Chasity Gunn is a native of northwest Alabama. She received her MFA from Hamline University and a BA in Journalism from Belmont University. The author of How to Create a World (2018), her spoken word has been featured in the Bedlam Theatre’s 10X10 Fest and the Elgin Fringe Festival. A VONA summer workshop participant, she was awarded a Teach for Justice grant from Teachers Pay Teachers and a Cultural Arts Commission grant from the city of Elgin. Gunn is an English professor at Elgin Community College and the inaugural poet laureate of Elgin, Illinois. In 2021, she received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.
In 2021, Chasity Gunn was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Gunn will lead Sanctuary Poets, which is inspired by June Jordan’s “Poetry for the People,” and the poet’s time during her MFA. For six weeks, participants will take part in a weekly poetry seminar. Rather than specifically targeting one demographic, Sanctuary Poets seeks to model the inclusive nature of a sanctuary, where people of various backgrounds gather in a central place. The same group of poets will be in each seminar, so they can form a sense of community. All will be welcome. The seminar will conclude with a poetry reading featuring visual art, a chapbook, and an audiobook of the poets reading their work.