Mona Lisa Saloy is the new poet laureate for the state of Louisana. She is the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor of English at historically Black Dillard University in New Orleans.
A native of New Orleans, Professor Saloy is a graduate of the University of Washington. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing and a Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University.
“As a person born and raised in the Crescent City, as an author, folklorist, educator, and scholar, it is my duty to stand for truth,” Dr. Saloy said. “It is my honor to showcase the great women of the Arts & Letters on whose shoulders I stand, and to encourage this generation to be brave in the face of adversity, to honor the legacy of steadfast strength of our ancestors, and to be a light for tomorrow; they are the future.”
As a poet, her first book, Red Beans & Ricely Yours, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award and tied for a third. She’s written on the significance of the Black Beat poets, on the African American Toasting Tradition, on Black & Creole talk, on conditions and keeping Creole after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and her new book, Second Line Home, is a refreshing collection of poems that captures the day-to-day New Orleans speech, contemplates family dynamics, celebrates New Orleans, and all in a way everyday people can enjoy.