Kimberly Reyes

Poet, critic, and essayist Kimberly Reyes was born and raised in New York City. A Black Nuyorican and second-generation New Yorker, Reyes was the first person in her family to attend college. She earned her B.A. in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a music, entertainment, and culture reporter for the first part of her career. in 2013, Reyes received her Master of Arts from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she was the Poetry Foundation Columbia University Journalism Fellow, among other honors. Here she became interested in creative writing. She next attended San Francisco State University for her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, with a concentration in poetry.

Reyes’ debut chapbook, Warning Coloration, was a finalist in the Two Sylvias Press 2017 Chapbook Competition before being published with dancing girl press in 2018. Her essay collection, Life During Wartime (Fourteen Hills, 2019), won the 2018 Michael Rubin Prose Chapbook Award. Running to Stand Still, a finalist for both the 2020 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award and Civil Coping Mechanisms’ 2017 Mainline Competition, was published by Omnidawn in 2019. Reyes’ writing has appeared in dozens of publications and venues, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Best American Poetry blog, poets.org, american poets, The Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland, Poetry London, and RTÉ Radio.

Reyes has been awarded fellowships and other honors from the Fulbright Program, the Academy of American Poets, CantoMundo, Callaloo, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Tin House Workshops, Cave Canem, Kundiman, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Greater New York Arts Development Fund, the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland, the Munster Literature Centre, Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya, the Prague Summer Program for Writers, the Community of Writers, Napa Valley Writers' Conference, Miami Writers Institute, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, the Watering Hole, San Francisco State University, and other organizations. Her work as an educator includes teaching roles at Ireland’s Ó Bhéal and Munster Literature Centre, and, in the United States, at San Quentin State Prison and the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois.

Reyes was chosen as the 2019–2020 Fulbright Scholar to study Irish literature and film at University College Cork, where she is now at work on a Master of Arts degree. A member of the the Irish Fulbright Commission's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board, Reyes lives in Cork, Ireland.


More Kimberly Reyes

Text: Two poems by Reyes at Columbia Journal

Video: Reyes reads her poem "Drink Before the War" for Palm Beach Poetry Festival


Photo by Matthew Thompson.