Les James is an emerging writer and artist exploring scientifically-informed and spiritually-inspired ideas about nature, consciousness, and social activism. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in MQR Online; When We Exhale: An Anthology of Black Women Rooted In Ancestral Medicine; The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry; The Black Liberation Blueprint; Gumbo Magazine; BLUU Notes: An Anthology of Love, Justice, and Liberation; and elsewhere. She has received support from the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute and Foundation House, and is an alumna of the Writing Spirit, Writing Faith Workshop at the Collegeville Institute; Beyond Walls: Spiritual Writing Program at the Kenyon Institute; and the Summer Writers Workshop in Poetry at the Hurston/Wright Foundation.
Born and beholden to the lands of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations (Chicago metro), Les currently resides on the lands of the Powhatan (central Virginia). She identifies as a Black, sci-fi fantasy loving, cis-gender female person of the global majority, and enjoys extended walks, expansive conversations, and extra spicy food.
Activities / Events
Forthcoming Fall 2022 | Poetry: “Nature being,” “Home is where the heart is,” and “Maybe Mother Earth is an angry Black woman too”, When We Exhale: An Anthology of Black Women Rooted In Ancestral Medicine. Black Freighter Press, San Francisco, CA.
October 2022 | Photography: “Locked In, Locked Out, Interlocked,” EcoTheo Review. EcoTheo Collective, Houston, TX.
October 2022 | Artwork: “Intersecting,” 2023 Art Calendar (July). Cultural Arts Center, Glen Allen, VA.
October 2022 | Poetry: “American Dreams / Wake-up Call,” Michigan Quarterly Review Online. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
October 2022 | Scholarship: James River Writers Conference. James River Writers.
July 2022 | Photography: "Snails in Scotland" and digital mixed media: "Feelings," Issue 65: Sex. Geez magazine, Detroit, MI. May 2022 | Panelist, American Writers Festival. American Writers Museum, Chicago, IL.
April 2022 | Resident Artist, Foundation House, Greenwich, CT.
March 2022 | Poetry: "The struggle is real," Issue 8: Entropy. Consilience Journal.
March 2022 | 1st Prize in the Humor for Serious Subjects category for "Once upon a universe," Thinking Funny Humor Writing Contest.
February 2022 | Poetry: "Dark natured," BLUU Notes An Anthology of Love, Justice, and Liberation. Black Lives of Unitarian Universalists, Skinner House Books, Boston, MA. November 2021 | Poetry: "Why Black women write horror stories," The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry. Blair Publishing, Durham, NC.
September 2021 | Poetry: "Why Black women write horror stories," The Black Liberation Blueprint [online]. Blackroots Alliance, Chicago, IL.
July - August 2021 | Photography: "On the James," Take Me Away - Summer Fun and Vacations juried group show. Art Works Gallery, Richmond, VA.
July 2021 | Auditor: Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat. Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. June - July 2021 | Storyteller / Resident Artist, Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute. Templeton World Charity Foundation / UCLA.
June 2021 | Contributing writer, "Grief and Gifts," "Showing and Telling," "Mindfulness through Touch," "Grief through Time and Space," and "Digital Memorial," The Artist's Grief Deck. Artists’ Literacies Institute. www.griefdeck.com
June 2021 | Poetry and photography, "On truth and purity," 2020 Visions: Imagining (Post-) COVID Worlds Series. Edge Effects; Center for Culture, History, and Environment; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madsion, WI.
June 2021 | Performing artist/poet, Just Work: A conversation on the progress we've made and what still remains to achieve Black liberation. Blackroots Alliance, Chicago, IL.
June 2021 | Emerging participant and poster presentation: "In Our Nature: A Theopoetics of Science Project," Summer Research Institute: The Mind, the Human-Earth Connection, and the Climate Crisis. Mind and Life Institute.
May 2021 | Guest contributor, We are nature - short film. Chad Hodgson and Melanie Challenger.
April 2021 | Presentation / short story: "The AI Q&A: A design fiction experiment," Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language and Media. Northern Illinois University.
February - March 2021 | Photography: "Carried Away: Cedar Rapids, IA Summer 2008 1 &2," Flood Awareness Week juried group show. Art Works Gallery, Richmond, VA. Best Depiction of Theme Award.
January - February 2021 | Photography: "LA Escape." Juried group show. Art Works Gallery, Richmond, VA.
December 2020 - November 2021 | Participant, Unlock Her Potential Mentorship Program.
October 2020 | Scholarship: James River Writers Conference. James River Writers.
July 2020 | Guest contributor, What kindled your interest in minds? - episode. Many Minds Podcast.
June - July 2020 | Storyteller / Resident Artist, Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute. Templeton World Charity Foundation / UCLA.
June 2020 | Poster presentation: "Levels of Mind as Levels of Matter," Summer Research Institute: Cultivating Prosocial Development Across the Lifespan: Context, Relationships, and Contemplative Practices. Mind and Life Institute.
June 2020 (Accepted/Postponed) | Presentation: "Reimagining the Nature of Body, Mind & Spirit," Naturalism – as Religion, within Religion, or without Religion? Institute of Religion in an Age of Science, Star Island, Gosport, NH.
June 2020 (Accepted/Postponed) | Presentation: "Flavorful Images for the Mystic Soul," Mystic Soul Conference: Savor. Mystic Soul Project, Chicago, IL.
March 2020 | Photography: "Biloxi Shrine 1 & 2," Flood Awareness Week juried group show. Art Works Gallery, Richmond, VA.
March 2020 | Performing poet, “Mother prayer,” Community reading [virtual]. Gumbo Media, Chicago, IL.
February 2020 | Poetry: "Mother Prayer," Gumbo Magazine, Issue 001: Black. Gumbo Media, Chicago, IL.
June - July 2019 | Storyteller / Resident Artist, Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute. Templeton World Charity Foundation / UCLA, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
June 2019 | Presentation: "Body, Heart, Mind & Spirit: Emergent Images for Inspirational & Intuitive Practices," Mystic Soul Conference: Radical Wholeness. Mystic Soul Project, Chicago, IL.
April 2019 | Presentation: "Embodying Race as an Emergent Concept," Embodiment and Race Conference. Department of Philosophy and Religion, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.
March 2019 | Presentation: "Emergent Levels: A Framework for Reimagining Complex & Cognitive Systems," Complexity in the Humanities and Sciences Conference. Department of Philosophy, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.
October 2017 | Writing Spirit, Writing Faith Workshop. The Collegeville Institute, Whidbey Island, WA.
July 2016 | Beyond Walls: Spiritual Writing Program. The Kenyon Institute, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH.
2000 | Poetry: "Glory," "Reason 33," "Reconciliations," Miscellany. Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA.
2000 | Short Story: "The Devil's Heat," Miscellany. Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA.
July 1997 | Summer Writers Week: Poetry Workshop. Hurston/Wright Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
1997 | Poetry: "My Song," "Seasons," "In Passing," "Not Again," Miscellany. Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA.
1996 | Poetry: Untitled, Miscellany. Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA.