About Kesi Augustine
Kesi “Doctor” Augustine was born in Syracuse, New York, and moved to New York City during her adolescence. She is a lifelong creative writer and book lover. She quickly earned her AA, BA, and MA in English literature, and recently completed her Ph.D. at New York University. Her dissertation discusses the vision that 21st century African American children’s literature offers underrepresented readers, especially through its stylistic innovation to help correct the impact of negative stereotypes and deficit teaching practices. It builds upon research she conducted at Williams College and Oxford University.
Meanwhile, Kesi learned about creative writing during various workshops for teens sponsored by organizations like High 5 Tickets to the Arts and 826NYC. Every summer she read hundreds of books from local Queens libraries, and has fond memories of sitting by the basketball court while buried in a Stephen King novel.
Kesi published her first poem, “African Dance,” in Skipping Stones at age seven. Her first short story, “Right Judgment,” appeared in Young Voices when she was twelve. At fourteen years old, she won the Poetry in Motion New York City Subway Centennial contest for her poem "Sleepless," which was featured on New York subways for a year. Since then, Kesi has been featured in publications that reflect her wide-ranging interests, including Gay City News, The Journal of African American Studies, USA TODAY, The Huffington Post, For Harriet, Winter Tangerine, The Crawl Space Journal, and Haiku Narrativo.
Kesi currently teaches English at her alma mater, Bard High School Early College (Manhattan), and a socratic seminar at Urban Assembly School of Music and Art. She loves her students who have dubbed her “Doctor” in reverence to the title she has earned, in addition to the heart-to-heart connection she builds with them by offering candid support and advice. Kesi is excited to be learning more about pedagogical theory and practices from Gloria Ladson-Billings, Lisa Delpit, bell hooks, and Paolo Friere. Kesi's classes blend "creative" and "academic" prompts to stretch students' thinking about relevant contexts for literary criticism.
Since exhausting herself of schooling, Kesi is returning to creative writing, her first love, this year. Her poetry is currently exploring themes of self-love, courageous women artists, spiritual awakening, and flowers for emotional healing. Kesi loves bees and roses are her favorite flower.