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Area Coordinator and Master Poet-Teacher Highlight: Johnnierenee Nia Nelson (San Diego County)

Johnnierenee Nia Nelson has presented readings and workshops from Cairo, Egypt to Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the Poet Laureate of the WorldBeat Center in beautiful Balboa Park.


"Identify the who, the what, and the where that you are passionate about and embrace it wholeheartedly. For me that's my immediate family (including spouse), working with children, poetry, travel, and residing in San Diego.” --Johnnierenee Nia Nelson


Award-winning poet and playwright Johnnierenee Nia Nelson, aka, the Kwanzaa Poet, has written five books of Kwanzaa poetry. Her first volume, “A Quest for Kwanzaa”, published in 1988, was heralded as the authoritative genesis of Kwanzaa literature. “Classic Kwanzaa Poems: New and Selected” is her latest work.


She is a poet/teacher with CalPoets and with San Diego's Border Voices Project, as well as a performance poet who has presented readings and workshops from Cairo, Egypt to Vancouver, British Columbia. Ms. Nelson was featured at the fifth Annual El Cajon Friendship Festival with her creation “A Taste of Kwanzaa” and on two KPBS radio shows, “These Days” and “The Lounge.” She also performed at San Diego City College in collaboration with Urban Bush Women. Her video credits include the Emmy Award-winning documentary, “Lighting the Way” and KPBS' acclaimed “Border Voices” TV show.


In 2017, Ms. Nelson received a Fellowship from the Livingkindness Foundation to attend the International Women Writers Guild's 40th Annual Summer Conference in Allentown, PA. Johnnierenee serves as the Poet Laureate of the World Beat Center in beautiful Balboa Park and is the San Diego County Area Coordinator for California Poets in the Schools.


Ms. Nelson loves facilitating interactive writing workshops with middle and elementary school students while integrating art, drama, movement, and music.


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