Alisha Acquaye

Alisha Acquaye is a writer, community organizer and artist with a knack for observing nuances in pop culture, art, music and social and cultural trends. Her work - ranging from creative nonfiction and cultural criticism to op-eds and interviews - explores the relationship between artistic expression and intersectionality. She is particularly interested in how people of color use art and style to reclaim their narratives and the necessity of self care as a formative weapon against oppression. Alisha’s essays have been published in Teen Vogue, GQ, Allure, OkayAfrica, ELLE, The Establishment, Catapult, and more.

Sasha Banks

Sasha Banks is a poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in APOGEE, PBS Newshour, SRPR, FANZINE, Poor Claudia, RHINO, B O D Y Literature, The Collagist, and OBSIDIAN. Sasha is the creator of Poets for Ferguson. She received her MFA at Pratt Institute. She is the author of the forthcoming collection, america, MINE (COIMPRESS 2020).

Jill Louise Busby

Jill Louise Busby is a writer and filmmaker critiquing, imploding, and barrel-laughing at our personal and communal hierarchies; the endlessly-pending and highly-exclusive revolution, identity, and reaction-based illusions of societal progress; and the boundaries that we all place on our lives. Believing a shift away from anti-difference begins with an outpouring of radical, multi-generational, inclusive, and validating honesty, Jill’s work charms audiences just past their limits of comfort, inviting them to seek a new and more genuine freedom in the discomfort of truth.

Fajr Muhammad

Fajr Muhammad is a writer born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She recently earned her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. Her work has received fellowships from the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop and Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She is currently at work on a novel.

Jive Poetic

Jive Poetic is a writer, organizer, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BA in Media Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his MFA in Writing and Activism from Pratt Institute. In 2017 Jive was the first recipient of the John Morning Award for Art and Service. He is the founder of Insurgent Poets Society, Carnival Slam: Cultural Exchange, and the co-founder of the Brooklyn Poetry Slam. His work has been showcased on season four of TVONE’s Lexus Verses and Flow, PBS News Hour, and BET. International recognition and support for his work has come from the British Arts Council; US Embassies in Australia, Brazil, and Poland; and the Minister Of Culture in Antigua and Barbuda.














The Rhode Island Writer’s Colony saved me. I can write that sentence without equivocation, or hyperbole. When I applied, I was living in Oregon, depressed, and hadn’t written a poem in about a year. I applied because I found the call on tumblr, and saw it was a space for Black writers to get together and write without apology, explaining, or fear. When I wrote to Brook and John, I told them that they might as well accept me, because Rhode Island was small, and I was starving for other Black Writers in my life. I told them that if they didn’t accept me, I’d show up anyways, and sit in the cold until they let me in. I’m extremely thankful it didn’t come to that.

The RIWC changed the way I wrote. Even though I was the only person there working on a poetry project, having the space to write and really interrogate my work helped me blossom. The work I did at RIWC got me into Cave Canem the next year. It became the foundation for a full length collection. It was a beautiful two weeks of writing “hard” poems and working next to people who were serious and driven about their craft. It opened up a new family to me.

I also wanted to take a moment to write specifically about Brook Stevenson. I got to Rhode Island broken and bitter. Brook saw the spark in my work from across the nation and pulled me out of my misery. He encouraged me to really push for the work and to live a life that made me happy. He made me promise that I would send work out, that I would try to find a way to get out of the job that made me depressed and physically ill. He made me promise to be honest about my work. Brook reminded me that I deserved happiness; something that I hadn’t heard or felt in an extremely long time. His laughter, encouragement, and honesty pushed me to be a stronger and more fearless writer, person and friend. Brook reminded me what living was.

Thanks to the RIWC, I have a family of incredible writers backing me, a new body of work I’m beyond proud of, and a fire inside myself that would not have been possible if I hadn’t found Brook, John, and the space they made for me. It encouraged me to actually live an honest life full of love and work I enjoyed. It gave me space to find ways to more fully love other Black writers. It gave me my laughter back.

I kept writing, deleting, and re-writing this. It’s hard to talk about a moment that dramatically shifted your life path. I consider the Rhode Island Writer’s Colony some of the more fulfilling weeks of my life. I am beyond grateful for the space, the time, and the love. I encourage you to look towards it with love.
~Crystal Boson, PhD, 2015 Artist-in-Residence