Khalisa Rae Thompson

Poet & Journalist
Travels from: Raleigh-Durham, NC

“A book that demands to be read with clenched fists and an open heart.” —PANK

Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet, activist, and journalist based in Durham, NC. She is the newest Senior Writer for Jezebel Magazine and Content Creator for BET. She is the author of the debut collection Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat from Red Hen Press 2021. She is the recent winner of the Vulgar Genius Award and the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Award. She is a 4-time Best of the Net nominee and Pushcart nominee. Her articles appear in Blavity, Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, Bitch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry can be seen in Autumn House’s Queer Anthology, Art Lit Lab, Southern Humanities Review, Electric Lit, Pinch, Tishman Review, Frontier Poetry, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. Currently, she serves as Assistant Editor of Glass Poetry, co-founder of Think in Ink and the Writers of Color Speak reading series, and poetry instructor at Catapult. Her YA novel in verse, Unlearning Eden, is forthcoming.

Prepare an Invitation for:

Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat

Red Hen Press |

Khalisa Rae’s Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is like a newborn scream that’s been held in for eons. Sharp, strong, unapologetic, beautiful, and angry, the writing in this collection is a celebration of language and rhythm, and the words on the page run like the blood from a wound caused by racism. . . . this collection is not just one all fans of poetry should read; it’s one we should be assigning in schools.–Gabino Iglesias, PANK Magazine

What happens when a Midwestern girl migrates to a haunted Southern town, whose river is a graveyard, whose streets bear the names of Southern slave owners? How can she build a home where Confederate symbols strategically stand in the center of town? Can she sage the chilling truths of her ancestors? What will she do to cope with the traumatizing ghostliness of the present-day South?

Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is a heart-wrenching reconciliation and confrontation of the living, breathing ghosts that awaken Black women each day. This debut poetry collection summons multiple hauntings–ghosts of matriarchs that came before, those that were slain, and those that continue to speak to us, but also those horrors women of color strive to put to rest. Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat examines the haunting feeling of facing past demons while grappling with sexism, racism, and bigotry. They are all present: ancestral ghosts, societal ghosts, and spiritual, internal hauntings. This book calls out for women to speak their truth in hopes of settling the ghosts or at least being at peace with them.

Feminism - Women's rights, black women empowerment, anti-racism

Community building, social justice - equity, organizing, building a non-profit, racial healing, Southern racism, healing black communities

Young girl empowerment - youth advocacy, inspiring young leaders/writers

Importance of Black representation - in media, publishing and entertainment

The craft and business of writing - perils and pitfalls as an emerging writer, resources (grants, fellowhips)

How to make it as a full-time writer - publishing, the wage gap

Writing workshops - Southern dialect/oral history/literature, queer poetry and prose, women's lit/poetics, from page to stage, connection in blues (hip hop, poetics and performance)

Sex-Desire-Identity in the BIPOC Community - shame culture, repression

How to build an inclusive classroom/educational environment

Khalisa’s Portfolio

News & Events

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Winner, Vulgar Genius Award in Poetry
Winner, 2022 Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards
Second place in the 2021 Rainbow Readers Award
Finalist, 2021 Auburn Witness Prize
Finalist, Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize
Winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest
Winner of the White Stag Publishing Contest
Winner Bright Wings Poetry Contest
Winner of the Voicemail Poetry Contest
Makers & Mystics Bright Wings 2020 Poetry Contest Winners
Finalist: 2021 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York – Southern Humanities Review
Best of the Net X 7 nominations
Pushcart x 4 nominations

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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