Jayne Cortez was born in Arizona, grew up in Los Angeles, California and lives in New York City. She is the author of eleven books of poetry and performer of her poems with music on nine recordings. Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic, dynamic innovations in lyricism, and visceral sound. Cortez has presented her work and ideas at universities, museums, and festivals around the world. Her poems have been translated into many languages and widely published in anthologies, journals, and magazines. She is recipient of several awards including: Arts International, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International African Festival Award, the Langston Hughes Medal, the American Book Award and the Thelma McAndless Distinguished Professorship Award.
Her most recent books are “On The Imperial Highway” 2009 and “Jazz Fan Looks Back” published by Hanging Loose Press. Her latest CDs with the Firespitter Band are “Find Your Own Voice”2006 and “Borders of Disorderly Time” Bola Press, “Taking the Blues Back Home,” produced by Harmolodic and by Verve Records.
Cortez is organizer of international symposiums and director of the films “Slave Routes: Resistance, Abolition & Creative Progress” (2009) and “Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization”. She can be seen on screen in the films: Women In Jazz” and “Poetry In Motion”.