Tonya M. Foster was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and raised in New Orleans. She earned a BA from Newcomb College, Tulane University, and an MFA from the University of Houston. Foster is the author of the poetry collection A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna*, 2015) and coedited the book Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art (2002). Her work has appeared in Callaloo, MiPoesias, Western Humanities Review, the Hat, and elsewhere. In a review, Patricia Spears Jones says, “Foster' s imaginative work glories in language's ambiguities, discords, emotions and logic—she allows that imaginative thrall to explore race and gender and political dysfunction.”

Foster has received fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, the Macdowell Colony, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is a PhD candidate. She has taught at Bard College, Queens College CUNY, Baruch College CUNY, and she currently is an assistant professor at California College of the Arts.