Matthew Shenoda earned his BA from Oregon State University and MFA from the University of Arizona. He is the son of Coptic Christians, and in his work, he explores diasporic identity and pan-Arabism. Of his background, he has said, “This history of mine serves as a kind of translation, a new color applied to an existing piece of glass, each layer redefining the light that enters through it. These two realities overlay constantly to inform one another so that in the most seamless moments they become something fresh, something not entirely defined by either tradition, something purely diasporic or transnational in nature.” Shenoda’s first book, Somewhere Else (2005), won an American Book Award and the inaugural Hala Maksoud Award for Emerging Voice and was named one of the year’s top debut books by Poets & Writers magazine. His second book is Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone (2009). Shenoda is also the editor of Kwame Dawes’s Duppy Conquerer: New and Selected Poems (2013).
Former assistant provost for equity and diversity and faculty member in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts, Shenoda is professor in the School of Fine & Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago, where he also serves as Dean of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Series and lives in Chicago with his family.