In Kei Miller’s anthology, New Caribbean Poetry (2007), Tanya Shirley was selected as one of eight poets in whose hands the future of Caribbean poetry was secure. Her debut collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones (Peepal Tree Press, 2009) garnered many positive reviews. Her work is published in several anthologies and she has read her poems in Venezuela, Canada, the U.S.A., England, Scotland and the Caribbean.
She was awarded an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, USA. She currently teaches in the Department of Literatures in English, UWI, Mona where she is also a PhD Candidate. Tanya Shirley is also proud to be a Cave Canem Fellow. Her second poetry collection, The Merchant of Feathers, published by Peepal Tree Press, UK, was long-listed for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and short-listed for the Guyana Prize for Literature, Caribbean Award. Dr Glenville Ashby in his review of the book for the Jamaica Gleaner stated:
Tanya Shirley’s Merchant of Feathers is provocative, explosive and brutally imaginative. It is conscious, uncompromisingly pure and emotive. Her galvanising work seeps into minds of readers and lodges there indefinitely. This is poetry that breathes and Shirley proves at ease and fluid in the myriad themes she presents. This is literary shape-shifting at its best. She can be loud and edgy; comforting and sublime; sacred and profane, while using colour, tone and cadence with precision.