts for academic, novice, and lifelong learning participants.  She is passionate about fostering intimate writing experiences that appeal to communities and groups invested in tapping their creativity, addressing specific writing themes, or returning to writing after long absences and needing encouragement to begin again.  She has also taught a workshop for teenagers writing about mental illness in collaboration with Creative Nonfiction magazine and the Staunton Farm Foundation.

Yona’s commitment to storytelling and innovative workshops stems from her training as a member of the Washington, DC WritersCorps, led by poet and activist Kenneth Carroll.  Established in 1994 and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, DC WritersCorps created the first Youth Poetry Slam League in the United States and won the President’s Arts and Humanities Award for its innovative use of literature to serve marginalized young people.  The organization’s mission and legacy had a profound influence on Yona’s artistic and curricular development practices. She learned at an early stage in her career that writers arrived at the page with wide-ranging skills and abilities that could be nurtured with exciting and challenging writing prompts, readings, and exercises.

Strong mentorship, community-building, and curriculum- and self-evaluation remain foundational to her career and creative practices. 

Additional work can be found in Black Women As/And the Living Archive (Washington Project for the Arts, edited by Tsedaye Makonnen and Jordan Martin),   The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (ed. Annie Finch) and many journals and anthologies.

Photo by AAH.



Please use either of the bios above.

High resolution book covers

You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love [ pdf / png / tif ]

Hemming the Water [ pdf / png / tif ]


Photos by onwhitewall.com. © 2024 The Museum of Modern Art, New York.