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Quraysh Ali LansanaQuraysh Ali Lansana is the author of eight books of poetry in addition to textbooks and works for children. A former faculty member of both the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University and was an Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing.

His work Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience & Change Agent, with Georgia A. Popoff (Haymarket Books, 2017) and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop with Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall (Haymarket Books, 2015). Lansana’s work appears in Best American Poetry 2019. 

Recently named a Tulsa Artist Fellow, Lansana will become the executive producer and creative director of a radio program, Focus: Black Oklahoma. The show will originate from KWGS at the University of Tulsa and air on National Public Radio affiliates in Oklahoma.

About the skin of dreams

the skin of dreamsthe skin of dreams is a remembering, an offering and a gathering of geographies. Traversing twenty-three years of earth and breath, Quraysh Ali Lansana’s first new and collected works roadmaps small town Oklahoma to southside Chicago in compelling poems that question, surprise and dare. As a direct descendent of the Black Arts Movement and last student of Miss Gwendolyn Brooks, Lansana explores the complicated internal and external terrain of Blackness and history from a post-King, post-Kennedy childhood through the election of the first non-White president while grappling with the definition of home. These are poems that cry, sing, scream and see.

“There are reasons why this book should be put in a capsule and sent into space so everyone in the next galaxy could see, hear, and understand, what it was to be black in America. Heritage. Heritage. Heritage, from the poet’s great-great grandfather; to the poems in Harriet Tubman’s voice.” Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books

“Quraysh Ali Lansana has woven a roadmap of poems and prophecy from Tulsa to Chicago, slowly breaking open the voices of history with each step. Here is a friendship journey, a father/son Southside Chi meditation for the 21st century blues. Follow the path on these pages to enter your own skin.” Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize winner, Olio


Author website