About Kevin Simmonds

Mr. Simmonds was born in Chicago and grew up in New Orleans. He studied music at Vanderbilt University and taught middle school music in Clinton, Maryland for two years. After stints as a teacher and graduate student, he finished the master's degree in music at Middle Tennessee State University. In 2000, Kevin moved to northern Japan and founded Tono International Arts Association, an international arts presenter that sponsored the 2001 Tono American Music Festival, which featured composers Jason Robert Brown, Georgia Stitt, Melvin Bryant, dulcimer virtuoso Stephen Seifert, and soprano Valerie Johnson.

He returned to the States, started his fellowship with Cave Canem and completed the Ph.D. in music education at the University of South Carolina. Kevin received a Fulbright fellowship to Singapore where he started the first-ever poetry workshop in Changi Prison. He has published poems, essays and reviews in American Scholar, FIELD, jubilat, Kyoto Journal, Massachusetts Review, Poetry, Rhino, and Salt Hill , and in the anthologies Beyond the Frontier, Gathering Ground, The Ringing Ear, To Be Left with the Body, and War Diaries.

As a composer and performer, he's collaborated with the late poet and writer Carrie Allen McCray on a musical adaptation of Ota Benga Under My Mother's Roof and with poet and writer Kwame Dawes on several projects including Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey in Verse, I Saw Your Face, HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica and Wisteria: Twilight Songs of the Swamp Country. Wisteria was the subject of a 2007 BBC Radio documentary and HOPE received and Emmy Award in 2009.

Kevin has received fellowships, commissions and grants from Atlantic Center for the Arts, Cave Canem, Creative Work Fund, Fulbright, Jack Straw, Squaw Valley and San Francisco Arts Commission. His books include the poetry collection Mad for Meat (Salmon Poetry, 2011), Ota Benga Under My Mother's Roof, the edited edition of the late Carrie Allen McCray's final work of poetry (University of South Carolina Press, 2012), and the poetry anthology Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011).

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Mad for Meat (Salmon Poetry, 2011)

Anthologies: Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011)