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Brenda Marie Osbey

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies

Brenda Marie Osbey is an author of poetry and of prose nonfiction in English and French. Her work focuses on  narrative language, voice and placement; narrative and material texts of culture; and the place of New Orleans in Atlantic and inter-American spheres. She has a special interest in the history of poetry of the Americas of the precolonial and colonial eras. A native of New Orleans, Osbey was appointed the first peer-selected Poet Laureate of the State of Louisiana in 2005.

Selected Honors and Awards:

  • Louisiana Board of Regents Award to Artists and Scholars (ATLAS)
  • Manship Summer Fellowship
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, Dickinson College
  • Louisiana Writers Foundation Award for Excellence in Poetry
  • Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana
  • Camargo Foundation Fellowship, Cassis, France
  • American Book Award
  • Louisiana Division of the Arts Creative Writing Award
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Maxi-Grant Award
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creative Writing Fellowship
  • Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Poetry Award
  • Academy of American Poets Loring-Williams Prize
  • Bunting Fellowship, Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University

Selected Publications: 


  • All Souls: Collected Poems (Forthcoming, 2013)
  • History and Other Poems (Forthcoming, 2012)
  • All Saints: New and Selected Poems
  • Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman
  • In These Houses
  • Ceremony for Minneconjoux


  • “Why We Can't Talk to You about Voodoo,” SouthernLiterary Journal, (Spring 2011) vol. XLIII, no. 2, pp. 1 –11.
  • "Obama Enfin,” Mondes Francophones, 4/11/2009     [ politiques/obama/]
  • “Writing Home,” Southern Literary Journal (Spring 2008) vol. XL, no. 2, pp. 19 – 41.
  • “I Want to Die in New Orleans” and “One More Last Chance:Ritual and the Jazz Funeral,” Louisiana Culture from the Colonial Era to Katrina (Southern Literary Studies) edited by John Lowe. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008, pp. 245–252 and 284–293.
  • “‘Les Indigènes sont agités’: la Nouvelle-Orléans à la Suite de l’Orage’(“The Natives Are   Restless’: New Orleans in the Wake of the Storm”), commissioned by the Consulat Général de la    Nouvelle-Orléans in Planète Ovale. Médiathèques de Plaines Communes, France. Fall 2007.
  • “To Return and Rise Again,” The Nation Online, September 4, 2005.             []
  • “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say,” Creative Nonfiction, Winter 1996, no. 7, pp. 33   – 48.
  • "One More Last Chance: Ritual and the Jazz Funeral,” The Georgia Review, Spring 1996, vol. 50, no.1, pp. 97–107.
  • "I Want to Die in New Orleans,” The American Voice, Fall 1995, no.38, pp. 103–112.

Featured Columns

  • Practiques Poetiques,, 2009 – Present.             []
  • “Notes from France,” a twelve-part series on race in contemporary France, Gambit Weekly.May – October, 2004.
  • Faubourg Tremé: Community in Transition. The New Orleans Tribune. 1990 – 97.

Selected Documentary Films

  • Faubourg Tremé: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans [commentator]
  • Claiming Open Spaces  [commentator]
  • Native Daughter  [principal subject]

Selected Readings & Presentations

  • Academy of American Poets
  • Amistad Research Center
  • American Poetry Museum
  • l’Association Française d’Études Américaines, Université Paul Valéry–Montpellier III
  • Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) Institute, College of Charleston
  • Collège Pierre de Fermat
  • Folger-Shakespeare Memorial Library
  • Furious Flower African American Poetry Festival
  • Library of Congress
  • Manhattan Theatre Club
  • National Black Writers Conference
  • New York Historical Society
  • Providence Black Rep
  • Smith College
  • UC–Berkeley
  • UNC–Chapel Hill
  • Université Louis Lumière–Lyon II
  • Université de Toulouse


  • Black NOLA: a Research Seminar
  • Modernist Africana Poetry of the Americas