Biography: The Radical Work of Writing Lives

Room 2105, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


“I’ve entered LA to anti-erase, which is the work of resistance,” writes Courtney Faye Taylor in Concentrate. This panel of poets and nonfiction writers considers biography as an act of anti-erasure, recovering lives that systems of power seek to efface. Panelists discuss biography’s ethics, challenges, and possibilities, including redefining “archives,” reconciling evidence, interpreting gaps, and reimagining genre conventions to do justice to a subject’s lived experience.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: biography_event_outline_awp_2024.pdf



Morgan Graham is an English PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, where she studies autobiography. Her work has been supported by the Women’s History Institute at Historic Hudson Valley. She is managing editor at Pleiades and has published work in Chicago Review of Books and elsewhere.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle was the poet laureate of Sonoma County, California. Her books include West : Fire : Archive (The Center for Literary Publishing 2021) and her biography Charmian Kittredge London: Trailblazer, Author, Adventurer (UOP, 2020). She teaches at Napa Valley College and the Napa Valley Writers' Conference.

Janice N. Harrington’s latest books of poetry are Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin, and for children, Hurry, Kate, or You'll Be Late!. She teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois.

Eloisa Amezcua is from Arizona. Her debut collection From the Inside Quietly is the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize, selected by Ada Limón. A MacDowell Fellow, her second collection of poems Fighting Is Like a Wife was published by Coffee House Press (April, 2022).

Courtney Faye Taylor is the author of Concentrate (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Rachel Eliza Griffiths as the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Concentrate was named a finalist for the NAACP Image Awards, the Lambda Literary Awards, and the Society of Midland Authors Award.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center