Cheryl Clarke was born in 1947 in Washington, D.C. She received a BA from Howard University and an MA, MSW, and PhD from Rutgers University.
Clarke’s books of poetry include By My Precise Haircut (The Word Works Press, 2016); Experimental Love (Firebrand Books, 1993), which was nominated for a 1994 Lambda Literary Award; Humid Pitch: Narrative Poetry (Firebrand Books, 1989); Living as a Lesbian (Firebrand Books, 1986); and Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women (Kitchen Table, Women of Color Press, 1983). Her poems and essays have also appeared in numerous anthologies, including The World in Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave (St. Martin’s Press, 2000) and Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader (Alyson Publications, 1992), edited by Joan Nestle.
Clarke has read her poetry and spoken at venues throughout the United States. She has also served as member of the editorial collective for Conditions magazine. Clarke is the director of the Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian-Gay Concerns at Rutgers University. She is also the co-organizer of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers held annually in Hobart, New York, where she lives.