Photo by Sylvia Freeman

Jaki Shelton Green is the first African American and third woman to be appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate. When he appointed her in 2018, Governor Cooper stated that “Jaki Shelton Green brings a deep appreciation of our state’s diverse communities to her role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature. Jaki’s appointment is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”

Her collegiate and professional experiences include currently teaching Documentary Poetry at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies, Visiting Professor for the Carlow University MFA Program, Lenoir-Rhyne University Writer-in-Residence, Duke University Teaching for Equity Fellow, 2019 Barnard College Africana Studies Department Lewis-Ezekoye Distinguished Lecturer, 2019 UNC Chapel Hill Sonja Stone Memorial Lecturer, Taller Portobelo Artist Colony Portobelo Panama, University of Panama, Department of Cultural Resources for Brazil, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Distinguished Visiting Writer, North Carolina Turkish Association, Alhambra Cultural Center in Marrakech Morocco, NC Symphony, NC African American Cultural Heritage Commission.

She is the owner of SistaWRITE and co-partner with Dream Yourself Awake and Vertikal Creative Ventures providing writing retreats and travel excursions for women writers in Sedona Arizona, Ocracoke North Carolina, Agadir Morocco, and Tullamore Ireland.


Jaki Shelton Green is the recipient of two NC Emerging Artist Grants, the African American Writer’s Collective Distinction Award, NC Writers Network Blumenthal Award, 2002 Omega Iota Finer Womanhood Award (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority) Delta Arts Award (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority).

Jaki Shelton Green is the author of eight collections of poetry: Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, published by Carolina Wren Press and Blair Publishers. Her other publications; Feeding the Light, I Want to Undie You are published by Jacar Press. Her poetry has been published in over eighty national and international anthologies and featured in magazines such as Essence and Ms. Magazine.

  •  2020 Shaw University Ella Baker Women Who Lead Award
  • 2020 St. Andrews University Fortner Award
  • 2020 Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing
  • 2020 Northern Orange County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Achievement Award
  • The INDY’s 19 People of 2019
  • 2019 Spirit House Griot Cultural Alchemist Award, Orange County Baha’i
  • 2019 Light of Unity Award
  • 2019 NC Humanities Council Caldwell Award
  • 2019 American Academy of Poets Laureate Fellowship
  • 2019 Aura Galleria Our Minds Our Voices Woman of Distinction Award
  • 2019 Antioch Baptist Church Durham African American History Award
  • 2018 Tar Heel of the Year Finalist
  • 2018 Indies Arts Award
  • 2018 NC Literary and Historical Association
  • R. Hunt Parker Award
  • 2018 Phi Beta Kappa Award
  • 2017-2018 Duke University Faculty Travel Grants
  • 2017 Certification of Teacher Excellence presented by the Kingdom of Morocco Ministry of National Education
  • 2016 Kathryn H. Wallace Award for Artists in Community Service
  • 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2014 Pushcart Prize Nominee
  • 2010 Fine Arts Emerald Award (Raleigh LINKS)
  • 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate appointment
  • 2007 Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina
  • 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature (the highest award the state can bestow for significant contributions in science, literature, fine arts, and public service)
  • 2003 North Carolinianan Society induction.