Alison C. Rollins (born and raised in St. Louis city) holds a Master of Fine Arts from Brown University, a Master of Library and Information Science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor of Science from Howard University. Rollins was named a 2023-2024 Harvard Radcliffe Institute fellow and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellow in 2019. In 2021, her essay "Dispatch from the Racial Mountain" was selected by contest judge Kiese Laymon as the winner of the Gulf Coast prize in nonfiction. Her work, across genres, has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Iowa Review, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she was a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Rollins has been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and is a recipient of the 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers' Award. A 2020 Pushcart Prize winner, her debut poetry collection Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press, 2019) was a 2020 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award nominee. Rollins has held faculty as well as librarian appointments at various institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Colorado College, and Pacific Northwest College of Art. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
WORK AND PRAISE FEATURED IN:
"Like sunflowers turning towards the sun, readers will turn to this astounding poet."
"The range of Rollins' poetic skill is remarkable. The result is a collection of poetry which is magnificently crafted, readable, and crucially important."
"In poem after poem, Rollins demonstrates that she is finding her own way, shining a light, making darkness apparent."
"Much-welcomed newcomer Rollins offers keen insights that librarians and their readers will appreciate."
"Some dense and haunting, Rollins' poems are always precise and exacting of attention from the reader...The poems continue to give upon each reading."
"The small and large darknesses catalogued here make this a book of remarkable depth. This is an electrifying debut."
—Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
"Rollins offers...a new reading of Morrison and Hughes, and this remix of the traditional notion of a peak at the top of a generational climb. This would be enough, but the language is as agile and dexterous as I've read in a long time...Flat out future classic."
—Kiese Laymon, judge of 2021 Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize, author of Heavy: An American Memoir