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Home > Author > Billye Okera
Billye Okera

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Member Since: Mar, 2007

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  Billye Okera

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Billye Okera says, "I am not a proper poet...nor do I want people to think of me that way. If you must think of me as a poet at all, think of me as a raw poet...a challenged poet, and insane poet, disobediant, irascible, wounded, unforgiving, sloppy, ambiguous, impertinent, blatant, irreverent, full of my own stuff, sick of people's stuff, angry to my own repulsion, sad to my own sickness,wanting

Background Information

Folk-Performance poet, Billy Okera was born Evette Billye Epps (nee Keene) in 1950, Washington, D. C.  She has been writing since the age of 17, when she was deeply influenced by the work of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her work has appeared in Mynd Magazine and Dialogue, and she has perfomred locally in the Washington, D. C. Metropolitan area at Cafe' Myth.Com, The Lincoln Theater, Toast and Strawberries, The Potters House, Sankofa Books for Hale Gerima, The Black Family Reunion, Los Amigos, Barnes and Noble for Sistah Joy, Fresh Scents and the Annual Iverson Mall Black History Program for Ladi Di Beverly, Market 5 Gallery, Mariposa, the 1997 Women' Writer's Conference with J California Cooper, with Sonja Sanchez at the 7th Annual Martin Luther King Poetry Extravaganza, with Nikki Giovanni at the Museum of African American History in Norfolk, with Haki Madabuti, Ehtelbert Miller, Delores Hendricks (Poet Laureat of Washington, D. C. ), Caravan Books, Harmony Hall and many other venues.  She has also performed nationallyt Goove In N. Y City, and internationally at the Brixton Theater in London, England.  She is a founding member of "Collective Voices" the D. C. bases sister-hood of African American poets.

In 2001, Ms. Okers was named a Nation's Captiol Poet-In-Progess by Delores Kendrick, Poet Laureate of Washington, D. C. in conjuction with the Folger Shakespeare Library.  Her book "The Mourner's Bench, and Other Stations of Weeping and Joy", was published in 2004, and was nominated for the 2006 NUSPA (National Underground Spoken Word Poets Award). 

Ms. Okera is the mother of three and grandmother of 7and resides just outside of her birthplace Washington, D. C., in Fort Washington, Maryland. 


Birth Place
Washington, DC USA

-1968 - Honorable Mention - Gerry Poetry Contest - Washington, D. C.
-District of Columbia 2001 Poet in Progress - awarded by the Poet Laureat of the District of Columbia.
-2006 - Nominated for the NUSPA award (National Underground Spoken Word Poets Association)
Co Founder of Washington D. C. Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Poetry Extravaganza
Founding Member-"COLLECTIVE VOICES", the D. C. based sisterhood of African American Poets, with Founder Sistah Joy, and founding Member Ladi Di
Member - Annointed Pens - Poets Annointed to Encourage Souls, Founded by Sistah Joy Mathews Alford
Founding Member - Sounds of Empowerment - conducting poetry workshops

Additional Information

-Author - "The Mourners'Bench and Other Stations of Weeping and Joy" -Founding Member "COLLECTIVE VOICES" Washington, D. C. Sisterhood of African American Poets. -Member "Annointed Pens" (Poets Entrusted to Nuture Souls) - Mother of 3: Jason, Damon, AnDraea -Grandmother of 5: Damon Shakur, Cierra, India, Adia, Langston, Brianna and Jeremiah

Contact Information

1580 Potomac Heights Drive 
Fort Washington MD 20744   USA
Contact Author: Billye Okera

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