Natalie J. Graham, a native of Gainesville, Florida, earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Florida and Ph.D. in American Studies at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. A widely-published scholar of African American Studies, with research interests in race, identity performance, and music, she became a faculty member in the Department of African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton in 2013. During her tenure there, she has served as chair of the department, co-founded the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation, and coordinated art-centered community events, workshops, and readings for hundreds of participants. She is an award-winning author and performer who has toured nationally with her collection of poems, Begin with a Failed Body. In August 2021, Natalie was appointed Poet Laureate of Orange County.
When she isn’t making poems, teaching about music, or planning events, she loves perfecting her chocolate chip cookie baking skills and homeschooling her son, Ronald.