Robin Coste Lewis is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California. In 2015 she published her poetry debut, Voyage of the Sable Venus. Critics called this first collection, “stunning…a masterpiece…surpassing imagination, maturity, and aesthetic dazzle…a book that is formally polished, emotionally raw, and wholly exquisite.” Voyage of the Sable Venus was awarded the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry—the first poetry debut to do so since 1974.
Lewis is a Cave Canem fellow and a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU, and an MTS in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University. A finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Hurston/Wright Poetry Award, and the California Book Award, Lewis has published her work in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review, among others. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College, the University of Southern California, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Lewis was born in Compton, California; her family is from New Orleans.