AkuaLezli Hope

poet, designer, creator


A third generation New Yorker, firstborn, Akua Lezli Hope has won two Artists Fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Ragdale U.S.-Africa Fellowship, a Creative Writing Fellowship from The National Endowment for The Arts and the Walker Foundation Scholarship to Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She is a Cave Canem fellow.  She received an Artists Crossroads Grant from The Arts of the Southern Finger Lakes for her project “Words in Motion,” which placed poetry on the buses of New York’s Chemung and Steuben counties.

Her collection THEM GONE, won  Red Paint Hill Publishing's  2015 Editor's Prize for publication in 2016.  She won the 2015 Science Fiction Poetry Association short poem award for  "Metis Emits."

Her first collection, EMBOUCHURE, Poems on Jazz and Other Musics, won the Writer’s Digest  book award for poetry. Notable publications include The 100 Best African American Poems;Too Much Boogie, Erotic Remixes of the Dirty  Blues The Killens Review, Breath and Shadow, Stone Canoe, Three Coyotes, The Year’s Best Writing, Writer’s Digest Guide; DARK MATTER, (the first!) anthology of African American Science Fiction and Erotique Noire, the first anthology of black erotica. 

She led the Voices of Fire Reading Choir from 1987 to 1999, performing her work and that of other African American poets.  Akua has given hundreds of readings  to audiences in colleges, prisons, parks, museums, libraries and bars.  She is also crochet designer with a collection of scifi hats, and avid hand papermaker, who loves to sing, play her sax, and play with her huge new kitten, Luno. A paraplegic, she’s developing a paratransit nonprofit so that she and others may get around in her small town. Akua bears an exile's desire for work close to home, and a writer's yearning for a galvanizing mythos.