Current Projects

Grimoire now available for pre-order:


Named after a magical textbook, Cherene Sherrard’s Grimoire is a poetry collection centered on the recovery and preservation of ancestral knowledge and on the exploration of black motherhood. Incorporating experiences of food preparation, childrearing, and childbearing, the book begins with a section of poems that re-imagine recipes from one of the earliest cookbooks by an African-American woman: Mrs. Malinda Russell’s A Domestic Cookbook. Mrs. Russell’s voice as a nineteenth-century chef is joined in conversation with a contemporary amateur cook in poetic recipes that take the form of soft and formal sonnets, introspective and historical lyric, and found poems. In the second section, the poet explores black maternal death and the harrowing circumstances surrounding birth for women of color in the United States. Throughout Grimoire, Sherrard explores the precarity of black mothering over the last two centuries and the creative and ingenious modes of human survival.




I am thrilled to announce that Vixen, my debut poetry collection is now available from Autumn House Press.



Here’s what folks are saying about Vixen:

“Cherene Sherrard’s Vixen is one of the most stunning debut collections of recent years. Historically resonant and urgently contemporary, Cherene Sherrard’s work interrogates the raw, shifting, and corrosive narratives of racial identity that her poems unravel in multiple cultural iterations. Her speakers are dazzling and her lines crackle with her powerful and incisive intelligence. Vixen is a book I keep returning to again and again for both its wisdom and its passionate dramatic brilliance.”
—David St. John


I’m also at work on a novel entitled, The Shadow Archive, a book of mystery, love and academic intrigue inspired by the life of Afro-Native sculptor Edmonia Lewis. I am enjoying walks in the prairie and the fellowship of other writers and artists.

“Cherene Sherrard describes the ache of exclusion and illuminates what beauty dwells along the margins.  Her treatment of Jeanne Duval, the mixed-race mistress and muse of Charles Baudelaire, is at once haunting and harrowing.  Through Duval’s eyes we glimpse the tawdry righteousness of Parisian society, while the rest of Sherrard’s clear-eyed collection reacquaints us with other too-often-ignored characters from our common history.  In Mistress, Reclining Sherrard digs up the dirt of the past, sifts it, and comes up with nuggets of pure gold.”

Camille T. Dungy, author of Suck on the Marrow and editor of Black Nature: Four  Centuries of African American Nature Poetry

Cherene Sherrard’s fascinating book, MISTRESS, RECLINING,  draws the reader into the confusions and triumphs of various historical women who must struggle against problems with race and gender. Especially engaging is the series of persona poems chronicling the complex life of Jeanne Duval, mistress and notorious inspiration for Charles Baudelaire. The author’s poetic originality and fascinating topic will delight the reader of this collection.

Carol Hamilton, former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and author of The Dawn Seekers.