Alumni

“[Poetry] changes you, it gives you a language in which to interpret the whole world.”

Hafizah Geter MFA '10

English and Creative Writing

Hafizah Geter found her voice through contemporary poetry. Now, her life centers around it.

When she was growing up in South Carolina, Hafizah Geter MFA '10 explored her identity as a black woman through contemporary poetry. One of the poets she read was David Trinidad, author of 14 books of poetry—and a Columbia College Chicago professor. Columbia attracted Geter with student teaching opportunities, a small-but-intimate poetry community, and of course, Trinidad. As a student, she co-founded the 33 Reading Series, a literary showcase for creative writing graduate students that’s still active today. And during her senior year, she wrote her poetry thesis with close guidance from Trinidad himself.

Today, she’s fully immersed in a New York City poetry career. She’s a poetry editor at Phantom Books, and co-curates its Brooklyn-based monthly reading series EMPIRE. As a board member for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, a nonprofit feminist literary organization, Geter works as a coordinator for the VIDA Count, an influential yearly report on diversity in the publishing industry. She also works as the content editor and publicity coordinator at Poets House, a 70,000-volume poetry library in New York City.

“Poetry is maybe one of the smallest communities of communities that exist,” says Geter. “But once you’re in it, it changes you, it gives you a language in which to interpret the whole world.”


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