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Darrel Holnes

Part-time Faculty
(212) 992-6320
1 Wash Pl, Room 509

Office Hours
Tuesday 3-6:30
Friday 12-2

M.F.A., Creative Writing, University of Michigan, B.A., English, University of Houston,

Darrel Alejandro Holnes is a poet and playwright from Panama City, Panama, and the former Panama Canal Zone. His plays have won or been a finalist for various awards and honors including the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference, Best New Play award from Wichita State University, Farrar Prize in Playwriting and Hopwood Award in Drama at the University of Michigan and various grants including a Kitchen Theater Company New Play Development Grant, Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Production Grant, and the Jerome Foundation Travel Grant. They have been presented as part of KCACTF, NOW African Playwrights Festival, Brick Theater's Festival of Lies, Keep Soul Alive! at the National Black Theater, and elsewhere nationwide. He is also a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Musical Theatre Factory’s POC Roundtable, Page 73’s Interstate 73 writers’ group, and Stillwater Writers Workshop.   His poetry has been published in American Poetry Review, Poetry Magazine, Callaloo, Best American Experimental Writing, and elsewhere in print and online. He is the recipient of various awards in poetry including the C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize from Poetry International. He's also the recipient of scholarships to Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Canto Mundo, Cave Canem, VCFA Postgraduate Writers Conference, and various residencies including the Cave Canem Residency at Washington College. His academic excellence, activism, and work in arts administration have been recognized by the White House, Veterans of Foreign War, US Congress, and with many residencies, fellowships, and awards. He studied creative writing at the Universities of Houston and Michigan, the latter from which he received his Masters of Fine Arts degree and won a Zell Post Graduate Award, among other awards. Holnes is the editor and co-author of various books and has worked as a consultant to the United Nations. Check him out at and follow him around the world @blackboytraveljoy via Instagram.  



Darrel Alejandro Holnes Announces New Book

Darrel Alejandro Holnes announced Stepmotherland, (Notre Dame Press, February 2022) his first full-length collection of poems that chronicle and question identity, family, and allegiance.


Migrant Psalms Launch

The Poetry Foundation hosted the launch of Migrant Psalms (Northwestern University Press, 2021) by Darrel Alejandro Holnes, winner of the 2021 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize.


PRIME: Poetry & Conversation

Saeed Jones, Ricky Laurentiis, Phillip B. Williams, L. Lamar Wilson, and Darrel Alejandro Holnes' poetry in, PRIME: Poetry & Conversation, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press LLC.


On Poetics, Identity & Latinidad: CantoMundo Poets Speak Out

Millicent Borges Accardi, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Amy Sayre Baptista, David Tomas Martinex, Ruben Quesada, and Darrel Alejandro Holnes' poetry in, On Poetics, Identity & Latinidad: CantoMundo Poets Speak Out was published by Essay Press.

Awards & Honors


Poetry Prize

Darrel Alejandro Holnes was awarded the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, which is for his full-length book of poems Stepmotherland, which is forthcoming from University of Notre Dame Press in 2021. Holnes was awarded the Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize for his chapbook Migrant Psalms, which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press later this year.  

Performances, Productions, Exhibitions & Releases



Current resident of the I AM SOUL - Playwright Residency Program, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, wrote Bayano, the story of an escaped African slave in 16th century Panama, performed on March 11-15, 2020 at the Dr. Barabara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre Institute of Action Arts.  

Teaching and Research Interests

playwriting; poetry; performance art; transnational identity and issues; immigration; military culture; intersectionality; queer, Latino, and African diaspora studies; wellness, art as healing; ethnographic writing; historical fiction; textuality as visual art; music and musical theater  

Recent News


Professor Darrel Alejandro Holnes has been awarded a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Holnes is among 35 recipients chosen from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants selected through a highly-competitive, anonymous, nationwide process. Works are judged solely on the artistic excellence of the work sample provided. Holnes is the first Panamanian-American to receive this fellowship.

Holnes received a CUNY Faculty Fellowship Publications Program Grant for his full-length play, Revuelto Road.

Holnes received a Faculty Innovation Award from Medgar Evers College.

Holnes was awarded a 2016 Cave Canem Summer Residency at the Rose O'Neill Literary House.

Holnes has been named a member of Page 73's Interstate 73 Writers Group and last summer became a member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. In 2017, he was named a finalist for the Van Lier Fellowship at The Lark Play Development Center and the 2050 Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop and for the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting.  


Holnes had his poems published in the American Poetry Review and featured in the Furious Flower Seeding the Future of African American Poetry anthology (Northwestern University Press, December 2019).

Holnes, along with Bhikshuni Weisbrot, and Elizabeth Lara, edited an anthology of poetry to honor of the UN International Day of Happiness, Happiness: The Delight-Tree, An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry (United Nations SRC Society of Writers, 2015).


Holnes presented at “X — Past, Present, and Future of LatinX Studies: at Northwestern and Beyond” held at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois on May 10, 2019. Darrel Alejandro Holnes participated in “The Impact of Race and Politics on Contemporary Black Playwrights,” held by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs in Portland, Oregon in 2019.

Holnes participated in “Poets Out of Place,” held by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs in Portland, Oregon in 2019.

Holnes presented "Beyond the BluePrint: A Poetry Reading and Panel Discussion on The Reconstructed Self" at Thinking Is Presence, University of Arizona, Poetry Center 2017 in Tucson, Arizona.


Holnes was named a I AM SOUL Resident Playwright at the National Black Theater in New York where his play, Bayano, will be performed from March 1-15, 2020.

Holnes had his play, Franklin Ave performed at SolFest: A LatinX Theater Festival at the Pregones Theater/PRTT on June 18 2019, Darrel Alejandro Holnes had his play,  Mimado/Mama’s Boy presented at Primary Stages as part of their Infinite Stories series presented by the NYC LatinX Playwrights Circle on May 29-30, 2019.

Holnes read a selection of poetry as part of the Migrants for Justice fundraiser reading at the Poetry Project on September 4, 2019, at the Poetry Cabaret at The Green Room 42 on September 7, 2019, and at the Marble House Project’s Art Seed on June 8, 2019. 

Darrel Holnes