Poet, Author, Performance Artist

Duriel E. Harris is the author of the print collections No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (2017), Drag (2003) and Amnesiac: Poems (2010); as well as Speleology (2011), a video collaboration with artist Scott Rankin. She is a cofounder of the avant garde poetry/performance trio The Black Took Collective and editor for Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora. She has been a MacDowell and Millay Colony fellow and has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Cave Canem Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including Mandorla, The & Now Awards, Ploughshares, Troubling the Line, and The Best of Fence; her work has also been translated into Polish, German, and Spanish. Harris earned degrees from Yale University and NYU, and a PhD from the University of Illinois. She is an associate professor of English at Illinois State University, where she teaches creative writing, literature and poetics.

‘I set about writing wanting to give you something I love’

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Duriel E. Harris is author of three poetry collections, co-founder of Call & Response—a dynamic of Black women & performance—and the avant-garde poetry/performance trio the Black Took Collective (BTC).

Obsidian Editor

Editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, a leading peer reviewed journal founded in 1975. Harris is editor in chief supporting-through publication and inquiry-global contemporary African arts.

Performance Artist

Thingification, an acclaimed one-woman show by Duriel E. Harris invigorates with the power of word and sound, taking up Funkadelic’s timely directive (“Free your mind… and your ass will follow”).


Harris is an associate professor of English in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Illinois State University, and has received many awards for her work as a poet and performer.


Duriel E. Harris collaborates with other artists through the project Experiments in Joy,  visual artists like Scott Rankin, and with institutions like PEN America and the Poetry Foundation. She has performed at Chicago’s MPAACT Showcases, the Chicago Jazz Festival (with Douglas Ewart & Inventions creative music ensemble), The Foundry Theater (Antioch College), Links Hall (Chicago), Dixon Place (NYC), and the Wild Project (NYC), among others.