Poet and scholar Donika Kelly earned a BA from Southern Arkansas University, an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University. Her first collection of poetry, Bestiary (2016), won a Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was long-listed for a National Book Award. In Bestiary, Kelly’s ecstatic and narrative free-verse poems catalog creatures, journeys, and the processes of self-discovery. Cave Canem judge Nikky Finney described the book as “a psalm of pure resolve.”
Kelly is a Caven Canem Fellow, and her work has appeared in numerous journals, including West Branch and Virginia Quarterly Review. She is currently a lecturer in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program at the University of California–Davis. She lives in Northern California with her wife.