Amanda Johnston was born in East St. Louis, IL, and raised in Austin, TX. She began writing poetry while living in Kentucky. Her writing is published widely, and she has presented at numerous literary conferences and events.
She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, and the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter. Her work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Callaloo, Poetry Magazine, Puerto del Sol, Muzzle, and the anthologies, Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. She has received fellowships, grants, and awards from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, Tasajillo, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Watermill Center, and the Austin International Poetry Festival. She is a former Board President of Cave Canem Foundation, a member of the Affrilachian Poets, cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founder of Torch Literary Arts.
Named one of Blavity’s "13 Black Poets You Should Know," Amanda’s work has been featured on Bill Moyers, the Poetry Society of America’s series In Their Own Words, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series. She was commissioned to curate a collection of poems for the Poetry Coalition on the theme Where My Dreaming and My Loving Life: Poetry & the Body.
She has facilitated creative writing workshops and presented at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, Hugo House, Langston Hughes House, Frye Museum, Carver Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Prizer Arts and Letters, NeoSoul Poetry Lounge, Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pillsbury House Theater, Rude Mechanical Theater, and at numerous universities and literary venues across the country.
Amanda Johnston is the creator of the genesis - a poetic form comprised of seven poems. Five individual poems create a sixth prose poem, and italicized words create the final seventh poem when read independently as a visible erasure.
"We Named You Mercy" - Academy of American Poets
"Facing Us" - Academy of American Poets
"Love is a Bloody Thing in the Dark" - Poetry Society of America
"Hand to Mouth" - The Offing
"On National Poetry Month" - Poetry Magazine
"How Do I Explain" The Fight & The Fiddle
"Two Americas" The Fight & The Fiddle
"Untitled" The Fight & The Fiddle
The Pen Ten with Amanda Johnston - Pen America
An Interview with Amanda Johnston - Mosaic Magazine
Give Back: Torch Literary Arts — Visibility & Representation Matter - Austin Woman Magazine
What Vulnerability Looks Like: An Interview with Amanda Johnston - Furious Flower, The Fight & The Fiddle
"When My Daughter Wasn't Assaulted" - BillMoyers.com
Hallelujah-strong: In Honor of Former Board President Amanda Johnston - Cave Canem Foundation