Poetry. The poems in Grace Ocasio's chapbook HOLLERIN FROM THIS SHACK call us, challenge us to assess our lives. Her speaker trains her eye on urban and suburban landscapes. In many of the poems, she urges us to observe our daily rites: how we behave at the grocery store or mall, how we treat the opposite sex, and how we view our position to nature. We see ourselves in these poems and we cringe: few heroes exist, and the ones who do exist--real-life figures like Dr. King and Mother Hale--appear because of their referential or historical import. If we are disturbed by these poems we should be. Ocasio's vision is troubling, to say the least.
A former two-year college English instructor, poet/performer Grace C. Ocasio lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Edwin, and her daughter, Chloe. Twice a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry (2010, 2013), Grace C. Ocasio is a recipient of the 2014 North Carolina Arts Council-funded Regional Artist Project Grant Award. She won honorable mention in the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize, the Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka Prize in Poetry in 2011, and was a scholarship recipient to the 2011 Napa Valley Writers' Conference. She also won second prize in the James Larkin Pearson free verse category of an annual poetry contest sponsored by the Poetry Council of North Carolina in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Earth's Daughters, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Court Green, phati'tude Literary Magazine, Obsidian, Blast Furnace Press, Broad River Review, the North Carolina Literary Review, and other journals. She has also published essays in other publications including The Charlotte Observer and InterRace. She is a Soul Mountain Retreat fellow and Frost Place alumna. She also served as a reviewer for the online writers' resource, The Review Review in 2008 and 2009. Currently, she serves as a contributing editor for Backbone Poetry Journal. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, her MA in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her BA in Print Journalism and English from Howard University, graduating cum laude. She is the author of HOLLERIN FROM THIS SHACK (Ahadada Books, 2009) and THE SPEED OF OUR LIVES (BlazeVOX books, 2014). Author City: CHARLOTTE, NC USA