DaMaris B. Hill, PhD

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  • Associate Professor of Creative writing, English and African American Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate for Writing, Rhetoric and Digitial Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate for African American Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate for Gender and Women's Studies
  • American Studies
  • English
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies
  • African American and Africana Studies
  • Center for Equality and Social Justice
(859) 257-7006
Research Interests:
by appointment

I sought to strengthen my creative writing with PhDs in English, Creative Writing and another in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Kansas. As a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to create an archival system for The Project on the History of Black Writing. I also worked as a program assistant with the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities and a grants coordinator with The Lied Center for the Performing Arts, the "Kennedy Center" of the Plains Region. 

Doctor of Philosophy:                                            University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (2012), English - Creative Writing

Graduate Certification:                                          University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (2011), Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Master of Arts:                                                       Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD (2005),  English

Bachelor of Arts:                                                    Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD (1999), English. and Psychology


DaMaris B. Hill is the author of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland  (2020 NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry), The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland\Vi-zə-bəl\   \Teks-chərs\(Visible Textures). She has a keen interest in the work of Toni Morrison and theories regarding ‘rememory’ as a philosophy and aesthetic practice. Similar to her creative process, Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary. Hill is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky. http://damarishill.com


This statement of research underscores my creative writing, scholarly activity, and contributions as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky.  I am a writer and interdisciplinary scholar. The Americanist scholar Lawrence Buell reminds us that world history is “the narrative of space becoming place”.  With this in mind, my projects are research-intensive narratives where creative writing, national identity, and collective memory intersect to explore “America” as a nation state and “Americanness” as a cultural construct. Much of my work has been influenced by legacies of American literature and the innovations of twenty-first century digital culture. My research investigates how Americanness is negotiated in literary and digital environments.  Key questions in my work ask: 

1.     How do narratives that affirm Americanness create a sense of permanence?

2.     How are the various theories concerning what it means to be American destabilize narratives associated with national identity?

3.     How is Americanness as a form of national identity performed in a world that blends physical, psychological and digital spaces, particularly when each of these spaces are rapidly shifting and seemingly eroding?

I was hired as an Assistant Professor in July 2013 and have published continuously, totaling over 20 works. The major books include a collection of poems entitled A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing (Bloomsbury 2019) and an edited collection entitled The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland (Rowman and Littlefield 2016, 2018 paperback). Other major digital poetry projects include the innovative “Shut Up In My Bones: A Remix” (MusiqologY 2017) and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), a short collection of poems (Mammoth Publications 2015). My creative nonfiction publications include “Concrete”. This essay was published as a book chapter in Introduction to Women’s Studies (Oxford University Press 2017, second edition 2020). There are other pieces of creative writing and scholarly essays that appeared in peer reviewed and disciplinary journals. I plan to continue to publish creative writing and scholarly research throughout my career. My major published works from 2013 to 2019 are summarized below:


A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing

My most significant book, A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing:  The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland, explores Americanness within the context of race, gender, and current events.  A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing is a memoir in verse that honors African American women that have had experiences with incarceration. Some of these women have organized resistance movements over the last two centuries, like Harriet Tubman, Assata Shakur, and Sandra Bland. Poems in this book also question what are the ripple effects, losses, and inequalities that provide the context for the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The book, like much of my other work, uses pastiche and archival photos to communicate the beauty and complexity of the women in the book. In some ways, this book is in conversation with the histories Angela Davis documented in Women, Race, and Class. In that book, Davis examines the women’s movement in relationship to the long Civil Rights Movement. 

A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing was released in January 2019 with Bloomsbury Publishing.  Bloomsbury Publishing is a leading independent publishing house with companies world-wide, in London, Oxford, New York, Sydney and New Delhi.   I am the first living American poet to be published with Bloomsbury.  Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing is the lead book in the Bloomsbury Adult Trade catalogue. The book is also featured in the Bloomsbury Academic and Professional Division catalogue and the Macmillan Publishers Academic catalogue. Roxane Gay called my book, “a reckoning”. Eve Ensler stated that she has been waiting for this book her entire life. And, Ada Limon finds A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing to be “honest, intelligent, brutal…Hill is a brilliant poet historian who has created an important lyrical excavation that's never been more necessary.”  The book’s relevance is also demonstrated in sales and multiple reprints. A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing was identified as a Top 10 category opener with Publishers Weekly prior to the release date and was recently identified as an Amazon best seller.

