makalani bandele

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  • MFA Candidate
  • Graduate Instructor
  • Managing Editor- PLUCK! Journal
1235 Patterson Office Tower
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Research Interests

Creative Writing

Visual Studies

ZOOM Office Hours Fall 2020: Th 1-3 by appointment

makalani bandele is an Affrilachian Poets and Cave Canem fellow. He has also received fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony, and Vermont Studio Center. His work has been published in several anthologies, Red Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature and Anthology of Appalachian Writers, to name a couple. Most recently work from under the aegis of a winged mind, awarded the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize (Published Sep 2020), appears or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Foundry, 32poems, and North American Review. hellfightin’ , bandele's  other full-length collection of poems, was published in 2011.


  • Jazz Music and History
  • Blues Music and History
  • Experimental Poetics
  • West African History and Culture
  • Contemporary Poetry
  • Visual Studies




Willow Books/Aquarius Press, 2011
ISBN 978-0-9846212-4-8

Derived from the nickname the French Army gave the all-Black 369th Infantry Regiment in World War I, the Harlem Hellfighters, this collection is a tour de force of lyricism, mysticism, jive philosophy, and discursive narrative as blues lick. The title of the book, hellfightin‘, as a term is best understood in the context of the critical framework of the Blues, is a poetic education in the African American musical, cultural and historical traditions. The poems in this work poems are bold and innovative with form and are troves of allusion.

under the aegis of a winged mind

Autumn House Press, 2020
ISBN 978-1-9387695-8-0

A collection of poems inspired by the life and times of virtuoso Jazz composer and pianist Earl “Bud” Powell.  Powell was troubled by police brutality and harassment, drug abuse, alcoholism, and mental illness throughout his life, and these subjects are central themes I explore in the work. These poems have been a vehicle for me to investigate how Black genius has encountered, been profoundly affected by, struggled against, and whether consciously or unconsciously, developed mechanisms to cope with White Supremacy in the US.


Selected Publications: