Raina J. León

Raina J. León is a Black and Afro-Boricua poet and educator. Originally from Philadelphia, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Saint Mary’s College of California and a PhD in Education from University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols (CW Books, 2008), was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize and the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Boogeyman Dawn (2013, Salmon Poetry), which was a finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett Prize; sombra : (dis)locate (Salmon Poetry, 2016); and the chapbook profeta without refuge (Nomadic Press, 2016; Black Lawrence Press, 2023), which was a finalist for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker award.

A member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo, SF Writers Grotto and The Ruby in San Francisco, León has received fellowships and residencies with the Obsidian Foundation, Montana Artists Refuge, Macdowell, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and the Tyrone Guthrie Center, among others. A founding editor of The Acentos Review, she is a professor of creative writing at the University of Southern Maine and lives in Philadelphia, on Lenni Lenape ancestral lands.