Alan King is a poet, journalist and author, who lives in the DC metropolitan area. He writes about art and domestic issues on this blog. In addition to teaching creative writing throughout the DC/Baltimore region, he’s a part-time creative writing instructor at Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the senior program director at the DC Creative Writing Workshop at Charles Hart Middle School in DC’s Congress Heights neighborhood.
The Workshop introduces students to the joys of self-expression and the written word. Since its founding in 1995, thousands of students have attended readings, plays and other literary events, won dozens of writing awards, and enjoyed a wealth of new experiences not otherwise available to young people in Ward 8.
As a former staff writer for the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, King has covered the Baltimore City Council, as well as wrote about redevelopment in east Baltimore and the displacement of its residents. He also traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, to write about the historic landmarks and covered the island’s 47th Independence Day celebration.
Prior to the AFRO, King freelanced for various publications including Prince George’s County Gazette, East of the River, and New America Media. He was also a research assistant at the Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog organization of investigative journalists. There, he wrote profiles of past presidential campaign donors and compiled a chronology of news articles on election fraud and corruption for the book project, “The Buying of The President (BOP) 2008.”
As a student at Howard University, King traveled to New Orleans to do post-Katrina coverage as part of a student press team assembled by the university and the Washington Post. His article, “Katrina Aftermath Still Undercuts Special-Needs Housing,” was published on washingtonpost.com. That article is about the aftermath of Katrina and its effects on New Orleans residents living with HIV/AIDS.
King is also an accomplished poet. Here’s what Derrick Weston Brown, poet-in-residence at the 14th and V streets Busboys and Poets, had to say: “A fixture on the D.C. MD VA scene since 1999, Alan has at one time blessed every Open Mic spot throughout the area.
“Mangoes, he was there; Brookland Cup Of Dreams, he was there. The ‘first’ Java Head Cafe in College Park, he was there. The first Mocha Hut on 14th St, he was there. Yogi’s Records, he was there; Harambe’s in Adams Morgan, he was there. Teaism, he was there; and Bar Nun, he was there. This cat is a walking history book of D.C. poetry. Not only that, he’s a dynamic performer and prolific writer.”
King’s poems have appeared in Alehouse, Audience, Boxcar Poetry Review, Indiana Review, MiPoesias and RATTLE, among others. He’s also facilitated creative writing workshops for the American Poetry Museum (Washington DC), The ARCH (Washington DC), the “Legacy Project” at Homewood Center (Columbia MD), KIPP DC AIM Academy (Washington DC) and the Perry School Community Services Center (Washington DC).
He is a Cave Canem Fellow, an alumnus of the VONA Workshops sponsored by Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, and a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine. He’s a two-time Best of the Net nominee and was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His first collection of poems Drift (Willow Books, 2012) is out. You can order it here.
When he’s not reporting or sending poems to journals, you can find King chasing the muse through Washington, D.C. — people watching with his boys and laughing at the crazy things strangers say to get close to one another.