Born and raised in Pittsburgh, performance poet Joel Dias-Porter served in the US Air Force following high school, and then worked for several years as a professional disc jockey in the Washington DC area under the name DJ Renegade.
Dias-Porter’s poetry engages the act of improvisation through explorations of intimacy, jazz music, and family heritage. In addition to his own CD of jazz and poetry, LibationSong (2002), Dias-Porter is featured on the CD anthology Meow: Spoken Word from the Black Cat (1996). Dias-Porter edited the anthology The Black Rooster Social Inn (1997). Dias-Porter’s poetry has also been featured in the anthologies Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (2001) and Catch The Fire!!!: A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry (1998), on the Today Show, and in the documentaries Voices Against Violence (1994, produced by Regi Allen) and SlamNation (1998, directed by Paul Devlin), as well as the feature film Slam (1998, directed by Marc Levin).
Dias-Porter’s honors include James Madison University’s Furious Flower Emerging Poet Award, a second-place finish in the National Poetry Slam’s individual competition, and two first place finishes in the Haiku Slam Championship. A Cave Canem Fellow and member of Washington DC’s WriterCorps, Porter has taught at Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts. He lives in the DC area.