Poet, playwright, and performance artist Lenelle Moïse was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and grew up in the suburbs of Boston. She earned an MFA in playwriting from Smith College. When she was 20 years old, Moïse wrote the screenplay for Bolivian director Rodrigo Bellot’s film Sexual Dependency, which has been screened at numerous international film festivals. Her first collection of poetry, Haiti Glass (2015), won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in anthologies such as Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (2007) and We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists (2006).
In her work, influenced by both jazz and hip-hop, Moïse explores the intersections of race, gender, sexual identity, and memory. Her most recent one-woman shows include Word Life, an autobiographical coming-of-age story, and Speaking Intersections, an investigation of queer poetics and prose. She is the author of the plays K-I-S-S-I-N-G, which was commissioned by Clark University, and Merit, which won the Ruby Prize. In 2008, the Culture Project performed her two-woman show Expatriate.
Moïse has received numerous honors, awards, and fellowships for her work. In 2015, she was the Laurel Park artist-in-residence. She has been the Next Voices Fellow at New Repertory Theatre and the Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow. From 2010–2012, Moïse was poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, where she currently lives.