Tanya Grae was born in Sumter, South Carolina, while her father was stationed at Shaw AFB and grew up across America in far-flung Air Force towns like Little Rock, Minot, Tucson, Panama City, and Homestead. Her family is from Nashville, Tennessee, and she is of Irish, Dutch-German, and Cherokee descent. She holds a BA from Rollins College, where she won the Arden Goettling Academy of American Poets Prize, and holds an MFA in poetry and fiction from Bennington College. Her forthcoming debut collection of poems, Undoll (YesYes Books, 2019), was a National Poetry Series finalist, and her poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Missouri Review, Poets.org, New Ohio Review, Barrow Street, Post Road, and elsewhere in journals and anthologies. In 2016, Yusef Komunyakaa selected her poem, “The Line of a Girl,” to receive the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Prize. Grae is finishing her PhD in creative writing at Florida State University, where she won the 2018 John McKay Shaw Academy of American Poets Prize. A mother of three, she lives in Tallahassee with her youngest daughter.
“I admire how [Grae] sees us, our days, our bodies: “A body is sixty percent / ocean & the rest, sediment– / a ship at sea bears load to / the plimsoll.” I admire also how this poet lets us see the music of this very act of seeing: “I close my eyes & lull / against the translation of owls calling out— / If not you, someone. If not you, someone new.”