DaMaris B. Hill, PhD

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  • Associate Professor of Creative writing, English and African American Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate for Writing, Rhetoric and Digitial Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate for African American Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate for Gender and Women's Studies
  • Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies
  • American Studies
  • English
  • African American and Africana Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies
1225 POT
(859) 257-7006
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:
by appointment

I sought to strengthen my creative writing with PhDs in English, Creative Writing and another in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Kansas. As a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to create an archival system for The Project on the History of Black Writing. I also worked as a program assistant with the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities and a grants coordinator with The Lied Center for the Performing Arts, the "Kennedy Center" of the Plains Region. 

Doctor of Philosophy:                                            University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (2012), English - Creative Writing

Graduate Certification:                                          University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (2011), Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Master of Arts:                                                       Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD (2005),  English

Bachelor of Arts:                                                    Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD (1999), English. and Psychology


DaMaris B. Hill is the author of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland  (2020 NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry), The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland\Vi-zə-bəl\   \Teks-chərs\(Visible Textures). Hill's poetry collection Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood is available for pre-order and is scheduled for release in January 2022. Hill is inspired by the anxieties of our contemporary existence that are further complicated by fears that some linear narratives of history fail to be inclusive, stating “I belong to a generation of people who do not fear death, but are afraid that we may be forgotten.”

Hill has a keen interest in the work of Toni Morrison and theories regarding ‘rememory’ as a philosophy and aesthetic practice. Therefore, Hill uses digital material and critical fabulation research methods to write about “America” and geographic place. Similar to her creative process, Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary. Hill is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky. http://damarishill.com



This statement of research underscores my contributions as a creative writer and interdisciplinary scholar. I am a literary poet whose work is historically informed and rooted in a Black feminist critical tradition. As my vitae demonstrates, I have a terminal degree in English, Creative Writing and a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I spend my intellectual life considering how theories developed by Black women creative scholars intersect with creative writing and twenty-first century digital tools/technologies. Therefore, theories such as Saidiya Hartman’s critical fabulation, Toni Morrison’s rememory, and Deborah Willis’s insights regarding envisioning the Black body are essential to my process.  With this in mind, my projects are research-intensive narratives where creative writing, critiques of empires, and collective memory intersect to explore experiences of Black women in American culture and beyond. Because much of my work has been influenced by legacies of American literature and the innovations of twenty-first century digital culture, it investigates how intersectional identity is negotiated in literary and digital environments.  Key questions in my work ask: 

1.     How do individual narratives contribute to print capitalism and create a sense of permanence?

2.     How are the various theories concerning what it means to be a Black woman destabilizing narratives associated with national identity?

3.     How print capitalism and ideas pertaining to intersectional identity are performed in a world that blends physical, psychological and digital spaces, particularly when each of these spaces are rapidly shifting and seemingly eroding?

   Integrating digital archives into my work is an essential part of my creative and scholarly process. The appropriation of digital material in my work is one of the ways I stake "claim to history" and recontextualize dominant narratives.

I was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky in July 2013 and have published continuously. I was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018, authoring over 18 published works. The major works from my previous promotion include two books, a collection of poems entitled A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing (Bloomsbury 2019) and an edited collection entitled The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland (Rowman and Littlefield 2016, 2018 paperback). Other major digital poetry projects included the innovative “Shut Up In My Bones: A Remix” (MusiqologY 2017) and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), a short collection of poems (Mammoth Publications 2015). My creative nonfiction publications from that period included “Concrete”. This essay was published as a book chapter in Introduction to Women’s Studies (Oxford University Press 2017, second edition 2020). An itemized summary of publications from 2013-2018 are articulated on my CV.

 I am approaching promotion to Professor with another book and additional publications. My new book, a memoir-in-verse entitled Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood, is available for pre-order and will be published with Bloomsbury Publications in Winter 2022. My major scholarly contributions include “Time Period : Aug. 20, 1634-Aug. 19, 1639. Theme – Tobacco”  in the New York Times Best Selling 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 edited by Drs. Keisha N. Blain and Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House, 2021) and “Nationalism, Print Capitalism and the Perversity of Propaganda: Imagining Zora Neale Hurston Coming of Age” in Neglected American Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century an edited collection by Drs. Verena Laschinger and Sirpa Salenius (Routledge, 2019). My creative non-fiction for this period includes “Formed>In” placed in Early American Literature, a literary journal (UNC Press). Along with the aforementioned, I published poems and other public opinion works.  My major published works from 2018 to 2021 are summarized below:


Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood (Bloomsbury 2022)

Attention to the timeliness and intellectual dexterity of Black women is evident in A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing and most of my work.  Likewise, my next memoir-in-verse Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood presents unflinching interpretations of Black girlhood in American culture and beyond. The poems in this book are a type of ekphrasis that is inspired by an exhibit at The Colored Girl Museum in Philadelphia entitled “In Search of The Colored Girl.” These poems reflect a kind of meditation  detailing some of the realities of Black girlhood in national and global contexts. Many of the poems are semi-autobiographical and extend from the collective “knowing” of Black girlhood culture, taking special care to talk about recent Black girlhood experiences that I have encountered in my “middle-aged womanhood.” 

