Grace C. Ocasio

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.




  7800 Meadowdale Lane, Charlotte, NC 28212


704 568 3739

My name is Grace: I like to write.

Program description

Program Description: (Performance) Poet/Performer Grace C. Ocasio is at home reciting in cafes, libraries, and poetry slam venues as well as colleges and universities. Her performance style is part Gil Scott-Heron, part Angela Davis, two early role models of hers. She draws a lot from history when writing her poems. For example, she has written on the colonial Native American figure Matoaka (famously known as Pocahontas) as well as contemporary figures like Mother Hale, Angela Davis, Audrey Hepburn, and Anne Frank, to name a few. A great admirer of the performing arts (acting in particular), she credits Judy Garland, Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson, and Barbra Streisand for inspiring her to add elements of drama to her performance (reciting of poems). In addition, she occasionally performs as a historical character as when she portrays Sojourner Truth (“Ain’t I A Woman”). Thus, Ms. Ocasio focuses on teaching students about modern historical figures who have inspired her. As a performer, Ms. Ocasio prefaces her poems on contemporary American and European figures with biographical information that highlights major points on historical figures. Ms. Ocasio also encourages students to ask her questions on the figures as to what specific characteristics they possessed that made them great role models for future generations of Americans. In turn, Ms. Ocasio solicits responses from her audience as to who their present-day role models are and challenges them to write poems on their heroes. Time permitting, students will be encouraged to pen a few lines on their favorite figures. Ms. Ocasio also informs students regarding her writing process when writing poetry as well as discussing her background as a poet––how she got her start and developed as a poet.

Booking / scheduling contact

Grace C Ocasio


Program detail
Artistic discipline: Literary Arts
Cultural Origin: American
Program type: Workshop
Population served: Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7
Subject: English, Theatre Arts
Bilingual: No
Available dates:

throughout the year

Available times:

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Space / technical requirements:

sound system with one microphone


at your school

Fees / Ticketing:

$150 per performance


NC Standard Course of Study:

W4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (In my case, I will be presenting my original poetry that will be suitable for a young audience.)

SL4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (In my case, I will enunciate [stress] words that are critical to the poem’s meaning, pause at parts in the poem when I’d like for students to slow down and dwell on the words spoken.)

L1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. (In this case, students will follow the poem and notice that most lines of the poem combine to create complete sentences.)

NC Essential Standards:

Theatre C1 Use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings.
Theatre A1 Analyze literary texts and performances.
Theatre CU.1 Analyze theatre in terms of the social, historical, and cultural contexts in which it was created.


Conducts educational programming for 2 or more years: Yes
Performs criminal background checks on staff with youth contact: Yes
Maintains general liability insurance (Individuals and organizations listed in this Directory can provide proof of insurance upon request. ASC does not hold copies of current documentation for providers): Yes
Three letters of recommendation / references available: Yes
Provides study guides for teachers and or students: Yes
Connects to State and or Common Core Curriculum Standards: Yes
Provides tools to assess student learning (workshops and residencies): Yes
Conducts ongoing assessments of program quality: Yes
Cancellation Policy

I charge half my fee, which would be $75.00, in the event of a cancellation on the part of a given school if cancellation takes place less than ten days prior to the event.