Brenda Marie Osbey, a New Orleans native, is an author of poetry and prose nonfiction in English and French. Her books include All Souls: Essential Poems (LSU Press, 2015); History and Other Poems (Time Being Books, 2013); All Saints: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1997), which received the American Book Award; Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Story Line Press, 1991); In These Houses (Wesleyan University Press, 1988); and Ceremony for Minneconjoux (Callaloo Poetry Series, 1983; University Press of Virginia, 1985). She is the author also of a series of Kongo-New Orleans libretti, including Sultane au Grand Marais: a New Orleans Opera (Rites & Reason Theatre, December, 2011).
Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, anthologies and collections including Callaloo; Obsidian; Essence; Renaissance Noire; Southern Review; Early Ripening: American Women's Writing Now; The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry; 2PLUS2: A Collection of International Writing; Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology; Epoch; The American Voice; Illuminations: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing; Poet Lore; Southern Literary Journal; Atlantic Studies: Literary, Historical and Cultural Perspectives; and The American Poetry Review. Her essays have been published in The American Voice, The Georgia Review, BrightLeaf, Mondes Francophones, Southern Literary Journal and Creative Nonfiction.
Studies of her work appear in such critical texts as Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region and Literature by Thadious M. Davis (University of North Carolina Press, 2011); Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women by Lynn Keller (U. Chicago Press, 1997); The Future of Southern Letters, edited by Jefferson Humphries and John Lowe (Oxford, 1996); and such reference works as Contemporary Authors; the Oxford Companion to African American Literature (1997); the Dictionary of Literary Biography (Oxford, 1997); and Dictionnaire des Créatrices (Editions des Femmes, 2011).
She has been a resident fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, the Camargo Foundation, Maison Dora Maar and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University. She also has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the Langston Hughes Society and others. In 2005–2007, she served as the first peer-selected poet laureate of Louisiana.
Osbey is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.
Photo by Harold Baquet, New Orleans.