Tanya Grae was born in Sumter, South Carolina, but grew up across America as her father relocated with military assignments to 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 B.A. magna cum laude in English from Rollins College, where she received the Arden Goettling Academy of American Poets Prize, and a dual MFA in poetry and fiction from Bennington College.
Her forthcoming debut collection Undoll (YesYes Books, 2019) was a National Poetry Series finalist, and her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, The Massachusetts Review, Barrow Street, The Los Angeles Review, Post Road, and elsewhere in journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Lethe is due to release in November 2018 from Five Oaks Press. 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 a third-year PhD candidate 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.”