NAME: Keisha-Gaye Anderson
LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY
ORIGIN: Born in Kingston Jamaica and raised in Queens, NY
ART: Poetry, Fiction, Visual Art
MAIN GENRE: Poetry
TRAINING: MFA fiction The City College, CUNY
ARTS AFFILIATIONS: Fulton Art Fair, The Authors Guild, Nu Rho Poetic Society
BIO: I am a Jamaican-born poet, writer, visual artist, and communications and marketing strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. I am the author of Gathering the Waters (Jamii Publishing 2014), Everything Is Necessary (Willow Books 2019), and A Spell for Living (Agape 2020), which received the Editors’ Choice recognition for the Numinous Orisons, Luminous Origin Literary Award. The multimedia e-book includes my audio poems set to music and may original artwork. My poetry, fiction, and essays have been widely published in national literary journals, magazines, and anthologies.
I am a past participant of the VONA Voices and Callaloo writing workshops, a former fellow of the North Country Institute for Writers of Color, and was short-listed for the Small Axe Literary Competition. In 2018, I was selected as a Brooklyn Public Library Artist in Residence. My visual art has been featured in numerous exhibitions and in such literary journals as The Adirondack Review, Joint Literary Magazine, MER VOX, Culture Push, and No, Dear Magazine. I began my career as a print and TV journalist. I am a graduate of the Syracuse University Newhouse School and College of Arts and Sciences and hold an M.F.A. in creative writing from The City College, CUNY. Syracuse University presented me with the Poetic Icon Award this past February.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Author of three poetry collections; Poetic Icon Award, Syracuse University, Feb. 2021; Short list, Small Axe literary competition; Writing appearing in Kweli Literary Journal, Small Axe Salon, Interviewing the Caribbean, Renaissance Noire, The Caribbean Writer, The Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Mosaic Literary Magazine, African Voices Magazine, The Langston Hughes Review, Streetnotes: Cross-Cultural Poetics, Caribbean in Transit Arts Journal, The Mom Egg Review, and others; Selected as a Brooklyn Public Library Artist in Residence and my culminating work for that residency is part of a permanent installation at the Macon Library in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; visual art has been featured in numerous exhibitions and in such literary journals as The Adirondack Review, Joint Literary Magazine, MER VOX, Culture Push, and No, Dear Magazine; selected for VONA Voices and Callaloo writing workshops.
LATEST WORKS: A Spell for Living
WORK SAMPLES: Spoken word poetry and artist interviews
Please describe your artistic themes
Agency, self-realization, magic, self-love.
Please describe your creative process
I’m a multi-genre story teller. I think carefully about what story I want to tell and what shape it should take–a poem, fiction, visual art, etc. My poems are largely free verse meditations on my journey through this life as the various identities I inhabit, and often include conversations with my ancestors. My visual art is a conversation with the dreamscape, a walk through the unformed reality that holds the potential for all that is, and links us both as a collective and as discrete entities. I am inspired by patterns in nature, and water in particular. I enjoy exploring the geometry of lifeforms that appear throughout the totality of the natural world. Through my work, I seek to make visible the bridges between seen and unseen, and reveal the microcosms of our journey as one creation.
What are your artistic goals? What do you need to achieve them?
I would like to complete a speculative fiction novella (a ghost story). I am working on ways to free up my time – I work 9 to 5 and I have two children, and it’s impossible to make time to write longer works. But I’m giving it my best shot this year.
What are your views on the industry?
I don’t know much about the art industry. I’ve always been an indie artist and my three poetry collections are published with small presses. I do a lot of live readings/ poetry events. I’m not hooked into any large publishing house.
What advice would you give to emerging artists?
Be authentically yourself, set up a routine and create regularly. Let your work speak for itself; it will attract the people who are most beneficial for your artistic journey. Don’t be afraid to take a risk or reach out for help when you need it.