The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland

The ideas concerning Americanness that are expressed in A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing extends theories I examined in my edited collection The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland (Lexington Books 2016, paperback 2018).  The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland explores theories associated with intersectional American identities in context of environmental memory. I argue that the oversimplification and reduction of the racial and gender inequalities has resulted in an erasure of the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. This erasure contributed to the defensive political ideologies expressed in the Black Nationalist Movement, and the subsequent culture wars. The essays in this book extend Heartland histories beyond the promises of the American Creed into specific histories that explore the connections between environmental memory, intersectional identities, and regional histories of political engagement.

The book was my vision and as editor I sought contributors that intimately understood the nuances the American Heartland histories. The contributors are also deeply invested in exploring theories concerning intersectional identity. My written contributions include the “Introduction”, “Editor’s Note: Claims of Memory and Space”, and the “Conclusion”.  The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland was published by Lexington Books in June 2016 and republished in a paperback edition in March 2018. Lexington Books is an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield, a prominent publisher of African American and gender studies books.  It was the first book since Nell Irvin Painter’s Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction (Knopf 1977) to examine African Americans in a non-urban Mid-western context.  

Digital Publications and Innovations

      I spend a considerable amount of my creative energy exploring how theories associated with Americaness intersect with creative writing and twenty-first century digital tools. I appropriate digital archives in my creative writing to emphasize the negotiations of American identity and collective memory. The recontextualizing of digital material is one of the ways I stake "claim to history." My appropriation of digital media allows me to show the complexities of race advancement and social justice in American culture.  Using a limitless digital archive, the literary techniques in my projects resemble the artistic practices associated with pastiche and remix. Therefore, my work stands in the crossroads of literary (in the form of linguistic text), visual (archival photos and genre manipulation), cultural (abstracting/recontextualizing the historical narratives) and other forms of African Diasporic knowledge, logic and expression that extends into a type of Americaness/New World “knowing.”

Shut Up In My Bones

My most innovative creative project was born out of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing. It is  entitled “Shut Up in My Bones.” The digital poem is a remix of a literary poem of the same name. It was published and republished in three venues: The Project on the History of Black Writing, Mammoth Publications, and MusiqologY at the University of Pennsylvania. A recent review in MusiquolofY by John Villanova, Villanova refers to may work  as a form of digital poetics compared the digital poem to the work of other artists like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. He goes on to describe my work as “Afro-postmodernism, which uses pastiche, intertextuality, and irony as strategies of identity formation to remember and honor a specific cultural past, while at the same time working to construct visions of a better future.” 

\Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures)

\ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), a chapbook of approximately 25 poems, uses digital tools to contrast an 1854 Indian Reservation map of the Kansas-Nebraska Territory with a 2013 highway map of Kansas. The poems are inspired by methodologies familiar in digital humanities and geography disciplines. Using GPS (global positioning software) technologies, I explore the public histories of Kansas and the iconic Santa Fe Trail. These poems about memory and migration are in conversation with public histories and the American imagination about the frontier. I elected to publish with Mammoth Publications, a small Indigenous press that is highly selective press with many decorated authors, including Xanath Caraza winner of the 2015 International Poetry Award. The press releases 3 to 5 publications a year.    The chapbook was released in April 2015.

Creative Non-Fiction


I have published creative non-fiction in national and international venues. My creative non-fiction essay, “Concrete” details how my religious convictions intersect with my American and intellectual identities. These intersections result in the morally based assertiveness that is evident in my writing. The essay is featured as a chapter in Introduction to Women’s Studies, a textbook and reader, edited by L.A. Saraswati, Barbara Shaw, and Heather Rellihan (Oxford University Press 2017, second edition 2020).  This reader is one of the foremost books on intersectionality and widely distributed in academic circles. 

“Only Boys Have Fans”

In addition, my creative non-fiction essay “Only Boys Have Fans” was published with espnW. The “Only Boys Have Fans” essay details my admiration for Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo-Jo) and her stellar wins as a member of the US Olympic Team.  In honor of Black History Month, espnW decided to run a weekly personal essay about the influence of black female athletes. The essay was the first to be published in this series and continued to be published by various outlets throughout The Walt Disney Corporation in partnership with Hearst Corporation, including ESPN, ABC and several others. 

