Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Poetry 2024

Saretta Morgan

Saretta Morgan stands in a corner between a large framed art piece and a dark gray reflective panel. She smiles looking directly at the camera with her upper body braced on her elbows as she leans forward, her hands in front of her. She is wearing a solid black long sleeved boat neck shirt, black jeans, and a blue and white beaded necklace.
Photo by Shaunté Glover.
  • 2024 Grants to Artists
  • Poetry
  • Poet
  • Born 1987, Louisville, KY
  • Lives in Atlanta, GA
  • She/Her
  • Additional Information

Artist Statement

I arrive at each writing project through a multi-disciplinary research process involving movement, listening, building with my hands, organizing with others, textual annotation, and finding new socio-geographically-specific ways to practice intimacy with the earth we share. My poetics unfold through sustained attention to the materials and conditions from which languages emerge.

- December 2023


Saretta Morgan is a writer and poet who was born in Appalachia and raised on military installations. Her work considers the ecologies and forms of intimacy that develop in the wake of U.S. militarization and adjacent forms of State violence.

Morgan's first full-length collection, Alt-Nature (Coffee House Press, 2024), was written while she lived between the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, and was processing her own history with the U.S. military and carceral systems. Experiencing the desert as both an intimate, sensual environment and one that bears the wounds of violent occupation, Alt-Nature explores the ways in which this dichotomy impacts geographies and experiences of time and scale.  In addition to Morgan’s grassroots migrant justice and humanitarian aid work in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the book draws on concurrent experiences with Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro's Peaceful Self-Healing Ministry, Red Lake Treaty Camp, the #StopLine3 movement, Indigenous food sovereignty work, and search and rescue missions in rural Arizona. Rather than convey facts and descriptions of these social geographies, Alt-Nature examines feelings of desire, connection, antagonism, and alienation that arise in the presence and practice of bodies navigating contested space.

Morgan’s 2018 chapbook Feeling Upon Arrival (Ugly Duckling Press) explores the capacity of space to shape experiences of time and desire. In it, she writes with the language of theory to move characters across metaphysical terrain. The chapbook room for a counter interior (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2017) proposes an indefinite deferment of sensemaking. Structured into three numbered, untitled rooms, room for a counter interior examines the potential of unanswered and unresolved architectures to illuminate difficult contours of social life. 

Morgan’s writing has been published by the Academy of American Poets, Triple Canopy, The Colorado Review, Mosaic Literary Magazine, Split This Rock, Sinister Wisdom, and Jewish Currents. She has been awarded the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing Faculty Creative Research Grant (2020), the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics Dreamspace Residency (2019), the Arizona Commission on the Arts Professional Development Grant (2018), the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (2018), and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency (2016). She received her B.A. from Columbia University (2013), and her M.F.A. from Pratt Institute (2016).

Excerpt of "Dearth-light" from Alt-Nature, Coffee House Press, 2024.

"First" from Alt-Nature, Coffee House Press, 2024.

Excerpt of "Consequences upon arrival (i)" from Alt-Nature, Coffee House Press, 2024.

Excerpt from "Feeling Upon Arrival" from Feeling Upon Arrival, Ugly Duckling Press, 2018.