Writers of Color Discussing Craft – A Compilation of Invisible Texts

“I often wonder what I’d do if there weren’t any books in the world.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about how Junot Diaz often comments on the fact he’s almost never asked to speak about craft, and instead always is asked to talk about race, identity, and the immigrant experience. And it’s true — when I think about all the books on writing craft I’ve read or heard about over the years I’m struck by how few POC-authored books on writing I’ve seen.  Are they really that rare? Or are the books and essays out there, but we don’t know where to find them?

This list is an ongoing project to catalog what writing resources are out there (if you are aware of other texts, essays, and resources that should be listed, please post in the comments and I’ll add them in):

Single Authors on Craft

  • Hongo, Garrett. The Mirror Diary: Selected Essays. University of Michigan Press. 2017.
  • Johnson, Charles. The Way of the Writer. Scribner. 2016.
  • Kingston, Maxine Hong. To Be the Poet. Harvard University Press. 2002.
  • Lee, Li-Young. Breaking the Alabaster Jar: Conversations with Li-Young Lee. BOA Editions. 2006.
  • Lorca, Federico Garcia. In Search of Duende. New Directions. 1998.
  • Mullen, Harryette. The Cracks Between What We Are and What We Are Supposed to Be: Essays and Interviews. University of Alabama Press. 2012.
  • Mura, David. A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity & Narrative Craft in Writing. Forthcoming.
  • Paz, Octavio. The Bow and The Lyre: The Poem, The Poetic Revelation, Poetry and History. University of Texas Press. 2009.
  • Paz, Octavio. The Siren and the Seashell and Other Essays on Poets and Poetry. University of Texas Press. 1991.
  • Phillips, Carl. The Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry. Graywolf. 2004.
  • Phillips, Carl. The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination. Graywolf. 2014.

Anthologies on Craft

  • Dawes, Kwame (editor). When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing and the Writing Life. 1849 Editions. 2016.
  • Galvan-Huynh, Amanda & Luisa A. Igloria (editors). Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics. Forthcoming.
  • Tabios, Eileen (editor). Black Lightning: Poetry-in-Progress. Asian American Writers Workshop. 1998.
  • Quan-Lee, Sherry (editor). How Dare We Write. Forthcoming May/June 2017.


  • Huey, Amorak and Todd Kaneko. Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology. Bloomsbury. 2018.
  • Joseph, Allison (editor). (poetry instructional guide for teen girls) [title tbd]. Upper Rubber Boot Books. Forthcoming.

Essays on Craft (online)

Essays on Pedagogy (online)

Lectures on Craft (online)



Other Recommended Texts

  • Alexander, Meena. The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience. South End Press. 1996.

  • Paz, Octavio. The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings. Grove Press. 1985.

4 thoughts to “Writers of Color Discussing Craft – A Compilation of Invisible Texts”

  1. Thank you for assembling this list! So useful. I, too, came here to mention Delany’s On Writing. Reflective, fiery, inspirational, and always rewards re-reading.

  2. “Birth of a Writer.” by Octavia Butler. Essence 20 (May 1989): 74+. Reprinted as “Positive Obsession” in Bloodchild and Other Stories.

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