He graduated from University of Chicago, and New York University, with an MFA. He teaches at CUNY College of Staten Island.
His work appeared in Soul Fires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence, Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago's Guild Complex, and Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry.
Tyehimba Jess ... coaxes an astonishingly rich world from the wood and steel scraps of the life he finds before him. He chronicles the story of Leadbelly ... the killer, the lover, the victim, the son, the greatest bluesman of his time...and he has the chops to animate this complex man.