Katerina Canyon is an internationally published and prize-winning poet, journalist, and human rights activist who was born and reared in Los Angeles, California. Known for campaigning and organizing peaceful protests such as the Valentine’s Day Campaign (a national peace campaign against police brutality) and Camp BPW (a camp for low-income teenage girls), Canyon has been a poet since she was a child and an activist for nearly as long.
Canyon’s passion for activism is immediately evident in her writing. Her published articles and essays in the New York Times, Medium, Folks, Huffington Post, Into The Void Magazine, Esthetic Apostle, and other literary journals reflect her pursuit of equality, liberation, and representation.
A passion for poetry (and activism)
From 2000-2004 Canyon also served as the Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. As Poet Laureate, she promoted arts and poetry in the community by visiting public elementary schools to teach poetry workshops. She also started the Shouting Coyote Poetry Festival.
“I was serving as Poet Laureate of my city and had many projects underway including founding a poetry festival and creating a camp for at-risk teenage girls. I was doing all of these things while holding down a job and raising two young children. I felt like a superwoman,” Canyon said in a piece for Folks.
In 2017 Canyon released her first book of poetry, Changing The Lines, which portrays an intimate conversation between a mother and daughter on an intergenerational journey of discovery, Black womanhood, and intersectionality. Canyon also opens up about a life-changing Lupus diagnosis in other works like After Landing In Lisbon.
“Writing is something I have always loved to do. Lupus took things away from me, but I get to choose what to give up, and when I gave up less important things, I got more of what I really wanted and needed,” said Canyon for Folks.
Her most recent work, Surviving Home, is set to be released in December 2021, published by Kelsay Books. The to-be-released collection of poetry explores the challenging and often emotionally paralyzing issues many combat within the African American family and community. In a vulnerable reflection on heritage and upbringing, the poet weaves personal notes and memoirs through her poetic art.
Similar to some of her own favorites, Canyon is also a performer. Her public performances, before the pandemic, include her 2017 Bolton Hall and 2014 Talk Poetry – Hear the Truth! Performance. She is also known for her dazzling recital at the 2001 Sparrows Performance Poetry Festival. For more information on the poet, browse her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her website.
While we are celebrating Katerina Canyon for this World Poetry Day, there are hundreds of other great poets out there! Share your favorites with us by tweeting us @bookclubdotcom.