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Harmony Holiday

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, poet and choreographer Harmony Holiday is the daughter of Northern Soul singer/songwriter Jimmy Holiday. Her father died when she was five, and she and her mother moved to Los Angeles. Holiday earned a bachelor's degree in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and a master's of fine arts at Columbia University. She is the author of "Negro League Baseball," winner of the Fence Books Motherwell Prize; "Go Find your Father/A Famous Blues," a “dos-a-dos” book featuring poetry, letters, and essays; and "Hollywood Forever," which she is turning into an afroballet. She is currently working on a biography of Abbey Lincoln and an epic called "M a a f A," an exploration of reparations and the body.

Holiday’s work tests the limits of language and memory, pushing at the elasticity of both poems and prose. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted of Negro League Baseball, “Chaotic and mesmerizing, with sex, violence, music, history and semantics moving at breakneck speed, Holiday's debut is a rare event: in prose poems and in isolated lines, her long unruly sentences take in a mother's funeral, a tumultuous love affair, Mississippi family roots, Northern branches, and the partly improvised, often confrontational styles of advanced African-American music from be-bop and post-bop to hip-hop and whatever lies beyond.” She is currently working on a book of poems and lyric essays on reparations and the body, as well as a biography of jazz singer Abbey Lincoln.

Holiday has taught dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and is the founder of Mythscience, an arts collective devoted to cross-disciplinary work that helps artists re-engage with their bodies and the physical world in this so-called digital age, and the Afrosonics archive of jazz and everyday diaspora poetics. In 2013, she was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom
Birds, LLC
July 2019
ISBN 9780991429899
60 pages
$18.00, INSTOCK
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Hollywood Forever
Fence Books
April 2017
ISBN 9780986437304
104 pages
$17.95, INSTOCK
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This book is a magazine. African-American ads, icons, archives stand on their heads; it's a shakedown. More/less

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