Tonya M. Foster, the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry at San Francisco State University, is the author of the poetry collection A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna*, 2015) and the bilingual poetry chapbook La grammaire des os (joca seria, 2016). She is coeditor of the essay collection Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2002). Forthcoming are a poetry chapbook, A History of the Bitch (AHOTB) (Sputnik & Fizzle, 2020), and the full-length collection Thingification (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2021). With the support of a Creative Capital Award, Foster is also developing a multimedia, multi-genre project titled Monkey Talk.
Foster’s writing and research focus on ideas of place and emplacement, on intersections between the visual and the written, and on mapping the 20th- and 21st-century African Americas. During her Radcliffe year, Foster is completing a book-length manuscript of poetry, “AHotB,” that takes up Fanny Lou Hamer’s idea that “a black women’s body is never hers alone.”
Foster is a poetry editor at Fence. Over the years, her scholarly and creative works have been supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she received a PhD in English, specializing in African American literature. An MFA graduate of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, Foster is a recipient of honors and residencies from Headlands Center for the Arts, MacDowell, New York Foundation for the Arts, and elsewhere.