In addition, the poems in Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood explore the visible and invisible spaces that Black girls occupy in American culture. Some of the poems in the book seek to interrogate social justice issues like the hyper-sexualized visibility and stereotypical assumptions about Black girls. Other poems examine the tensions associated with the criminalization of Black girls in context of the school to prison pipeline.  The book is available for pre-order and scheduled for release with Bloomsbury Publishing in January 2022.    

Creative Non-Fiction


     “Formed>In” is an origin story that addresses a broader theme of “inventions” in Early American Literature in 2019. The work is a critique of the invention of “America” in the context of the English imperial expansion and the collective memory of the colonial Americas. In kind, the work critiques early ideas about identity and socially constructed hierarchies.  The work is set in colonial America. The work   refuses to centralize English geographic settlements and Anglican claims to colonial  settlements. The work centralizes the Atlantic ocean as a space of origin and “collective” identity.  

Academic Essays 

Time Period : Aug. 20, 1634-Aug. 19, 1639. Theme – Tobacco”  in 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 

     “Time Period : Aug. 20, 1634-Aug. 19, 1639. Theme – Tobacco” is inspired by early American and  colonial history. The essay was published in the New York Times Best Selling 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 (Penguin Random House 2021).  The editors, Dr. Keisha N. Blain and Dr. Ibram X Kendi, requested that I write the experiences associated with tobacco labor, specifically in context of race and gender, between 1634-1639.  In writing this piece, I took special care to rely on historical records and incorporate research-intensive narrative methods such as critical fabulation and rememory. 

“Nationalism, Print Capitalism and the Perversity of Propaganda: Imagining Zora Neale Hurston Coming of Age” inNeglected American Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century.

    I continued to expand the international reach of my research by participating in working group of scholars within the European Association for American Studies. I contributed to a collection of edited essays entitled Neglected American Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century, published with Routledge. My chapter “Nationalism, Print Capitalism and the Perversity of Propaganda: Imagining Zora Neale Hurston Coming of Age” explores ideas about Black women and the nationalist propaganda associated with print capitalism that the nineteenth-century American literary canon. The paper considers how negative stereotypes about Black girls were reinforced with in American literature.  The paper also speculates about how these stereotypes may have impacted Zora Neale Hurston’s Black girlhood and intellectual journey. In this paper, I am also very interested in whether or not Hurston (like Jessie Fauset and W.E.B. DuBois, the editors of The Brownies’ Book) wrote her memoir, Dust Tracks On a Road, as a type of defensive propaganda that countered the negative stereotypes about Black girls/women in late nineteenth and early twentieth American literature and culture.

“Black Women and the Prison Industrial Complex.” 

    “Black Women and the Prison Industrial Complex” was published with The North Star on August 8, 2019.  The piece focused on women and incarceration. It considers the experiences of Elizabeth Key and the aftermath of her lawsuit  in which she was awarded her freedom in the 1660s.  I draw connections between Key’s suit and the contemporary criminal justice system.  I explore the ways Black women are still entangled in the American court system that seeks to criminalize them and by extension exploit their labors. I addition, I show parallels between the modes of production and profits garnered by institutions within the  prison industrial complex. I discuss how this production and profit structure is akin to the plantation business model that legalized the exploitation of chattel slave system. 


     In addition to publishing, I have received many special invitations for readings and  keynotes addresses.  I would consider the 2018 Arts Envoy to the nation of eSwatini/Swaziland with the Furious Flower Poetry Center as the most prestigious among them. This Arts Envoy to eSwatini/Swaziland was sponsored by the United States Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs Exchange Programs in the Summer 2018. The purpose of the Arts Envoy Program is to engage American artists and arts professionals in cultural exchange programs. The program shares the best of the U.S. arts community with the world to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration, to demonstrate shared values and aspirations, and to address foreign policy themes and objectives. In this program the American arts professionals -- including performing artists, visual artists, poets, playwrights, chefs, dancers, theatrical and film directors, curators, and others -- travel overseas to conduct these workshops, give performances, and mentor young people. 

    Since 2018, I presented a few readings and talks that were related to digital studies and twenty-first century literary studies.  In 2019, I was invited to give the keynote address for the French Association for American Studies at the University of Nantes in Nantes, France. This talk detailed my theories about identity, innovations and literary writing in Twenty-First Century American Literature. In addition to this keynote address, I was invited to read from A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing and discuss poetry at the University of Sorbonne-Nouvelle and the University of Lille. Prior to my readings, many of the poems from the book were translated into French by affiliated faculty and graduate students in American Studies. Former readers for this poetry and protest series in France include poets Martin Espada (2016), Deborah Paredez (2107) and Mary Kate Azcuy (2018). 

