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Khalisa Rae and Friends Celebrate Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat

Event date: 
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 7:30pm

Charis and The Rumpus celebrate the launch of Khalisa Rae's debut collection, GHOST IN A BLACK GIRL'S THROAT, featuring readings about the ghosts that awaken BIPOC women each day, and the haunting feelings of sexism, racism, and bigotry.  Khalisa Rae will be joined by Mahogany Browne, Jihyun Yun, Maya Marshall, Gaia Rajan, and Ayanna Albertson. Hosted by The Rumpus, with emcee Dasan Ahanu and a special introduction from Caitlin Taylor. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here

What happens when a Midwestern girl migrates to a haunted Southern town, whose river is a graveyard, whose streets bear the names of Southern slave owners? How can she build a home where Confederate symbols strategically stand in the center of town? Can she sage the chilling truths of her ancestors? What will she do to cope with the traumatizing ghostliness of the present-day South?

Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat is a heart-wrenching reconciliation and confrontation of the living, breathing ghosts that awaken Black women each day. This debut poetry collection summons multiple hauntings--ghosts of matriarchs that came before, those that were slain, and those that continue to speak to us, but also those horrors women of color strive to put to rest. Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat examines the haunting feeling of facing past demons while grappling with sexism, racism, and bigotry. They are all present: ancestral ghosts, societal ghosts, and spiritual, internal hauntings. This book calls for women to speak their truth in hopes of settling the ghosts or at least being at peace with them.


Khalisa Rae is a poet, journalist, and educator in Durham, North Carolina, who speaks with fierce rebellion. She is a graduate of the Queens University MFA program, where she studied under renowned authors, Claudia Rankine and Ada Limon. In 2012, her poetry chapbook, Real Girls Have Real Problems was published by Jacar Press. Her love for poetry and performance has led her to be an active member of the National Poetry Slam(NPS) community since 2010, and the host of various poetry open mics. 

Khalisa went on to start the women and femme poetry organization, Poet.she Performing Arts in Greensboro, NC after graduating from N.C. A&T University in 2011. Upon relocating to Wilmington, NC, she started the Athenian Press- a BIPOC bookstore and resource center for women, femme, non-binary, and trans writers and artists.  There she taught as an English professor and held the role of Community Outreach Director at the YWCA, among other advocacy titles with various nonprofits. Her work has been published widely and speaks to womanhood, anti-racism, identity, and generational trauma. Recent work can be seen in Sundog Lit, Occulum, Flypaper Lit, Crab Fat, Damaged Goods, All Female Menu, Marias y Sampaguitas, Glass Poetry, Homology, Hellebore, Tishman Review, the Obsidian, Anchor Magazine, Roses Lit, among others. She was a finalist in the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest, White Stag Publishing Contest, and the Bright Wings Poetry Contest. Currently, she serves as the Managing Equity and Inclusion Editor for Carve Magazine and Poetry consultant for Kissing Dynamite.

Her debut poetry collection, Ghost in a Black Girls Throat is forthcoming from Red Hen Press April 2021 and Unlearning Eden from White Stag Publishing. She is now the Writing Center Director at Shaw University and also the newest news writer for NBC-BLK and Black Girl Nerds.

Ayanna Albertson is a writer and spoken word poet from North Carolina. From early childhood, Ayanna has enjoyed the art of storytelling through poetry, singing and performing arts theatre. In 2015, Ayanna received her BA in broadcast journalism from Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL, further investing into her passion for creative writing. Ayanna is a part of the Bull City Slam team and has participated in various national poetry competitions using her gift of words in order to impact, empower and inspire others. She’s been crowned the Bull City Grand Slam Champion for three consecutive years, and after competing against 93 poets at the 2020 Women of the World Poetry slam, Ayanna was ranked 2nd best woman slam poet in the world. Ayanna is very passionate about “a(rt)dvocacy” including women’s rights and black advancement and liberation. In her spare time, she enjoys singing and dancing, and in the last year has found a new joy in TikTok, where she’s garnered over 250,000 followers. Ayanna's ultimate motto for her work is "I don't wish to be famous, I just want to be heard".

Gaia Rajan (Rah-JOHN) (she/her) is the Web Editor of Honey Literary and the Poetry Editor of Saffron Literary. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Split Lip Magazine, Hobart, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, "Moth Funerals," is out now from Glass Poetry Press, and she is a National Student Poet semifinalist. And a fact that always blows me away; she is only sixteen years old. 

Jihyun Yun is a Korean American poet from the San Francisco Bay Area. A Fulbright research fellow and National Poetry Series finalist, her debut collection Some Are Always Hungry won the 2019 Prairie Schooner Prize and was published by the University of Nebraska Press. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Adroit, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. 

Caitlin Rae Taylor is a writer, editor, and designer based in the southern United States. She earned her MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she served as the fiction editor for Ecotone magazine and the publishing assistant for Lookout Books. She has worked with nonprofit press Milkweed Editions and has been a resident at the Taleamor Park Writers and Artists Residency near LaPort, Indiana. She is currently the managing editor for the literary magazine Southern Humanities Review and the layout and interior design editor for Press Pause Press. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and can be found or is forthcoming in Cotton Xenomorph, Pacifica, Adroit, Hobart, Moon City Review, the Alabama Writers Forum, Southern Humanities Review online, and Germ Magazine. She is at work on a novel.

Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator. Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club & Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of most recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Maya Marshall, a writer and editor, is cofounder of, the journal on the practical magic of poetic revision. As an educator, Marshall has taught at Northwestern University and Loyola University Chicago. She holds fellowships from MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, Callaloo, The Watering Hole, Community of Writers, and Cave Canem. She is the author of Secondhand (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her writing appears in Best New Poets 2019, Muzzle, RHINO, Potomac Review, Blackbird, and elsewhere. Her first full-length collection of poems, All the Blood Involved in Love, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books.

Dasan Ahanu is a poet, cultural organizer, scholar and performing artist born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to performing across the country, Dasan has hosted or coordinated many Poetry, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Cultural Arts events. His work has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR) where he is noted for his appearances on “News and Notes with Ed Gordon” and “State of Things with Frank Stasio.” His writing is featured online and in print publications. He has been showcased on NBC 17, featured on the third season of Lexus Verses and Flow aired on TV One, and in a documentary entitled, “Poet Son” that aired on WUNC-TV as a part of the North Carolina Visions film series. He has worked with a variety of North Carolina Hip Hop and Jazz artists and released a number of spoken word recordings. Dasan is a resident artist with the St, Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC where he has developed poetry and spoken word programming for youth and adults. He has competed regionally and nationally in poetry slam as a founding member and coach of Durham, NC’s own Bull City Slam Team. The team has won two regional championships and achieved a third-place finish nationally. Dasan is co-founder and managing director of Black Poetry Theatre, a Durham based theatre company that creates and produces original poetry and spoken word based productions. He is the author of four poetry collections that include The Innovator (HWJW Publishing 2010), Freedom Papers (HWJW Publishing 2012), Everything Worth Fighting For (Flowered Concrete 2016), and Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern American South (Willow Books 2020).

Dasan is also an alumni Nasir Jones Fellowship with the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. His scholarly work is focused on art interventions, creative expression, Hip Hop and popular culture. Currently, Dasan is a visiting professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill and a consultant working with organizations on art based strategies. He is also the Rothwell Mellon Program Director for Creative Futures with Carolina Performing Arts.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to immediately. 

Event address: 
Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat By Khalisa Rae Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597098854
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Red Hen Press - April 12th, 2021

Khalisa Rae's Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat is like a newborn scream that's been held in for eons. Sharp, strong, unapologetic, beautiful, and angry, the writing in this collection is a celebration of language and rhythm, and the words on the page run like the blood from a wound caused by racism. . . .

Some Are Always Hungry (The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry) By Jihyun Yun Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496222183
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Nebraska Press - September 1st, 2020

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Some Are Always Hungry chronicles a family’s wartime survival, immigration, and heirloom trauma through the lens of food, or the lack thereof.

Chlorine Sky By Mahogany L. Browne Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593176399
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 12th, 2021

"An absolute masterpiece." -Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X

Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice By Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood, Theodore Taylor, III (Illustrator), Jason Reynolds (Contributions by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250311207
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 10th, 2020

"This collection of poems by women of color covers topics relating to social justice, activism, discrimination and empathy, focusing on the need to speak out and inspiring middle-graders." -Vogue

Woke: A Young Poet's Guide to Justice
is a collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.

Woke Baby By Mahogany L. Browne, Theodore Taylor, III (Illustrator) Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781626722958
Published: Roaring Brook Press - December 31st, 2018

For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism.

Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.

Black Girl Magic: A Poem By Mahogany L. Browne, Jess X. Snow (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mahogany L. Browne, Jess X. Snow (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250173720
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - January 2nd, 2018

Black Girl, they say you ain't 'posed to be here

The Innovator By Dasan Ahanu Cover Image
ISBN: 9780578051086
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hpj Writeeasy Publishing - April 16th, 2010

"The Innovator" is a collection of poems from NC poet Dasan Ahanu. Inspired by a 2005 chapbook of the same name, this offering features some of Ahanu's signature poems. Full of emotion, sincerity, passion, and social commentary, Ahanu's unique perspective is on display. Not only an inside look into this poet's mind, "The Innovator" is a critical analysis of the world we live in.

Freedom Papers By Dasan Ahanu Cover Image
ISBN: 9780615598277
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hpj Writeeasy Publishing - March 4th, 2012

I'm a punchline...words beaten into a page. I'm a hyperbole...a gross exaggeration of what blessings I deserve. I'm alliteration...repetitive mistakes with the first smile that follows an "I need you". I am mother's prayers given human characteristics. I am nothing but a literary device. So I write.

Shackled Freedom By Dasan Ahanu Cover Image
ISBN: 9781735740812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Willow Publishing - November 24th, 2020

Poetry collection by Dasan Ahanu, award-winning poet, performance artist, public speaker, community organizer, educator, scholar and emcee. An Alumni Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard's Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute and resident artist at the St. Joseph's Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center, Ahanu is a visiting lecturer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Event Summary: 
Charis and The Rumpus celebrate the launch of Khalisa Rae's debut collection, GHOST IN A BLACK GIRL'S THROAT, featuring readings about the ghosts that awaken BIPOC women each day, and the haunting feelings of sexism, racism, and bigotry.