Celisa Steele was born and spent the first twenty-two years of her life in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas with a double major in English and French. Her love of languages and literature then took her to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed a master’s in comparative literature. She has remained in the Tar Heel State and now makes her home in the Paris of the Piedmont, Carrboro, where she lives with her partner and two children.
Celisa is managing director at Tagoras. Through a combination of independent research and strategic consulting, Tagoras helps organizations in the business of lifelong learning maximize the reach, revenue, and impact of their educational offerings.
She served as first vice president of the North Carolina Poetry Society from January 2009 to May 2011 and currently chairs the organization’s long-range planning committee. She served on the Poetry Council of North Carolina from 2005 until the organization merged with the North Carolina Poetry Society in 2013. She is an inaugural member of the Carrboro Poets Council.
Celisa was selected as one of four participants from the central region of North Carolina to work with distinguished poet Becky Gould Gibson for the 2009-2010 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series, which pairs aspiring poets with poet mentors, and she has been awarded a week-long Wildacres residency for 2013.
In September 2013, Celisa was named the Carrboro poet laureate and served in the role until June 2016. An excerpt from the letter to Celisa announcing the selection follows:
We are very pleased to inform you that the Carrboro Arts Committee has selected you to be the town’s next Poet Laureate. On the basis of your fine poetry and superb application, the Committee voted unanimously for you, and we congratulate you.
How Language Is Lost is Celisa’s first book.