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Office of Communications 
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More News

#Bonas English professor earns more recognition for her poetry collection ‘Bestiary’

Mar 15, 2017 |

Dr. Donika KellyAccolades keep pouring in for Dr. Donika Kelly’s poetry collection, “Bestiary.”

Kelly is an assistant professor of English at St. Bonaventure University.

Already named to the 2016 National Book Award longlist for poetry, “Bestiary” is now a finalist for a 2016 Lambda Literary Award and The Publishing Triangle’s 2016 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Both associations honor the best in LGBTQ literature.

Lambda Literary is the nation’s oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature. Winners of the 29th annual “Lammys,” as they are affectionately known, will be announced at a gala ceremony on June 12 in New York City.

The nominees were chosen from nearly 900 submissions and over 300 publishers. Kelly is among eight Lambda finalists in the lesbian poetry category.

Publishing Triangle award winners will be announced at the association’s annual awards ceremony April 27 at the New School in New York City. Admission is free and open to the public. Kelly is among four finalists for the Lorde Award.

Only two poets besides Kelly – Pat Parker and francine j. harris – were nominated for both awards.

“Bestiary” contains poems on moving between the southern and western United States, how to be identified, and what it means to be oneself. These themes, among others, are woven into Kelly’s poems through the use of hybrid creatures from Greek mythology and pop culture.

“Broadly speaking, [the collection is] about what it means to be a person, how to articulate what it means to be a queer-identified woman, to be a lesbian, to be black in spaces that are mixed,” Kelly said.

Kelly, who came to Bonaventure in the fall of 2016, teaches creative writing and 20th century American literature.

More information on Kelly can be found at “Bestiary” is available for purchase online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things.  St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. 

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