Much of who I write for is about who I love and the way I want to be a salve for this world. I see people and places in deep pain and bondage and I write to those experiences. I write for sexual assault and domestic violence victims. I write for people who are looking for God. I write to honor my ancestors and the continued impact of their experiences. I write for people who don't know themselves and are trying to craft an identity. I write for people who are tired of grief and are learning to practice joy. I write for people who are chasing freedom because anything else is not an option.
I have a story but I'm more interested in yours and how you got here. I'm more interested in how we all get from grief to joy, emptiness to love, and futility to purpose. My writing, performance, and teaching is less about telling my story and more about asking you to confront yourself in a radically honest way. It's about daring you to heal.
"I write for women who imagine themselves free from trauma."
Ajanae Dawkins is a Michigan and New York Native. She received a degree in English Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin - Madison on a full-tuition scholarship with the OMAI First Wave, Hip-hop and Urban Arts scholarship for her poetry. She has performed and featured at venues across the country and has opened for the United Nations Secretary of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Nikki Giovanni. She has been published in The BreakBeat Poets Black Girl Magic Anthology, The Offing, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Winter Tangerine, The Blueshift Journal, Voicemail Poems, The Underscore Review, Word Riot, and Gramma Poetry, and has work forthcoming in The Rumpus. Her work has been featured on For Harriet, Def Jam, and Button Poetry. She’s been awarded artist of the year by Delta Sigma Theta sorority incorporated. Ajanae is the winner of the Tinderbox Poetry Journal’s Editors Prize, a finalist for the Cave Canem Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize, and a finalist for the Brett Elizabeth Jenkins poetry prize. She has also been nominated for Best of the Net. She is a two-time individual finalist for the Rustbelt regional slam, crowning her as one of the top five poets in the midwest, twice. In 2015, she debuted her one-woman show, Atlantic. She is a fellow of The Watering Hole’s writer’s retreat for African American writers and Pink Door writer’s retreat. She was also a contributing writer for the Theatre Lila, theatre company. She has been featured in Ebony Magazine for the Faces of Frustration: A Year of Racial Protest. Ajanae’s social justice practices revolve around empathy and redemption. She is currently an editor for Voicemail Poems, a Nancy Craig Blackburn Fellow as an MFA candidate at Randolph College, and an MDiv candidate at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. The only thing she believes in more than poems is the transformative power of Jesus Christ.