    Another invited lecture that centered digital humanities and twenty-first century literary studies includes my address at the 2ndAnnual University of Southern California mHealth Collaboratory Symposium on April 25, 2019, with the University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research. The main themes of the Symposium were diversity, Big Data, the inherent bias in digital algorithms. The symposium discussed how science could benefit from  artistic theories and creativity in order communicate findings. The organizers of the symposium felt that my work as a cultural/digital scientist as well as an artist would enrich the symposium. 


    I received five grants during this promotion period.  They include the Igniting Research Collaborations grant from the Office for the Vice President of Research at the University of Kentucky. The grant was “Stimulating Higher Education Leadership Progression- an Institutional Framework for BIPOCs” was funded during the 2020-2021 academic year and valued at $30, 950.  The grant funding was a seed grant to establish base data for a pilot project that analyzes the experiences of BIPOC faculty, staff members, and administrators at the University of Kentucky in order document their employment experiences and identify potential university leaders outside of the context of implicate and/or complicate bias.  

   Additionally in 2018, I was awarded a special grant opportunityGirls of Color: Voice and Vision Grant Award with Kentucky Foundation for Women. The grant funded Giggles, Guts, and Glitter-a writers’ workshop that centered on the voices of Black girls and young women of color in Lexington. The purpose of this grant was to elevate the voices and lived experiences of Black girls and girls of color through shared stories and art making. This grant covered nearly half of the program expenses, including the technical equipment and private library costs for Giggles, Guts, and Glitter.

Graduate Training


University of Kansas, PhD in English - Creative Writing                                                                      2012

Dissertation title:  Willows in the Spring

Certificate: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies                                                                           2011

Morgan State University, MA in English                                                                                              2005

                  Thesis title:  Knowing: Lucille Clifton and the Great Mother’s Guiding Light

Morgan State University, BA in English, Minor Studies in Psychology                                                1999



Holocaust Educators Network (HEN), City University of New York and Lehman College      2010

       Research Administration 101; KU Research and Graduate Studies,  University of Kansas   2008

       Teacher Consultant Certification, National Writing Project, Towson, Maryland                       2004

Selected Publications: 


1.     Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood, memoir-in-verse/poetry. Bloomsbury Publishing, January 2022.

2.     A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland, memoir-in-verse/poetry. Bloomsbury Publishing, January 2019 (several reprints). Paperback, January 2020.

·       Nominated for an NAACP Image Award – Outstanding Literary Work for Poetry

·       An Amazon Best Seller in African American Poetry

·       A Publishers Weekly Top 10 History Title for the season

·       Booklist's Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction titles for the year

·       Book Riot’s "50 Must-Read Poetry Collections"

·       Most Anticipated Books of the Year--The Rumpus, Nylon



1.     The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland. Lexington Books, June 2016.  Reprint. Paperback. Lexington Books, March 2018. 

2.     Hill, DaMaris B. and Nicole LaMonaca. National Writing Project 2008 Professional Writing Retreat Anthology. National Writing Project, 2009.


1.     #21C: An Intimate Look at Twenty First Century American Literature, an edited series of ten or more volumes. Bloomsbury Academic. Being Processed. 


1.     \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ Visible Textures. Lawrence: Mammoth Publications, April 2015. 


1.     “Time Period : Aug. 20, 1634-Aug. 19, 1639. Theme – Tobacco.”   400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 (New York Times Bestseller Book). Keisha N. Blain and Ibram X. Kendi, Eds. New York: Penguin Random House, 2021. (peer reviewed)

2.     “Nationalism, Print Capitalism and the Perversity of Propaganda: Imagining Zora Neale Hurston Coming of Age.” Neglected American Women Writers of the Long Nineteenth Century. Verena Laschinger and Sirpa Salenius, Eds. London:Routledge, 2019. (peer reviewed)  

3.     “Concrete.” Introduction to Women’s Studies. L.A. Saraswati, Barbara Shaw, and Heather Rellihan, Eds.  New York: Oxford University Press. February 2017, 2020. (peer reviewed)

4.     “Introduction”, “Editor’s Note: Claims of Memory and Space” and “Conclusion.” The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland. Lexington Books, 2016. 


PubMed Publications*: 
  • McNutt, MK ;Bradford, M ;Drazen, JM ;Hanson, B ;Howard, B ;Jamieson, KH ;Kiermer, V ;Marcus, E ;Pope, BK ;Schekman, R ;Swaminathan, S ;Stang, PJ ;Verma, IM "Transparency in authors' contributions and responsibilities to promote integrity in scientific publication." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115, 11 (2018): 2557-2560. Details. Full text
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