Janae Johnson

Janae Johnson is an award-winning poet, performer and educator. Her writing celebrates and centers Black queer maculinity, kinship and belonging. She is a former National Poetry Slam Champion, Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion and a founder of two nationally recognized poetry venues: The Root Slam (Oakland, CA) and The House Slam (Boston, MA). Janae’s full-length poetry collection Lessons on Being Tenderheaded is forthcoming in Spring 2022 by Write Bloody Publishing. Janae currently resides in Tacoma, WA. 

IG: saysheaintfresh

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Photo Credit: Zorn B. Taylor Photography
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Lessons on Being Tenderheaded
Forthcoming April 2022 | Write Bloody Publishing 

In Janae Johnson's debut full-length poetry collection, the concept of being tenderheaded is less about Black hair; more how we are taught to disguise pain through suppression of macro and micro traumas. What began as a book of poetry about women’s basketball transformed into coming-of-age stories centering Black queer masculinity, emotional restoration and belonging. From lyrically experimental to personified prose, each poem encourages humor to rise after an eight hour hair appointment and ultimately decide to wear a ponytail.