Todd Craig – Author Biography
Photo by HS Miller
Todd Craig is a native of Queens, New York. A product of Ravenswood and Queensbridge Housing projects in his youth, he left Queens for New England in hopes of a better education and life. As an alumnus of the scholarship program A Better Chance, Inc., Todd attended Saint George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island. His love of hip-hop music and culture led him to become a deejay in his high school years. Upon graduation, he attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Todd was awarded a Rockefeller Brothers Fellowship upon graduating, and was accepted into Harvard Graduate School of Education. While attending Harvard, Todd realized his career goal was to find a professional position that would allow him the time and freedom to engage in his love of writing, teaching and music.
As Pre-Commencement Student Speaker, Todd graduated with a Masters in Education and continued to pursue his writing, which led to his acceptance at writing residencies at the Ucross Foundation, Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow, Jentel Foundation and an Associate Artist position at Atlantic Center for the Arts with Anne Waldman. After a year of cross-country travel to attend these residencies, Todd began working as a part-time member of faculty in the CUNY system to give back to his native community.
As a writer, Todd straddles the realms of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and screenplay writing, The situations Todd discusses within his texts paint a vivid and graphic depiction of a specific Queens-based lifestyle, as this is what he saw in his community, listened to in hip-hop music and experienced in youth. It is, however, his formal academic training as well that allows him to express the hope and infinite possibilities that any person of color has in their daily lives.
Photo by FourthFloor Studios
In addition to being a writer, Todd is also a deejay. It is, in fact, his love of music that opened the door to his writing. As an artist, Todd has done numerous readings and performances nationwide, including collaborations with other writers, poets and musicians such as Newspeak, Donnell Alexander, Dr. Jan Ramjerdi, Anne Waldman, Rich Medina, Geoffrey Canada, Dr. Bessie Blake, Lee Ann Brown, David T. Little and hip-hop artists Hypno (The Spooks), Mr. Len (Smacks Records) and Mobb Deep, in order to bring a musical element to his writing. A few guest appearances can be heard on the accompanying CD-ROM.
In 2013, Todd completed his Doctor of Arts degree in English at St. John’s University where he was selected as the Hooding Ceremony Student Keynote Speaker and awarded the 2008 Academy of American Poets Prize. Craig’s research interests are hip-hop culture and pedagogy, multimodality in the English composition classroom, creative writing pedagogy and poetics. His dissertation is a qualitative research study that explores the hip-hop DJ as 21st century new media reader and writer. With interviews from a laundry list of prominent and influential DJs in the hip-hop and music community, “SPINificent Revolutions: 360 Degrees of Stylus as Pen” examines the function of hip-hop DJ Literacy and Rhetoric, and it’s potential contributions to the English Composition classroom. His most recent publications include the poems “the comfort of shape-shifting” and “comes and go ons” in The Portable Boog Reader 6: NYC and “…spy verse spy…” which appears in Staten Island Noir, a crime story anthology series published by Akashic Books. Todd is an Assistant Professor of English at Medgar Evers College (CUNY). He keeps the borough of Queens close to his heart in all that he says, does and writes; it is his life and past experiences in Queens that have been most formative, even more influential than his academic studies, “Without Queens, I simply would not be…and there’s not a minute of it, good or bad, that I would trade, switch or swap.”
Todd Craig is the founder of blacker inkwells Publishing Group, author of the novel “tor’cha” and co-author of the upcoming book series “classic pages.”