Robin Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles and writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California. Her poetry debut, Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf, 2015) was honored with the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry—the first poetry debut to do so since 1975, and the first debut to win in poetry by an African American. Lewis is a Cave Canem fellow, a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and a Ford Foundation Art of Change fellow. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU, an MTS in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from Harvard University's Divinity School, and a PhD in poetry and visual studies from the University of Southern California. A finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Hurston/Wright Award, as well as the International War Poetry Prize, Lewis has published her work widely in various journals and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The New York Times, among others. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Currently, she is a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Southern California. Born in Compton, California, her family is from New Orleans.