Scholarly Essays and Edited Collections

I continue my examinations of Americanness by serving as commissioned editor for a special edition of The Pierian Literary Journal,entitled “Dream’s Giddy Sound: Women and Their Role in Building a Nation.”  Then, I continued to expand the international reach of my research by participating in working group of scholars with the European Association for American Studies, contributing to a collection of edited essays Neglected American Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century, published with Routledge.  My chapter essay “Nationalism, Print Capitalism and the Perversity of Propaganda: Imagining Zora Neale Hurston Coming of Age” explores ideas of American nationalism and print capitalism within the nineteenth-century American literary canon. The paper also considers how these American cultural ideas may have impacted Zora Neale Hurston’s black girlhood. In this paper I am very interested in analyzing whether or not Hurston, like Jessie Fauset and W.E.B. DuBois, the editors of The Brownies’ Book, wrote Dust Tracks On a Road as a type of defensive propaganda that countered the negative impact of racial stereotypes in American culture.

Fellowships, Conferences, and Invited Lectures

In addition to publishing with highly selective peer reviewed venues, I have received nine grants, over nine fellowship opportunities, and several special invitations to present my research. I would consider the the MacDowell Colony Fellowship the most prestigious among them.  The MacDowell Foundation is one of the most highly competitive fellowship opportunities available to national and international artists.    The MacDowell Colony generously offered me an eight-week fellowship.  I also made significant progress on A Bound Woman Is A Dangerous Thing while in residence.

The Furious Flower Poetry Center associated with James Madison University was one of the first institutions to invest in A Bound Woman Is A Dangerous Thing by granting me the inaugural Poet-In-Residence fellowship. The center is the largest archive of African American poetry.  In addition to the two aforementioned fellowships, I have benefited from fellowships and the institutional support of over eight other national and international institutions, including Vermont Studio Center, The Watering Hole Poetry Retreat, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences (Vermont, Sicily), Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Urban Bush Women Leadership Institute, Writers in Paradise, Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evans College and others.

My work evokes the American literary tradition and innovations of twenty-first century literacies, much of it incorporates photo archives to act as a type of “proof”, a way to negotiate competing ideas about what it means to be American. Therefore, many national and international academic conferences invite me to share in my research. My most significant experience was with Black Portraiture{s} II: Revisited in February 2016 and again in November 2016 with Black Portraiture{s} III: Reinventions Strains of Histories and Cultures in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The conferences are co-sponsored by New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts and Harvard University’s Department of African and African American Studies. In addition to the Black Portraitures Conferences, I accepted invitations to read, speak, and facilitate workshops at over ten other institutions: Marshall University, Carnegie Center for Literacy, the European Association for American Studies Women’s Studies Working Group, New Hampshire’s Writers Day, Maryland Institute College of the Arts, The Writers’ Place of Kansas City and others. 

In March at the AWP Conference in Portland, I presented my theories regarding digital studies during while serving on a panel about alternative creative writing workshop models. There I presented the workshop model used in my Creative Writing in Digital Spaces courses.  Nearly 200 people attended this presentation.  At the same conference, I met with Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. Bloomsbury Academic Publishing and I discussed how I might serve as editor to a series of academic literary criticism that address thetwenty-first century literary canon. I proposed the series outline in June 2019 to Bloomsbury Academic Publishers. More details about this project can be read under the “Next Projects” section of the research statement.  

In April and May, I present(ed) a few readings and talks that were relate(d) to digital studies and twenty-first century literary studies.  These talks include giving a keynote talk at the 2nd Annual University of Southern California mHealth Collaboratory Symposium on April 25, 2019 with the University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research. The main themes of the Symposium were diversity, Big Data, the inherent bias in our algorithms, and how science needs art to understand and communicate findings, as well as push the endeavors toward equity. The organizers of the symposium felt that my work as a social/digital scientist as well as an artist would enrich the symposium. I participated in the second phase of the symposium, “Building a Time Machine with STEAM: Art & Science in the 21st Century”-https://mhealth.usc.edu/steam.html.

I was also invited to the University of Sorbonne-Nouvelle and the University of Lille in France.  There I read my poems in English and listened to the French translations. Former readers for this poetry and protest series include poets Martin Espada (2016), Deborah Paredez (2107) and Mary Kate Azcuy (2018). While in France, I gave another keynote address for the French Association for American Studies. This talk detailed my theories about the innovations and shifts associated with American Literature in the Twenty-First Century.

Next Projects

Harriet’s Crown: A Remix

In terms of digital literary projects, I am in discussions about the possibilities of a commissioned piece with The Museum of Dreams, which is a hub for exploring the social and political significance of the subconscious mind.  This project would extend my work on Harriet Tubman from A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing. This commission would incorporate poetry, archives, digital narratives, and gaming software. 

