Brief Bio

Clemonce Heard was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His debut collection, Tragic City, a contemplation on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, won the 2020 Anhinga Robert Dana Poetry Prize, and the 2022 Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award in Poetry. Heard’s work has appeared or is forthcoming from AGNI, Cimarron Review, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. He earned a BFA in graphic communications from Northwestern State University, and an MFA in creative writing from Oklahoma State University. Heard was a recipient of a 2018-2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship, the 2019-2020 Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the 2021 Sala Diaz artist-in-residence in San Antonio, Texas, and is a 2022-2023 MacDowell Fellow. 

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photo by Heyd Fontenot

Forthcoming Collection

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Clemonce Heard’s penetrative and muscular debut probes the blatant brutality perpetrated by white men from the towering perch of their self-imposed birthright — with unerring focus on the “tragic city” of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where, in 1921, that mercenary privilege resulted in the utter decimation of the flourishing black community of Greenwood, and the deaths of hundreds of its citizens. Since the massacre is still unknown to so many, Heard urgently transports the reader into the moments of the tragedy, reviving the people and places that gave Greenwood its pulse — then moves into the disquieting present day, where the circumstances that led to that titanic loss still exist, and still resound. — Patricia Smith 

I have never in my life read a poet, a writer, an American artist so beautifully manipulate futurist proclamations and the minutiae of memory. This book is elite art born of Clemonce Heard's stank genius. Tragic City is here to break the unbroken and possibly shift how place and language can work. Stunning. — Kiese Laymon

 Selected work

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Opossum

Southwest Swing &

From: Abroad, To: Aboard

Slicing Watermelon & others

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Genius Annotations Provided:

You Dropped the Bomb on Me

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The Gospel of Wheelie &

Washington Parish Free Fair 

Court-Bouillon

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Court-Bouillon

For Mardi Gras

Incen/diary

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Commentary & Others

Our Hands are Bowls of Dust

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School-to-Prison Pants 

& Paper Cells

 

A Nobel Parting Gift:

Rose Rock

Amazing Grace & Others

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olepu             ress

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Raising Antiope 

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Blood/Moon

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The Interpreter & Malt O' Meal, Since 1919

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Selected Media

All Videos

All Videos
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Clemonce Heard: Oklahoma Authors

Clemonce Heard: Oklahoma Authors

01:18:23
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Winners' reading: Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize

Winners' reading: Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize

01:12:43
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Poets Nikky Finney and Clemonce Heard

Poets Nikky Finney and Clemonce Heard

01:35:43
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