In 2002, Professor Honorée Fanonne Jeffers joined the faculty of the Department of English at University of Oklahoma as an assistant professor. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007 and Full Professor in 2016. As a teacher, Professor Jeffers focuses on the reading and writing literature, and helping her students to begin the professional and intellectual journeys of actively publishing in the field of creative writing. Equally important, Professor Jeffers embraces her students’ rich diversity and profound humanity.
Professor Jeffers has read her work at universities, conferences, and in communities across the country, including the Library of Congress. She is the author of five books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue (Kent State, 2000), Outlandish Blues (Wesleyan University Press, 2003), Red Clay Suite (Southern Illinois, 2007), The Glory Gets (Wesleyan University Press, 2015), and most recently, The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan University Press, 2020), which imagines the life and times of the Revolutionary-era poet Phillis Wheatley, a former slave who was the first woman of African descent to publish a book in North America. For the extensive research for this project, Professor Jeffers traveled to Senegal, West Africa, the United Kingdom, and New England in the United States.
Professor Jeffers has won fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress. For her research on Phillis Wheatley, Professor Jeffers was elected into the American Antiquarian Society, a research organization to which fourteen American presidents have been elected. A prose writer as well, Professor Jeffers is at work on her first novel. For her fiction, she is the recipient of the Emerging Fiction Fellowship from the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the Tennessee Williams’ Scholarship in Fiction from the Sewanee Writers Conference and the Goodheart Prize for Fiction from Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review. In 2018, she won the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, and in 2020, she was inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame; both distinctions were for lifetime achievement.
Professor Jeffers’s individual poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and many journals, including American Poetry Review, Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (Norton, 2013), Black Renaissance Noire, Callaloo, Common-Place: the Interactive Journal of Early American Life, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race (Scribner, 2016), Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, JENda: A Journal of Cultural and African Studies, The Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Poetry International, Prairie Schooner, StoryQuarterly, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others.