Photo Credit: Sokvonny Chhouk; PortFringe
Maya Williams (she/hers, they/them, and ey/em) is a religious nonbinary Black multiracial suicide survivor who is currently the seventh Poet Laureate of Portland, Maine.
Maya has eir debut poetry collection, Judas & Suicide, that is available for pre-order through Game Over Books now and will be released May 30th, 2023.
See the contact section on how to invite them to your next event as a workshop facilitator, performance feature, speaker, panelist, and/or honorary consensual virtual or air hugger. Maya's content covers suicide awareness, mental health, the prison industrial complex, faith, entertainment media, grief, and healing.
She graduated with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Bachelors of Art in English in May 2017. She graduated with a community practice-focused Masters in Social Work and Certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice at the University of New England in May 2018. She graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing with a Focus in Poetry at Randolph Chollege in June 2022.
They have featured as a guest artist, panelist, and speaker in spaces such as The Mixed Remixed Festival in Los Angeles, California, The Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois, Black Table Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, TEDxYouth at Cape Elizabeth High School, and The Kennedy Center's Arts Across America series.
Ey has competed locally and nationally in slam poetry since her freshman year at East Carolina University under the slam team Word of Mouth in Greenville, North Carolina. While with them, ey placed in the top 20 at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in 2015, and opened for folks such as Indira Allegra, Neil Hilborn, and Angela Davis.
They were a finalist of the Slam Free Or Die Qualifier Slam for their National Poetry Slam (NPS) 2018 team and a runner up of the Slam Free or Die Individual Slam Championship in 2018.
Photo Credit: Clark Hartman, Slam Free or Die