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

Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet, educator, and journalist in Durham, NC. She is the author of Real Girls Have Real Problems and the debut poetry collection, Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat (Red Hen Press 2021), and former Senior Writer for Jezebel Magazine. Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, as well as articles in Jezebel, Blavity, Bitch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry appears in Southern Humanities Review, Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. She is the winner of the Appy Award, Vulgar Genius, Bright Wings Poetry contest, the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, among other prizes. Khalisa’s work has led her to speak in front of thousands, and her powerful poetry has graced stages at the National Poetry Slam, Women of the World Poetry Slam, and Southern Fried Poetry Slam. As an accomplished writer in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, Khalisa has been a fellow at the Watering Hole, Winter Tangerine, and the Frost Place. Currently, she is the Publications Coordinator for Split This Rock and is the Founding EIC of Think in Ink BIPOC collective. Her YA novel in verse, Unlearning Eden, is forthcoming.In her spare time, Khalisa works to uplift the community and provide resources for emerging writers of color.

Khalisa's Featured Titles

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 you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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