Jayne Cortez was born in Arizona, grew up in California, and lived in New York City. She is the author of eleven books of poetry and performer of her poems with music on nine recordings. Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic, dynamic innovations in lyricism, and visceral sound.
Cortez has presented her work and ideas at universities, museums, and festivals in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, the Caribbean and the United States. Her poems have been translated into many languages and widely published in anthologies, journals, and magazines.
She is the recipient of several awards including: Arts International, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International African Festival Award, The Langston Hughes Medal, The American Book Award and the Thelma McAndless Distinguished Professorship Award from Eastern Michigan University.
Her most recent books are “The Beautiful Book” Bola Press 2007, “Jazz Fan Looks Back” published by Hanging Loose Press, and “Somewhere In Advance of Nowhere” published by Serpent’s Tail Ltd. Her latest CD recordings with the Firespitter Band are “Find Your Own Voice” released in 2006 by Bola Press “Taking the Blues Back Home,” produced by Harmolodic and by Verve Records “Borders of Disorderly Time” Bola Press 2003.Cortez was organizer of the international conference “Slave Routes The Long Memory” and director of the films “Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future,” and “Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization.” She served as the president of the Organization of Women Writers of Africa, Inc. and appeared on in such films as “Women In Jazz” and “Poetry In Motion.”Bio: Courtesy of the National Poetry Foundation
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