“I published my first story, a news article about a legally blind sculptor, in the St. Louis American in 1988 (I think). I published my first poem, inspired by the poet Henry Dumas, in Black American Literature Forum in 1988. I continue to write and, with luck, publish.”


An accomplished poet, playwright, and writer, Jabari Asim has been described as one of the most influential African American literary critics of his generation. Asim has served as the editor-in-chief of Crisis magazine—the NAACP’s flagship journal of politics, culture, and ideas— and as an editor at The Washington Post, where he wrote a syndicated column on politics, popular culture, and social issues. His writing has appeared in Essence, Salon, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the Hungry Mind Review, Emerge, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts and is the author of six books for adults and nine books for children. His most recent works are We Can’t Breathe, A Child’s Introduction to African American History, and Brother Nat.

Asim lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College.