Melba Joyce Boyd is Distinguished Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Wayne State University. She is the author of thirteen books, including Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (Columbia University Press) which received the 2005 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Book Honor for Nonfiction, and the editor of Roses and Revolutions: the Collected Writings of Dudley Randall (2009) which received the 2010 Library of Michigan Notable Books Award and was a finalist for a 2010 NAACP Image Award in Literature. Her 1994 book, Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911, was widely reviewed and praised by critics.
Eight of her books are collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Death Dance of a Butterfly (2010), Blues Music Sky of Mourning: The German Poems (2006), and The Province of Literary Cats (2002). She has won a number of awards for her poetry including a Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Award, and in 2009 she was a Nominee for the Kresge Eminent Artist Award. In 1997, she was commissioned to write the official poem for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which was inscribed in bronze in the museum wall, and lines from her poem, “We Want Our City Back,” appear in the sculpture Transcending: Michigan’s Tribute to Labor in downtown Detroit. Her poetry has been translated into German, Italian, and Spanish, and has appeared in numerous anthologies and international journals. She is also the coeditor (with M. L. Liebler) of Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001.