A permanent home and museum for poets and poetry

2024 Gregory Pardlo Fellow, Jada Renée Allen

About Jada Renée Allen

Jada Renée Allen is a writer, educator, & conjure woman living & working on U.S.-occupied O’odham Jewed, Akimel O’Odham, & Hohokam lands. A 2022 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest winner, Jada Renée is the recipient of fellowships, scholarships, & support from Tin House, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Community of Writers, & VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation), among other organizations. Her work either appears or is forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-a-Day,” Chicago Reader, Gulf Coast Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Poetry Project, Virginia Quarterly Review, Wildness, & elsewhere. She is the Founder & Executive Director of The Frances Thompson Writers Studio for Black Trans Study, & the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Bodemé. She is from Chicago, IL. 

On Being Awarded the Pardlo Scholarship

I’m not sure where to begin. I suppose I can go back to 2018, the year I met Greg. I was a participant in his two-day Poets House course. I remember being very nervous when I initially met him. His standing as a literary citizen preceded him. I was acquainted with his published work, both Totem (APR Honickman 1st Book Prize/Copper Canyon Press, 2007) and Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), as well as his pedagogical efforts at the Callaloo Creative Writers’ Workshops, where he and his colleague Vievee Frances profoundly impacted the lives of numerous Black writers I’m grateful to be in community with. Regretfully, I was unable to participate in this monumental lab prior to its suspension; yet, my conversations with Greg and his attentive, empathic, and generous readings of poems at the cellular level continually impels me to show up. To show up not only as a writer or citizen of letters but as a mentor, as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend, as a lover, &c &c. More than this, Greg Pardlo is the greatest man I know. Full stop. To say that I feel incredibly honored and privileged to have received a fellowship in his name would be an understatement. Thank you, G; always.

A Poem by Jada Renée Allen


& just the vermillion
flicker of cannas near the pane.
Our bodies too, plateaued;

my hole, newly bloomless.
Outdoors, further out, a wren
winnows, the mesquite

on whose yielding limbs the all-
but-tender fowl rests
flexes, in cold as in darkness . . .

Time, like desire, expands too—
My lover, nodding gently,
shakes the leaves, &

A little softer. A little softer now—
A little softer, for what’s been torn.

Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 17, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.