Kamilah Aisha Moon is a beloved daughter, sister, cousin, friend, professor, colleague, poet, writer, and so much more.
Born to Carolyn Heath Moon and James L. Moon, Jr. in Nashville, Tennessee on September 5, 1973, Kamilah Aisha is the eldest daughter of their union. She was a proud and dedicated older sister to Niya and Lakie whom she loved fiercely and admired deeply. As she has said before, she comes from a line of “preachers and teachers” whose work it was to pay attention and to contribute to the betterment of all. As a child she had many interests. She loved music, reading, swimming and superheroes to name a few. She was very active in the children and youth ministries at the historic Seay-Hubbard United Methodist Church in South Nashville.
Kamilah Aisha attended Metro Nashville Public Schools, including Meigs Magnet Middle School and Hume-Fogg Academic High School, where she played on the volleyball and basketball teams. In high school she also found her love of writing and poetry.
After high school, Kamilah Aisha earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Paine College in Augusta, GA and worked at Hallmark Greeting Cards in Kansas City, MO as a writer. Her work was featured in various card collections, most notably Mahogany, their card line reflecting African American culture. Through her work at Hallmark, she encouraged, consoled, and uplifted the lives of so many, as was her way. Later, she decided to attend graduate school to continue her studies as a poet and hone her practice and craft. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College and thus began a new chapter of life in New York. She worked with young people as a poet in public schools with both the Community-Word Project and the DreamYard Project. She also taught poetry workshops on Rikers Island and was an adjunct professor at Medgar Evers College - CUNY. Kamilah Aisha was steadfast and dedicated to the brilliance and learning of all of her students. She was an encouraging, attentive, disciplined teacher and colleague, and when she left New York to accept a tenure-track position at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, friends and colleagues from across the tri-state area gathered at Langston Hughes’ house to throw her a party and send her off with love. She moved to Decatur in 2017 and taught at Agnes Scott College until her untimely passing this September.
A graduate fellow of Cave Canem’s writers’ retreat, she has received fellowships from MacDowell, Hedgebrook, Prague Summer Writing Institute, Vermont Studio Center, and the Rose O’Neill Literary House. She is the author of poetry collections Starshine & Clay (2017) and She Has a Name (2013), as well as a non-fiction chapbook On Nascency (2015). Her poems and essays have also been published or featured in the Harvard Review, World Literature Today, New York Times, Boston Review, and Oxford American, among other publications. For this work, Kamilah Aisha received a Pushcart Prize, an Audre Lorde Award from the Publishing Triangle and Lambda Award. She was also a finalist for the CLMP Firecracker Award and her work has been featured in the Best American Poetry series. She has been featured on podcasts, radio shows, and, as a teacher, in O, The Oprah Magazine’s feature on Caroline Kennedy’s work with the DreamYard Project.
Kamilah Aisha leaves to cherish her memory her father, James L. Moon, Jr.; sisters, Niya Moon and Lakie Moon; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, spiritual nieces and nephews, and many friends.