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Nikia Chaney is the current Inlandia Literary Laureate (2016-2018). She is the author of two chapbooks, Sis Fuss (2012, Orange Monkey Publishing) and ladies, please (2012, Dancing Girl Press). She is founding editor of shufpoetry, an online journal for experimental poetry, and founding editor of Jamii Publishing, a publishing imprint dedicated to fostering community among poets and writers. She has won grants from the Barbara Demings Fund for Women, Poets & Writers, and Cave Canem. She teaches at San Bernardino Valley College.
Nikia Chaney holds two MFAs, one from Antioch University, Los Angeles (2009), and one from California State University, San Bernardino. She was chosen to read for the Literary Uprising for Antioch University, Los Angeles and she competed in the CSU Oral Research Competition for 2012 for her linguistic research. She was nominated by the English Department for Outstanding Graduate Student at California State University, San Bernardino.
Nikia teaches English composition at San Bernardino Valley Community. She also teaches poetry, literacy, and art classes for children and adults. Highly active in the community, Nikia has won fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, Poets & Writers, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Squaw Valley, and the Barbara Demings Fund.
Nikia’s poetry has been chosen by Nikki Giovanni as the winner of the 2012 OSA Enizagam Poetry Award. Of her poem “the fish”, Ms. Giovanni writes, “...What power this poem has with showing the difficulty of growing up with a terrible secret. What a powerful song this friend sings for a friend drowning in if not evil, then certainly, difficulty.”
Nikia has served as an assistant poetry editor for Inlandia Literary Journeys. She is the founding editor of shufPoetry, an online poetry journal for experimental poetry. She is also the founder of Jamii Publishing, an independent press for literature based in community projects.
Nikia’s poetry has been published in Iowa Review, Portland Review, Saranac Review, 491, Pearl, Sugar House Review, Welter, Blackberry Magazine, and Badlands. She has work appearing in a scholarly anthology of essays, Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape (Scarecrow Press, 2013). She has two chapbooks Sis Fuss (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2012), and ladies, please (Dancing Girl Press, 2013). Her manuscript, bite down, hum won the Marsh Hawk Robert Creeley Award (2015), and another finalist award, Yes Yes Books (2016).
In 2016 Nikia Chaney was appointed as the fourth Inlandia Literary Laureate for the Inlandia Literary Arts Institute. With an office at the Ernie Garcia Center on E Street in San Bernardino, Nikia hopes to help highlight the voices of “this city that sits below mountains and deserts,” its history, the people, the community and what people really know of it. She also wants to hold consecutive workshops to address and heal violence.