#21C: An Intimate Look at Twenty First Century American Literature

This twenty first century American Literature series explores was proposed to Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.  This series documents the ways “Americanness” is being expressed in contemporary literature. The books in this series will examine contemporary authors and contemporary themes associated with twenty first century literature in context with the digital innovations of the last several decades..  The series will also be mindful to include books that examine how classical and innovative forms of literary criticism seek to expand the scope of the discipline. This series will identify what American Literature is shaping into in the twenty first century. In kind, this series will establish whether or not American Literature in the twenty first century continues to honor or departs from the cultural legacies outlined by the writers from the nineteenth century and twentieth century American canons. 

In Search Of…

Attention to the timeliness and innovations of the twenty-first century is evident in A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing and my next poetry collection In Search Of… In Search Of… presents bitter, sweet, and unflinching interpretations of Black girlhood in American culture. The poems in this book are a type of ekphrasis that is inspired by an exhibit at The Colored Girl Museum in Philadelphia entitled “In Search of The Colored Girl.” The poems are semi-autobiographical and extend from the collective “knowing” of Black girlhood culture. In addition, the poems in this book will explore the visible and invisible spaces that Black girls occupy in American culture. Some of the poems in the book seek to interrogate social justice issues like the hyper-sexualized visibility and stereotypical assumptions about Black girls. Other poems will examine the tensions associated with the criminalization of Black girls in context of the school to prison pipeline.  The celebratory poems in this book symbolize the safe and magical spaces where Black girlhood exists.  

Like A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, the narrative craft of In Search Of… is an expression of my Black girl experience. I spent the formative years of my life in the New York Metropolitan Area, most notably Elizabeth, New Jersey.  In my Black girlhood experience, I attended a lot of church services, because my father is a Methodist minister, and many “house” parties.  And if you ever lived in the armpit, the funk, of an artistic mecca like New York, you are privy to creativity.  The musical art forms that are gospel, house music [what we now call electronic dance music (EDM)], reggae, dance hall, and hip-hop nourished me.  The electronic and emergent art forms of house-music and hip-hop are most evident in my writing. My style of literary writing is heavily influenced by the arts of deejaying and remix. I draw on Jesse Stewart’s theories regarding the arts of remix to explain the literary style of writing that I engage in. My writing stands in the crossroads of literary, visual, and auditory-systems of knowing.

Graduate Training


University of Kansas, PhD in English - Creative Writing                                                                      2012

Dissertation title:  Willows in the Spring

Certificate: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies                                                                           2011

Morgan State University, MA in English                                                                                              2005

                  Thesis title:  Knowing: Lucille Clifton and the Great Mother’s Guiding Light

Morgan State University, BA in English, Minor Studies in Psychology                                                1999



Holocaust Educators Network (HEN), City University of New York and Lehman College      2010

       Research Administration 101; KU Research and Graduate Studies,  University of Kansas   2008

       Teacher Consultant Certification, National Writing Project, Towson, Maryland                       2004

Selected Publications: 


1.     For My Beloveds: In Search of the Black Girl, poetry. Bloomsbury Publishing, Winter 2022.

2.     A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland, memoir in verse/poetry. Bloomsbury Publishing, January 2019 (several reprints). Paperback, January 2020.


1.     #21C: An Intimate Look at Twenty First Century American Literature, an edited series of ten or more 

 volumes. Bloomsbury Academic. Being Processed.


1.     The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland. Lexington Books, June 2016.  Reprint. Paperback. Lexington Books, March 2018. 

2.     Hill, DaMaris B. and Nicole LaMonaca. National Writing Project 2008 Professional Writing Retreat Anthology. National Writing Project, 2009.


1.     \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ Visible Textures. Lawrence: Mammoth Publications, April 2015. 


1.     “Nationalism, Print Capitalism and the Perversity of Propaganda: Imagining Zora Neale Hurston Coming of Age.” Neglected American Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century. Verena Laschinger and Sirpa Salenius, Eds. London:Routledge, 2019. (peer reviewed)  

2.     “Concrete.” Introduction to Women’s Studies. L.A. Saraswati, Barbara Shaw, and Heather Rellihan, Eds.  New York: Oxford University Press. February 2017. (peer reviewed)

3.     “Introduction”, “Editor’s Note: Claims of Memory and Space” and “Conclusion.” The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland. Lexington Books, 2016. 

PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS GUEST EDITED WITH INTRODUCTIONS                                                                           

The Pierian Literary Journal: Dream’s Giddy Sound: Women and Their Role in Building a Nation (a special issue.) Albany State University. Fall 2018. 


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