Grace C. Ocasio
Grace C. Ocasio’s educational background is primarily academic. She taught several levels of English Composition part-time and full-time at Central Piedmont Community College from 1995 to 2003. In addition, she also taught remedial, first-level and second-level college English at York Technical College; 1996-1998, 2003-2008. However, teaching Creative Writing at CPCC was, by far, her favorite endeavor in the classroom. Primarily a poet who dabbles in writing nonfiction (personal) essays from time to time, her nonfiction has appeared in The Charlotte Observer and InterRace. Recently, she placed as a finalist for the 2015 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award in Poetry. She is a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Regional Artist Project Grant. Her honors include winning honorable mention in the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize, the 2011 Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka Poetry Prize, and a 2011 Napa Valley Writers’ Conference scholarship. Her first full-length collection, The Speed of Our Lives, was published by BlazeVOX Books in 2014. Her poems have appeared in Black Renaissance Noire, Rattle, Court Green, Earth’s Daughters and BlazeVOX. Her chapbook, Hollerin’ from This Shack, was published by Ahadada Books in 2009. She is an alumna of The Watering Hole Retreat, a Soul Mountain Retreat fellow, Fine Arts Work Center and Frost Place Alumna, and member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective. She also served as a reviewer for the online writers’ resource, The Review Review in 2008 and 2009. In addition, she served, from May 2013 to May 2016, as a contributing editor for Backbone Press. Other organizations she is affiliated with are the North Carolina Poetry Society, the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and the Charlotte Writers’ Club. She has read at venues that include the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina; the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut; the East Bay Meeting House in Charleston, South Carolina; UNC Chapel Hill’s Bull’s Head Bookshop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the Sensoria Festival at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, her MA in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her BA in Print Journalism and English from Howard University, graduating cume laude.