Yona Harvey is an American poet and recipient of the the Kate Tufts Discovery Award for her first poetry collection, Hemming the Water.  Her second poetry collection, You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2020.  She is also among the first black women to write for Marvel Comics.  She won the inaugural Lucille Clifton Legacy Award in poetry from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the Carol R. Brown Achievement Award from the Heinz Foundation.    She is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, teaches creative writing workshops, delivers writing-specific speaker topics, and is at work on her first memoir.  She currently serves on the editorial board of Poetry Daily.

Yona’s work has been published and anthologized in many publications including Letters to the Future: Black WOMEN / Radical WRITING, A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry and The Force of What’s Possible: Accessibility and the Avant-Garde.  She contributed to Marvel’s World of Wakanda with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, followed by a collaboration with Coates on Black Panther & The Crew.   Her interests and writings in nonfiction recently led her to teach a workshop for Creative Nonfiction magazine: “Writing Away the Stigma for Young Adults,” designed for teens writing about their mental health experiences.

Yona can be retained as a speaker, reader, or workshop facilitator through her contact form.



Featured video Walks in Wakanda: Yona in conversation with writer, cultural critic, and Rise of the Black Panther author, Evan Narcisse.

A Pioneer in the Literary World of ‘Black Panther’ | February 18, 2018

Alumna writes for Black Panther comics | February 16, 2018

Lives of A Poet
PITT Magazine  |  Summer 2017

Women Writers of Color: Yona Harvey  |  March 2017


I believe Langston Hughes when he writes that “poems, like prayers, possess power,” and I read what Brandi writes as a poem. Brandi’s poem has a title, line breaks, and an affirming catalog of “good things” that ends with the name of a teenaged boy, L.E., who once captured Brandi’s imagination. Maybe because I’m a poet and an older sister wanting peace of mind, I can’t help but read Brandi’s work this way. I want to believe that Brandi’s catalog of good things pulled her back from isolation. And I’m relieved to know that, for one year at least, Brandi found some comfort in writing and recording her thoughts, and that she sought help for her depression and difficulties. What she writes is part poem, part affirmation, part girl talk, and part secret. And, like Brandi, the poem keeps certain information to itself. Who, for instance, was D.J.? The name doesn’t ring the slightest bell.
–from “Blood, Work” in Writing Away the Stigma

 . . .

“The Sonnet District,” 
But you best believe
there’s a spiritualizing pattern coming into alignment, the dazzling intuition

of my female species systematically undermined for the sake of a male leader.   
Of course, I stole my files to burn later. 

 . . .

“Sonnet for a Tall Flower Born at Dinnertime,”

Southern Flower, I want to quote the bard,  
to serenade you, to raise a glass to you.

 . . .

She’s got a hundred & two temperature, delivery room nurses said. You’re gonna live, though—long enough to know you’re going to go as quickly as you came, gonna make your mother swear by you, 
Poem published in Poetry Magazine  |  February 2017

 . . .

“Boy in the Forest Between Living & Leaving.”  
soon is now son rise up singing one day soon is now son rise up singing one day soon son is now son rise up singing one day soon is today son rise up swinging one day soon is now son rise up swinging one day soon is now son rise is today son rise up swinging  

All above poems published in The Spectacle  |  Issue No. 02 2016 


To book Yona, get in touch through the Contact page.

Breakout: Voices from the Inside
Tuesday, August 27th 2019 @ 7:00 pm
City of Asylum Pittsburgh

A Reading of PEN Prison Writing Winners.

Fall for the Book
Saturday, October 12th 2019 @ 3:30 pm
Merten Hall, 1203 | University of Pittsburgh
A Year of Poetry Daily: Panel, Reading, and Reception
Join Poetry Daily’s editors—Brian Teare, Yona Harvey, and Amaud Jamaul Johnson—as they read from and discuss their work. There will be a reception following the event. Sponsored by Poetry Daily.

Writer’s Cafe
Friday, September 13th 2019 @ 3:30 pm
317B O’Hara Student Center
University of Pittsburgh

Sessions are facilitated by practicing creative writers, often from the Pitt faculty. Typical sessions include craft talks, writing in response to prompts, and sharing that writing. Coffee, soft drinks, and snacks are available free of charge. Start your weekend the “write” way by being part of the Writers’ Café.

Photos by Minoosh Zomorodinia

To book Yona, get in touch through the Contact page.

writing workshop topics include:

The Art of Journaling
The Art of Revision
Archives and Autobiography
DIY: Generating Writing Exercises for yourself and others
Ekphrastic Fantastic: Writing with Art and Music
Mental Health Writing
Politics and Prose: Engaging News and Politics
Visual Arts Poetry
Restorative Writing for Mind and Body
Write Yourself into a Comic (young adults)

speaking topics and one-on-one consultations include:

Budgeting on a Shoestring (women and young adults)
African American Poetry
One Vision, Many Vehicles: Storytelling in Poetry, Nonfiction, and Comics
Poetry Manuscript Editing
Protecting Your Writing Practice
Writing and Censorship
Writing Comics (diversity in comics, women in comics)
Writing and Research
Yes, We Can: Women 40 and over Publishing First Books and Beyond


social media
Twitter: @yonaharvey
Instagram: @seabedsidebyside
Facebook: @yonaharveywriter

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Yona can be retained as a speaker, reader, or workshop facilitator through her contact form. Inquiries on publications, writings, poems and writing comics are appreciated and emails will be answered as her schedule permits.

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