Tracie Morris is an award-winning American poet. She has also served as a performance artist, vocalist, voice consultant, page-based writer, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and consultant. Morris is from Brooklyn, New York. Morris' sound poetics have long been progressive and improvisational. She is a tenured professor.
Tracie Morris earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Poetry at Hunter College and her Ph.D in Performance Studies at New York University with an emphasis on speech act theory, poetry and Black aesthetics, under the supervision of José Esteban Muñoz. She also studied classical British acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (London) and American acting techniques and voice at Michael Howard Studios.
Morris writes about abuse, power, race, gender and the body, among other topics, through reverberation and accumulative alterations or substituting, thereby creating dynamic and intimate work. Although primarily known for her live performances, Morris has written several books and has been heavily anthologized as a writer as a poet, interviewer and essayist.
Morris emerged as a poet, performer and writer from the Lower East Side poetry scene in the early 1990s. She became known as a local poet in the "slam" scene of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, New York, and eventually made the 1993 Nuyorican Poetry Slam team, the same year she won the Nuyorican Grand Slam. She competed in the 1993 National Poetry Slam held that year in San Francisco with other poets from the Nuyorican team. Morris also won the "national haiku slam" that year and her interest in the form lead her to Asia to research poetic forms and cultures from the region in 1998. She is the recipient of NYFA, Creative Capital, Asian Cultural Council and other grants, fellowships, residencies and other awards for poetry including the Yaddo, Millay, MacDowell colonies. She has been a member of the MLA (Modern Language Association), Associated Writing Programs, The Shakespeare Society and The Shakespeare Forum. Her work has been featured in Fuse Magazine, The Amsterdam News, The Village Voice, Tribes Magazine, Bomb Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail and San Francisco Weekly as well as many cultural and scholarly journals. She has performed at Lincoln Center, St. Mark's Poetry Project, CBGBs, Lollapalooza, SxSW, The Whitney Museum, MoMA, Albertine, The New Museum, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Centre for Creative Arts (Durban), Victoria and Albert Museum, Queensland Poetry Festival (Brisbane, Melbourne) and many other regional, national, and international venues. She has presented her work throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
Morris began performing with music from the outset of her poetry career— those initial collaborations beginning with musicians she met as a member of the Black Rock Coalition. Morris' work is embraced by slam and performance poets as well as the Language Poets, a contemporary poetic avant-garde. She is featured, for example, on Charles Bernstein's Close Listening radio program and was featured at a 2008 conference on Conceptual Poetics alongside Bernstein, Marjorie Perloff, Craig Dworkin and others. Morris also received the Creative Capital Performing Arts award in the year 2000. In addition to being an experimental poet, Morris writes poetry in conventional forms and forms.
Morris is known as a sound artist and specialist in sound poetry as well as an occasional theatrical performer. (She is also a singer with composer/musician Elliott Sharp's band, Terraplane, and her eponymous band.) She has studied British acting technique as well as Laban and Meisner techniques in the United States. Her work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. In 2008 her poem "Africa(n)" was included on the compilation album Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records; produced by Mendi & Keith Obadike). Morris has taught in several institutions of higher education (she is a full professor at Pratt Institute, specializing in Performance Studies, literature and popular culture, African diaspora culture, Shakespearean sonnets, and voice). She was the 2007-2008 Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania., is a 2018 Master Artist of the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the 2018 WPR Fellow at Harvard University. Morris has been the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry at the Iowa Writers Workshop since January, 2019.
Morris presents workshops on creative writing, voice and strategic planning for activists, artists, youth, women, underserved communities as well as private and non-profit organizations. She has served on panels, given talks and has been a guest artist for prestigious educational organizations including Modern Language Association, Associated Writing Program, Columbia University, Princeton University, MIT, Pomona College, Dartmouth College, Smith College, University of Arizona, among others. Morris has been a consultant for educational and arts organizations. She has served on Board of Trustees/Board of Directors, committees and Artist Advisory boards for: the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the Black Rock Coalition, Pew Center for Arts and Culture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Creative Capital Foundation, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, Pratt Institute and the Cave Canem Foundation, among others. She is also an in-demand workshop leader for innovative poetry conducting intensives for many organizations including St. Mark's Poetry Project, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Poets' House, Naropa University, Kore Press and Cave Canem Foundation.
With Elliott Sharp
- Terraplane: Forgery
- Terraplane: Secret Life
- Terraplane: Sky Road Songs
- 4AM Always
With Uri Caine
- The Goldberg Variations (Winter & Winter, 2000)
Chap-T-Her Won, 1993, TM Ink
Per Form/Hard Kore: joca seria press 2017 (English with French translation by Olivier Brosard, Vincent Broqua, Abigail Lang)