Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of English
Rae Paris
Home > People > Faculty > Rae Paris

IMG_0854.JPGAssistant Professor
Creative Writing

Office: C606 Wells Hall
Phone: (517) 884-4418
Email: rparis@msu.edu

M.F.A., University of Arizona
B.A., UC Berkeley

Rae Paris is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, and core faculty in African American and African Studies. Her book The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory is forthcoming fall 2017. Using poetry, prose, and images, The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory remembers her father’s life and death within an assemblage of past and present racial violence and resistance to terror in the United States. It chronicles her remembering at different sites of terror and resistance around the U.S. beginning in 2010. 

Professor Paris's writing, research, teaching, and service is layered in land, memory, resistance, Black and Brown futures, and love. She is from Carson, California with roots extending to New Orleans. Her poetry, fiction, and essays appear in a variety of journals. Her work has been supported by an NEA Literature Fellowship, and writing residencies from the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Hambidge Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA). Her poem "The Forgetting Tree" was selected as Best of the Net 2013. Her short story “The Girl Who Ate Her Own Skin” was a recommended story in the 2009 O. Henry Prize Stories, and her collection was a finalist for the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction. In addition to The Forgetting Tree, her current book projects include a young adult novel titled You, and a co-edited volume of essays tentatively titled Racing Creative Writing: Pedagogy and Practice

In spring 2012 Professor Paris designed a new course on Black women’s contemporary short fiction, out of which she created Black Space, a space for Black women writers: http://blackspaceblog.com/. In spring 2016, Professor Paris and Dr. Yomaira Figueroa founded the Women of Color Initiatives. The Women of Color Initiatives organizes outreach events for undergraduate and graduate women of color, and allies on the MSU campus. In doing so WOCI aims to create spaces for students to be in conversation with each other and engage with women of color faculty, staff, and community members. Through the WOCI speaker series and other events WOCI hopes to create a space for a collective of women of color to discuss some of the most pressing issues in our communities, and to present women of color with an opportunity to address the racial, class, sex, and gender issues faced by Indigenous, Black, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Chicanx and Latinx women. The Women of Color Initiatives was sparked into being with a visit from Alexis Pauline Gumbs, founder of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, who spoke on “Visionary Daughtering: An Intimate and Intellectual Activist Archive.” In October 2016, WOCI had the great fortune of hosting Leanne Simpson, renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg musician, writer, and academic whose talk was titled “Land, Bodies, Resurgence.” WOCI will be hosting Ana Castillo in spring 2017.



“Welcome to Healdsburg,” California ProseDirectory, 2016, Outpost19 Books, San Francisco, CA.
“Leaking Bodies,” Dismantle:An Anthology of Writing from the VONA Writers Workshop, Voices of OurNation Arts Foundation (VONA),  2014, Thread Makes Blanket Press.


“Strangled*: Letter to a Young Black Poet,” Transition Magazine: the Magazine of Africa and the Diaspora, Issue 117, May 2015,The Hutchins Center, Harvard University.
“Tree of Return,” The Common, November 28, 2014, Amherst College Amherst, Massachusetts.
“The Hanging Tree,” Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, Fall/Winter 2013.
“The Forgetting Tree,” themed issue “Race in America,” Guernica: A Magazine of Art & Politics, June 15, 2013.


“What I Could Have Said at My Father’s Wake,” The Offing, December 14, 2015, Los Angeles.  
“‘Angles of Vision’: Teaching Race in Creative Writing Workshops,” November 2015, 1110/08, MIEL Books, Belgium.
“On Forgetting,” Women: A Cultural Review, Volume 26, NO. 3 (Special Issue: How I Write British and American Women’s Poetry Fin de Siécle to Today), fall 2015, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
"An Open Letter of Love to Black Students: #BlackLivesMatter," 2014.


Hedgebrook Writing Residency Alumnae Return Stay, 2016.
Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, 2015.
Honorable Mention, Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry, "Mardi Gras," selected by Marilyn Chin, 2015.
Nomination, 2014, Pushcart Prize XXXIV: Best of the Small Presses.
Winner, Best of the Net 2013, “The Forgetting Tree,” selected by A.E. Stallings, 2014.
Hambidge Creative Residency Program, National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished Fellowship, 2013.
Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence Program, selected by Carolyn Forché, 2013.
National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, 2010.


ENG226: Intro to Creative Writing
ENG228: Intro to Fiction
ENG428: Advanced Fiction
ENG320D: Methodologies of Literary History: History and Theory of Creative Writing
ENG353: Readings in Women Writers (Black Women’s Contemporary Short Fiction)
ENG350: Readings in African, African American, or African Diaspora Literature (Black Women's Memoir)
ENG499: Special Topics/Senior Thesis/Senior Capstone