Kwame Alexander (www.kwamealexander.com) is a poet, publisher, and an award-winning producer of literary programs. Dubbed a "phenom" in the poetry world by The Charleston (SC) City Paper, Alexander has written for television the stage, and authored ten books including the best-selling Do The Write Thing: 7 Steps to Publishing Success, Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays, Tough Love: The Life and Death of Tupac Shakur, and most recently a young adult title, Crush: Love Poems. He speaks, and conducts writing/publishing workshops at schools and conferences throughout the country. He is the producer of several book festivals, including the Capital BookFest, Presented by The Washington Post. The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his writings, correspondence, and other professional and personal documents is held at the George Washington University Gelman Library. The founder/president of BlackWords Press (1995-2005), Alexander resides in the Washington, DC area, where he serves as the President of Book-in-a-Day, a literacy non-profit organization that teaches and inspires youth in the writing and publishing process.
Book-in-a-Day (BID) is a non-profit, educational services company that fosters literacy skills through a groundbreaking writing and publishing workshop, which focuses on the fundamentals of poetry and student-run publication'in one day. The program is available for schools, recreation centers, libraries, and other youth-related organizations.
"If I can have a literary son, I like to think it is Kwame Alexander. Hard worker; truth seeker; soul sharer."
"Every teacher has come to the media center today to rave, absolutely RAVE about your poetry sessions and about you! We have never seen the students relate so well and respond so completely to anyone! You have inspired us. Truly, you were a gift to our students and staff!!!"
-Kathy Allen, Librarian and Media Director, Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, VA
"Scholars and staff alike found the first Book-in-a-Day session so powerful and affirming. I would love to dialogue about possibilities for next year or the summer."
-Thaly Germain, Assistant Principal, Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Washington, DC
"What a gift it's been to have you with us at Stafford this week! Students and teachers alike raved about your presentations in the auditorium. A number of teachers told me how much they appreciated the fact that your presentations seemed to be tailored to each audience. Kwame, you have a unique ability to connect with students from so many backgrounds. The students who attended your writing workshops came away with a new energy and enthusiasm for poetry."
-Kate Messner, English Department Chair, Stafford Middle School, Plattsburg, NY
by Kwame Alexander (Author), JahSun (Illustrator)
Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: Word of Mouth Books/Capital BookFest; 2nd edition (September 1, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
Indigo Blume and the Garden City received a 2013 NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Children's Literature. Indigo Blume is a nine-year old girl who lives in the fictional city of Garden City. She decides to enter a "Go Green" contest, even though her friends won't help her with her big idea: A Rooftop Garden. In the end, she is successful at cleaning up her community and building a garden with climbing beans so tall they almost touch the stars. A "Green" glossary is included, as well as a Read Aloud CD with a special song written and performed by SPEECH of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
Kwame Alexander (Author), Tim Bowers (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (September 1, 2011)
Nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award
When a jazz-loving rooster sets his sights on winning a barnyard talent show, he realizes he can't do it as a solo act. He's up against the talents of Mules Davis's cool duo and Ella Finchgerald's singing group.
Colorful artwork from artist Tim Bowers ensures this story doesn't miss a beat. A glossary of musical terms and intruments rounds out this perfect introduction to jazz for young readers.
In the video below Kwame Alexander reads from Acoustic Rooster
And Then You Know: New & Selected Poems (Includes CD)
Hardcover: 140 pages
Publisher: Word of Mouth Books
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Publication: May1, 2009
With the release of his 13th book, And Then You Know: New & Selected Poems, Alexander is being true to her words. A former student of Giovanni at Virginia Tech, he has been writing and editing books since 1995, while at the same time building a career as a 'literary entrepreneur.' 'I decided very early in my writing career, that I wasn't going to be a starving artist. My father was a Baptist Minister, a Publisher, a college professor; he had a PhD from Columbia, and a Cosmetology license. I used to wonder 'why the cosmetology license? Now I know, in order to make a living as a writer, as an artist, you have to multi-task. You have to excel in different areas,' says Alexander.
In 2005, Alexander founded the Capital BookFest, and quickly sold the Washington Post on becoming the Presenting Sponsor. This year, the festival, which attracts more than 5000 attendees, will celebrate its fifth year. One year later, after over a decade of poetry and literacy work in high schools, Alexander founded Book-in-a-Day, a non-profit program that teaches high school students how to write poetry, and publish a book'in one day. 'Every teacher has come to the media center today to rave, absolutely RAVE about your poetry sessions and about you! We have never seen the students relate so well and respond so completely to anyone! You have inspired us. Truly, you were a gift to our students and staff,' said Kathy Allen, Librarian and Media Director, Oscar Smith High School, (Chesapeake, VA), after one of Kwame's workshops. The program is currently being delivered in schools in Virginia, New York, Maryland, and Washington, DC.
So, with all of this work'not to mention that
he gives speeches regularly, writes plays, and
devoted father and husband'when does he find time to write poetry. 'Poetry is the fuel. It's the
force that drives me to produce. It's also what keeps me grounded, and focused on the act of living. And loving.' Truer words have never been spoken. Whether he's writing about his daughter's transition into womanhood ('10 Reasons Why Fathers Cry at Night), his wife's want for more poems to be written about her ('Good Night'), or the inauguration of President Barack Obama ('An American Poem'), the poems in this new book are honest, authentic, funny, tragic, and hopeful'and they make us feel good too. As an extra bonus, a live CD of Kwame performing his poems in Hollywood, with a band of his friends, is included with the book. This is a treasure from a true renaissance man. A font of ideas. Hope with wings. Poems that fly. And we are all better for it.
Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved
Ones, ed. (2007)
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Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Capital BookFest Books (December 1, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches
Family Pictures, edited by Kwame Alexander, is a celebration of the paradise of family. The woes and wonders. This book includes over 70 poets, new and established, and 10 photographers, award winning and emerging. Family Pictures aims to show the variety and value of family love, especially the joys of childhood...to remind us that no matter the time or circumstance, whether peril or promise, family matters and it always lasts."
CONTRIBUTORS Opal Palmer Adisa, Kwame Alexander, Ashkari, Chrissy Banks, Roberta Beary, Alicia Benjamin-Samuels, Sylvia Dianne Beverly, Joelle Biele, Mawiyah Bomani, Nadir Lasana Bomani, Ann Reisfeld Boutte, Kyndall Brown, Monique Brown, Leah Browning, Carol Carpenter, Noni Carter, Grace Cavalieri, Ching-In Chen, Lucille Clifton, Maritza Rivera Cohen, Christine Compo, Christopher Conlon, Sarah Conover, Mathilda W. Cox, Barbara Crooker, Alan Davis, Jeanette Drake, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Natasha Ria El-Scari, Gretchen Fletcher, Adele C. Geraghty, Nikki Giovanni, Judy Lee Green, Jennifer Gresham, Joy Harold Helsing, Karla Huston, Miccolo Johnson, Sandra Jones, Carolyn Joyner, Jacqueline Jules, Melissa Morelli Lacroix, Pamela Lewis, Diane Lockward, Dan Logan, Frederick Lord, Christina Lovin, Sandra Cohen Margulius, Stepehen Mead, Tony Medina, J.J. Michael, E. Ethelbert Miller, Deanna Nikaido, Shin Yu Pai, Michelle J. Pinkard, Andrea Potos, William Reichard, Regena "Sonray" Reighns, Susan Rich, Jason Kelly Richards, Katy Richey, Charles P. Ries, Kim Roberts, Alison C. Rollins, Matthue Roth, Carly Sachs, Metta S'ma, Darlene Anita Scott, Derek Sheffield, Glen Sorestad, Judith Strasser, Kathleen Sullivan, Lynn Tait, Ijeama Thomas, Angela Boykin Turnbull, Davi Walders, Phylis Warady, Christine West, Sandra L. West, Mary-Sherman Willis, and Shana Yarborough.
Love Poems (2007)
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Crush is a poetry memoir of love, for people young and cool, and older folks too, who want to remember and rejoice. From friendship to flirting, from the first date to the break-up, this collection of passion poems intertwines snapshots of innocent young adult angst with a fiery language that defines the first love which none of us ever outgrows. Crush is the first book of its kind, love poems for the Young Adult market. And it s destined to become a bestseller.
Love Poem #101
You said our relationship
Was sorta like school,
that I was failing your class,
And should study harder.
Well, maybe I need a better teacher.
Dancing Naked on the Floor
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by Kwame Alexander
Publisher: BlackWords Press
Pub. Date: December 2003
Poet phenom Kwame Alexander grabs
his pen again to carve words into the emotional heart of
the human spirit. In his third book of poetry, Dancing
Naked On The Floor, Alexander intentionally and
successfully abandons all rules of conformity and runs
wild among the playfulness of words.
He uses new and ancient writing to explore love, life, and truth within oneself. Sample titles from his book, Why Alabama Has No Professional Sports Teams, Ten Teasons Why Fathers Cry At Night, Spellbound, and Haiku for Maya Angelou just give you a taste of the intensity that his book in packed with. In a separate "Extending the Dance" essay section, he divulges his no doubt controversial thoughts on bad writing, and his hotly debated views regarding poets and spoken word artists. Dancing Naked On The Floor uses deft wit and wide-eyed focus to bridge the gap between passion and politics; family and freedom. Alexander takes the "soul" of words and uses them to relinquish the hidden emotions we all have buried under years of memories.
Do The Write Thing: Seven Steps to Publishing Success
by Kwame Alexander, Nina Foxx
Format: Hardcover, 160pp.
Publisher: Manisy Willows Books
Pub. Date: July 2001
Publisher Weekly says; "For writers determined to publish their own work, Kwame Alexander, with the help of Nina Foxx, offers Do the Write Thing: 7 Steps to Publishing Success. Alexander, a writer, publishing consultant and founder of the independent press BlackWords, advises readers in a friendly and practical manner on everything from writing and editing your manuscript, starting a publishing company and printing your book to marketing, sales and author tours. Besides furnishing a lexicon of publishing terms, a list of helpful reading materials, inspirational and cautionary anecdotes and savvy regarding hiring editors of all sorts, Alexander endows writers with the confidence they need to self-publish."
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Alexander's first collection of verse since 1995 embraces and examines the peaks and lows of friendship, intimate love, family love, marriage, self-love and community spirit. A former student of Nikki Giovanni, he writes with a clever wit and loving eye. This collection of love poems wil surely be enjoyed whether you are at home curling up on the couch, or in a club grooving. There is something for us all to think about. To Laugh about. To be happy about.
Us: Poems & Counter Poems, 1986-1995
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Format: Paperback, 112pp
Pub. Date: September 1995
Publisher: BlackWords Press
Other titles by Mr. Alexander:
And Then You Know: New & Selected Poems (2009)
An American Poem: On the Occasion of the Inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States (2009)
The Flow: New Black Poets in Motion, ed. (1994)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Alexander Official Website
Hear Kwame's Introduction to the Jazz Poetry Kafe: The
BlackWords Compilation Album
BlackWords Home Page
BlackWords on the AALBC.com
360' A Revolution of Black Poets - Poetry Event