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Center for Poets and Writers Teaching Artists

Did you know?

The Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa has four Teaching Artists as part of its outreach mission to take arts into the community.

What is a Teaching Artist?

As Eric Booth, author, teaching artist and actor, describes it:

"A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through or about the arts."

Who are our Teaching Artists?

Jacob FloydJacob Floyd is a filmmaker, film scholar, and citizen of the Creek Nation. His short film, “Tonto Plays Himself,” created as part of his master’s degree program at NYU, has screened at the Native American Film and Video Festival, Native Crossroads Film Festival and the Margaret Mead Film Festival. He completed his Ph.D. in screen studies at OSU in 2018. Jacob serves as a teaching artist for the Center for Poets and Writers, providing filmmaking workshops to high school students in Indian Education programs.



Clemonce HeardClemonce Heard earned his MFA in poetry from OSU in 2018 and is now a resident writer with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. He serves as a teaching artist for the Center for Poets and Writers, providing poetry workshops to elementary school students. He has been honored by the Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival and the Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize. He has published poems in Obsidian, Naugatuck Review, Four Way Review and Opossum, and has work forthcoming in World Literature Today.



Quraysh Ali LansanaQuraysh Ali Lansana earned his MFA from NYU. He is the author of the poetry collections The Walmart Republic (2014); mystic turf (2012), They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (2004), and Southside Rain (2000); his chapbooks include reluctant minivan (2014), bloodsoil (sooner red) (2009), Greatest Hits: 1995-2005 (2006), and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms (1995). He has also written three children’s books, including A Gift from Greensboro (Penny Candy Books, 2016) and The Big World (1999). Quraysh is also the editor of eight anthologies and is the last student of Miss Gwendolyn Brooks.



RJ YoungRJ Young is a rapper, filmmaker, sports writer and author of his bestselling memoir Let It Bang: A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns, Blood Country and numerous other works. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tulsa, a master’s at the University of Oklahoma and is working on his doctorate at Oklahoma State University.




What do our Teaching Artists do?

First of all, our Teaching Artists are writers. They all have written books and poetry and are accomplished in their field. Some bring text to life through film or rap music.


Quraysh Ali Lansana, Clemonce Heard and Jacob Floyd will be leading community writing workshops on filmmaking, hip-hop and poetry.


RJ Young and Clemonce Heard are in residence at two local schools as part of the center's Writers in the Schools program. They mentor children in the craft of writing through imagination and creative expression. And they challenge students to practice higher-order critical thinking skills that ultimately prepare them for college and the workforce.

RJ Young discusses writing with a ninth-grade student at KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory School.

Our Teaching Artists are ambassadors and educators in the art of writing. To learn more about the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa's Teaching Artists, contact or visit